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A guide to owning and caring for Sansevieria
We have produced a guide to help you find out just how fabulous caring for Sansevieria. As one of our all-time favourite plants at The Little Botanical, they are super stylish and they have some incredible features! We have some fun facts about Sansevieria we’d like to tell you about. We are sure you will love them just as much as we do.
Types of Sansevieria
The plants are native to Africa, Madagascar and Southern Asia and for those plant aficionados, they come under the plant family Asparagaceae. As you can tell from the name, the most famous member of this plant family is the delicious garden asparagus.
There are plenty of Sansevieria varieties, but there are types that are more popular and commonplace and we stock a few of these:
From their names, you can already get a bit of an idea of how they look. They also have more common names such as ‘snake plant’, ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’, ‘viper’s bowstring’, ‘African spear plant’ and Sansevieria Cylindrica’.
The Spikey version unsurprisingly has long, thin and pointy, cylindrical leaves that tend to grow more vertically. These plants are slow-growing and architecturally stunning. Given the right care and light, they can reach heights of around 50cm for the larger plant and 35cm for the smaller.
Our Snakey version (Snake plant) has more rounded flatter leaves that still have a point on the end. They have a marbled pattern on their leaves, similar to snakeskin. Unlike its spikey sister plant, these are a little faster growing. In a well-lit spot, new shoots can grow to a height of approximately 60cm plus! The leaves grow out at more of an angle, giving some extra volume to the plant.
If you are on the hunt for a Sansevieria, then the snake plant is an all-around favourite. It is regularly a best-seller on our website. ‘It’s also known as ‘Viper’s bowstring hemp’ and ‘Sansevieria Zeylanica’, although ‘Snake Plant’ seems to be the most common name. That’s understandable when its leaves have such a stunning snakeskin-like pattern and it’s easier to pronounce too!
Finally, we have our little Sansevieria punk that we are very fond of in our team. He is just the cutest! He will also grow well. Given the right care and light, new shoots can reach 25-30cm. This Sansevieria is almost a mini hybrid of the Spikey and Snakey, with leaves that have more of a pattern and grow at an angle like Snakey but are thinner and more pointed like Spikey.
Sansevieria Fun Facts
We mention on our website that Sansevieria has been put through its paces by NASA – this was in NASA’s Clean Air Study, a fascinating study that looked at how the air in space stations could be cleaned and filtered. It found there were a number of plants that can naturally remove toxins in the air. Sansevieria was one of the top performers!
Well known for its air-purifying qualities, it can remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene, and it was even shown that one plant per 100 square feet was enough to efficiently clean the air in a space station! Sansevieria are a great example of how plants can improve the air around you and even help you sleep better.
If you are the kind of person who forgets to water plants, then the Sansevieria could be the perfect match. Unlike most other plants, it can withstand drought as it exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide during the night, which prevents water from escaping through evaporation.
Looking after your Sansevieria
These plants are survivors even if you are a self-confessed “plant killer”. Caring for the Sansevieria is easy as it only needs to be watered once every few weeks. A top tip from our grower, overwatering can be the Snake Plant’s kryptonite. We suggest giving them approximately 300ml of water every few weeks or once a month and they will last a long and healthy life in your home or office. After 6 months, you could also feed them a generic houseplant feed every couple of months for optimum growth.
At The Little Botanical, we recommend that for larger plants, it is best to pop them in the sink with a few inches of water and allow the water to soak up for around 10 minutes. Then the plant only takes up what it needs. For the smaller Punk variety, water the plant once a month straight into the soil rather than on the leaves and don’t let the soil stay too soggy.
These plants will grow well and last for a long time. Sansevieria are also generally fairly pest resistant. Not many of the usual pests like them! They are healthy plants that are unlikely to be affected by pests or disease, so perfect for a plant newbie.
Sansevierias are the perfect houseplants, given they don’t require a lot of water. They will grow best in bright, filtered light. Furthermore, they will also tolerate partial light conditions, so if they are in a darker corner in our home, you don’t need to worry too much.
Sadly, they are toxic to pets, so keep them away from your cat or dog, especially if they are likely to attempt a nibble! For a full list of plants that are safe for a pet-loving household, Check out our guide for the best pet-safe choices.
Where Sansevieria look good
Given they are quite a striking plant, they work well as a statement piece on a table or shelf. We all love a plant shelfie at The Little Botanical. Try them out in the kitchen for a more contemporary alternative to flowers or group them with other plants of different heights and shapes for a great contrast.
For those of you that want to create a plant gang, here are some other suggestions of plants we think they look great with:
See our favourite Sanseveria options
Air Purifying Bundle
A bundle of houseplants that look great and purify the air around you. What’s not to like? The Sansevieria Punk, Ficus Benjamina and Snakey Sansevieria are some of our most popular plants due to their amazing air cleaning properties.
Mini Air Purifying Desk Gang
Super easygoing, perfect for that plant lover in your life. Pop these air-purifying Sansevieria houseplants on a shelf or tabletop and they’ll add that stylish green touch you are looking for.
Low-light Loving Plant Basket Bundle
A bundle of easy-care, low-light loving plants – perfect for newbie plant parents. A great starter set that will be happy in a darker corner of your home.
What we love about the Sansevieria
There is so much to love about this stunning species. From the unique names, such as the mother in law’s tongue and African spear plant to the fact that they featured in NASA’s clean air study, the Sansevieria is a top-performer.
We also like the amount of variety on offer, as you could even go for one of each of the Sansevieria types. While they are all the same type of plant, they look different enough to look great together in a gang and would provide you with excellent air-purifying benefits. They’re an interior designer’s dream and would do an amazing job at transforming any office or living space into a fresh new room.