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Plant-o-Pedia: Sansevieria


Sansevieria zeylanica, patens, trifasciata ‘moonshine’, and parva. Photo by Danae Horst.

With a propensity to survive with little water, and even in low light, Sansevierias are at the top of our easy-to-grow plant list, but with over 70 species, they also make beautiful and fascinating additions to any plant collection. Even better? They’re one of the plants from NASA’s clean air study that were shown to help remove toxic agents from the air, so having a few around can make your home healthier too! If you’re looking for a place to start with indoor plants, a Sansevieria is a great choice!


Sansevieria trifasciata laurentii. Photo by Danae Horst for The Jungalow.

GET THE GREEN:  Snake Plant/Mother In Law’s Tongue, etc (Sansevieria, 70+ different species)

WATER: Exceptionally drought tolerant. Allow soil to dry out between waterings. Overwatering is the easiest way to kill these, so when in doubt, wait another week to water. If living outside, protect from too much rain or dump excess water out of the pot after each rain.

SUNLIGHT: Bright to medium indirect light, though they will tolerate low light as well. Brighter light may bring out more color in the leaves. Avoid direct sun.

PLACEMENT: Because they are so easy-going, most Sansevierias work well in rooms other plants don’t- great for a space with just a little natural light. With so much variety in form between them, ideal placement will depend on the species you have. Commonly available trifasciata species make great sculptural plants and can grow to be quite tall, so they look nice mixed in with smaller plants, or displayed as a collection, with other Sansevieria species. Some species will send out offsets (like a spider plant), and work well in hanging baskets.

EXTRA CREDIT: Many species are fast growing and seem to produce flowers best when root bound. However, you may need to repot occasionally so they don’t burst out of their pots.

WORD OF CAUTION: According to the ASPCA, Sansevierias are toxic to cats and dogs.

Is there a plant you want to learn more about? Leave a comment and you may find it in a future Plant-o-Pedia!


Alternative Text Danae Horst

Total Plant Geek. Check out my botanical shop and design firm, Folia Collective.

8 responses to “Plant-o-Pedia: Sansevieria”

  1. Lizzie says:

    majesty palms (like the ones from IKEA) please!! very confused by mine.

  2. do you have these posts organized or tagged so you can see all the plant-o-pedia posts together? that would be so helpful. i’d love to run through your recommendations and find some good pet-friendly, low-maintenance plants to spruce up my home with. love this info!

    • Danae Horst says:

      Hi Alaina! Right now, you should be able to find them all by searching ‘plant-o-pedia’ in the search box at the top of the page. Many of them are also in the back of The New Bohemians book, if you have it. Once our updated site is live (which should be soon) these posts will have their own little sidebar link!

  3. Giovanna says:

    Love the info thank you for sharing :)

  4. Lenna says:

    How could any of this be better stated? It co’nuldt.

  5. Evaa says:

    Sansevieria – acc. to the book: How to Grow Fresh Air by dr.B.C.Wolverton – “differs from most plants in that it produces oxygen and removes CO2 at night.”
    The opposite of what other plants d0. That’s why this plant is more suitable than others to have in the bedroom. No competition for oxygen.
    Oh….btw, other plants switch their metabolism when it gets dark -from producing oxygen into using it.

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