Snake Plant, Viper's Bowstring, Viper's Bowstring Hemp, African Spear, Good Luck Plant, Goldband Sansevieria, Magic Sword, Variegated Snake Plant, Gold Edged Snake Plant, Devil's Tongue, Mother-in-Law's Tongue

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Common Name: Snake Plant, Viper’s Bowstring, Viper’s Bowstring Hemp, African Spear, Good Luck Plant, Goldband Sansevieria, Magic Sword, Variegated Snake Plant, Gold Edged Snake Plant, Devil’s Tongue, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
Botanical Name: Sansevieria trifasciata
Category: Houseplant
Lifecycle: Perennial
USDA Symbol: SATR6
Hardiness Zones: 10A – 12B
Sun: High Sun (4-6 hours of sun per day) , High Shade (1-2 hours of sun per day)
Water: Medium
Soil: Sandy Loam
pH: Moderately Acidic (5.6-6.0)
Height: 2 to 4 ft
Spread: 1 to 2 ft
Spacing: 1 to 2 ft
Growth Rate: Moderate
Maintenance: Low
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers indoors
Bloom Color(s): White, Green
Leaf Type: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Arrangement: Whorled
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Fruit Time: Summer
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil, Houseplant
Propagations List: Seed, Leaf Cutting, Division
Plant Description:
‘Sansevieria trifasciata’, known as the ‘Snake Plant,’ displays intriguing deep green, sword-like leaves, often variegated with lovely, silvery horizontal stripes and creamy-yellow margins. The rigid, succulent leaves are upright and whorled to form an attractive rosette 2-4 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide, although indoor-grown plants typically remain smaller. Small clusters of fragrant, pale green or creamy white flowers bloom on mature plants in spring, followed by dazzling orange berries. However, flowers and fruit are rarely seen on indoor-grown plants. The ‘Golden Hahnii’ variety, which features green leaves with yellow stripes, was discovered and patented by Sylvan Hahn in 1953. The award-winning cultivar, ‘S. trifasciata ‘Laurentii,’ or ‘Gold Band Snake Plant’ is the most popular variety, featuring golden or white margins with silvery marbling. This cultivar was a winner of the prestigious ‘Award of Garden Merit’ presented annually by the Royal Horticultural Society. The ‘Snake Plant’ is grown as a tropical perennial within USDA hardiness zones 10-12. It is native to western Africa, where it easily spreads by creeping underground rhizomes in dry, partially shaded landscapes. The ‘Snake Plant’ flourishes in warm weather but struggles when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It makes a remarkable drought-tolerant, easy-to grow, and resilient houseplant that can thrive in very bright light as well as dimly lit corners. In the 1970’s, NASA conducted research proving that the ‘Snake Plant’ is extremely efficient at purifying indoor air by removing harmful pollutants, such as formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia. The genus name, ‘Sansevieria’ honors Raimond de Sangro, Prince of Sanseviero, who was born in Naples in 1710. He is known as the Italian ‘Patron of Horticulture.’ The botanical term ‘trifasciata’ translates from Latin to “three-banded,” in reference to the coloring and pattern of the leaves.
Propagation & Planting:

The ‘Snake Plant’ thrives in partially shaded areas receiving 2-4 hours of sunlight daily, although it can adapt to full sun or full shade. It prefers moderately acidic, well-drained, sandy or loamy soil with a pH range between 5.6 and 6.0. A potting mix blended specifically for cactus or succulent plants is ideal for indoor-grown plants. Potted plants are widely available from most local garden centers during the spring and summer. A mature plant can be propagated by dividing it into sections and leaving the roots intact for transplanting. Offshoots that form at the base can also be cut off and replanted. A healthy leaf may easily be removed and rooted in a glass of water or moist growing medium. ‘Snake Plants’ are also grown from seed, but it can take 3 to 6 months before new plants emerge.

Plant Care:

Overwatering is the most frequent cause of death to the ‘Snake Plant.’ The surrounding soil must be allowed to thoroughly dry between each watering. The plant may need to be watered every 3 to 4 weeks during the growing season but should only be watered at 2-month intervals in the winter. It will suffer in temperatures lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. ‘Snake Plants’ are slow to grow and rarely need repotting. They prefer to be slightly rootbound. Plants grown in bright light may need repotting every 3-5 years.

The ‘Snake Plant’ can be fertilized once monthly with the application of a balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer at half-strength or a fertilizer specifically formulated for cacti and succulents, used according to the directions on the product label.

It is beneficial to remove damaged leaves to promote new growth. The best time to prune is during the spring or summer. The tallest leaves can be removed, if desired, to control the plant’s height.

Pests & Disease:

It is important to keep ‘Snake Plants’ healthy by providing optimal growing conditions. Plants stressed by over or under-watering succumb easier to pests, such as thrips, scale, aphids, spider mites, or whiteflies. All of these result in the curling or mottling of leaves. They can be deterred by the application of horticultural oil or insecticidal soap, used according to the directions on the product label. Overwatering results in fungal infections or root rot, for which there is no treatment.