Sansevieria zeylanica care infographicWould you want to grow Sansevieria zeylanica to filter indoor air and modulate healthy airflow?

Or would you like to use it as a unique, eye-catching déco? This article will answer all your questions on properly growing the plant, further enlightening you on its environmental requirements, problems to anticipate, and how to troubleshoot them.

You will find informative, valuable, and easy to navigate information not only on how to grow this critical plant without much hustle but to grow it right, too.

Sansevieria zeylanica: An Overview

Sansevieria zeylanica is an upright perennial plant that belongs to the Asparagaceae family. The genus Sansevieriam sometimes referred to as Dracaenaceae, is made up of plants that are known as snake plants.

Sansevieria zeylanica is mainly characterized by its long, sword-shaped, evergreen leaves with gorgeous, wavy stripes decorating their surface.

Sansevieria zeylanica

The other names for this succulent plant are Ceylon bowstring hemp, fan snake plant, devil’s tongue, and mother-in-law’s tongue.

Sansevieria zeylanica is indigenous to tropical Africa and Southeast Asia.

Technically, the snake plant is a flowering plant . However, it rarely produces any flowers. But in the uncommon case where it does, the flowers are greenish-white with a pleasant citric fragrance. Sometimes, the production of flowers by the Bowstring hemp reflects mild or continuous stressful conditions.

Same as Sansevieria Trifasciata Zeylanica?

No. These two plants are separate, though they are close relatives. Their growth habits, care procedures, and general outlook have a lot of similarities. Therefore, other people would regard these two plants as the same, which is not correct.

Sansevieria zeylanica and Sansevieria trifasciata zeylanica have leaf patterns that are subtly different. Even with such slight differences, these two plants are both essential species of the snake family.

Benefits and Uses

The Ceylon bowstring hemp is commonly used as an indoor plant in homes and offices, though it equally grows well in outdoor settings. It has features that are appealing for decorative purposes.

This plant can purify the air, a characteristic that earned it the nickname “oxygen bomb.” Sansevieria zeylanica is an excellent oxygen producer, even at night, and this contributes to air purification, especially indoors.

Additionally, the plant removes xylene, carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, benzene, and toluene from the air, thereby protecting you from some lung problems and airborne allergies.

Some grow the plant for fibers, which are then used to make other products such as ropes and mats. Since time immemorial, the bowstring hemp was used as an antiseptic to prevent the growth of microorganisms that cause diseases. Reports from other studies revealed that the aqueous extracts of this plant exhibit antifungal properties.

Sansevieria Zeylanica Care

The hard-to-kill nature of snake plants makes them one of the easy-care groups of plants. Less effort is required to keep them in their best form. Let’s explore the care requirements for bowstring hemp, in particular:

  • Light and Temperature Requirements

Moderate to bright light settings are optimum for Sansevieria zeylanica. These conditions can be easier to maintain outdoor, where the availability of light is not too limited.

For indoor growers of the plant, putting it close to a window with a passing light is a great idea. If direct sunlight is unavailable or inaccessible, bright, indirect lighting will provide a relatively decent environment for the plant.

Enough Light for Snake Plant

The amount of available light affects the color of your plant. Usually, the lower the amount of light available, the greener the leaves of the plant. Therefore, outdoor plants, where there is both direct and bright sunlight, are lighter in color. The beautiful patterns on the leaves are also less distinct in the latter conditions.

Sansevieria zeylanica is a tropical plant, so it is not happy in low temperatures, typically below 50 F. To avoid the leaf damage that lower temperatures might cause, the plant should be grown in ranges between 60 F and 75 F. Intense sunlight also causes yellowing on the edges of the leaves.

  • Water Requirements

Naturally, the snake plant grows well in semi-arid and humid environments. Indoors, placing a pebble tray with water under the potted plant increases the ambient humidity in its surroundings. You can provide optimum humidity by creating a damp mulch around the plant if grown outdoors.

To ensure that you don’t overwater the plant, water it when the soil looks dry. Only then can you soak it in large amounts of water. If the plant is potted, add water until it begins to drain through the bottom of the pot. Slow and deep water-soaking can be done for in-ground plants to ensure that the water goes deeper, at least beyond four inches.

The bowstring hemp actively grows during warmer seasons, and it requires more water during these times. In contrast, the plant is dormant during the winter seasons. So you can reduce the watering frequency to avoid overwatering.

  • Soil Requirements

Naturally, the plant is found in areas that are rocky and dry.

The plant grows well in sandy loam that drains well. The loam part of the sandy loam plays a crucial role in holding the moisture that the plant needs. The sand drains excess water, preventing it from accumulating in the soil.


Propagation of the Bowstring hemp is best done using leaf cuttings. With this method, you can get many additional plants, so it is a quick propagation strategy.

Alternatively, you can use division, which is better done when the plant is old enough. Apart from the fact that it is relatively simple to carry out, another advantage of division is that it continues with the same specific cultivar that you planted.

When you use cuttings, the chances are that the plant may revert from the distinct cultivar to the parent plant.

Growing the plants from seeds is possible, though we do not recommend it. There are two reasons for this. First, the seeds are rare to come by, considering that the bowstring hemp rarely flowers. Second, the probability of success when growing the plant from its seeds is extremely low.

  • How to Propagate Using Leaf Cuttings

Get a mature Sansevieria zeylanica leaf that is healthy. Cut it into pieces whose lengths should be between 2-3 feet (5-7.5 centimeters). Leave these pieces for a day or two so that they can dry.

Dip the cut end of the leaf cuttings in a bucket of water and then into a rooting hormone.

Prepare your pot with peat and sand using a ratio of 1:2. Alternatively, you can use loam in place of peat. The difference between the two is acidity, where peat is more acidic than loam.

Plant your leaf cuttings and place them to access bright sunlight indirectly—only water when the soil appears so dry.

  • How to Propagate Through Division

Select a mature plant. Separate your plant into two or three clumps, depending on the size of the mother plant. This process should be done gently so that the roots are not damaged.

Plant each clump in a separate pot. Maintain each cluster in the same way you would if you were using leaf cuttings.

Growing the Plants in Pots

Sansevieria zeylanica plants can be grown in pots or on the ground. All you need is the right soil, light, temperature, and water requirements. Let’s look at how you can repot the plants.

Repotting the Plants

If you need to transfer your plant into another pot, the new one should preferably be about one inch wider. Prepare a sandy loam soil and fill the new pot with it.

Ensure that the plant is going through a stage of losing leaves or yellowing before you can transplant it. To remove the plant from the older pot, dip your fingertips under the soil and gently lift the plant, with its roots covered in the old soil.

Repotting Sansevieria Zeylanica

Shake off the old soil and replant it in the new pot at a depth comparable to its previous environment.

When can you repot your plants? When they become overcrowded in the original pot. This usually happens between two and five years.


Sansevieria zeylanica is generally a vigorous plant, which is why it is easy to grow and maintain. However, there are a few concerns that you might need to look out for. Let’s explore some of them.

– Pests

Spider mites and mealybugs are the pests that usually affect the bowstring hemp. These two are sucking pests that depend on piercing leaves of the plant and drawing sap from them.

Mealybugs are sneaky, so you might not notice that they are attacking your plants until the symptoms of their activity start to show up. The best way to identify mealybugs on time is by constantly checking your plants.

Mealybugs and spider mites are unlikely to cause any diseases. However, they may weaken the plant, distort the leaves, and cause sooty mold. Being a succulent plant, the bowstring hemp can recover from the effects of the sucking pests with relatively greater ease.

If the damage on the plant is too much, you can rub 70 percent propyl alcohol onto the plant using a cotton swab to deal with smaller numbers of mealybugs. In a home setting, where your plants are relatively few, piercing mealybugs with a pin can be safe and effective.

A blend of pyrethrin and insecticidal soap is effective against both spider mites and mealybugs, especially when they are in large quantities. Neem oil does excellent for the prevention of both pests and addressing active manifestations at any stage.

– Diseases

The bowstring hemp is generally resistant to most diseases that affect plants. However, root rot is one concern that you cannot ignore.

Since it is caused by overwatering, troubleshooting methods would include avoiding standing water if your plant is potted. Skip watering your plant sometimes. Consider doing it only when the soil is dried or when the leaves are less vigorous. Ensure that the soil around your plant allows for proper drainage.

– Flopping Leaves

Your plants do not appear so beautiful when their leaves fall down on the sides of the pot.

There are two possible reasons why the leaves of your bowstring hemp might drop. First, it could be due to overcrowding, where there are too many leaves on the same plant. Second, if you use fertilizer for your plants, the leaves might grow too fast, making it difficult for them to support themselves.

If your case stems from overcrowding, consider trimming the drooping leaves back to the soil level using pruning shears. This process will not damage your plant. Sansevieria zeylanica is a light feeder with low nutrient requirements to do perfectly without any fertilizer.

If you decide to add fertilizer to your plants, limit the fertilizer to a one-time granular feeding of small amounts, say, in the spring.

– Toxic to Pets

If ingested, the bowstring hemp is not only toxic to cats and dogs but humans as well. Symptoms that include diarrhea, vomiting, mouth irritation, and nausea may be observed after consuming this plant.

This can be a serious issue for pet fanatics. You can place your plant where your pets or children cannot reach them. More restricted rooms such as bedrooms could keep your pets safe while equally enjoying the company and benefits of the bowstring hemp.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I identify Sansevieria zeylanica?

To identify Sansevieria zeylanica, look for long, sword-shaped leaves with green and yellow stripes. It also has a rosette growth pattern.

2. What is the leaf shape of Sansevieria zeylanica?

The leaf shape of Sansevieria zeylanica is sword-shaped with pointed tips and a slightly concave curve along the length of the leaf.

3. Can Sansevieria zeylanica tolerate dry air?

Yes, Sansevieria zeylanica can tolerate dry air due to its succulent leaves that store water. However, it’s best to keep the plant in a humid environment for optimal growth.


We have discussed all the important nuggets that make you a knowledgeable caregiver to Sansevieria zeylanica, even if you are a beginner in this art. Let’s sum up to ensure that you have all the important facts at the tip of your fingers:

  • Sansevieria zeylanica belongs to the Asparagaceae family.
  • It falls under the genus Sansevieria, which is made up of snake plants.
  • It is not a synonym of Sanseveria trifasciata zeylanica.
  • The plant is beneficial for its decorative, air purification, fiber production, and antiseptic attributes.
  • It is easy to maintain in sandy loam soils with minimal moisture requirements, temperature requirement ranges of 60-75 F, and bright sunlight, whether direct or indirect.
  • The plant is best propagated through leaf cuttings and divisions.
  • It can be successfully repotted for propagation purposes or to improve spatial requirements and avoid overcrowding.
  • The Ceylon bowstring hemp is generally a strong plant with relatively fewer pest and disease concerns. Look out for root rot (disease), as well as mealybugs and spider mites (pests).
  • The plant should be kept off the reach of pets and children because it is poisonous when ingested.
  • Things to avoid include overwatering, fertilizer overdose, temperatures below 50 F, and intense sunlight.


Taking care of plants has never been so easy! Grow your own Sansevieria zeylanica and apply your newly learned techniques. Make yourself special and clean up the air that you breathe!

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