Our beautiful planet earth is full of diversity. Vast kinds of living organisms of different sizes and natures are present everywhere. Plants and greenery are a major beautification of our mother nature. Nature has adorned our surroundings with copious varieties of plants. Each plant looks strikingly different with distinct nature and qualities. The snake plant is one popular plant and is also known as Sansevieria.
It gets its name due to its long, stiff, and sharp leaves which somewhat look like snakes and propagates straight in an upward direction. It spreads forming close and dense bodies by its creeping rhizome. This stripped green and sleek beauty is evergreen in nature. The plant is commonly found in Asia and Africa.
In this article, we will highlight the types, cultivation, and importance of the Snake Plant.
The snake plant is a flowering plant and belongs to the family Asparagaceae. It belongs to the group of Lilly plants. The leaves after getting mature turn into attractive dark green blades with strips and borders of different colors depending upon the type of the plant. The average leaf blade is around 30 inches in length and 2 to 2.5 inches in width. If the plant gets suitable conditions, it can turn as tall as 6 feet. Its biological name is Sansevieria and has many different types in which each type has its basic nature and color of the leaf.
The plant body consists of “Rhizomes”. Rhizomes are a form of the stem from which roots and shoots grow from its nodes. It grows both over and under the ground.
Due to its slightly toxic nature, it is advisable to keep the babies and pets away from the plant.
Snake Plant due to its unique leaf structure and sharp edges gets many different names in different cultures. One sarcastic name which can satisfy the housewives is “mother-in-law tongue plant”. It is also known as Saint George’s sword. Its Chinese name means “Tiger’s tail orchid”. Japanese call it “tiger’s tail” and in Turkey, it is called “Pasha’s sword”. Its leaves are used to make bowstrings so it gets another unique name “viper’s bowstring hemp”. Devil’s tongue is another popular name.
Types of Snake Plant
Snake Plant is a tough plant that can do well in a vast variety of dwelling conditions. This is an indoor plant and people mostly use it as an indoor ornamental plant. It dwells well in small pots as well as open areas. The leaves/rhizomes grow closely together and form a crowded plant body in small pots.
Snake Plant has around 70 different species which are differentiated basically due to the color of the strips and the leaf blade. Here we will discuss only a few common types with their important features;
- This is the most common type of snake plant. The elongated leaves are dark green which grayish striped patterns on it.
- The leaves can grow up to 4 feet in height and are usually 2 to 2.5 inches in width.
- The flowers are seen in summer or autumn and are yellowish-green in color.
Sansevieria Trifasciata Laurentii
It has long sharp leaves. The dark green leaves have a stripped surface and golden border. It is one of the most common varieties of the Snake Plant.
- The leaves can grow up to 4 feet in height.
- This plant rarely flowers but if it does, the flowers are pinkish-white in color.
Sansevieria Trifasciata Golden Hahnii
This is commonly known as Golden Bird’s nest. It is native to West Africa from Nigeria to eastern Congo.
Sansevieria Trifasciata Cylindrica
This type of Snake Plant has cylindrical leaves and is known as the Cylindrical Snake Plant. It is native to Angola.
The leaves are dark green and could grow up to 7 feet tall. The flowers are pinkish-white in color.
Sansevieria Trifasciata Twisted Sister plant
It is also known as Gold Twist Sansevieria. It is a sister plant of Dwarf Sansevieria. Prominent features are mentioned below:
- The leaves are bright green with a shade of gold.
- It could grow up to 15 inches in height.
These leaves look pretty much like snakes due to their long and cylindrical nature. It is commonly found in Kenya and British East Africa.
- The leaves are green with blackish green lines on them.
- The branching rhizomes can grow up to an inch in diameter. The leaves can reach a height of 3 feet.
- The clustered flowers are greenish-white.
This is abundantly found in Kenya and known as Kenya Hyacinth Snake Plant.
- Leaves are dark green with strips of the same color. They can grow up to 16 inches in length.
- The rosette has usually 6 to 12 leaves.
- The flowers are pinkish-white and fragrant which usually bloom in early springs or by the end of the winters.
Important features of this type are mentioned below:
- This type is the shortest of all other types and is also known as Dwarf Sansevieria.
- It does not grow any taller than 6 inches in height.
- The leaves are dark green with lighter patches of the same shade.
- It gives greenish-white flowers.
This is popularly known as “Blue Sansevieria”. It is common in the East African region. Important features are given below:
- The color of the leaves is green with mild tones of copper in the edges. Leaves grow in a specific pattern opposite to each other.
- The stem grows up to 7 inches tall while the leaves can attain a height of up to five feet.
- The flowers are grayish-green or white.
This one is commonly known as Star Sansevieria. Tanzania and East African Regions have varieties of this plant. Salient features are mentioned below:
- It is a rare form of Sansevieria.
- The stems are strong and creepy and dwell underground.
- Its flower is greenish-white.
- Its leaves can grow pretty tall, so it should be placed in a suitable place.
This is commonly called “Devil’s tongue” because of the tongue like shape and spiky tips of the leaves. It is commonly found in drier areas of Sri Lanka.
- This is a stemless type.
- The dark green spotted leaves can grow up to 1 to 1.5 feet in length.
Some other famous types of Sansevieria trifasciata are Black Gold, Futura Robusta, Futura Superba, Black Jack, and Black Robusta.
Snake Plant Propagation
The propagation can be done through under mentioned methods:
- Seeds propagation.
- Cuttings propagation.
- Division in water propagation.
The seeds propagation is the easiest method in which you just plant the seeds in the soil and leave to grow. However, this is time taking method as seeds take a good time to germinate and get a proper pretty appearance of the leaves.
You can use the leaves of a healthy plant and plant them in soil. The roots will eventually start developing from the base of the leaves in the soil. This will automatically keep growing if provided with the appropriate snake plant care.
Divisions in water
In this method, the cutting of a leaf is taken and soaked in water. After some weeks, the leaf will ultimately grow the roots. Proper sunlight and regular water change are required.
Snake Plant Care
Snake Plant is a common indoor plant and can be easily grown in lawns as well. It is one of the most resilient plants with minimal maintenance required. Some of the important points related to its requirements and care are mentioned below:
The optimal condition is that it should get moderate indirect sunlight. Once grown, it can dwell in minimum light. This is the reason for its popularity as an indoor plant. If placed into the complete shade for a longer time, the plant may not grow to its optimum level and leaves may turn yellowish and weaker.
It also dwells well in artificial lights and fluorescent bulbs.
If you are thinking about getting a snake plant for your home or office, never give it an abundant water supply. It needs to be watered twice a month. You should water the plant after the soil gets completely dry. Overwatering may lead the roots to rot making the plant wilt or become unhealthy.
If you are growing an indoor snake plant, please make sure to get a strong pot with holes for maximum drainage. The holes in the base of the plant will help the water to seep through preventing the soil from remaining wet for longer periods.
The plant needs an all-purpose fertilizer once in three weeks. Fertilizer in liquid form is a preferable option.
The plants do best in mild temperatures. Intense temperature levels may lead to scarring and an unhealthy plant body.
Once in a while, you need to check for the weeds and remove them for better growth and to avoid the competition for nutrients.
Common Diseases of Snake Plant
Extra moisture and over watering may invite different diseases in the plant. Snake Plants are commonly affected by fungal attacks. The fungus may be a southern blight or red leaf spot.
The fungal growth may lead to the death of the plant.
So the best measure is to keep the leaves and the soil dry with good draining conditions and avoid overwatering.
Mealy Bugs and spider mites are common attackers for the snake plant. They feed on the sap of the leaves causing wilting which if left untreated may lead to the death of the plant.
- The bugs need manual picking or cleaning the plants leaves by rubbing alcohol. You need to avoid chemical sprays.
- Spider mites can be removed by washing the plant with excess water and slightly increasing the humidity levels for the future. However, you should avoid a humid atmosphere.
If the leaves are bloated or stinky this is a sign of overwatering. Excessive watering may lead to the tips of the plant to turn brown.
If the leaves are turning brown overall, this is a sign of drying and it means you need to water the plant.
Watering the plant in an adequate and suitable quantity is the key to avoid these issues. Optimum watering frequency is twice a month or once in three weeks.
Benefits of Snake Plant
The uses of the Snake Plant are mentioned below:
The Mother-in-law tongue plant is a beautiful plant with low maintenance requirements and a “rough and tough” nature. It can dwell in low lights. These qualities make it an excellent option for indoor decorative plantation and outdoor cultivations.
This plant is very famous for its air purification qualities. It removes harmful toxins from the air and provides purified oxygen. If the room is closed, 5 to 6 healthy plants are enough to provide oxygen for the survival of a person.
The majority of the plants use carbon dioxide and water during their food-producing process known as photosynthesis. In this process, they purify the air and produce oxygen in the atmosphere. This process is done in the day time in the presence of sunlight.
The Snake Plant, on the other hand, produces its food in the night time as well by a process known as Crasulaceacen Acid Metabolism. This double production of food makes the plant resilient and adds to its importance by the purification of air. It may cure Sick Building Syndrome by constantly supplying oxygen.
Bad odor Elimination:
The Snake plant also removes bad odor from the air. The painted rooms get fresh quicker by keeping a Snake plant.
The leaves when dried produce high yields of fiber. The leaves are soaked in water for about 3 weeks and then pulled for harvesting the fiber. This fiber is used in making ropes, jewelry, and bowstrings, so this is the reason it gets its name as the “viper’s bowstring hemp”.
In Japan and Asia, people believe that the Snake Plants can be a good source of removing evil eyes from the place and promote positive vibes.
Some cultures believe that the plant can promote positive Fang Sui in the house and remove the stagnation of the air. So people use in the entrance of homes and offices and in pathways to promote the Fang Sui energy.
The Snake Plants is a common plant with diverse types and names due to its unique leaf structure. It is a resilient and low maintenance plant, widely used as both indoor and outdoor plants. It is popular for air purification and oxygen production, making it a preferable option for indoor decoration. So next time you think about buying an indoor plant, do not forget to consider the Snake Plant.