Plant Profile: Sansevieria (Dracaena)

Sansevieria is a genus comprising of approximately 70 species, commonly known as ‘Snake Plant’, ‘Mother-in-laws Tongue’, ‘Bow String Hemp’, ‘Jinn’s Tongue’ and ‘Snake Tongue’.
Native to Africa, mainly Madagascar, and to South East Asia.
This plant is common in most plant parents households, mainly because it’s simple, easy to care for, and is a good filler plant.
Thankfully, care for Sansevieria is pretty much standard across all 70 species.

It may be important to note here that most Sansevieria species are moving family between, Ruscaceae, Agavaceae, Liliaceae, or Dracaenaceae. But for the sake of this profile, I will refer to the family ‘Sansevieria’ – at least until we are all used to using ‘Dracaena’.

Care Tips


This is a great plant for the under-waterer. This doesn’t mean you can completely forget to water it, but forgetting occasionally wont hurt its feelings, too much.
When you do remember to water, water throughly & ensure the water runs out of the pot.
Water again once the soil is dry – usually every 2 weeks, depending on placement.
For species with tighter leaf growth, avoid getting water on the leaves to prevent rot.


If you have an apartment that lacks lots of light, this could be a good option for you.
It can cope with low to medium light, but wont survive in a dark corner with no-light.
Light is food for plants, and the less you give them, the slower they’ll grow and they definitely won’t thrive. The best light for sansevieria is medium to high intensity – this will promote healthy growth & stronger pigmentation of the leaves.


A loose, well draining soil is ideal. I recommend a potting soil and pumice mix, or peat moss and perlite.


If you buy your plant from a nursery, the soil should usually have sufficient levels of nutrients, available to the plant for several months. When you repot your plant, mix in some fertiliser pellets in with the soil mix, or use a balanced liquid fertiliser every month.


Sansevieria is best propagated by rhizome division, but rooting a cutting in water is also an effective method. Always ensure your tools are clean before cutting or snipping your plants.


Loss of colour – Move it towards the light, if its in a dark location, or move it away from the light, if its in direct sun.

Falling over – Ensure the plants roots are well covered, to help the plant maintain its vertical growth.

Bloated look – This is usually a sign of overwatering. Remove the affected leaves, and cut back on your watering in the future.

Brown, Crispy Leaves– Under watering. Usually the root system will still be ok, but just try and water more often in this case.