Snake plants, scientifically known as Sansevieria and humorously referred to as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, are succulent plants that require little care. People often choose these plants because they are ideal options for houseplants, do require minimal care, and can thrive in a variety of lighting conditions.
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One of the biggest benefits of snake plants is that they remove indoor air pollutants such as carbon dioxide and formaldehyde. Although there are over 70 different species of snake plant varieties, the five most common are listed below.
Sansevieria Trifasciata – Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
The Trifasciata species is often the one that comes to mind when people talk about snake plants. It is the most popular species and often most easily found. This snake plant has tall, pointed leaves.
These leaves are a dark green with lighter green color patterns. With some versions of this species, it appears as though the leaves are a light green with darker colored patterns. Cultivars, such as the Laurentii, also create different coloring and patterns. A Trifasciata can grow to be three feet tall.
Established leaves, the oldest ones for the plant, can be over two feet wide at full growth. As a succulent, watering should be as needed. (Read: How Often Should I Water My Cactus?) It will not need to be watered much over winter, and then depending on the sunlight in summer about every week to 10 days.
Overwatering or poorly draining soil can cause root damage. Lighting requirements are minimal. This plant does well in bright light but also does well in lower lighting conditions.
Sansevieria Hahnii – Birds Nest
Also called the Golden Hahnii or Golden Birds’ Nest, this cultivar comes from the Trifasciata species of snake plants. It provides a robust visual contrast and prefers indoor living. The Hahnii is a dwarf species. At maturity, the plant will grow to a limit of about four inches tall.
This gets its name of the bird’s nest variety because the leaves shape out to look like a birds nest in the center, and as it grows wider than it does tall.
This snake plant variety also has stunning colors, with deep green leaves with a yellow-green contrast. Some will be predominantly yellow-green with only dark green edging, while others will have striping in the yellow-green color.
Hahnii plants are bloomers. In the summer or fall months, the plant will produce flowers that are white or white with a green tint. The flowers have a sweet fragrance.
This species, like many other snake plants, prefers deep watering with completely dry soil between waterings. It prefers moderate to bright light, but will do well in low light conditions. Light fertilizing every few weeks during blooming season is best, but too much plant food causes droopy leaves.
You may also be interested in: Do snake plants need drainage holes?
Sansevieria Ehrenbergii – Samurai Dwarf
Also known as Blue Sansevieria, the Ehrenbergii is one of the slower growing snake plant varieties. The leaves are a canoe shape with a channel down the length of the leaf. Leaves grow stacked, giving it the appearance of a fan.
This snake plant’s leaves begin with a blue tint. As the plant matures and leaves grow, coloring changes to a grayish green or dark green. There may also be a red colored outline along the edges. Ehrenbergii can grow to be about five feet tall and fully mature leaves can reach three inches wide.
It is one of the slowest of the snake plant varieties, and can take years to reach full maturity. The Ehrenbergii, similar to other Sansevieria species, requires minimal watering and can thrive in a variety of lighting environments, but does prefer more sunlight.
In all the species of snake plants, the Star Sansevieria may be the most visually unusual. Outdoors, it sports leaves that can reach six feet long and over three inches wide at full maturity.
Indoors, the plant stays smaller and only reaches about three feet tall with more narrow leaves. This will be a dark green leaf that is speckled with a cream color.
Sansevieria Kirkii can produce blooms, although it is extremely rare. If your Kirkii blooms, it will have a single cone-shaped flower in a pale pink or white color.
This snake plant only needs periodic watering, when the soil is dry, but you should thoroughly saturate the soil. Choose well-draining soil to avoid root rot. Kirkii does well in filtered light or a moderately bright location.
The Canaliculata is a fun one of the snake plant varieties because of its circular leaves. While many other species of snake plants have leaves that grow from stems, this particular plant does not have a stem. Instead, leaves grow from rhizomes under the soil.
This species does well outdoors or indoors. It is often a popular choice for outdoor gardens that do not have irrigation or large amounts of water, such as warmer desert climates.
Canaliculata plants have cylindrical-shaped leaves that will grow either singly or in pairs. At maturity, leaves can measure three feet tall and have a diameter of about an inch. It is a blooming species.
Blooms will appear in the spring. Flowers can be a pale white or white with a pale green tint. Similar to the shape of the leaves, flowers are also a cylindrical or tubular shape. In pots, soil should provide exceptional drainage and the plant thrives being under-potted.
Any of these snake plant varieties will be great for a spot that gets indirect light indoors, or even some outdoor gardens. They don’t attract many pests, are easy to take care of, and clean the air!
Looking for something else that will clean the air that’s not a snake plant? Here are 5 ideas.