Snake plant or the mother-in-law’s tongue plant gets its name from its long, upright, and lancing form with green or white transverse bands like small snakes. Aside from being hardy, easy to grow and easy to care for, it is known for its commendable benefits.
It is an attractive indoor succulent with natural air filtering capabilities, converting CO2 to oxygen at night and helps very much in improving the room’s air flow.
If you are considering buying snake plants for these benefits while providing a bright focal point in your landscape or indoors, here’s everything you need to know about the types of snake plants out there.
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In this article:
- Types of Snake Plants (Sansevieria Varieties)
- 1. Sansevieria ‘Bantel’s sensation’
- 2. Sansevieria ‘Cleopatra’
- 3. Sansevieria ‘Moonshine’
- 4. Sansevieria bacularis
- 5. Sansevieria Ballyi (Dwarf Sansevieria)
- 6. Sansevieria burmanica
- 7. Sansevieria concinna
- 8. Sansevieria cylindrica
- 9. Sansevieria Cylindrica ‘Boncel’ (Starfish Sansevieria)
- 10. Sansevieria Ehrenbergii ‘Banana’
- 11. Sansevieria Ehrenbergii ‘Blue Sansevieria’
- 12. Sansevieria Eilensis
- 13. Sansevieria fischeri
- 14. Sansevieria francisii
- 15. Sansevieria gracilis
- 16. Sansevieria Hyacinthoides
- 17. Sansevieria kirkii ‘Star sansevieria’
- 18. Sansevieria liberica
- 19. Sansevieria longiflora
- 20. Sansevieria masoniana ‘Mason’s congo’
- 21. Sansevieria Parva ‘Kenya Hyacinth’
- 22. Sansevieria Patens
- 23. Sansevieria raffillii
- 24. Sansevieria senegambica
- 25. Sansevieria subspicata
- 26. Sansevieria trifasciata
- 27. Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Black Gold’ (Viper’s Bowstring Hemp)
- 28. Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Cylindrica’
- 29. Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Futura Robusta’
- 30. Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Futura Superba’
- 31. Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Golden Hahnii’
- 32. Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Laurentii’
- 33. Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Twisted Sister’
- 34. Sansevieria Whitney
- 35. Sansevieria zeylanica ‘Ceylon Bowstring Hemp’
Related: Types of succulents
Types of Snake Plants (Sansevieria Varieties)
There are at least 70 species of snake plants out there. They are considered as flowering succulents. With proper care, they can live for up to 15 years. Here are some of the most popular types of snake plants that you can consider.
1. Sansevieria ‘Bantel’s sensation’
This snake plant is identifiable for its upright, slender, and straight leaves that is made more attractive by its creamy white edges and light green stripes. It grows to up to 3ft, looking whimsical in any living room. It loves full sun but also thrives in dappled light.
2. Sansevieria ‘Cleopatra’
This is another low-growing snake plant known for its fleshy, dark green leaves with criss cross lines and a light green glow. The edges of its leaves are reddish brown and are wavy and rippled. It grows out from a single rosette form and reaches only a foot in height. It is the perfect houseplant for office desks and bedrooms.
3. Sansevieria ‘Moonshine’
At first glance, it does not look like the typical snake plant. It comes with a pale silvery-green color in a shiny surface and faint green stripes that makes it look like it’s glowing, hence, the name moonshine. It has broad leaves, growing upright from a rosette, overlapping and grows to up to 4ft.
4. Sansevieria bacularis
The leaves of this one could grow to up to 5.5ft, sporting a glossy, dark green color with striking transverse black bands and soft tips. It is beautiful to be planted on masses in a garden bed or border because of its white and purple stripe flowers during spring. It is not very hardy, but it does tolerate short dry periods.
5. Sansevieria Ballyi (Dwarf Sansevieria)
This one is a dwarf snake plant and is attractive for its tapered tip and variegated leaves. The leaves extend to 4inches in length and the plant grows tall to just a foot tall.
They grow out from a single rosette and have a contrast of pale green transverse bands and light-yellow leaf color. During spring, this one blooms pinkish-white flowers during spring.
6. Sansevieria burmanica
This one is native to India. It is distinguishable for its upright, lancing, deep green (with white bands) leaves clumped densely in one rosette. The leaves are up to 3ft and one pot could have more than 15 leaves. With age, the leaves may turn more white than green. It grows small greenish-white flowers during spring blooming from a panicle of at least 3ft tall.
7. Sansevieria concinna
This South African native is unique for its thick rhizome where its deep green, upright, lancing leaves with wavy, soft margins form in a rosette.
The leaves grow at just less than a foot with a smooth and glossy texture, flecked with green transverse bands. When maintained well, it blooms spiky purplish-white flowers which overall have the shape of an acorn.
8. Sansevieria cylindrica
This one is considered as a rare Sansevieria and is another South African native. It has upright, more columnar than lancing leaves with a unique gray-green color. At youth, the leaves are deep green with pale green transverse bands. When mature, the leaves become furrowed. It is slightly drought tolerant and can thrive at 20C.
9. Sansevieria Cylindrica ‘Boncel’ (Starfish Sansevieria)
This one has tubular leaves that overall grow in a spike shape. It has gray-green leaves flecked with dark green markings running along its length. The leaves are fleshy, cylindrical and extend to a length of 7ft. The flowers of this snake plant are starfish shaped with greenish-white color. They grow from a central flower stem that reaches up to 3ft.
10. Sansevieria Ehrenbergii ‘Banana’
As the name implies, this snake plant has fleshy leaves that look like a banana leaf (which also strikes a resemblance with the blue sansevieria because of its boat shape). Its only identifiable feature is its dwarf form and very broad leaves with a solitary leaf branching up from the center.
New growths arch out from the center leaf. It grows to up to 3ft. It comes with variegated cultivar which comes with a banana-like underside and grayish-green topside.
11. Sansevieria Ehrenbergii ‘Blue Sansevieria’
This one is identifiable for its fleshy leaves with an overall fan shape. It has a blue tinge at youth and turns green or gray green at maturity. Its leaves are somewhat canoe shaped with a grooved topside and rounded underside. Its edges are wavy and come with red margins.
It has a slow growth rate but could reach a max height of 5ft. It also comes with many names such as the Somaliland Bowstring Hemp and East African Wide Sisal.
12. Sansevieria Eilensis
This one is a notable slow-grower with thick, bluish-green leaves that arches down in a curvy manner at maturity. Its fleshy leaves extend to 5-inches with a thickness that grows to an inch.
This one is notable for their horizontal lines running through its length. These lines are where the leaves shrink or expand depending on the amount of water they get.
13. Sansevieria fischeri
This one only grows at 1.5ft with a bent and outward growth habit with curved edges. It is distinguishable for its dark green leaves with white and pale green patches along with brown margins. It cannot tolerate lower temperatures and blooms tube-shaped, white flowers in the summer.
14. Sansevieria francisii
This one is native to Kenya but could tolerate low temperatures of up to 10C. It grows to up to 3ft, with a distinct trunk-like shape and upward, lancing leaves that are dark green in color with white and dark green bands.
It is one of the fastest snake plant types to propagate as it continuously forms runners with many offsets. It is also heat and drought tolerant so this one is very low maintenance.
15. Sansevieria gracilis
This is considered as the smallest snake plant. It grows from one rosette, with dark green leaves and white and green transverse bands. The leaves are pointy, narrow, and long, extending up to 1.5ft at maturity. It blooms white and yellow flowers during late fall, thrives in indirect light and grows from a single rosette.
16. Sansevieria Hyacinthoides
This is also called the African bowstring hemp. It can be mass planted because it forms a dense foliage in clumping forms. The best location for it to be planted would be below trees with dense shade.
The leaves are upright, lancing, and can grow to up to 4ft. They are dark green, with green traverse bands, thick, broad, growing from small stems and clumped in a single rosette.
17. Sansevieria kirkii ‘Star sansevieria’
True to its name, it has an overall star shape and one of the rarest snake plants out there. It has lancing leaves branching out to the sides instead of upright, comes with a pointed tip, dark green in color, with light green stripes and curved yellowish-brown edges. What makes it rarer is that it burns under direct sunlight. It is also a slow grower compared to other snake plants.
18. Sansevieria liberica
This one has unique belt-shaped leaves, somewhat upright and lancing, with a leather like surface, and clumped on a single shoot. The leaves stand 3.5ft in length, with a contrast of dark green and pale green bands.
It is also distinct for its pointed tips that grows white with age. Its margins are fleshy with reddish brown marks. It blooms white flowers clumped in a 2ft panicle.
19. Sansevieria longiflora
This one is native to Angola, Congo, and Namibia. It has smooth, dark green leaves, with light white flecks along with irregular white bands. The leaves are a bit arching, growing in a clump from a single rosette.
It has hard margins, reddish-brown to yellow edges and with a tip framed on a thin, long spine. During spring, white flowers bloom. It tolerates temperatures of as low as 20C.
20. Sansevieria masoniana ‘Mason’s congo’
This one is considered as a semi-succulent and has one of the broadest leaves of all snake plant types. It is distinct for its long, broad, and oval shape that extends to up to 4ft in length.
Its attractive variegation and blade-shaped leaf is a showstopper to living rooms. It has golden yellow and pale green variegation and a generally dark green leaf.
21. Sansevieria Parva ‘Kenya Hyacinth’
As the name suggests, it is native to Kenya as well as Rwanda and Uganda. It is one of the best species for beginners because it is hardy and low maintenance. It loves a lot of light and can tolerate partial shade.
It grows well to as low as 20C. It comes with dark green, lancing leaves with a pale green transverse band. During spring, it blooms pinkish-white flowers.
22. Sansevieria Patens
This attractive snake plant is distinguishable for its fleshy and cylindrical leaves growing upright from a single rosette. When it grows to maturity, the leaves start branching out to different directions in an arching manner.
It grows to up to 3ft with hues of dark green that turns bluish-green as it ages. Its leaves are also grooved. You can get the best Patens color when it is kept in low light.
23. Sansevieria raffillii
Native to Kenya and Somalia, this one grows in a thick rhizome with leaves branching upright and in a lancing form. The leaves could reach up to 5ft, dark green in color, with yellow green spots and irregular, pale green bands concentrated at the leaf’s base.
The edges are hard, with red-brown margins. The leaves grow to up to 4ft with greenish-white flowers blooming on a panicle.
24. Sansevieria senegambica
Unlike the other snake plant types, this West African native is loosely arranged in a single rosette composed of just four leaves each. The leaves generally grow at a slightly upright form, tapered to a point, and slightly bent.
The surface is smooth, dark green with very light transverse bands. The leaves grow to 2ft with light green margins with attractive white flowers that turn purple when hit with light.
25. Sansevieria subspicata
This one is a Mozambique native and grows only to up to 2ft. It can be used as a ground cover and can be planted below large, shady trees in your landscape. It has upright, lancing leaves that become slightly bent in maturity.
They also have bluish-green color, taper to a point with green margins that turn into white with age. It tolerates relatively low temperatures of 20C.
26. Sansevieria trifasciata
This one is the most popular snake plant and is perhaps the only snake plant that you know if you are a newbie. It creeps out from a rhizome and grows with linear, lancing leaves. The leaves are smooth and waxy, with dark and pale green or even whitish transverse bands. It comes with a handful of beautiful cultivars.
27. Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Black Gold’ (Viper’s Bowstring Hemp)
This one is unique for its dark green leaves with bright yellow margins. The leaves are also hard, fibrous, and grow to up to 3ft. It blooms white or yellowish flowers during spring.
It is specifically listed by NASA as one of the top 10 air filtering plants recommended for bedrooms for its calming effect. Symbolically, it is known in Chinese feng shui as the lucky plant.
28. Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Cylindrica’
This snake plant gets its name from its long, tube shaped leaves. The leaves are fleshy, thick at the base, extending to 7ft, with an upright growth, slightly bent at maturity with markings of different shades of green.
Overall, it gets a fan shape and clumps from a single rosette. It is also called the Brazil Saint Barbara Sword or the Elephant’s Toothpick.
29. Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Futura Robusta’
This one can be identified through its striped leaves sporting a gray-green color. It also takes the sword shaped leaves of all Sansevieria but its leaves are distinctly shorter. It is also identifiable for its upward, lancing habit in a clumped and twisted form. It thrives better indoors with less watering and could grow to up to 2ft.
30. Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Futura Superba’
This one gives a striking sight in the living room with its dark green leaves with bright yellow edges. It is considered as the dwarf version of the Black Gold because of their uncanny resemblance.
This one has shorter and broader leaves however and follows an upright growth habit. It is a perfect container plant and thrives in low light. It grows to 2ft.
31. Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Golden Hahnii’
This one has a more distorted shape than the Twisted Sister, hence, getting the name the Bird’s Nest Sansevieria. Its leaves are broader than most snake plant types, tapered at the tip and with green and white stripes running horizontally across the leaves. When it matures, the leaves form in a clumping habit and grow from a single rosette. It grows to up to 2ft tall.
32. Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Laurentii’
This one is the tallest species among all S. Trifasciata growing to 4ft. It has greenish-gray leaves with yellow and green variegations. The edges are bright yellow and it is flecked with a horizontal yellow band that gives it a sleek, elegant look. Given its low maintenance status and bright color, it is a perfect indoor plant for the living room with its height.
33. Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Twisted Sister’
As the name suggests, the leaves of this snake plant are for its twisted form, more like a birds’ nest overall, because of its quite distorted shape. It has leathery, variegated green and yellow leaves with bright yellow margins.
It also has identifiable silver-green markings running along the bent leaves. It is one of the dwarf types of the S. Trifasciata, growing to just about a foot.
34. Sansevieria Whitney
This one is another dwarf snake plant. It is notable for its dark green leaves with silver-green edges and undersides. It also sports white and yellow stripes all over the leaves. It grows from a single rosette and in a clump composed of 4-6, upright and slightly curved leaves. This is a suitable type for beginners because it is easy to care for and can thrive even in neglect.
35. Sansevieria zeylanica ‘Ceylon Bowstring Hemp’
As the name suggests, this is native to Ceylon or Sri Lanka. It particularly thrives in sandy and rocky locations. It could reach a height of 3ft with leathery, upright, and lancing leaves of dark green and white hues and green transverse bands. It has a flat root system with the tendency to burst from the pot once established and mature.
There are more to snake plants than its more than 60 types and in this section, we turn to some of the most frequently asked questions about the plant that can be handy if you intend to grow them in your landscape or as container plants indoors.
Are snake plants poisonous?
This one has always been exaggerated. Contrary to scary news that the snake plant is ‘very’ poisonous, it is actually relatively safe and just mildly toxic but only when ingested according to Healthline.
The leaves and roots of the snake plant contain a poisonous chemical which causes numbness and swelling if ingested in large doses. As such, it should be kept away from active animals and small kids.
Can snake plants live outside?
Yes. As a matter of fact, all snake plants thrive in at least 4hrs of unfiltered light. This is the reason why it has become a popular outdoor container plant. Outdoors, it is planted where it could receive full sun and partial shade like in the porch, landscape by the pool side or in plant boxes.
Are snake plants succulents?
According to Succulents and Sunshine, snake plants are succulents that are suitable for beginners because they are easy to propagate and care for. It can survive in low light and thrives on neglect. Snake plants are also known as the mother-in-law’s tongue plant, known for its ability to retain moisture, with long, pointed, and lancing leaves.
How fast do snake plants grow?
The growth rate of snake plants depends on their variety as well as the amount of care requirements that they receive. Although they become dormant during fall and winter, they generally have a growth rate of 2-3 every growing season.
Where to buy snake plants?
So, with everything we have covered so far, where can you buy snake plants? Aside from being available in local nurseries, here are some commendable stores with delivery options where you can score different types of snake plants.
- The Sill
- Urban Stems
- Garden Goods
- Costa Farms
- Home Depot
How big do snake plants get?
Again, depending on the type, snake plants can grow in between 8-inches to 12ft high. Their leaves alone could grow from less than a foot to 6ft long. When grown in containers and with lots of shade, snake plants can be controlled in growth at up to 3ft.
Which variety of snake plant grows the tallest?
The tallest snake plant species would be the Sansevieria stuckyi. It grows in between 10-12ft. They are native to South Africa particularly in Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Mozambique. They have also been naturalized in Eastern Asia but have been listed extinct in Zimbabwe.
Do snake plants attract bugs?
Unfortunately, yes. Aside from bugs, snake plants also attract aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, gnats, and scales. However, you have to understand that the insects that it attracts are there primarily because of overwatering, humidity, and lack of air circulation in the room where it is planted.