Learn More About This Magnificent Sansevieria Zeylanica: Snake Plant’s Kissing Cousin! (2021)

Known more commonly as bowstring hemp, Sansevieria zeylanica is a perennial evergreen plant. India and Sri Lanka are the two largest countries in the South East Asian region where this plant is native. Like the “mother in law’s tongue,” it is vividly green with wonderful leaf stripes.

Despite being tough and hardy, this plant can tolerate a surprising amount of neglect. The plant is phenomenal as a houseplant, and it will actually purify the air in your house for you.

A popular choice for indoors or outdoors, this sansevieria is similar to sansevieria cylindrica. Let’s talk about bowstring hemp today and how to raise it!

All About the Sansevieria Zeylanica

Having long, upright, sword-shaped leaves, the bowstring hemp has a dark green color. Cream-colored waves dapple the surface in horizontal stripes. Additionally, the leaves have pointed tips.

Sansevieria zeylanica does not flower that often, despite being technically a flowering plant. Rarely, when it does produce flowers, they are greenish-white and fragrant. However, many growers never see their plants bloom at all!

Plants with medicinal properties and fibers are grown in tropical countries. Antiseptic ointments are made from dried rhizomatic roots. These leaves contain fibers that can be made into cloth, mats, paper pulp, and even sails.

Sansevieria zeylanica should be handled with caution. If eaten, snake plant is mildly toxic, just like other sansevierias. Keep your kids and pets away from it since it can cause nausea or vomiting.

Sansevieria Zeylanica Care

The growth rate of this easy-to-grow plant is slow to moderate. There are some preferences that will help it grow well, even though it will take some abuse. Let’s talk about them!

Temperature and Lighting

If you are growing indoors, your best bet is to provide as much light as possible. Choosing a sunny window is a good idea. In the absence of direct sunlight, provide bright indirect lighting. Sansevieria zeylanica may appear darker green in lower light

.Sunlight that is bright and direct outside can be beneficial… if you do it right. A scorching sun and the peak of summer will cause the leaves to yellow at their edges. Outdoor plants are often lighter in color. Moreover, there may be less differentiation in the natural patterning.

Bowstring hemp is a tropical plant that does not like the cold. Leaf damage can occur at temperatures below 50°F. The ideal temperature range is 60°F to 75°F.

Humidity and Water

In humid to semi-arid climates, Sansevieria zeylanica thrives. Growing plants indoors requires a pebble tray that is filled with water beneath the plant’s pot. Plants thrive in humid environments.

To increase humidity outdoors, mulch around the plants can be dampened. If you overwater, remove the mulch and soak it in water, then replace it around the plant.

A dry soil should be watered after drying. Once the soil has dried, soak your plants thoroughly. After you see water coming from the base of the pot, stop watering a potted bowstring hemp. Make sure the soil is moist enough to water deeply and slowly.

During the winter months, you can reduce your watering frequency. During the winter, the plant goes dormant and won’t need as much water. In the spring and summer, it will need more water during its active growth phase.


It is best to plant your plant in a sandy loam that drains well. During the dry season, some moisture will be absorbed and retained by the loam. The sandy soils are very good at draining excess water. Root rot can be caused by standing water.


Sansevieria zeylanica is a light feeder and doesn’t need much fertilizer. Monthly applications of half-strength or lower of a general-purpose plant fertilizer are adequate. There are several people who do a single slow-release granular feeding in the spring and it works just fine!


Bowstring hemp prefers a slightly rootbound environment, as does snake plant. Only transplant if it shows signs of yellowing or leaf loss.

Plants that need to be transplanted should be placed in well-draining sandy loam. You can widen your pot by an inch. Afterwards, remove the old pot from your plant. Lightly open up the root mass with your fingertips, dusting away older soil. Plant it in new soil at the same depth it was originally planted. You can add the old soil to your compost pile.


As with snake plant propagation, sansavieria zeylanica needs to be propagated root by root. Cuttings and divisions of leaves are the only reliable methods.

As soon as your plant gets old enough, I highly recommend dividing it. During the next few weeks, that specific cultivar will undergo the same process. Sometimes, cuttings will revert to their parent type from a specific cultivated form.


Generally speaking, bowstring hemp does not need much pruning. When the leaves on the outside of the plant fall over, you can cut them with a sterilized hori-hori knife or pruning shears. The plant’s leaves usually flop over as it becomes more crowded in its pot. Use them as cuttings if they are healthy leaves!

Besides removing dead or damaged leaves, pruning is limited to removing dead wood. This should be a relatively rare occurrence. If the damage is only at the tip of a leaf, you might be able to just trim it off. Remove it at the soil level if it runs the length of the leaf.

Common Problems

Your sansevieria zeylanica is very easy to grow due to its resilience. Generally speaking, it’s not a problem to encounter. Here are some that might pop up!


Mealybugs and spider mites are the only two pests that attack bowstring hemp. They are both sucking pests that consume the plant’s juices.

Both can make the leaves look unpleasant, although neither are likely to transmit diseases. When pests appear, it’s important to get rid of them.Small quantities of mealybugs can be removed with rubbing alcohol dipped in a cotton swab. For large infestations, pyrethrin-based insecticidal soap can be used. The insecticidal soap can also be used to treat spider mites. Both can be prevented by neem oil.


Bowstring hemp plants are only at risk for root rot. It can be easily prevented by avoiding overwatering. Ensure that the soil is able to drain excess water easily. When the leaves are full and vigorous and the soil is lightly moist, you can skip watering until the soil dries out.

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