Walking Sansevieria: A Comprehensive Care Guide

According to plant expert Lily, “Moving sansevieria plants a lot can stress them out.” 

I used to think sansevieria could walk across the room! 

I wondered, do their roots really let them move like that? 

Could I have an army of walking snake plants? 

But Lily says that even though they’re tough, sansevieria likes to stay in one spot.

Always moving them around is not good.

I was curious so I learned more about taking care of sansevieria.

Keep reading to find out what surprised me about these cool walking plants!


Walking Sansevieria, what to know?

Walking Sansevieria, scientifically known as Sansevieria pinguicula, is a distinctive plant renowned for its unique ability to produce offshoots that appear to “walk” across the soil. (1)

This low-maintenance succulent adds a touch of elegance to indoor spaces with its upright, sword-shaped leaves and resilient nature.

Taxonomy and Etymology

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The Walking Sansevieria, also known as the Sansevieria pinguicula, is an awesome succulent native to Africa.

Scientifically, it’s classified under the Sansevieriaceae family.

The genus name “Sansevieria” comes from the Italian scientist and botanist Dr.

Raimondo di Sangro who studied many plant species.

He was known as the Principe di Sansevieria – the Prince of Sansevieria.

The species name “pinguicula” comes from the Latin word “pinguis” meaning “fat” or “greasy”.

This refers to the leaves’ thick, fleshy texture that helps the plant store water.

Some FUN FACTS about the scientific classification:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Division: Tracheophyta
  • Class: Monocots
  • Order: Asparagales
  • Family: Sansevieriaceae
  • Genus: Sansevieria
  • Species: Sansevieria pinguicula

In everyday English, WE often call this plant the Walking Sansevieria, Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue. (2)

No matter what you CALL it, it’s definitely one of the coolest succulents around!



The foliage of the WALKING SANSEVIERIA is its most unique feature.

Its leaves are long, pointed, and STRIPED — resembling those of a SNAKE.

The leaves are green with THICK WHITE STRIPES or sometimes shades of green or yellow.

They grow upright and can reach over 3 FEET TALL.

The common name “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue” refers to the sharp, rigid leaves that are easy to IMAGINE nagging someone like a mother-in-law!


The root SYSTEM of the Walking Sansevieria is very important.

It has a dense fibrous root BALL that STORES WATER very efficiently in its turgid ROOTS and thick STEMS.

This allows it to SURVIVE and THRIVE in LOW LIGHT CONDITIONS and intermittent DRY soil.

The roots also help support the tall upright foliage and allow the plant to WALK or CRAWL short distances as it GROWS, helping it spread into new areas.


Walking Sansevierias are generally grown for their unique leaves rather than their small, inconspicuous flowers.

But occasionally in warm climates, they will bloom tiny GREENISH-WHITE flower spikes.

The flowers have no fragrance or nectar, and SERVE ONLY the purpose of reproduction.

After flowering, seeds may develop but are not important in cultivation.

Growers focus on propagating new SANSEVIERIAS from LEAF CUTTINGS to enjoy their fascinating foliage.


Walking sansevieria 2

Soil and Water

The WALKING SANSEVIERIA grows best in well-draining potting soil that allows excess WATER to easily pass through.

It can handle short periods of WET SOIL but will rot if the roots sit in standing water for a long time.

Water it when the top inch of soil is DRY.

During its growing SEASON, fertilize monthly at half strength to provide energy and nutrition.


These plants are native to warm, tropical regions of Africa where temperatures range between 65-85°F.

In most homes, it will thrive year-round as long as it isn’t near FREEZING windows or AC vents.

WARM temperatures encourage new growth.


Though often described as a LOW LIGHT plant, Walking Sansevieria will be happiest and produce more foliage in INDIRECT SUNLIGHT.

East, west or southern windows are ideal—direct sun could sunburn the leaves.

It can survive in quite SHADY conditions, but may start to become LEAN and STRETCH towards the LIGHT source.

For best growth, provide as much LIGHT as possible without direct sun exposure.

Some tips for optimal CULTIVATION: Water less in winter.

Re-pot every 2 years in late WINTER or early SPRING.

Inspect for BROWN SPOTS or LEAVES that have TURNED BROWN—this could indicate ROOT ROT from overwatering.

Cut off affected parts and improve DRAINAGE.

With the right care, your Walking Sansevieria will thrive for years!



A simple way to expand your WALKING SANSEVIERIA collection is through DIVISION.

In late WINTER or early SPRING, remove larger plants from their pot.

TEASE the root mass apart into sections with 3-4 STEMS each.

Re-pot the divisions into pots with PLENTY of drainage.

Keep the soil DRY until roots form over the next month.

Leaf Cutting

Any healthy green or YELLOW-GREEN LEAF can be used to propagate new plants.

Simply cut the leaf off 3-4 inches from the base.

Allow the cut end to callus and dry for a few days.

Then insert the cut end 1⁄2 inch deep into the soil of a small pot.

Place the pot in INDIRECT LIGHT and maintain warm TEMPERATURES and MODERATE HUMIDITY.

New growth should emerge within 6-8 weeks.

Once the new plant has 4-6 leaves, it can be replanted into its own pot.

The SANSEVIERIA propagates itself quite easily using these methods.

Having SEVERAL plants allows you to GIFT cuttings to friends and helps the species SPREAD naturally.

I just love watching new baby SANSEVIERIAS slowly emerge after planting leaf cuttings—it’s amazing to see how such a SLOW GROWING plant can be multiplied with a bit of patience.

Care Guide

Walking sansevieria 3


WALKING SANSEVIERIAS are drought-tolerant and should only be watered when the top inch of soil is COMPLETELY DRY.

During its dormant WINTER period when it’s not ACTIVELY GROWING, water even less.

It can go months without water if the environment is DRY.

Water thoroughly whenever the soil dries out, allowing excess water to drain out the bottom.

Bottom watering is best to avoid OVERWATERING issues.


Use a diluted, balanced houseplant FERTILIZER during the warmest months of SPRING and SUMMER when the plant is putting on new growth.

Fertilize monthly at half strength to supply nutrients.

Avoid fertilizing in the cooler, dormant season.

Too much nitrogen can cause soft new growth prone to FUNGAL DISEASES.

Follow package directions carefully.

Other tips:

  • Rotate periodically to prevent LEANING towards a light source
  • Repot every 2 years in early spring for better DRAINAGE
  • Cut off any BROWNED or ROTTED LEAVES
  • Watch for PESTS and treat any issues promptly

With the right adjustments, your WALKING SANSEVIERIA will thrive for years, effortlessly spilling over pots and brightening up your home with its unique foliage! 


While WALKING SANSEVIERIAS thrive in LOW LIGHT, they will grow and look their best with some INDIRECT LIGHT daily.

East or north-facing windows provide bright light without DIRECT SUN exposure.

In very DARK corners, supplement with a GROWTIGHT during WINTER when natural light is LIMITED.

Rotate the plant occasionally so it doesn’t permanently LEAN towards the light source.


Walking Sanseverias don’t require extensive PRUNING but removing any BROWNED or DISEASED LEAVES helps the plant direct energy to healthier areas.

Cut leaves a few inches from the base using CLEAN PRUNING shears.

Pruning also helps control the size and shape of the plant.


Repot every 2 years in early SPRING when new GROWTH begins.

Use a POT just 1-2 inches wider filled with aerated, well-draining POTTING SOIL.

Tease the root ball gently to avoid DAMAGE.

Water sparingly until roots establish in the new soil which usually takes 1-2 months.

Apply a diluted FERTILIZER to aid in transition.

Proper SOIL helps your WALKING SANSEVIERIA thrive for years to come!

Common Pests & Diseases

Walking sansevieria 4

The tough WALKING SANSEVIERIA is fairly pest-resistant, but some issues can happen.

Here’s how to IDENTIFY and TREAT common problems:

  • MEALYBUGS: Fluffy white MASSES hiding in leaf axils or soil. Wipe away with cotton ball dipped in ALCOHOL. Spray leaf undersides with NEEM OIL every 7 days.
  • SCALE: Brown or black ARMOR-LIKE bumps on stems or leaves. Carefully scrape off with fingernail. Spray residue with NEEM OIL.
  • FUNGAL DISEASES: ROTTING at the base or BLACK SPOTS on leaves caused by OVERWATERING. Remove affected parts and improve DRAINAGE. Consider a fungicide for severe cases.
  • LEAF MINERS: Serpentine WHITE TUNNELS between upper and lower leaf surfaces. Cut off leaves and check new growth for SYMPTOMS. Remove yellowing lower leaves.
  • MITES: Tiny RED, BLACK or WHITE SPECKS under leaves. Leaves may appear DRY or YELLOWING. Spray repeatedly with insecticidal soap. Keep humidity below 50%.

Remember: PREVENTION is key! Monitor plant health, water properly, prune when NEEDED, and provide GOOD AIR circulation. Following the tips above will keep your WALKING SANSEVIERIA in tip-top shape for years!

More About Walking Sansevieria

Native Environment

The WALKING SANSEVIERIA is native to dry, shaded areas in eastern and southern parts of Africa.

There it grows naturally in FOREST understories, on limestone outcroppings or in OTHER PLANTS’ shade where it gets protection from DIRECT SUN but still receives enough LIGHT.

Anatomy 101

Some key anatomical features include its erect STEMS, fleshy LEAVES with thick white STRIPES, clustered FIBROUS roots for water storage, and tiny inconspicuous blooms.

New plantlets form at the tip as it spreads vegetatively.

Walking Sansevieria Growth and Care

It’s a very SLOW GROWER, often putting out just a few leaves per year.

But over time it will FILL OUT its container and even WALK or CRAWL short distances! Provide BRIGHT INDIRECT LIGHT, moderately FAST DRAINING soil, and water infrequently during its winter dormancy.

It thrives on NEGLECT in LOW LIGHT indoor conditions and is very tolerant of a wide range of TEMPERATURES, making it a great beginner plant.

I hope you now have a more comprehensive understanding of the fascinating WALKING SANSEVIERIA! It’s really a unique specimen that will add life to your home for years with very little care.

Please let me know if any other questions come up.

Care Summary

Here are the key points for caring for your WALKING SANSEVIERIA:

Light: Provide BRIGHT INDIRECT LIGHT for several hours daily. East or west-facing windows are ideal. Rotate periodically.

Temperature: Thrives between 65-85°F. Doesn’t mind cooler periods. Avoid DRAFTS or HEAT sources.

Water: Water when soil is DRY (1-2 inches down). Water less in winter. Avoid soil sitting SOGGY.

Humidity: Tolerates a wide range but keep above 30%. Mist leaves occasionally.

Soil: Use a light, FAST-DRAINING mix. Repot every 2 years in spring.

Fertilizer: Use diluted balanced formula monthly spring-fall when actively GROWING.

Pruning: Remove BROWNED or DAMAGED leaves and cuttings for propagation.

Pests: Monitor for MEALYBUGS, SCALE or MITES. Treat promptly with insecticidal soaps or oils.

With these fundamentals covered, your WALKING SANSEVIERIA will thrive for many years! Let its bold stripes and slow, steady growth pattern liven up your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if my Walking Sansevieria starts leaning towards the light?

If your plant leans excessively towards the light source, rotate it periodically so that it grows evenly in all directions.

Slowly adjust its position so the stems straighten out over time.

Continual light from one side can cause it to lean permanently.

How often should I repot my Walking Sansevieria?

Most sources recommend repotting every 2 years, in early spring when new growth begins.

Checking the root ball and repotting before it becomes rootbound helps the plant thrive.

Pay attention to signs like slowing growth, wilting or soil that no longer drains well.

What causes yellow or brown spots on the leaves?

Yellow or brown spots are usually caused by overwatering, which can lead to root rot.

Make sure the soil dries out fully between waterings.

It’s also possible the spots indicate fungal or bacterial leaf spot diseases.

Prune away affected leaves to prevent spread.

My Walking Sansevieria hasn’t grown much in a year.

What’s wrong?

Walking Sansevieria is a slow grower normally.

However, lack of growth could mean it’s not receiving enough light, or the soil isn’t draining well enough.

Check light exposure and quality of soil/potting mix.

It may just need time, fertilizer or a larger pot to encourage more foliage production.

Be patient.


Caring for sansevieria may seem straightforward, but these walking plants have some unique needs.

Through firsthand experience, I’ve learned that sansevieria thrive with:

  • Stability. Avoid moving or rotating sansevieria frequently, as this can disrupt their root systems. Find an optimal spot with the right light and temperatures.
  • Moderate watering. Soil should dry out between waterings. Overwatering encourages rot.
  • Well-draining soil. A rich, porous potting mix prevents moisture buildup.
  • Bright, indirect light. Some direct sun is ok, but too much sunburns leaves.
  • Warm conditions. Ideal temps are 60-80°F. Cooler temps may encourage dormancy.

With theirdurability and stylish, vertical leaves, it’s tempting to put sansevieria on the move.

But RESIST the urge to walk these plants! Avoiding stress and damage ensures they can thrive.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other sansevieria care tips to share!


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracaena_pinguicula
  2. https://www.pslbg.org/walking-sansevieria.html

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