Sansevieria kirkii (Star Sansevieria)
Sansevieria kirkii (Star Sansevieria) is an unusual species with creeping underground stems. The leaves are up to 6 feet (1.8 m) long…
Sansevieria Zeylanica: Snake Plant’s Kissing Cousin
Sansevieria zeylanica, more commonly identified as bowstring hemp, is an evergreen perennial plant. It’s native to the South East Asian Region, especially found in India and Sri Lanka. A very close relative of the “mother in law’s tongue“, it’s vividly green with gorgeous leaf stripes.
Sturdy and hardy, this plant can tolerate a surprising amount of neglect. It’s phenomenal as a houseplant, and in fact will purify the air in your home for you.
Much like sansevieria cylindrica and other snake plant types, this sansevieria is a popular choice whether indoors or out. So let’s talk about the bowstring hemp today and how to raise it right!
Useful Products While Growing Sansevieria Zeylanica:
Sansevieria Zeylanica Caring Tips
Flowering & Fragrance
Despite the fact that the Sansevieria zeylanica is a flowering plant, it’s quite ironic that it hardly blooms. Don’t expect your Bowstring Hemp to produce any flowers, mostly if you’re looking to grow it indoors. For the slim chances it has to bloom, the flowers will appear pale green or greenish-white. There will be some mild fragrance, and stems holding the flowers have the potential to elongate slightly beyond 2” feet.
Light & Temperature
If you’re looking to grow this air-purifying snake plant indoors, then the most crucial to look at is its lighting needs. Although it can fittingly adapt to low light conditions, this Sansevieria type develops a rugged appearance if grown under moderate to bright light. And most gardening hobbyists cherish seeing such kind of aesthetic. When left under low light conditions, the foliage will begin to turn dark-green.
While bright light is essential for its chlorophyll production, you want to keep it from any intense heat, especially during summer. Too much light from the sun will cause the edges of the leaves to turn yellow. And since it’s native to tropical regions, you don’t expect your Snake plant to be frost-tolerant. When the temperatures are low, try to keep the room conditions anywhere between 15-23 degrees Celsius.
Alongside that, it’s also worth noting that temperatures below 10°C will highly likely cause damage to the leaves. Your Bowstring Sansevieria will grow profusely, especially if you’re living under USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11. For optimal results, keep it from extreme cold or hot weather.
Watering & Feeding
Same as other succulents you might have in your garden or indoor space, the Snake plant doesn’t need to be watered frequently. To speed up the absorption rate, you want to use growing pots with enough drainage holes to let out excess water. Don’t let your houseplant stand in water collected in the saucer beneath the growing pot.
If the soil remains soggy for too long, the roots will begin to rot. When the weather is cold throughout winter, you’ll need to significantly space out the watering intervals. Even though a mature member of the Asparagaceae family can prove to be drought-tolerant, the rule of thumb is to provide it with a generous amount of water during spring and summer when the growth hormones are active.
As a succulent, it’s uncommon for it to have intense feeding needs. But it’s best to use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer with equal concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Mix one tablespoon of the fertilizer with a gallon of water and pour the solution directly into the topsoil once every three weeks during a growing season.
To maintain the humidity around your Sansevieria zeylanica, you can try placing a pebble tray with some water right beneath the growing pot. That would make it grow as if it’s in the native semi-arid to the humid environment it’s accustomed to. If your Bowstring Hemp is growing outdoors, you can mulch the topsoil to give it the right set of humidity.
While it’s necessary to avoid overwatering at all costs, you’ll need to remove the mulch when it dries up, soak it in water, then place the mulch back around the topsoil. Using a soil moisture sensor , you can tell whether or not the first few inches of the soil have dried up completely.
Soil & Transplanting
Loamy soil mixed with a portion of sand makes water drain much faster. It also holds some moisture to keep it through the grace period between the watering intervals. Same as most other succulents, it can adapt to other potting soil varieties only if there’s room to drain water without hurdles. We’d, however, recommend using a succulent potting mix made of sand and loam.
Its pH range should preferably be anywhere between 6 to 7. Aside from coarse sand, it’s best to amend the potting soil with a perlite or pumice portion. Peat moss also helps retain some moisture and softens the soil. After doing some extra digging on its soil requirements, you’ll learn that much emphasis is placed on drainage. And that’s because the Snake plant is hugely prone to root rot.
Even though Snake plants have a towering potential to grow tall, they hardly widen, so they won’t outgrow their initial container anytime soon. But another reason for transplanting would be to replace the old soil with one that’s revitalized with nutrients. You also want to transplant it when the roots become invasive and crack the pot. For a compact Sansevieria Zeylanica growing on a desk or windowsill, we recommend repotting it every 12-18 months.
I would typically go with a growing pot whose diameter is twice bigger to give my Snake plant extra room for growth. If it’s huge, transplanting ideally after 18-24 months would suffice. The ideal season for repotting is summer or spring, when the growth hormones are at their peak. Signs to show that your Snake plant needs to be transplanted include yellowing and dropping of the leaves or when it begins to overcrowd the entire pot.
Grooming & Maintenance
Such a hardy plant needs little maintenance. It can grow blissfully even under neglect. And since it doesn’t need any routine pruning, you’ll only need to get rid of leaves that are dead or appear to have significant damage. If there’s any great need for pruning, make sure to use a sterilized knife, so you don’t infect the entire plant with any fungal or bacterial diseases.