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Sansevieria parva
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Josée Bouthot)
Sansevieria parva
  • Sansevieria parva
  • Sansevieria parva
  • Sansevieria trifasciata
  • Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii Compacta'
  • Sansevieria trifasciata 'Moonshine'



Origin and description

Sansevieria trifasciata is a native of arid regions in Africa. It is a very robust succulent that is both undemanding and long-lived. Its fleshy leaves, which are narrow and have a pointed tip, are very rigid. They are dark green and marbled with light green, and grow directly out of the rhizome. The 'Laurentii' cultivar has a yellow border on its long leaves, which can reach heights of up to 1 metre. The frequently scented inflorescence develops on older specimens. These plants will sometimes flower indoors if provided with ideal growing conditions.

Species, cultivars and related plants

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Golden Hahnii' is shaped like a small rosette of green leaves with stripes and a wide golden-yellow band and grows up to 15 cm tall. Sansevieria trifasciata 'Moonshine' boasts pale grey-green leaves edged with a fine dark green line. It rarely grows over 30 cm tall.


Place this potentially toxic plant out of reach of children and animals.

Common name

Sansevieria / Snake plant / Mother-in-law's tongue

Latin name (genus)

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii'

English common name

French common name

Botanical family

  • Agavaceae

Growing conditions

Sansevieria, commonly called “snake plant,” is known for its ability to stand up to poor care, heat and irregular watering. It can tolerate dimly lit corners for a while, but its rate of growth will be affected. It thrives in bright light with a few hours of direct sun. If possible, put it near a south-facing window. While sansevieria does well in normal indoor temperatures (18ºC–21ºC), it can also tolerate temperature extremes varying from 30ºC in summer down to 12ºC in winter. This plant is well adapted to dry air.

Easy to grow?

Growing sansevieria is very easy as long as you don’t water it too much. This robust plant adapts to a wide variety of conditions.

Watering and fertilizer

Sansevieria stands up better to dry conditions than to overwatering. During its growth period (March to October), water it moderately and let the soil dry out partly between waterings. In winter, reduce watering frequency and let the soil dry out completely. Never leave the plant sitting in water, and make sure that the centre of the rosette is always dry. Fertilize your plant three or four times a year during its growth period with an indoor plant fertilizer or an all-purpose fertilizer such as 20-20-20, diluted to half strength.

Pruning and maintenance

When the plant blooms, cut off the spike of tiny yellow flowers as soon as they have faded. Clean dusty leaves with a damp cloth, and remove any dead or damaged leaves at the base of the plant.


Repot sansevieria in the spring only when its roots become very compacted in their pot—about every three years or so. The soil must drain very well and can be composed of peat moss and coarse sand, or it can be an indoor plant potting mix to which you’ve added perlite or coarse sand.

See also

Pests and diseases
Physiological disorders

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