A primer on snake plants, part 1: Common varieties

The snake plant is a common household plant preferred by many because of its sturdy nature because of its tolerance to underwatering and low light conditions, as well as its sleek design characterized by erect, fleshy, and sword-shaped leaves that brings a splash of green to any room in the house without the need to fuss over its maintenance.

Commonly known as the snake plant, the Sansevieria trifasciata is also referred to by other names such as bowstring hemp plant, devil’s tongue, snake tongue, and mother-in-law’s tongue.

It also has different varieties that are familiar to gardeners and plant enthusiasts alike. The following are the varieties that buyers are most likely to encounter:

  1. Bird’s nest snake plant (Sanservieria trifasciata): Also known as “hahnii,” this variety only grows six inches high. It gets its name from its leaves, which form a cluster-like shape that resembles a bird’s nest.
  2. Cylinder snake plant (Sansevieria cylindrica): As the name implies, this snake plant variety produces round, sturdy leaves that can grow up to several feet long. The leaves also seem to arch outward from the central crown.
  3. Variegated snake plant (Sansevieria trisfasciata): This type of snake plant has three different descriptions where one has a distinct feature over the other.
    1. The first one is known as “Laurentii,” which has creamy, yellow margins forming its deep green leaves. This species grows successfully through division rather than propagation from leaf cuttings.
    2. Second is the “twist” variety, which can grow up to 14 inches high and is characterized by curving leaves adorned with horizontal stripes and yellow variegated edges.
    3. Lastly, the “Bantel’s sensation” grows up to three feet high and has sharp, narrow leaves that are decorated with white vertical stripes. 
  4. Rhino grass (Sansevieria desertii): This snake plant variety can reach up to a foot tall and has succulent-like leaves that have a red tint.

Now that the different types of common snake plant have been identified, the next article will tackle the general proper care for the sansevieria, from planting to regular maintenance.

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