Sansevieria (Dracaena trifasciata): origin and caring tips

The Sansevieria is one of houseplants most commonly used because it grows where others can not. It is also known by the name of Sword of St. George, Lizard’s Tail or Mother-in-law’s Tongue. Looking at the shape of the leaves… there is nothing more to add. Asparagales family, like the already published Tronco del Brasil , but very different and exotic.


It has its origins in Africa , where it endures extreme weather conditions. Hence its resistance to any situation to which we subject it. Therefore, it is an excellent option for places where other indoor plants would not hold.

If you can’t find a plant for a shady place, the Sansevieria can. If you can’t find a plant for a place with direct sun exposure, the sansevieria can handle it. A versatile, exotic and slender plant that will look good wherever you decide to place it inside the home or outside.

We owe the name Sansevieria to Carl Peter Thunberg, a Swedish botanist and naturalist from the 18th century. He was one of the 17 select students called the Apostles of Linnaeus, another Swedish botanist, father of the scheme of the current taxonomy of species. Thunberg decided to honor Raimondo di Sangro, seventh prince of San Severo.

The genus Sansevieria is made up of just over 100 recognized species, but the best known and most widely used species is the Sansevieria trifasciata . Within this species, we already have a good compendium of varieties, with similar care although different morphology.

There are basically two well differentiated morphologies. One is the one with long lanceolate leaves that start from the base and the other are rosette-shaped varieties. Sansevieria encompasses approximately 130 species, most of them of African and Asian origin.

The most popular and cultivated in Europe and America is Sanseviera Trifasciata , of this there are 3 very outstanding varieties :

  • Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii
  • Sansevieria trifasciata Hahnii
  • Sansevieria trifasciata Golden Hahnii



If we have to set a cold limit, 0 ºC will be the minimum it can bear. In any case, it is not advisable to have it in those thermal ranges. The 0 ºC thing is because it does not support frost well . It is very hard and can withstand relatively low temperatures but frost is its Achilles heel. In places where winters are harsh, it is not advisable for outdoors.

In cold climates , the plant does not die completely either. The aerial part dies. Its rhizome system under the ground is maintained for when temperatures are mild. As for the light there is no limit. This is a great advantage of this plant. Obviously the optimal development will be found with a high exposure although the lack of light does not affect it too much.

Even direct exposure supports it without problem. Hence its versatility of situation within the home. In shady areas it will develop slower but it will not suffer.


Little, no, very little . It is not that it is a cactus, but excess water takes its toll like cacti. It rots its roots and can cause cryptogamic diseases. So do not insist on watering it because it withstands prolonged drought conditions. In winter one watering a month is more than enough.

Before watering, the substrate must be very dry to the depth of the rhizome.


Draining, very very very draining. That is what it needs for its proper development and a small pot. Some time ago we tweeted a tip about cacti. They prefer small containers .

The same thing happens to this plant. They do not adapt well to large pots. A mixture of universal substrate, mulch and a good portion of sand is a suitable substrate. As for the subscriber, we really are not going to have or to worry. Holds in fairly poor substrate so with a normal substrate, the Sansevieria will grow without any glue


Nor will pruning be a headache. We simply have to remove those old outer leaves that are drying, lignifying or losing their shine, color and turgor. If it is the inner leaves that are drying out, rotting or turning brown, then we must see what is happening.


To reproduce the sansevieria is relatively easy. It does not have the simplicity of a cutting but almost. Simply by division of rhizome . But what exactly is a rhizome?

A rhizome is an underground, tuberous stem whose main purpose is the reserve of nutrients, in addition to being the organ of the plant from which new shoots emerge, therefore its reproduction system. A very common and well-known example of a rhizome is ginger.

We separate a piece of rhizome with a scalpel or a very sharp razor, taking a few leaves. We basically divide the plant in two, or three or four. What we want or what the plant gives according to the size. We transplant and ready.

Detail of a rhizome of Sansevieria


All the problems that we are going to find in the Sansevieria are almost certainly going to be a problem due to excess irrigation. If the leaves darken, wilt, or the plant stops growing, it will almost certainly be from too much water.

We must also bear in mind that excess humidity combined with heat (21º at home is enough), encourages fungal attacks . The most common can be neck rot (Eswinia), Downy mildew, Botrytis, Anthracnose, Fusariosis.

Remember to water very little to avoid diseases and disorders associated with excess water.

In addition to fungal diseases, a very annoying and typical pest of succulent plants is the cottony mealybug, which can become a real nuisance, and its elimination a tedium. If the condition is small, a manual control can be done. If it does not disappear, then we must go to a specific insecticide based on neem oil , or any other effective formula.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *