For a long while, it seemed like many people forgot about the Snake plant. However, snake plant varieties were rediscovered for use as a pretty ornamental plant several years ago. It has a slightly odd appearance that is very charming and whimsical, and the leaves are the biggest draw for many people. Typically, you get several large and upright leaves in a variety of colors that are very eye-catching, and different snake plant varieties are a great way to fill in a bare space in your home. It’s also very popular because it’s very easy to care for, and this makes it an acceptable plant for beginners or people who don’t have a lot of time to baby a plant along to ensure it stays healthy.
Since there are over 70 snake plant varieties currently available, deciding which one or ones you want can be daunting. This is especially true if you’ve never had any snake plant variety before. This is why I’ve put together a list of several great snake plant varieties that are easy to care for but that look great planted in containers both indoors and out. You can browse through the list, see pictures of each plant, and find out the basic care instructions to keep it healthy and thriving.
1. Sansevieria concinna
The first snake plant variety on the list comes from South Africa, and it has upright leaves that sprout from a very thick rhizome. They form a tight rosette, and they can get up to 10-inches tall at full maturity. You’ll see deep green coloring with paler green bands, and the leaves are very smooth. White flowers can appear that are feathrey and get up to 12-inches long. You’ll want to water this plant regularly while avoiding saturating the soil, and it does very well with slightly sandy soil. You can fertilize it during the active growing months before cutting back in the winter, and plant it in a slightly shaded location.
Sansevieria hyacinthoides form by Ton Rulkens / CC BY-SA 2.0
2. Sansevieria francisii
Originating from Kenya, this snake plant variety features spiked, upturned leaves, and it grows in a trunk shape. It can get up to a foot tall at full maturity, and it has marbled leaves that go from dark to light green. It’ll produce runners as it grows that you can use to propagate new cuttings. It tolerates everything from partial shade to full sun, and it likes to be in dry soil. The soil it does best in is a gritty cactus soil with fine sand or smaller clay granules, and it’ll withstand neglect because it’s very drought-tolerant. Watering it too much will induce root rot, so only water it when the soil dries out. Fertilize it in the spring.
Sansevieria francisii, Oct 2018 by Irina UA / CC BY 2.0
3. Sansevieria parva
Give this snake plant variety a lot of light to ensure it grows well. It’s originally from Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya, so it likes soil that is slightly more granular and dry. The soil should also drain very well between watering sessions. You’ll get dark green foliage with this plant, and it also features light or dark green bands. It will shop pink or white flowers in the spring and summer months, and this is an excellent beginner plant because it doesn’t require a lot of care. You should only water it when the soil dries out, and it can withstand partial shade if you don’t have a full sun location. It can grow up to two feet tall, and it doesn’t spread very much as it grows.
Prava white, Aug 2016 by Irina UA / CC BY 2.0
4. Sansevieria bacularis
Coming in at just over five-feet tall at full maturity, this snake plant variety does well planted in containers. The leaves are very long, and they have a darker green coloring with lighter transverse bands of color on them before they fade to a soft white at the tips. It also produces eye-catching white flowers with a purple stripe in the spring months. It needs a bright and warm location to flourish, and you should water it sparingly. It’s a drought-resistant plant that likes to be outside during the summer and brought back in before the cooler weather comes around. It’s not frost-resistant, and it’ll die if you don’t bring it in.
180803 171 SD Botanic Gdn – African Gdn by cultivar413 / CC BY 2.0
5. Sansevieria cylindrica
This is a more rare snake plant variety that comes from South Africa. It has upright leaves in a columnar form, and they can grow up to three-feet long and seven-inches wide. The foliage on this plant is a greyish-green in color, and younger plants usually have darker bands on the leaves. As this plant ages, the leaves start to furrow. They need a spot that gets full sun with humidity levels that stay around 60%. Unlike others on the list, you will have to make a point to water these plants often. You can use a cactus or liquid fertilizer during the spring and summer months to encourage active growth. They will tolerate very short dry periods without any damage.
Sansevieria cylindrica var. patula ‘Boncel’ by Marlon Machado / CC BY-NC 2.0
6. Sansevieria hyacinthoides
Better known as African Bowstring Hemp, this snake plant variety grows in small, dense groups in partially shaded locations. It can withstand full sun, and this is a slightly larger plant with leaves that can grow up to four-feet tall. They have dark green bands with a greenish-grey coloring, and they are a broad plant on a short stem, The plant will produce long rhizomes, and they form a broad rosette when you plant them together. Put them in a well-draining, gritty soil while making sure they get around four hours of sun every day. You want the soil to dry out between waterings, and don’t saturate it.
Sansevieria hyacinthoides (snakeplant) by James St. John / CC BY 2.0
7. Sansevieria longiflora
You’ll find this snake plant variety growing wild in the Congo, Namibia, and Angola in Africa. It offers dark green leaves with lighter green spots. Each leaf can get up to four-inches wide and be five-feet long. The plant will also produce a brown spine at the tip of each leaf, and the leaf margin is hard to the touch with a yellow or reddish-brown coloring. It’ll show white flowers in the spring and summer months if you plant it in a shaded location with moderate water. Allow the soil to dry out between watering sessions, and make sure you have a sandy but well-draining soil. It won’t tolerate over-watering, and it can cause the leaves to droop.
Sansevieria sp. Kundue by Ton Rulkens / CC BY-SA 2.0
8. Sansevieria raffillii
Native to Somalia and Kenya, this snake plant variety grows upright rhizomes that are around two-inches thick and five-feet long. They have a smooth feel with a green leaf base with yellow-green bands or spots. The markings will fade as the plant ages, and it has a brown leaf margin. The flower clusters appear in the middle of spring, and they have a feathery appearance while coming in shades of greenish-white. It grows best if you plant it in a shady location like in a forest garden, and you want to water it sparingly. It likes loose and well-drained soil that is on the sandier side, and you should let it dry out between watering sessions.
Sansevieria sp. By stephen boisvert / CC BY 2.0
9. Sansevieria zeylanica
This snake plant variety comes from Sri Lanka, and it grows best in dry, rocky, or sandy areas. It has an upright growth pattern with green-white leaves. The leaves have a slightly leathery look and feel to them for additional interest. It grows a unique flat root system, and the roots tend to grow rapidly. This means that you’ll repot it once a year to prevent the roots from growing through the pot. It needs partial shade to full sun, and the soil should dry out between watering sessions. You should fertilize it once a month with succulent or cactus fertilizer to encourage growth. Cut back to every other month in the winter.
Snake plant by el cajon yacht club / CC BY 2.0
10. Sansevieria subspicata
The leaves on this variety of snake plant bend back slightly, and it originates from Mozambique. They get between one and two-feet tall at full maturity, and they taper to a slight point. There is a slightly blue-green coloring to them, and the leaf margin will discolor as the plant ages. They produce greenish-white flowers that are around 15-inches long. This plant does best in full sun to partial shade, and you should get it on a watering schedule to ensure you don’t overwater it. It should have a loose but well-draining soil, and it won’t tolerate the cold well. If the temperatures drop below 50°F, bring it indoors.
Sansevieria subspicata_2018 by Irina UA / CC BY 2.0
11. Sansevieria ehrenbergii
This snake plant variety of very thick succulent-like leaves that grow in a nice fan shape. The leaves have a rounded underside with a grooved channel on the topside. The leaves can get an impressive five-feet long by three-feet wide, and they grow on a very short stem. It is a very slow-growing variety that will take years to reach the full size. Plant it in an area that gets full sun to partial shade, and give it a loose and well-draining soil. You can fertilize it during the spring and summer months with a liquid fertilizer to encourage growth, and let the soil dry out between watering sessions.
Sansevieria ehrenbergii variegated by GREGORIUZ / CC BY-NC 2.0
12. Sansevieria trifasciata
This is one of the best-known snake plant varieties available, and it comes from Westen Africa. It’s better known as the Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, and it grows tall leaves with creeping rhizomes. The leaves are grass green with light green or white stripes. It grows surprisingly well in narrow pots, and it likes a slightly sandy soil that drains very well between watering sessions. This plant likes partial shade to full sun, and it’s resistant to drought. You may want to periodically wipe the dust off the leaves with a damp cloth to keep them healthy, and take care not to overwater it. It’s excellent for removing toxins from the air too.
Sansevieria trifasciata “Hahnii” by Rogelio Quinatoa /
13. Sansevieria kirkii
Better known as the Star snake plant variety, this plant offers wide leaves that taper to a point, and it has a host of light markings. The leaves will grow up to six-feet tall, and they can get 3.6-feet wide at the widest point. It grows a dark green coloring, and you can grow them in large clumps indoors or out. The spiky look with tall leaves is very eye-catching, and it does well in sandy but well-drained soil. Plant it in an area that gets partial shade to full sun, and water it when the top layer of soil starts to dry out. It’ll produce a spike of white, feathery flowers from the center, and this is where it gets the name of the Star Snake Plant.
Sansevieria kirkii – Xitaxe form by Ton Rulkens / CC BY-SA 2.0
14. Sansevieria Cleopatra
This pretty snake plant variety is right at home on your patio by your outdoor bench. It comes with succulent leaves that have eye-catching patterns. You’ll get big crisscrossed dark green lines with a light green coloring on the foliage, and it has rippled edges with a reddish-colored tip. It grows in a perfect rosette pattern, and it only gets around 11-inches tall. It’ll tolerate full sun to partial shade, and it can also do well under artificial lighting. Plant it in a well-draining soil that is slightly gritty, and water it sparingly. If you choose to fertilize it, do so in the spring and summer months with a succulent-specific fertilizer.
Sansevieria Cleopatra by Irina UA / CC BY 2.0
15. Sansevieria ballyi
Anyone who wants a dwarf snake plant variety should check out this pick. This plant comes with pretty variegated leaves that narrow to a tapered point. They can get up to four-inches long, and the entire plant won’t get more than six-inches tall. They have succulent leaves that grow in a rosette pattern, and they produce a light yellow leaf with pale green bands. They can produce pinkish-white blossoms too. Plant them in a well-draining potting soil in a place that gets full sun to partial shade. They can tolerate more water than other varieties on the list, but you should still hold off on watering them until the toy layers of soil dries out.
Boncel, Frosty Spear… by Irina UA / CC BY 2.0
16. Sansevieria eilensis
This is a second dwarf snake plant variety that works well in terrariums as it doesn’t take up much room and it has succulent-like leaves. It has a blue-grey coloring, and this is a very slow-growing species. The thick leaves will slowly curve downward as it grows, and they can get up to five-inches long by one-inch thick. The leaves will shrink and expand, depending on how much water you give it. They only grow between two or three leaves per plant, and they prefer to be in an area that gets full sun to partial shade. They need a moderate amount of water with a well-draining but gritty soil to be happy.
Sansevieria Eilensis by Gregoriuz / CC BY-NC 2.0
17. Sansevieria laurentii
This cultivar is one of the tallest snake plant varieties available on the current market, and it produces elegant, tall leaves in green and yellow. They have stripes that run along the length of the leaves, and there is a yellow band that makes it stand out. It can get between two and four-feet tall at full maturity, and it is very low-maintenance. This plant will thrive in almost any condition, including full sun or full shade. It works well as a corner plant to add some height, and you want to make sure that the soil drains very well between watering sessions. It’s not picky about the soil, and it can tolerate drought.
191026 101 San Diego – University Heights by cultivar413 / CC BY 2.0
18. Bird’s Nest Sansevieria
This snake plant variety has very broad leaves that taper to a slight point, and they have light and dark green striped markings that run horizontally on the leaves. The leaves will form clusters as they grow to look like funnels. It’s a shorter plant that will only get around a foot tall at full maturity. They are best planted in clumps instead of by themselves due to their small nature, and they look excellent in raised garden beds. Plant them in a place that gets full sun to part shade. They don’t like a lot of humidity, and the soil should drain very quickly after you water it. Don’t overwater them, and allow the soil to dry out.
Bird’s Nest Sansevieria by Mortion1905 / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
19. Sansevieria gracilis
This snake plant variety if very petite, and the leaves usually don’t get much larger than 18-inches tall before they quit growing. They have white and green bands, and the leaves are very pointed and long. They’ll produce clusters of greenish-white flowers in the late fall months. They like partial sun or bright filtered light, but it can grow in full shade or low-lighted areas in your home. If you grow them in less light, you won’t get as vibrant of colors. You can propagate it though offsets and cuttings, and you want to plant it in well-draining soil. You can fertilize it with a liquid fertilizer in the spring and summer months to encourage growth.
Sansevieria gracilis by Irina UA / CC BY 2.0
20. Sansevieria fischeri
At full maturity, this snake plant variety won’t get more than 16-inches high. It works well in container gardening, but you can also grow it outdoors without a huge problem. It’ll produce a cluster of tubular, small white flowers during the summer months. It has darker green leaves with light green bands, and it does best when you place it in a location that gets plenty of sunshine. The soil should drain well, and this plant won’t tolerate frost. Bring it indoors or protect it when the temperatures fall below 32°F. If you want to encourage growth, give it liquid fertilizer during the active growing periods. If you plant it in a container, it’s easy to move indoors and back outside when the weather warms up.
Sansevieria fischeri – inflorescence 2 by Ton Rulkens / CC BY-SA 2.0
21. Sansevieria masoniana
This snake plant variety is better known as Shark’s Fin or Whale’s Fin. It’s native to the central portion of Africa, and you get very broad leaves with a mottled pattern that can get up to four-feet long. They’re paddle-shaped foliage that can be variegated. It has a purple-banded sheath to make it easy to identify. They thrive in bright light, and they won’t bloom if you put them in partial or full shade. Never leave this plant standing in water, and only water it when the top layers of soil dry out. Move it indoors or protect it in the winter because it can’t tolerate freezing temperatures, and have a slightly gritty but well-draining soil for it.
Masoniana var., Dec. 2016 by Irina UA / CC BY 2.0
Snake Plant Variety Care Instructions
Unlike many plants you grow, you’ll need an extremely strong pot for any snake plant variety you have if you plant it indoors. Clay pots work well because they can prevent the roots from breaking through it if you forget to transplant it quick enough. Any pot you put this plant in should be perforated because this ensures that the water will drain away and not get locked in to saturate the roots. Too much water can cause problems like root rot that will spread and kill the plant.
As for sunlight, it requires a lot of indirect sunlight. Keep it away from high winds, drafs, and extreme temperature changes. It can do well under artificial lighting, and this is why it’s common to see it sitting in the corner of office buildings as a hardy and beautiful office plant. Some cultivars like more or less sun, so be sure you pay attention when you pick it out.
Never feed your snake plant full-strength fertilizer because it can easily cause damage by burning the plant. You also want to keep the fertilizer away from the plant’s leaves. You should dilute it with water or give it a liquid-based fertilizer that is at a 10:10:10 ratio or succulent-specific. It’s best to give your plant fertilizer when you plant or repot it. You can feed it once a month through the spring and summer months, but you should stop when winter comes around.
When you get a bunch of snake plant varieties together inside or outside, they can quickly fill in any blank space while adding height to your landscape. The striking colors and upright leaf growth bring the drama and create a nice looking area. Sansevieria Parva 2016 by Irina UA / CC BY 2.0
Most snake plant varieties require very little water to survive, and this makes them a great choice for beginners who may forget to water them. Overwatering is the biggest enemy of this plant type, and it can go a long time without any. As a general rule, the top layer of soil should be dry between watering sessions. Never water it so you saturate the soil, and never leave this plant in standing water.
You can propagate this plant thor cuttings, seeds, or water division. Generally speaking, seed propagation is the easiest mode to perform this task because all you do is plant the seeds in the soil, give them a little water, and watch them grow. Since the seeds take a while to germinate, most people don’t use it. Another option is to take healthy cuttings from the main plant and root them in soil. The roots will multiply as the plant grows. Water division requires cutting a leaf and letting it soak in water. The leaf will produce roots in a few weeks, and you transplant it in the soi.
Most snake plant varieties are simple and low-maintenance house plants that are easy to grow but hard to kill. They can create dramatic statements in your home or outside, and you can easily plant multiple varieties together without a problem because most cultivars have similar growing conditions. I invite you to take a look at the list and see which ones will fit into your landscape. They’ll provide height and eye-catching looks for years to come.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.