Sansevieria Zeylanica Snake Plant: Ceylon Bowstring Hemp Plant Care

Snake plants are a popular choice among plant enthusiasts because they are easy to care for and visually appealing.

These plants thrive in almost any climate and can be grown both indoors and outdoors.

A popular and common Sansevieria zeylanica snake plant is an easily overlooked houseplant that requires very little care.

It requires very little water and very little light. This makes it ideal for growing indoors.

In this article, we will go into how to care for the plants properly so that they stay healthy and happy.

We will also tell you some interesting facts about these beautiful little plants. So let’s get started!

What is a Sansevieria Zeylanica Plant?

Sansevieria zeylanica is a drought-tolerant succulent plant that can be grown as houseplants.

If you have enough space, however, you can even grow them outdoors but you may have to bring them inside during the winter.

They are simple to care for and thrive with regular watering and feeding.

Sansevieria zeylanica is also known as the Ceylon Bowstring Hemp or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, and it belongs to the Asparagaceae family.

They are native to tropical regions in West Africa and Southeast Asia (Sri Lanka and India) and have been cultivated since ancient times as a source of food, medicine, and ornamentation by many cultures.

Sansevieria zeylanica is a stem-less flowering plant. When it does bloom, the flowers are fragrant and greenish-white in color.

Although it can bloom flowers, be forewarned that it’s unlikely that your plant will bloom, as this happens infrequently. Most owners grow these plants solely for their foliage.

The sword-like, mottled leaves of this snake plant vary in dark and light green shades.

Similar to other snake plants, the Ceylon Bowstring Hemp has pointy tips and wavy edges on its leaves, giving them a famous snake-like appearance.

The length of each leaf can reach 2.5 feet. It is a slow-growing houseplant.

Related reading on how fast snake plants grow:

The scarring on the leaves and brown edges give the Sansevieria Zeylanica a rugged look.

Lastly, the leaves of the Sansevieria zeylanica are known to purify the air from harmful toxins like benzene and formaldehyde.

To make sure the snake plants actively purify the air, remove any dust sitting on the long leaves.

Read on to find out how to care for the Sansevieria zeylanica snake plant.

How to Care for a Sansevieria Zeylanica


Sansevieria Zeylanica plants are easy-care plants, and their low-maintenance nature makes them a perfect pick for new gardeners.

Although they can handle neglect, you still have to maintain certain growing conditions to help it grow.


Sansevieria Zeylanica will thrive in temperatures ranging from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 23 degrees Celsius).

The Bowstring Hemp plant can withstand a few hours of cold temperatures, but temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) are not recommended because the leaves will be damaged.

Sansevieria Zeylanica is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9-11.

It prefers moderate humidity, but if you notice the tips are turning brown, you can mist the foliage once in a while.

When growing snake plants indoors, it’s best to keep a tray filled with pebbles and water near them. This will maintain a moderate humidity around the plant.



Sansevieria Zeylanica is highly adaptable in terms of lighting because it can grow well in direct and indirect light.

You can keep the Bowstring Hemp plant in the garden, where it receives bright light.

But low lighting conditions are also acceptable for this plant as it will adjust in lightly shaded spots as well.

Remember that if this plant is grown in continuously low light, the foliage will be dark green.

But if your plant is growing in full sun, continuous exposure will turn the leaf margins yellow. This is a symbol of the sun scorching.

If you grow Bowstring Hemp outdoors, it will receive more light so that the foliage will have a faded color.

If you want to grow it indoors, it should be kept near a sunny window to receive bright filtered sunlight, partial shade, or indirect sunlight.

This is usually near a north-facing window.


This plant does not like sitting in excessively wet soil. Therefore, it’s best to wait until the soil dries out completely before watering.

Make sure you water the Sansevieria Zeylanica slowly and deeply.

As an indoor plant, it should be watered until the excess water starts dripping from the drainage hole.

In-ground plants should be watered until the top 3-4 inches of soil are moist. To avoid root rot, you should discard the water collected in the drainage tray.

Some symptoms of overwatering are yellowing leaves and root rot.

If you’re the type of person that forgets to water your plants, we suggest you get a self-watering container. We use these pots for practically all of our indoor plants. We never have to worry about overwatering.

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This Bowstring Hemp plant requires good drainage so plant it in a sandy loam soil mixture.

The loam will retain the necessary moisture for the plant, and the sand will help drain extra water.

This ensures that your plant is never sitting in a pool of water and stays well away from root rot, as it originally grows in dry, rocky regions.

This plant also appreciates the soil pH of 6-7.


Sansevieria zeylanica is a light-feeding plant. They don’t require much in the way of fertilizer. A monthly application of half-strength or lower-strength general-purpose plant fertilizer is sufficient.

The only major piece of advice to follow is to never fertilize your snake plant during the winter.

It is dormant at this time and does not need any added nutrients. 

A single slow-release granular feeding in the spring is actually quite common.

For a slow-release fertilizer, we suggest using this houseplant slow-release fertilizer. It’s super simple to use, and you won’t worry about it once you set it in.

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This plant prefers staying root bound, but if many leaves are yellowing or falling off, you will have to repot it.

Prepare a fresh batch of a well-draining soil mixture and transfer the Bowstring Hemp plant to a bigger grow pot.

Ensure the plant is situated at the same depth in the new pot. Since it’s a slow-growing variety, repotting is required after 2–5 years.

Further reading on repotting snake plants:

Sansevieria Zeylanica Propagation

Sansevieria zeylanica is best propagated via the leaf-cutting method.

You can utilize the leaves collected during pruning or take a few inches long of healthy leaf cuttings from the plant.

Let the cutting dry for one day and dip the lower end in a rooting hormone.

Now plant these cuttings in a well-draining soil mixture and water the snake plant when the soil is completely dry.

Further reading on propagating snake plants:


This is a low-maintenance plant that rarely requires pruning. But if your plant is crowded, you can prune one or two leaves with pruning shears.

The healthy leaves or cuttings can be propagated to start a new Bowstring Hemp plant.

Pruning is also necessary to get rid of damaged leaves. If the tips are brown or yellow, trim them.

But if the entire leaves are damaged, you will have to trim at the soil level.

If you’re looking for a pair of shears, we think highly of these pruning garden shears. They are fairly priced and seem to always stay sharp.

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What is the difference between Sansevieria Laurentii and Sansevieria Zeylanica?

Sansevieria Laurentii is a tall, upright plant with dazzling yellow stripes along with strappy, bright green leaves that run perpendicular to the yellow lines that create a wave of alternating green shades of color. On the other hand, Sansevieria Zeylanica has a similar shape, but its horizontal rippling stripes alternate in tones of silver and grayish-green. Another minor distinction is that Sansevieria Zeylanica grows slowly, while Laurentii grows moderately.

How tall do Sansevieria Zeylanica grow?

A mature Sansevieria Zeylanica plant grows slowly to about 2 to 3 feet in height and 1 foot wide. The plant’s leaves can grow as long as 36–40 inches. 

Is a Bowstring Hemp plant poisonous?

Yes, the bowstring hemp plant is poisonous. All of the parts of a snake plant are mildly toxic. Eating it will cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irritation, and drooling. So, please keep the Sansevieria Zeylanica away from pets and small children. 

Other Sanseviera (Snake Plants) to Consider

There are many other species of Sansevieria (snake plants) to consider. As far as plants go, snake plants are one of the most popular. Read on for more types of snake plants.


Many homes and office spaces nowadays are opting to go greener, meaning more plants are being grown indoors.

The Sansevieria Zeylanica Snake Plant would make a great choice for the home or office because of its low water requirements and ease of care.

In addition, Bowstring Hemp Snake plants have attractive foliage and attractive purple and green variegation to spruce up any home decor.

Lastly, they even have the ability to filter toxins in the air.

If you are looking for an indoor houseplant, you need to add this snake plant to your collection.


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