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How To Grow A Thriving Sansevieria Zeylanica – Everything You Need To Know

Sansevieria Zeylanica is a tropical plant with a unique look that makes it a good choice for people who want to grow plants in their homes.

Care instructions for Sansevieria Zeylanica are very detailed. We will talk about how, why, and when your plant needs to stay healthy in this detailed guide!

Find out where you can buy this plant and what to look out for and what to keep away from.

What Is Sansevieria Zeylanica?

The Sansevieria Zeylanica is sometimes known as Bowstring Hemp, Devil’s Tongue, and Ceylon Bowstring Hemp. It is a tropical plant notable for its robust, upright leaves.

Belonging to the Asparagaceae family, this perennial has leaves that are sword and olive green with pale green stripes. It likes humidity near a window that faces north.

You may also grow your Sansevieria Zeylanica outdoors if you are living in hardiness zones 9-11.

Origin And Family

The Bowstring Hemp has been reclassified to the Dracaena genus, which belongs to the Asparagaceae family. Plants from this genus are generally known as Snake Plants, and it is often mistaken for their cousin, Sansevieria Trifasciata, the most famous snake plant.

The Bowstring Hemp plant is originally from the rocky, drier areas of Sri Lanka and India. It has recently become a popular houseplant that is usually easy to care for.

Where To Buy

If you are looking to buy a Sansevieria Zeylanica, we have tremendous buying experiences with online sellers from Etsy. The relatively affordable prices for this plant typically range between $30 for small plants and $70+ for larger or more mature plants.

Sansevieria Zeylanica Plant Size

Sansevieria Zeylanica is a rhizomatous perennial plant with long, sword-shaped succulent leaves. As a houseplant, the Sansevieria Zeylanica reaches 2-3 feet tall and a foot wide when mature. This plant will look good near a north-facing window.

Sansevieria Zeylanica Care Needs

Though it is not difficult to care for, certain conditions must be met for your Sansevieria Zeylanica succulent plant to thrive. The Sansevieria Zeylanica, with its sturdy and upright leaves, loves humidity and needs dry soil to thrive.

Water your Dracaena when the soil dries out. As long as your pot has sufficient drainage, don’t be afraid to thoroughly saturate the soil during watering schedules to properly hydrate the roots. This gorgeous plant thrives in bright indirect light in terms of light requirements.

To discover more about caring for your plant, see our comprehensive guide.

Care Difficulty

In terms of care difficulty, the Devil’s Tongue is easy-to-care-for. Well-draining soil and the amount of sunshine are the most essential elements for this beauty.

Growth Rate

When grown indoors, the Ceylon Browstring Hemp plant grows to 2-3 feet. During spring and summer, it increases the fastest.

Most Dracaena species, including the Zeylanica, have a slow-to-moderate growing speed.


This tropical plant has adapted well to indoor living and may flourish in practically any potting medium. For most growers, terracotta planters will work best for Bowstring Hemp.

For most plants, a medium-sized pot is recommended. Your plant should be protected from root rot if your bank has drainage holes at the bottom.


As your Sansevieria Zeylanica develops, you should consider moving it to a larger pot if you see signs of overcrowding or congestion. Because of its slow-to-moderate growth rate, you will need to repot your plant every 2-3 years.

When you move your Dracaena into a new pot, use a new batch of soil so its roots can get more nutrients.


The Devil’s Tongue is an easy-to-care-for plant that needs cacti or succulent potting mix to stay healthy. If you’re going to make your own soil mix, we suggest that you add in some perlite, coco coir, pumice, or sand to make it more stable.

Your Dracaena will appreciate the soil being kept dry at all times. Nonetheless, drainage and aeration are essential for all soil types.

We recommend the following potting mixes:

Photo Title Price Buy
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting...image Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix 6 qt., Grows beautiful Houseplants, 2-Pack $15.70 ($0.04 / Ounce)
Burpee, 9 Quarts...image Burpee, 9 Quarts | Premium Organic Potting Natural Soil Mix Food Ideal for Container Garden-Vegetable, Flower & Herb Use for Indoor Outdoor Plant $12.99 ($0.04 / Ounce)
Sun Gro Horticulture...image Sun Gro Horticulture 8-Quart Black Gold 1310102 Purpose Potting Soil With Control, Brown/A $14.68 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)
Miracle-Gro Potting Mix,...image Miracle-Gro Potting Mix, Potting Soil for Outdoor and Indoor Plants, Enriched with Plant Food, 2 cu. ft. $34.54
FoxFarm Ocean Forest...image FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix Indoor Outdoor for Garden and Plants | Plant Fertilizer | 12 Quarts | The Hydroponic City Stake $23.99 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)


For this Ceylon Bowstring Hemp, you’ll need a soil pH of 6.0-7.0, which is neutral to acidic. Test the pH level of the dirt with a simple pH meter online.

If the pH of your soil is excessively high, you can improve acidity by adding sulfur or aluminum sulfate.

If your soil’s pH is too low, there are many things you may do to improve it. Baking soda, lime, or wood ash can all be added.


Proper watering is essential for houseplants. Root rot and fungal infections can happen if you use too much water, and they can occur if you don’t use enough. The plants may have brown, undernourished leaves if there is insufficient water. Bowstring Hemp prefers dry soil for best health.

One way to check for the moisture is simply sticking your finger in the pot. When the soil dries out, you’ll know it’s time to give your plant a drink.

Bowstring Hemp requires drainage holes and aerated soil to drain excess water. You shouldn’t submerge your plant in water for too long.


You’ll want to mimic Sansevieria Zeylanica’s natural environment, the rocky parts of Sri Lanka and India. Give your Zeylanica bright indirect light for 8-12 hours each day. You can also place this plant near a north-facing window or partial shade.

You’ll know your Sansevieria Zeylanica is getting too much light when the edges of its sword-like leaves turn yellow. It might also be dull-colored if this plant doesn’t get enough sunlight.

Avoid putting your Sansevieria Zeylanica in direct sunlight, as this could severely damage or even kill it.


Many indoor growers overlook fertilization, believing that water and brilliant indirect light are good sources of nutrition for their plants. In reality, soil nutrients are equally as crucial to the health of your plants.

Fertilize the Sansevieria Zeylanica once a month during spring and summer. A general fertilizer will work best for your Devil’s Tongue, a light feeder. If you’re using a more vital fertilizer, you might need to dilute it first.

In the colder months, you don’t need to fertilize at all.

Propagating Sansevieria Zeylanica

There are different ways to propagate this hardy plant. Follow the steps outlined below for each distinct strategy to increase your chances of success.

Stem Cuttings In Soil

The simplest way to grow a Bowstring Hemp is to sow stem cuttings directly into the soil. Because this plant’s growing season lasts from spring through summer, it’s preferable to take cuttings.

1. Cut. Cut a portion of the stem with new leaves and at least one node attached. Without a node, your cutting won’t be able to sprout fresh leaves.

2. Disinfect. If available, dip the cutting into cinnamon or rooting powder to disinfect the wound and encourage faster rooting.

3. Plant. Stick the cutting into the sterile potting mix. Make sure that the nodes are buried.

4. Water. Avoid soggy soil, but keep it moist.

5. Maintain. Place your new plant in a bright, well-ventilated area that gets a lot of sunlight. It should have roots in 2-3 weeks.


If a plant has pups coming out of its roots, you can divide it to get new plants.

You can divide the stem clusters of your Ceylon Browstring Hemp by following these steps:

1. Dig up. Take the plant out of its container. To see where the plant’s natural divisions are, you should be able to look at the plant.

2. Separate. There are two pieces that you gently separate with your fingers. Use shears to cut any roots that have become stuck together.

3. Repot. Plant each section in new pots filled with the same soil they’re used to.

Humidity And Aeration

Sansevieria Zeylanica snake plant is a popular perennial that prefers moderate humidity– often between 40%-50%.

If you see browning edges on your plant’s leaves, think about these ways to make it more humid:

• Keep your houseplants close together to make a humid bubble.

• Buy a humidifier.

• Place your pots on top of a pebble tray filled with water, creating a vapor cloud surrounding your plant.

• Mist your plant, but don’t do it too often because you might get fungal diseases if you do it too many times.


This evergreen perennial plant will do best in a warm location. Keep the temperature between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Houseplants can be sensitive to drastic shifts and extreme temperatures, so make sure you keep your Ceylon Bowstring Hemp away from heat sources such as vents, hand dryers, furnaces, and other appliances. In the same way, don’t expose your plant to chilly drafts and frost spells during the winter season.


Got kids or pets at home? Be cautious. This indoor plant is quite dangerous to cats, dogs, and humans. You should expect drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems if ingested. However, most of the time, this plant is not considered deadly.

Toxic To Pets? Care Specifics
Botanical Name Sansevieria Zeylanica
Common Name Bowstring Hemp, Devil’s Tongue, Ceylon Bowstring Hemp
Plant Family Asparagaceae
Origin Sri Lanka and India
Plant Type perennial
Leaf Shape sword
Leaf Color olive-green with pale green stripes
Recommended Home Placement near a north-facing window
Growth Rate slow-to-moderate
Light bright indirect light
Soil cacti and citrus potting soil
When To Water Water when the soil dries out.
When To Fertilize once a month during growing season
Preferred pH 6.0-7.0
Humidity Range 40%-50%
Toxic To Pets? Yes – symptoms include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal signs
Common Pests & Diseases spider mites, white flied, scale insects, yellow leabes, root rot, mealy bugs

Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems

Is your Sansevieria Zeylanica looking ill? Most would say this is a plant with strong resistance to pests, diseases, and widespread problems.

I’ve listed the most common issues that affect this popular plant in the following sections. This article can help to diagnose and treat your Dracaena.

Spider Mites

Unfortunately, spider mites are a common concern, especially for plant collectors with a Ceylon Bowstring Hemp. When you see brown or yellow patches and silky webbing on the leaves of Sansevieria Zeylanica, you’ll know your plant has spider mites.

To get rid of spider mites, bring your infected plant to the sink, tub, or outside and spray it with a strong stream of water. Insecticidal soap, neem oil, and horticultural oil can also help you get rid of spider mites.

Ladybugs, lacewings, and minute pirate bugs can help you get rid of spider mites if you don’t want to use chemicals.

White Flies

Whiteflies are tiny airborne insects that immediately fly around when a plant is moved. They are particularly attracted to the Bowstring Hemp, and they feed on leaves but rarely cause the death of plants.

Keeping them near your pest-ridden plant has an added benefit! The aroma of mint, parsley, and cilantro repels whiteflies.

Managing a heavy infestation necessitates the use of a pesticide. Here are several popular Amazon products we recommend against whiteflies:

Scale Insects

There may be scale insects on the stems or leaves of your Sansevieria Zeylanica, and they may look like lumps on the plants. These minor bugs, green, gray, brown, or black in color, stay put once they’ve found a plant to latch on to.

If the infestation isn’t too severe, you can keep scale insects away from your plant by mixing a teaspoon of neem oil with four glasses of water. Squirt the plant all over with a spray bottle.

Although neem oil and horticulture oils will not kill the bugs, they will undoubtedly hurt them. There are numerous insecticide sprays against scales regarded as safe to use indoors.


Mealybugs may infest your Ceylon Bowstring Hemp. These tiny parasites weaken your plant by sucking on the sap, and the honeydew that they secrete can also invite fungal diseases.

Mealybugs are visibly oval bugs that appear as cottony masses on all parts of plants. They will either stay immobile or crawl slowly.

To fight against a mealybug invasion, take a cotton swab, soak it in rubbing alcohol, and rub it over the sword-shaped leaves or any affected areas of the pant. I also like to use neem oil mixed with water as a spray to keep bugs away.

Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves on your Devil’s Tongue can be a warning indication of impending catastrophe. Moisture stress, inappropriate lighting, nutrient imbalance, variable temperatures, insect infestations, bacterial or viral infections, and other factors all contribute to this condition.

To narrow down the problem, evaluate any recent weather changes or the way you care for your plant.

Root Rot

Getting root rot is the main thing that kills Ceylon Bowstring Hemp. Some people grow plants indoors and don’t water their plants enough or don’t give their plants enough drainage. In this case, root rot is caused by these two things:

Because root rot is difficult to treat, prevention is the best approach. If you don’t have a soil meter, get used to feeling for moisture by touching your soil. If the top few inches do not seem dry, wait until later to water!

To allow excess moisture to escape from the sidewalls, choose pots with high porosity (clay, unglazed ceramic, and concrete). Allow your plant’s roots to breathe and grow freely by providing it with a well-aerated soil mix.

Similar Plants

Love Bowstring Hemp? Here are some other similar Snake Plant types you should try:

Sansevieria Whale Fin – With so many different species of Snake Plants, the Whale Fin Snake Plant is unquestionably the king, thanks to its massive leaves! It’s not as common as other Sansevierias and is a one-of-a-kind addition to any houseplant collection.

Sansevieria Fernwood – Snake Plants are known to be attractive and resilient, but this Fernwood Plant is the toughest of them all. Almost indestructible, its long emerald green leaves can survive nearly all lightning and growing conditions.

Sansevieria Sayuri – The Sayuri, with its grey-green tropical leaves, is the ideal houseplant for low-light situations where most other plants can’t survive.


If you’re looking for a decorative plant with a bit of flair, the Sansevieria Zeylanica is an attractive choice. A tough plant, sturdy and upright leaves are a genuine treat and make a great display in your home office.

You can never have enough Dracaena plant guides, can you? Check out Two Peas In A Condo’s other posts to see what else we have to offer!

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