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How to grow and care for Sansevieria Cylindrica?

Sansevieria Cylindrica is an attractive succulent plant that has distinct stiff cylindrical leaves. This plant is known by many other names such as African spear, Cylindrical snake plant, Spear Sansevieria etc. Sansevieria Cylindrica plant is one of the low-maintenance, evergreen houseplants that are tolerant to neglect. It looks great indoors as well as outdoors. Read along to learn how to take care of this beautiful snake plant.

The spear sansevieria has cylindrical, long, greenish-gray colored leaves. Each stemless leaf has thin vertical channels and horizontal light green bands. Young leaves are thinner and fairly easy to bend. Some nurseries take this opportunity to weave the leaves together forming braids of plaits. The braided leaves look really creative and give the snake plant a unique look.

Benefits and Uses

Sansevieria Cylindrica is a popular ornamental houseplant. Its upright cylindrical leaves can enhance the beauty of your home or office. With the vertical, green, rare shaped foliage, it makes a great accent plant. It also has some equally beautiful cultivars such as Starfish snake plant and Sansevieria Patula.

Apart from the good looks, this plant offers some more interesting benefits.

  • It acts as a natural air purifier and absorbs harmful pollutants from the air. Thus, it controls the amount of formaldehyde, toluene, benzene and other toxins.
  • Snake plants are considered lucky plants. According to Feng Shui, they bring good luck, protective energy and money.
  • This plant can release oxygen at night time which makes it a perfect plant to keep in the bedrooms.

Size and Growth Rate

Cylindrical snake plants are slow-growing. It can take decades for them to reach the maximum height. Their leaves grow straight vertically, but as the height increases they tend to curve outwards. In the best growing conditions, this plant can grow up to 6-7 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. Bright light conditions and outdoor settings encourage a rapid growth and spread of the plant. On the other hand, plants that are kept indoors in low light conditions tend to grow slower.

The evergreen succulent leaves of this plant are almost 1 inch in diameter. They taper gradually to the peak. If you take a horizontal cut of a leaf and see it’s cross-section, it’s circular, porous and white inside. When the African spear plants bloom, they produce up to 3 feet long flower stalks. Also, this species flowers at a younger age than other Sansevierias.

Active growth season of this plant is from spring to early summer. And the flowering period is usually winter-spring.

sansevieria cylindrica

Soil

Having fast-draining soil is very necessary for Sansevieria Cylindrica. One of the most common reasons for a snake plant dying or getting diseases is overwatering. Overwatering can cause soggy, mushy or yellow leaves and rotting roots. The plant may die eventually, if the problem is not resolved. Fungal infection can also happen due to constantly damp leaves and soil.

So, make sure that you use a sandy and well-draining soil. Recommended soil mix for the Sansevieria consists of 3 parts loam and 1 part pumice. Read my post about the best soil ingredients to make your own soil mix at home. Else, the ready-to-use potting mix for cacti and succulents also works great for the snake plants.

Pot

Choosing a correct pot is an essential part of caring for Sansevieria Cylindrica. A pot should have an appropriate size, not too big and not too small. And most importantly, it should have drainage holes! If your pot doesn’t have drainage holes, you can make them using a drill or big nails. If that’s not possible, consider a double potting method. Use a smaller functional pot inside a big ornamental pot. This will make your plant look good while ensuring proper drainage.

Place your pot on a stand, plate or saucer. After watering the plant, make sure to remove the drained water.

Watering

Sansevierias are known to be drought-tolerant. Originated in the tropical regions of Africa, these plants can survive on minimal water.

  • The best way to decide if your plant needs water is to check the state of soil. If the soil feels dry to touch, its watering time. Make sure the soil is dry at least 1-1.5 inches deep.
  • Then pour water around the edges and thoroughly soak the whole pot. Don’t add just a bit of water because it’s a succulent plant.
  • Let all the water drain away. You can do this in a sink, or collect the water in a drainage plate.
  • Be sure there is no water left on the leaves. It can cause some problems like a fungal infection. Although, it’s very unlikely because of the leaf shape of Sansevieria Cylindrica.

Normally, you should water your snake plant once in a week or once in every two weeks. The exact frequency and water amount will depend on your plant size and environmental conditions. Cold and humid conditions demand less watering. However, if you live in dry tropical areas, you may need to water more often.

During the cold winters, limit the watering to just once a month. In some cases, plants can go for a couple of months before needing water again. Never water on extremely cold days, especially outdoor plants. Avoid frost as it can damage the leaves permanently.

For more information, check out this watering guide for snake plants.

sansevieria cylindrica care

Sunlight

Sansevieria Cylindrica plants are famous for being very tolerant about the light conditions. They can survive almost anywhere from full bright sun to shaded areas. Ideally indirect bright sunlight works perfect for this plant. Bright light encourages growth and blooming. Few hours of direct sun in a day is good. Just make sure it’s not too harsh.

Well-lit rooms, windows covered by shear curtains and north or south facing windows are some great placing options. Make sure to rotate the pot so that all the sides get equal light. You can do this couple of times in a month. Take a look at this post to know perfect light, humidity and temperature conditions for snake plants.

Temperature

African spear is a great plant to have indoors. If your location doesn’t have harsh winters, it can also be grown outside. Average room temperature is ideal for the growth of this plant. 65-80°F (18-27°C) is considered a good range. However, it can also survive slight fluctuations outside that range.

Temperatures below 50°F (10°C) might be too much to handle. Subzero temperatures and frost can permanently damage the leaves. But, it might still be saved if kept dry. Just make sure to take precaution while watering in the winter. Low temperature and water is a deadly combination for this plant.

Pests

Pests don’t usually infect Sansevieria Cylindrica. Due to the thick, succulent leaves, it’s not an easy target for bugs. It is quite resistant to verticillium wilt. Spider mites, mealybugs and vine weevils are some low level threats.

After an insect attack, the plant can still be saved by removing the bugs. It usually involves wiping off the infected area with alcohol. Insecticides are helpful for quick and sure removal. Inspect your plant occasionally for the signs of infection. Early detection is good to prevent major infestation.

Read more for more information on insects, bacteria and fungus infections in snake plants.

Diseases

Two main causes of diseases in a snake plant are improper watering and light. Overwatering can lead to yellowish, mushy leaves and root rot. While dehydration can cause browning of tips and edges of a leaf.

Too much direct sunlight can suddenly change the leaf color. On the other hand, plants kept in deep dark rooms may also experience leaf discoloration and eventually die.

Fertilizer

Sansevieria Cylindrica doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer. Feeding the plant 2-3 times a year is good enough. A good time to do this is just before and during the growth season.

You can use a half strength diluted liquid fertilizer. It can be applied up to once a month during spring-summer seasons. Never fertilize your plant in the winter. Winter is already stressful for the plants, and supplementing a fertilizer adds to that stress.

Also, don’t fertilize young plants, especially after propagation. Wait for at least a month after the plant is repotted in soil.

Natural fertilizers like cow dung, worm compost should also be applied sparingly. Throw in a handful of it in the potting soil mix.

Flowers

Blooming of a spear sansevieria is a rare but lovely spectacle. It can happen once a year, normally during the springtime. Small, creamy-white flowers grow on a  tall flower stalk that rises from the center. These delicate, tubular flowers appear in bunches. They can have a greenish or pinkish tint to them. The flowers are 1-1.5 inches long. A sweet, pleasant fragrance emanates from the bloom. Particularly at night, the smell can be more intense.

cylindrical snake plant flowers
Image source: Mokkie / CC BY-SA

Propagation

Propagation by using the parts of a snake plant is a great way to create new baby plants. Furthermore, this can be done in a soil or using water. Sansevieria Cylindrica is suitable for propagation by division or by leaf cuttings.

  • To propagate by division, you’ll have to remove the plant from its container.
  • Inspect the roots to see where they can be naturally separated. 
  • Using a sharp and sterilized cutter, cut the plant in half. For bigger plants, it’s possible to make more than two sections.
  • Repot each section in a separate container. Water them thoroughly.

Propagation through leaves is also easy. For making new plants from a single leaf, you’ll need some leaf cuttings.

  • Take a long, healthy leaf and cut it to make 3-4 inches long sections.
  • Plant each section base-side down into the soil or water. The orientation is particularly important for the root formation.
  • Make sure that at least 1 inch of the leaf cutting is under the soil or water.
  • Water the soil frequently and replace the water in case of water propagation.
  • Then, wait for a month until small roots will start growing from the cutting.
  • After the roots grow 2 inches long, plant them in soil.

For detailed information on the propagation process, check out this guide.

Repotting

Repotting your snake plant is necessary to avoid plant overgrowth. It also makes the plant look neat and tidy in a new container. Usually this needs to be done every 2-3 years. Repotting makes the plant stronger by encouraging a healthy root growth.

To repot your Sansevieria Cylindrica:

  • Make sure to get a container with an appropriate size. Usually it’s 1-2 inches wider in diameter than the old pot.
  • Add a thin layer of pebbles at the bottom to cover drainage holes. Then put a layer of soil over that.
  • Carefully separate your plant from its pot and place it in a new one. Then fill the rest of the container with your soil mix.
  • At the end, water thoroughly and wait for 1-2 weeks before watering again.

Click here for an in-depth guide on repotting a snake plant.

Grooming and Maintenance

Frequent maintenance is not required for a cylindrical snake plant. It grows slowly and doesn’t spread wildly. You can just neglect the grooming, keep it in your home for years, and it’ll look fine.

If you wish to retain the size of the plant, it can be trimmed down every 2-3 years. Another cool and unusual design idea for this particular plant is braiding. You can purchase a braided plant or do it yourself at home.

Pets and kids safety

Sansevieria Cylindrica is considered as a mildly toxic plant. Although it’s not likely to be fatal, it should be kept away from children and pets.

All parts of the plant contain a toxin called Saponin. When ingested, Saponin causes mouth and stomach irritation. Common symptoms of plant consumption include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, drooling etc. The juices of this plant also have the ability to cause rashes or dermatitis on skin. So, be sure to take precautions while handling this plant. Avoid direct contact with the cut and exposed parts. Use gloves whenever you are pruning or repotting the plant.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Lilly

    I have an issue with my cylindrica falling over. The roots seem like they’re very small/short compared to the height of the plant, which is over a foot tall. Should I plant it deeper so this doesn’t happen, or will that cause it to rot at the bottom? I haven’t found the depth of repotting mentioned anywhere. Thank you!

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