Sansevieria Aethiopica

Sansevieria Aethiopica is an evergreen, flowering plant that naturally grows in tropical Africa. This tough plant can thrive almost anywhere and has many uses. The plant has been used as a medicine in southern Africa. Its leaf sap, rhizomes and roots are used as a herbal medicine for treating ear infections, diarrhea, intestinal parasites, toothache etc. Research revealed that the plant extract has antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-fungal properties. The thick, fibrous leaves produce good quality fiber which is used for making ropes and bowstrings. The term “Aethiopica” comes from the Ethiopian region, a historic name for most of Subsaharan Africa (Central-South Africa). It does not grow in modern Ethiopia. This species has a miniature cultivar “Sansevieria Aethiopica Dwarf”. There is also a cultivar called “Blue Aethiopica”. Sansevieria Aethiopica belongs to the genus Dracaena from Asparagaceae family.

Also Known As

Sansevieria Caespitosa Dinter , Sansevieria Glauca Haw , Pile’s Root , Sansevieria Scabrifolia Dinter , Sansevieria Thunbergii Mattei , Bowstring Hemp , Sansevieria Zeylanica Sensu Baker , Sansevieria Aethiopica Thunb.

At A Glance



S. Aethiopica plant is native to Africa. It is specifically found in dry open regions of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.


It is a medium sized plant that can grow up to 2.5 feet (75 cm) tall. The maximum spread of the plant is around 1.5 feet. Flower stalks grow upright, up to 2 feet tall.


This Sansevieria variety has ascending, slightly recurved, loosely clustered leaves. There are 3-15 leaves in a rosette and they form a beautiful fountain shape. The leaves are green colored, mottled with pale green irregular bands. Each leaf is half folded making a c-shape. The leaves have white and red margins and pointy tips.


The mature plants may produce beautiful flowers about once a year. The flowers appear in numerous small clusters on the upper part of a vertical flower spike. They are creamy white with pinkish-purple margins. The stalks are densely packed with flowers. Plant produces small round reddish berries after the blossom.


Although the plant has medicinal uses, Sansevieria Aethiopica is a mildly toxic plant when ingested. It's advised to keep it away from pets and children. Consuming any part of the plant in large amounts can cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, stomach ache or mouth irritation.

Growth Season

This evergreen plant actively grows during warmer climates like the spring and summer seasons. In the winter, the plant grows extremely slowly. Flowering usually happens in the spring.


Generally, this variety is not susceptible to pest infestations. In rare situations, spider mites or mealybugs can attack the plant. Use alcohol dipped cotton ball or insecticides to wipe off the bugs from your plant. To protect the plant from getting fungal infestations, don't let the water sit in the grooves of its leaves


There are a few ways to propagate S Aethiopica. Dividing the roots to make new plants is a simple and efficient way. Separate the plant into sections where each part has some leaves and rhizomes. Then plant them separately. Another way is to use leaf cuttings where you can cut a healthy leaf into 3-4 inches long sections and plant them in soil until they form tiny roots.

Growing Conditions


Like most Sansevierias, this variety is drought-tolerant and doesn't require frequent watering. Allow the soil to dry completely before you water. The watering schedule can be once every 1-2 weeks during the growth season. In winter time, it requires much less water. Don't let your plant sit in wet and soggy soil, cause it can develop root rot.


S. Aethiopica can handle anything from the full sun to low light conditions. Bright and filtered sunlight is ideal for the growth. Outdoor plants prefer shade or semi-shade in tropical regions, where the sunlight can be too harsh. In a non-tropical climate, this plant can tolerate few hours of daily sun, especially in the morning and evening.


Snake plants are prone to overwatering. So to avoid sogginess, the potting soil must be porous and well-draining. You can use a combination of organic and inorganic ingredients. Add in coconut coir, gravel, perlite or pumice in a regular soil (max 40-50%) to increase its drainage. Whichever mix you use, make sure that water can drain freely.


An ideal temperature range for this plant is 60-85°F (15-29°C). Like most Sansevieria, it has excellent heat tolerance. Although it can survive low temperatures if the roots kept dry, it's best to avoid frost. Temperatures below 50°F can cause permanent damage to the leaves. Wet soil combined with extreme cold can be fatal for the plant.

Learn More About Care And Propagation Of Sansevierias