Spear Sansevieria


Sansevieria cylindrica (Cylindrical Snake Plant)

Sansevieria cylindrica (Cylindrical Snake Plant) is a striking succulent with smooth, striped green-gray leaves. It grows fan-shaped, with…

African spear Propagation

As with many plants that utilize rhizomes, they often send off “runners” or offshoots. These can be untangled and separated with a sharp blade to separate mature plants that have grown together.

Wait until the stalks of your cylindrica are about 6 inches tall before separating them. Bear in mind, this plant is not averse to crowded, tangled conditions. Separate only if you want to propagate or move it into a larger pot.

African Spear can also be propagated via leaf cuttings, albeit slowly. Take a stalk and cut it into sections about 3 inches long. After leaving them out to callus, plant them in soil with the right side up.

It’s important that they maintain the same orientation as before they were cut. Plants don’t grow upside-down very well.

New roots should sprout, eventually. Try the rooting hormone if you’re not having any success.

How to Grow the African Spear Plant

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

The African spear plant (Sansevieria cylindrica), also known as the cylindrical snake plant, is a succulent that consists of upright, gray-green, subtly striped leaves. The leaves are cylindrical in shape but narrow to a point at their tips. When grown in optimal conditions, African spear plants might send up a long flower spike from their center that's full of tiny, delicate, white blooms. They are best planted at the start of the growing season in the spring, and they’re generally a slow-growing succulent.

Botanical Name Sansevieria cylindrica
Common Names African spear plant, cylindrical snake plant, spear sansevieria
Plant Type Succulent
Mature Size 4–6 ft. tall, 1–2 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full, partial
Soil Type Sandy, well-drained
Soil pH Neutral
Bloom Time Sporadic
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 10–11 (USDA)
Native Area Africa
Toxicity Toxic to pets and humans

Watch Now: How to Grow and Care for a Sansevieria Cylindrica

Sansevieria Cylindrica Caring Tips

Flowering & Fragrance

Snake plants bloom flowers on the base part of the leaves once they mature. During the early blooming stages, the flowers usually appear in the form of spikes that develop in clusters. The flowers of this particular species have a greenish-white color scale and are tube-shaped. At some point after blooming, the flowers will begin to die. When a shoot completes its blooming stage, new stems in the form of rhizomes emerge and burst out new roots out of their nodes, and cascade downwards into the soil. Make sure to pluck off the flower stalks once they wither to maintain the plant’s appearance and verve to stay healthy. When grown outdoors, moths help out with the pollination cycle.

Soil & Transplanting

Use a quick-draining cactus mix while preparing the potting soil. Same as other succulents, Sansevierias are most often prone to root rot, so it would be best to add a portion of sandy soil to make water drain easily. Also, don’t miss to use a growing pot with enough drainage holes to let out excess water. Blend the growing media with perlite to encourage aeration. You also want to use lots of organic material on the topsoil. Household waste such as banana peels and eggshells provide your African Spear plant most of the needed nutrients.

Some pieces of pumice and tree barks also add a great ton of nutritional value to your plant’s potting soil. Using diatomaceous earth naturally helps get rid of pests that could potentially pose a threat to the well-being of your African Spear plant.

Light & Temperature

With an upscaled potential to grow indoors, the Sansevieria Cylindrica plant prefers bright, indirect light. If you’re looking to place the growing pot on a windowsill, it’s best to use sheer curtains so the sun rays can be filtered. Or better still, you can use a north-facing window. You might also want to consider placing the growing medium under a shaded patio where chances of filtering the natural light are a bit more up-scaled. It’s worth noting that areas with low light conditions will make your plant not bloom as it should when the lighting is optimal. The leaves, on the other hand, won’t appear bright. Sansevierias prefer room temperatures of between 50° to 85° degrees Fahrenheit.

Watering & Feeding

It’s quite possible for this Sansevieria variety to survive through the dry months without being watered. When it’s summer, water it only once a week and reduce the number of watering to once every month when winter checks in. When the soil is excessively wet, the roots will begin to rot. Once your African Spear plant matures, you will need to stretch out the watering intervals even further. Although it’s not a must to fertilize this succulent, you might want to feed it during the growing seasons, so it can yield the best foliage and bloom in the most favorable way. A well-balanced fertilizer would help it reach its peak without struggles.

Nitrogen helps your African Spear have a high-spirited growth rate, while potassium makes it bloom much faster. You also want to pick a fertilizer with phosphorus elements since they help your succulent fight commons diseases that commonly affect houseplants. During the winter months, feeding this variety isn’t necessary since the hormones that accelerate growth are usually numb when the temperatures are freezing.

Sansevieria Species, Snake Plant, African Spear, Spear Orchid, Skyline Spear

Family: Asparagaceae
Genus: Sansevieria (san-se-VEER-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: cylindrica (sil-IN-dree-kuh) (Info)
Synonym:Acyntha cylindrica
Synonym:Cordyline cylindrica
Synonym:Sansevieria angolensis
Synonym:Sansevieria livingstoniae


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen clean and dry seeds

Seed does not store well sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Casa de Oro-Mount Helix, California

Gardeners' Notes:

On Oct 15, 2016, ReneGB from Fort Worth, TX wrote:

I have had this plant since 1995. I got a rooting from my sister, who got it from my uncle who worked at an arboretum. It has flourished, and I have divided and shared it many times. I have moved it from Louisiana to Arizona to Texas. Mine bloom in winter, close to Christmas, when I bring them inside from the cold. I have grown them from the seeds also. They take off very slowly, but they do go.I have seeds stored in case something happens.Mine are so heavy and tall some of the "horns" droop over. I have watered them regularly and sparsely. They do well for me either way.I guess I've gotten lucky. I also use Miracle-Gro on them sometimes. I have repotted them a few times for fresh soil. We call them Rhino Horns because of their similarity of the texture of the animals' horns, and resilienc. read more e.

On Nov 2, 2011, backstroker from Paradise Valley, AZ wrote:

i have a very large terra cotta pot with two sanseverias. under a sky-light in a very sheltered, light-wise, covered entry-(30x16). It has 13 spears from 12" to 38" which are firm and very stable. I live in Phoenix
and it can be VERY cold sometimes and HOT five months of the year.
My watering plan is this: 2X a month (the 1st and the 15th) in hot weather
and once a month, on the 1st, in cold. THEY WILL ROT if you water them "regularly" and as they are expensive, be on the careful side!
They do not like the kind of sun we have so they really like diffused light.

On Aug 15, 2010, AmyMorie from Green Cove Springs, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Great rock garden plant in Los Angeles. Placed it at the bottom of a slope with gravel channels that gave it a little water (the gravel diverted overflow from a lawn at the top of the slope this was at the very bottom and got the least water). Tripled in size and started flowering in just a few months.

Does have sharp points on the ends great specimen when planted out-of-the-way!

On Apr 14, 2009, BeachTanned from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

I inadvertently placed this plant in an out-of-the-way spot and forgot to water all winter of 2008/09. The pot tipped and the root ball fell out of the pot and was exposed to the air all winter. The leaves became a bit shriveled but have responded well to repotting and watering this spring. Like its cousins, it seems very drought tolerant and forgiving of neglect. ([email protected])

On Dec 3, 2007, tropicsofohio from Hilliard, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

it has added 2 spikes from when i bought it last year, slow, but the spikes are over 4 feet tall. it is so amazing and has been growing in med. light. i love the foliage, i wonder if it gets a sizable trunk?

On Aug 6, 2007, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

It rots easily if overwatered. Good idea to move it or protect if you expect lots of rain.

On Jan 22, 2007, spaceman_spiff from Saint Petersburg, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I've had mine about a year and a half now, and it is currently blooming spectacularly with two very long flower spikes (see pics at the link above). So, at least in central Florida, it appears to be a winter bloomer.

I've had it sitting in a garden (potted) on the side of my house all this time (where it receives torrential downpours in our tropical summer rainy season) and the tons of rain never bothered it at all. Our typical winter lows dipping occasionally into the 30's have never bothered it, either.

I've brought it onto my covered back patio for the time being so that I could observe the flowering cycle and am just amazed by the incredible fragrance of the flowers!

I love unusual, easy-to-grow plants like this!

On Nov 27, 2006, deltadawn758 from Leesville, SC wrote:

I bought this plant from Wal-mart, of all places, for less than $2 and it has four spikes about1' (12 inches) long each. Really neat plant. Was online researching a lot of plants and succulents I have that were bought blindly and stumbled on the plants genus. After looking at images on Google, I found a photo and the rest, they say, is history. I grow mine in medium light and it seems to like it.

On Aug 23, 2006, vcb1 from Melbourne Beach, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I first got a cutting of this plant from the NY Botanical Gardens when I lived in NYC. I used to keep it inside on a window seat that got some nice sun but not all day. When I moved to FL, I planted it outside. It was getting too much sun and the spears were turning yellow so I moved it to a partial shade area and it's doing great. I like this plant -- it's tough and interesting looking. Easy to care for. It handles our winters that sometimes have brief 30 degree nights. It never shows any problem from that but of course it's only several hours at those temps.

On Jul 4, 2006, podster from Deep East Texas, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Sturdy sanseviera needing little care, only protection in the winter in zone 8a. This plant becomes huge and on occasion offers up blooms. Also reproduces from the roots. Plant tips serve the cats who like to rub on them, leaving the tips scarred. Not a plant for limited spaces. This one stays outdoors unless there is a severe freeze.

On Dec 11, 2005, CastIronPlant22 from Lompoc, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is a great Sansevieria. It is slow and do be careful, the tips of the plant can poke a eye out! I have mine in a sunny west window in the house, i have had it for 2 years now. Its very easy to take care of. Fertailizer sorta speeds things up, just a little bit. Sends new shoots up often. I have mine growing in a clay pot in cactus soil with Dr. Earth organic fertailizer mixed in and he seems to like it! Might be pricey for a Sansevieria, but is well worth the money. Try to find a well grown plant, seedlings take a while to reach the 2 foot mark.

On Oct 31, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

One of the easier exotic Sansevieria's to grow. I'm just a little surprised nobody has mentioned that this is not a plant to place near a walkway-those tips are sharp. not just a catchy name!

On Oct 25, 2005, manyhats from Palm Springs, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

this plant blooms for me every year, I have it in various size pots out side protected from full sun. loves to be left alone, root bound, let it dry out between waterings and don't even talk to it. flower spikes reach two feet high with hundreds of small off white flowers fragrant only at night. as many as thirty flowers open at the same time for one or two nights. I call this the "haute couture" of flower fragrance. I have several varieties but can't identify them. they started to bloom two weeks ago, will post a snap in this category for all of the flowers appear to be the same.

On Jan 29, 2005, Crasulady2 from Valley Village, CA wrote:

There is more than one form of this plant, 1, the leaves grow straight up and round,
2. the leave curve slightly

I grow mine in a green house in Calif. I keep the temp. no lower than 60 F I have never had a flower in the 10 years that I have had the plant, I find it grows very slowly.

I love it, no care at all, and is very forgiving. I do water and fertilize reg. during the warm months. I give a positive rating because I believe they are at least named correctly.

I have one plant from the Huntington Gardens,
my plant S. cyhlindrica var. patula N.E Brown, from the Vincent Price Estate.

On Sep 9, 2004, rfurnback from Anchorage, AK wrote:

I have grown this plant by rhizome for 28 years. It blooms every so often usualy when it is warm. I got the original from a plant sale at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. I have not seen one again. I made the pot to accentuate the tall spikes of green. One year it recieved no water when I got it back it just started growing again. I tell my friends it thrives on negelect.

On Oct 29, 2003, nipajo from Dallas, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is the easiest plant to grow. I bring it out in the spring and take it in during the winter. It thrives on total neglect and takes a lot of beatings from cats to squirrels it's also drought tolerant. This a great plant!

On Oct 26, 2003, Faithfultiger from Brighton,
United Kingdom wrote:

I live in the UK. I have successfully grown and propogated this plant for 20 years as a house-plant and never had any problems until I moved in with my boyfriend. He lives in a basement flat with no natural daylight - the only place where they could get any was in the covered yard out back. Unfortunately, over the first winter, every one of them has withered and died.
The moral? They require natural daylight AND warmth all year round!

On Sep 25, 2003, Maudie from Harvest, AL wrote:

This makes a good houseplant in areas where there is frost. In winter water sparingly to avoid root rotting. After all danger of frost take outside and water more freely. When propagating remember that cuttings will lose the white stripe whereas root divisions will remain the same as the mother plant.

On Sep 24, 2003, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This unusual plant is easily grown outdoors in central Florida. The stiff, long leaves are desirable line material for flower arranging. It multiplies easily by rhizomes.

Previous Article

Heat Zone Map Info – What Do Heat Zones Mean Anyway

Next Article

Currant Selechenskaya and Selechenskaya 2: characteristics and growing conditions