Sansevieria gracilis (Variegated Sansevieria)

Sansevieria gracilis

Last updated on July 6th, 2022 at 10:33 am

Sansevieria gracilis (variegated sansevieria) is a type of plant that originates from West Africa and can reach heights of more than 6 feet tall. It’s also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, snake plant, and lucky plant among other names. The variegated version has green and white leaves in various shades of both colors, which makes it ideal as an attractive houseplant.

An easy-to-grow, Sansevieria gracilis is a non-toxic houseplant with variegated leaves and thick upright stalks. This succulent, native to Africa and Asia, belongs to the Asparagaceae family, which includes various species of Sansevieria, including snake plant and mother-in-law’s tongue.

Origin and distribution

Sansevieria gracilis

Sansevieria gracilis originates from Africa. It is native to tropical and subtropical climates and is drought tolerant once established. This variety prefers full sun, but can also tolerate light shade. It should be planted in well-drained soil that has a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, making it well suited for growing indoors with lights as long as its plant requirements are met.

Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant, variegated sansevieria features stiff upright leaves that grow 2 feet tall by 1 foot wide. The leaves have a dark green background with narrow yellow stripes along their edges.

In addition to being grown outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 10 through 12, Sansevieria gracilis is commonly used as an indoor houseplant due to its tolerance to low light levels and ability to withstand dry air conditions when grown without frequent watering.

Sansevieria gracilis propagation

Sansevieria gracilis

Sansevieria gracilis is propagated by dividing rhizomes. The best time to do so is in early spring before new growth starts, but during hot weather, it can be done as late as midsummer.

The first step in propagation is preparing your parent plant: choose a well-established rosette that has not flowered recently. Gently remove it from its container and allow it to drain briefly, then separate its roots using clean shears or sharp pruning scissors.

Try not to damage any of the leaves or leave any behind because you will use them later for cuttings. Next, place your parent plant on top of the fresh potting mix. Then carefully insert each leaf into a small hole made with a pencil or chopstick.

Sansevieria robusta (Mother In Laws Tongue Plant)

Firmly press down around each leaf to secure it into place and water thoroughly until water begins to run out of drainage holes at the bottom of your potter’s clay pot. Finally, place your newly repotted plant in an area with indirect sunlight where temperatures remain between 60–75 degrees F until new growth appears about 6 weeks after repotting.

Plants should be allowed to dry out between watering and fertilization. In summer they may need weekly watering; in winter they should be kept on drier soil and watered only every 3–4 weeks. Fertilize plants with a diluted liquid fertilizer at half strength once a month from mid-spring through mid-fall.

Use a high nitrogen fertilizer for lush foliage and rapid growth. Stop fertilizing in late fall or early winter when temperatures drop below 50 degrees F. When repotting, use a fresh potting mix to avoid introducing pests into your plant’s environment.

Sansevieria gracilis care information

Sansevieria gracilis

Although Sansevieria gracilis is a succulent, it needs to be watered regularly. When watering your plant, avoid getting water on its leaves because it will cause them to rot. Fertilize your Sansevieria gracilis monthly during spring and summer with a fertilizer that has an N-P-K ratio of 5-10-5 or 10-10-10. If you notice little white spots on your plant, you’re probably overfeeding it.

Light requirement

Place Sansevieria gracilis in a bright location, such as a south-facing window. The plant will tolerate low-light environments, but it won’t thrive and its leaves may be dull in color. If you don’t have a suitable spot for your plant, consider investing in fluorescent grow lights.

These lights emit light at wavelengths that are visible to plants—but not to humans—and are relatively inexpensive to purchase and operate. If you do use grow lights, keep them about 6 inches above your plants so they don’t burn or dry out; also make sure they aren’t too hot to touch when on for several hours each day.

Soil/potting mix

Sansevieria gracilis, like many succulents, is best grown in well-draining soil. If growing your sansevieria in a pot, be sure to use a commercial potting mix or create your own with equal parts of sand and potting soil. Never use garden soil because it may stay too wet and cause root rot.

Good drainage is particularly important if you are growing in an earthenware or terracotta container because these containers can wick water away from plant roots. To ensure good drainage, choose a pot that has holes in its bottom or add small rocks to allow for proper aeration.

Sansevieria Whitney Care: Perfect Houseplant For Beginners

You can also place broken pieces of crockery at the bottom of your pot for extra drainage. In addition, consider adding an inch or two of gravel around your potted plants’ roots; then fill up your pots with soil/potting mix so that only about one-third of each plant’s base remains above ground level.


Water Sansevieria gracilis when their soil is dry to about a half-inch deep. Allow it to dry between waterings so that your plant doesn’t get too much water in one go. Like all succulents, sansevierias need plenty of drainages. You can add extra drainage by placing pebbles at the bottom of your pot or by using a saucer underneath your pot.

To check whether your plant needs water, feel how heavy it is. If it feels light, then you should probably give it some water. Overwatering will kill your plant! It’s better to under-water than over-water with these plants because they don’t like wet feet and will often rot if they sit in standing water for too long.


Sansevieria gracilis does not need too much fertilizer, but if you really want to give it a boost, opt for a time-release fertilizer. This will slowly supply your plant with nutrients over time without causing your potting soil to become overly moist or dirty. Watering is also an option if you are looking for ways to provide more nutrients.

You should fertilize every few months with a diluted solution of liquid houseplant food. It’s important to note that too much fertilizer can be harmful to sansevieria and other plants in your home. It’s best to follow instructions on packages when using any type of fertilizer.


Sansevieria gracilis tolerates a wide range of temperatures. However, they thrive best in warm, humid environments around 70 degrees Fahrenheit with an average humidity of 70 percent. Variegated sansevierias can be placed outside during warmer months, but they need to be brought inside in colder weather, where they can tolerate temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

They do not like being exposed to freezing temperatures and will die if left outdoors when it freezes. It is recommended that you bring them indoors before nightfall or frost begins to form on your windowsills.


Since Sansevieria gracilis plants are popular houseplants, it’s important to keep them in an environment with high levels of humidity. Misting them every few days can help increase your plant’s ability to absorb nutrients and stay hydrated. When choosing a place for your plant, make sure you have a spot that will provide a lot of light. If you choose to put it near a window, make sure it’s not directly facing one or it may burn and dry out!

Sansevieria Night Owl Care

The ideal humidity range for your Sansevieria gracilis is between 40-50%. If you have a humidifier, you can place it near your plant to increase its moisture levels. You can also use a spray bottle to mist your plant. If you don’t have a humidifier or spray bottle, simply fill up a bowl with water and put it next to your plant.


If your variegated sansevieria looks stunted or leggy, try pruning it to promote new growth. To do so, simply cut any section of your plant that is at least 1/3 of its size in width with a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears. Your Sansevieria gracilis will soon send out new shoots and look lush once again. You can also propagate your sansevieria by taking stem cuttings, which are easy to root using just water and perlite. Rooting hormone is not necessary for propagation using this method.

When to repot

An adult Sansevieria gracilis doesn’t need to be repotted as often as some other plants. However, if it becomes root bound in its current pot, it should be transplanted into a larger container. Repot in spring or early summer when new growth has hardened off. Keep in mind that smaller containers will have less room for roots to grow and spread, so they may need more frequent repotting than a large container.


Variegated sansevieria are somewhat different from other types of sansevierias. While most sansevieiras need very little maintenance, variegated sansevierias require a dormancy period in order to keep their foliage looking beautiful. The time you place your plant in a dormant state will determine how many leaves you will lose and which color is best for your home or office décor.

If you’re planning on purchasing a Sansevieria gracilis, it’s important that you find out when it needs to be placed in dormancy. This way, you can ensure that your plant looks its best throughout its lifetime.

Sansevieria gracilis flower & fragrance

Sansevieria gracilis

The elegant and unusual blooms of variegated sansevieria are small, upright flowers on long, thin stalks that protrude up to 1-2 inches above the leaves. They form at irregular intervals on stems emerging from nodes throughout a plant’s leafy canopy. They are white with yellow centers and bloom from spring through fall. After blooming, these blossoms wither away.

Sansevieria Trifasciata Twist (Twisted Sister Plant)

Growth rate

It is slow-growing. The sansevieria gracilis grows from 3 to 5 inches a year, so you won’t need to repot it for several years. It can grow up to 6 feet tall outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11 and tolerates temperatures down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but it usually grows much shorter indoors because of lower light levels.


Despite being a common houseplant, Sansevieria gracilis is very toxic. The sap from these plants causes redness and inflammation of the eyes, mouth, and throat. In extreme cases, the consumption of leaves can cause loss of consciousness. Keep children and pets away from these plants.

USDA hardiness zones

Sansevieria gracilis thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 12. If you live outside of these zones, it’s still possible to grow sansevieria, but they may require a little extra care. In colder climates, you can protect your plant by bringing it indoors during the winter months. It’s also important to note that sansevieria plants need sunlight to thrive and don’t do well when kept in shaded areas for long periods of time.

Pests and diseases

Keep an eye out for insect or disease damage. Leaves can become yellow and drop off if a plant gets too much or too little water, not enough sunlight, insufficient air circulation or heat, or has been invaded by pests such as aphids. It’s easy to treat insect infestations with natural products like neem oil; use them according to package directions, but remember that some may need more than one application to work.

Treating diseases is trickier since many are caused by fungi or bacteria that you can’t see without a microscope.

The best defense is prevention: Buy plants from reputable sources, inspect new additions closely before bringing them home and isolate any new arrivals for at least two weeks so they don’t infect your other plants.


The Sansevieria gracilis is a great addition to any household. This houseplant should be kept in moderate lighting and watered twice a week when it’s root-bound. The variegated sansevieria can be identified by its yellow-green leaves with white stripes running on them.

These plants are fairly simple to care for and make great additions to your home decor as well. It is advised that you give them attention every day so they will continue looking their best.