Snake Plants – How is Sansevieria Zeylanica different to Laurentii?

A collection of indoor plants is not complete without the snake plant. They’re known as everything all the way from St. George’s Sword to the less flattering Mother-in-Law’s Tongue these plants with sharp edges are actually families, with a variety of tall cousins to pick from. They’re usually sold under the same names, which makes it difficult to know which plant you actually own!

Sansevieria Zeylanica is a large, robust snake plant with smaller leaves, which have light waves of variegation that run across the entire length. Sansevieria laurentii, on the other side is smaller and has a an attractive yellow border surrounding its larger tough leaves.

Let’s look at the things that set these two cousins from each other.

The Difference between Sansevieria Zeylanica and Sansevieria laurentii


The plants are nearly identical, and the best way to distinguish them is by careful inspection of the leaves. One of the main differences in their leaves are D. laurentii’s distinct bright yellow border.

Sansevieria zeylanica does not have this band, with its mottled waves that run from edge to edge of every leaf. Apart from this obvious distinction however, there are some subtle structural differences too. S. Zeylanica has shorter, narrower leaves and sansevieria laurentii tends to be wider and more squatter.


As I’ll discuss more in Similarities These two plants are particularly prolific bloomers. However, if you can manage to get them to bloom they will bloom. S. Zeylanica blooms best in springtime. D. laurentii on contrary, could create a unique winter flower.

Growth Habit

Both are typically compact, and produce new leaves from the root plant material below the surface. But, D. Laurentii produces dense clusters of growth while S. Zeylanica is more susceptible to spreading.

It’s not afraid to send long-running roots around its garden bed or pot and small or single leaf clumps appearing in unexpected places.

Height and Structure

Their different growth patterns result in subtle variations in the structure of the plant. S. Zeylanica’s tendency spread out can result in an invasive plant that has plenty of space between its numerous clusters of leaves.

They can get quite tall, reaching 4 feet. Sansevieria laurentii, on the other is more likely to remain in clumps, forming tightly packed groups of leaves. It’s also smaller in comparison to S. zeylanica, topping at about 3 feet.

Sansevieria Laurentii snake plant

Similarities Between Sansevieria Zeylanica And Dracaena Laurentii

Leaf Structure

Although there are some aesthetic distinctions in the appearance of S. zeylanica and D. laurentii, they have certain similarities in the shape and leaves. Both plants have hardy leaves that have leathery surface and sharp edges.

In reality the common names they are given refer to the intensity, and both are being advertised as Dragon Tongue or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, as well as St George’s Sword.

Light Requirement

Both of these snake plants can be tolerant of a variety of lighting levels. Actually, I’ve cultivated both in beds outside which receive all day sunlight without a single issue.

Indoors, which translates into direct, bright light however they can tolerate some direct sunlight inside as well. They are able to do well in shaded areas and dim light, which makes them an ideal addition to your collection.

Watering Requirements

S. Zeylanica and D. Laurentii are both arid zone experts. Their leathery, long leaves shed only a tiny amount of water, even in the most difficult of conditions.

Dry them out between watering. Even during the growing season, every week is often sufficient, while in winter every month, once or twice is enough.


Any soil that drains can be used for these two tough plants. Although they prefer loam that is well-drained and sandy however, they can be acclimatized almost any kind of soil if it doesn’t hold in excess water.

They don’t really care whether the soil they’re in is acidic or alkaline, sandy or rocky, or is filled with organic matter. As long as it is able to drain the water, they’re content.


The plants listed here are not heavy feeders. General-purpose fertilizer, dilute to half strength once every three weeks, will work.

Over-fertilization can trigger rapid growth, with this plants producing leaflets that’re weak for their own weight.

Although they’re not harmful for the plant, the leaves fall and drop sadly instead of standing tall and proud. If you’re not impressed then you can cut them down to the level of the soil with no result.


It’s a rare feat to be able to get both of these plants to bloom consistently. They both prefer to reproduce by cuttings of leaves or division. However, if the plant is in a root-bound state or is otherwise stressed, it might decide that it’s better to plant seeds, and to do that, they require flowers.

Both species create delicate sprays of tiny blooms on long stems. The flowers are light and range from cream to white, with a slight green or yellow hue. They smell very pleasant and can release a shocking quantity of fragrance for such delicate flowers.


It’s a fool who attempts to eat one of these tough and leathery plants. Both are slightly toxic to eat, and can cause sickness or nausea. They are however not appealing, as their leaves resemble leather than greens for salad!

Pest and Diseases

There is no way to keep. zeylanica or D. laurentii prefer feet that are wet. Both of them are susceptible to root rot if you are excessively heavy-handed when it comes to water. Dry them out and they’ll be free of disease. A

They are a pest-proof plant, and might attract spider mites or mealy bugs, but not more than other plants and are well-adjusted to treatment. They are strong and durable.

I frequently recommend them to new plant owners because they are nearly unkillable because of their resistant to disease and pests.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)