Sansevieria cylindrica

Looking for a striking, easy-care houseplant? Time to try Sansevieria cylindrica!

Sansevieria cylindrica, also known as African Spear Plant or the Cylindrical Snake Plant, is a succulent often grown as a container houseplant. Native to Africa (Angola), Sansevieria cylindrica is very easy to grow and has minimal care requirements. It is known for its cylinder-shaped leaves, which each have a pointy tip.

Along with other snake plants, Cylindrical Snake Plant/African Spear was previously classified in the genus Sansevieria, but is now included in Dracaena. The new botanical Latin name for Sansevieria cylindrica is Dracaena angolensis. Read on to learn all about Sansevieria cylindrica!

Sansevieria cylindrica

Sansevieria cylindrica: African spear plant basics

Sansevieria cylindrica has pointy leaves that can grow up to seven feet tall in the wild. This plant does best when placed in a spot with indirect sunlight. Moderate to bright sunlight is best, though Sansevieria cylindrica has also been known to adapt to low-light conditions.

Your best bet is to put it close to a north-facing window if yours is an indoor plant. If it is an outdoor plant, the morning sunlight is healthy, but hot afternoon sunlight is not. If your plant experiences too much sun exposure, its leaves could turn yellow or shrivel up.

As far as potting soils go, your best choice would probably be to purchase a potting mix specifically made for succulents. Sansevieria cylindrica likes sandy soil with excellent drainage, such as you might find in a desert. A potting mix that does not retain water is ideal.

Sansevieria cylindrica plant care

Sansevieria cylindrica/African Spear is pretty easy to take care of and maintain. Here are some plant care basics.

Watering Sansevieria cylindrica

When watering your plant, make sure the soil is quite dry first. If you overwater the plant, the water will have a much harder time draining and your plant’s roots could rot. Make sure the soil has completely dried out and when it has, water the plant deeply. If your plant is in a container, you should empty the saucer of excess water frequently. Watering the plant once a week or even once every other week should be sufficient.

During winter months or especially cold seasons, you should spread your waterings out a little farther than you would during the growing season (about once a month should be fine). Again, make sure you empty the plant’s saucer of excess water. If it sits in water for too long, your African Spear will develop root rot and that could slowly kill the plant.

Temperature for Sansevieria cylindrica

In addition, Sansevieria cylindrica/African Spear tends to be happy in fairly warm temperatures. You should probably keep it in a room that’s 60-73 degrees or warmer. It might stay happy in temperatures as low as 50 degrees but that can only last for short periods of time. Hot and dry climates are usually the best. Cold climates can quickly kill these plants, so don’t allow the temperature to drop for too long. Humidity is less of an issue unless your soil is saturated.

Best potting soil for Sansevieria cylindrica

The best potting mixes for Sansevieria cylindrical tend to be succulent potting soils that drain out excess water quickly. Look for a cactus/succulent mix that contains perlite and perhaps some sand.

Fertilizer for Sansevieria cylindrica

Sansevieria cylindrica thrives in lean soil and for this reason, it does not require a whole lot of fertilizer. Purchase a succulent fertilizer and give your plant doses diluted to half strength at least once a month. You can do this from spring to fall, but during the winter, fertilization is not necessary.

Sansevieria cylindrica plant health: Issues & illnesses

Sansevieria cylindrica is a sturdy plant that can withstand quite a lot of plant neglect. Obviously, if you want to keep it healthy and thriving, you should care for it as best you can, but it usually takes a lot to break it down. One thing that can cause its health to deteriorate quickly is overwatering. If the bases of the leaves look swollen and/or yellow, this could mean that you have been overwatering it.

Conversely, you do not want to underwater your Sansevieria cylindrica. Symptoms of dehydration might include bent leaves or leaves that are turning brown around the edges. It is a hardy plant, but that does not mean it is invincible. Water once every week or two (and water even less in the winter). Browning leaves can also mean that your plant is in an environment that’s too cold. If you have it in a drafty spot, consider moving it to a warmer one.

If the leaves are yellow, swollen, or mushy, that likely means you have overwatered the plant, and could also mean the Sansevieria cylindrica has developed root rot. If the problem is not too serious, let the plant’s soil dry out completely before you water it again. You should also empty the saucer constantly so there is no excess water.

If you suspect your African Spear has developed serious root rot, your best bet is to repot it with dry, well-draining potting soil. Once you have removed the Sansevieria cylindrica plant from its pot, take care to cut away any brown or mushy roots. Do the same with any unhealthy leaves. Repot healthy rhizomes to get the plant to grow again. If none of them can be saved, throw them out. Your next best bet is to propagate a few healthy leaves to try to create new plants.

Reasons to grow Sansevieria cylindrica

Sansevieria Cylindrica is an incredibly tough plant. It can survive hot and harsh conditions. Like all plants, it needs some care from time to time, but its maintenance needs are very low. If you are a plant owner who needs something that you don’t have to worry about killing off quickly, African Spear is definitely for you.

Not only is Sansevieria cylindrica incredibly hard to kill, but they require remarkably little maintenance to stay alive. They rarely require pruning and only require repotting every year or two. As long as you water and fertilize on schedule and keep it in a warm room, your Sansevieria cylindrica will most likely thrive and have very few problems. It is not a finicky plant and can often survive in both sun and shade.

Unlike a lot of other plants, Sansevieria cylindrica is not susceptible to that many diseases or pests. The biggest thing you might need to worry about with your plant is root rot. If root rot is left untreated, it can cause a series of different fungal infections which could quite possibly kill your plant. As long as you check for and treat root rot properly, there is little else disease-wise that might give you any cause for concern.

Problems growing Sansevieria cylindrica

It is a tough plant, but Sansevieria cylindrica/African Spear will definitely suffer if it has been overwatered or the soil has been left undrained. This plant is native to the African desert where it is hot and dry. Humidity and excess moisture more than anything else will wreak havoc on your plant’s health. If the soil has not been able to drain properly, your Sansevieria cylindrica will be sitting in water and likely develop root rot.

While Sansevieria cylindrica is not terribly susceptible to pests, vine weevils can become especially irritating to deal with (you will want to look for tiny, black, beetle-like insects). These little bugs will eat away at your plant’s leaves, making them look jagged and shriveled. If the weevils are allowed to work their way down the leaves, they could potentially even cause considerable damage to the plant’s roots at which point it could be too far gone to treat. Try to catch pest problems early by picking off visible insects and then treating the whole plant weekly with an organic insecticide.


Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a quintessential Canadian gardener. An engineer by trade, she tends to an ever-expanding collection of plants. In her world, laughter blooms as freely as her flowers, and every plant is raised with a dash of Canadian grit.

Mary Jane is a certified Master Gardener and also holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's also a proud mom of three, teaching her little sprouts the crucial difference between a garden friend and foe.

When she's not playing in the dirt, Mary Jane revels in her love for Taylor Swift, Gilmore Girls, ice hockey, and the surprisingly soothing sounds of bluegrass covers of classic hip-hop songs. She invites you to join her garden party, a place where you can share in the joy of growing and where every day is a new opportunity to find the perfect spot for yet another plant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *