Complete Beginners Guide for the Sansevieria Ehrenbergii
The Sansevieria Ehrenbergii is a beautiful specimen from the snake plant family, also known as the Samurai Snake Plant – due to the unique edging on the foliage.
- unique edging creates a beautiful samurai sword appearance on the iconic snake plant leaves
- a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant indoor plant that is a great first plant for novices
- easy to propagate through the division of rhizomes or via leaf cuttings
Sansevieria Ehrenbergii Quick Care Summary
|Watering||Only water when soil is dry|
|Lighting||A position that receives plenty of bright indirect light|
|Temperature||50-90° Fahrenheit (10-32° Celsius)|
|Humidity||Relative humidity levels at 30-50%|
|Feeding||All-purpose houseplant fertilizer at the beginning of Spring|
|Soil||Loamy well-draining soil|
Getting to Know the Sansevieria Ehrenbergii
We always recommend to our readers to do their research on the plants they bring into their homes. Not only will it help with understanding their care requirements, but it will also help you to become a more mindful gardener.
To do this, we need to understand where they come from and their origins.
Scientific Name: Dracaena Hanningtonii
Common Name(s): Blue Sansevieria, Sword Sansevieria
You can find the Sansevieria Ehrenbergii growing in the wild on the Eastern parts of the African continent. They are local to countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, and Kenya.
They grow in dry, arid conditions in sandy substrate exposed to the hot desert sun. Even though their areas are considered to be tropical, the rainfall is sporadic. To cope with conditions with unpredictable rain, the Sansevieria Ehrenbergii developed a system of storing water in its thick fleshy leaves as reserves to draw down upon when required.
The main appeal of the Sansevieria Ehrenbergii is its unique edging on the foliage of the long sword-shaped leaves.
In our opinion, this actual snake plant looks like it has swords growing from the ground. Some Sansevieria Ehrenbergii specimens display curved divets along the leaf’s edges, as you would find along the edge of a serrated knife.
It isn’t hard to see why some refer to the Sansevieria Ehrenbergii as the Samurai Sword plant.
They belong to the dwarf grouping of the snake plants, with their leaves growing only around a foot (30 centimeters) tall. And their growth pattern is in a rosette pattern, with the edges curling upwards to form a cup shape.
The colorations range from the typical snake plant dark bottle green to sometimes showing a muted grey-green along the center of the leaves. The serrated edges are emphasized by yellow or gold trimming along the exterior.
The Sansevieria Ehrenbergii can produce flowers. However, conditions need to be optimal – even then, they may not have any blooms. Snake plants do not flower annually, so take plenty of pictures when they blossom.
The flowers look like fireworks in suspended animation and develop on stalks that grow from the base of the snake plant. The dainty flowers can range from cream color to off-white, sometimes with a pinkish hue.
Sansevieria Ehrenbergii Detailed Care Instructions
Now let’s get into the detailed care instructions for your Sansevieria Ehrenbergii.
Allow the soil to dry before adding more water to your Sansevieria Ehrenbergii.
Although this sounds straightforward, it can be more challenging to determine when the soil is dry.
The easiest way to determine when the soil is dry is to use a finger soil moisture test or a soil moisture meter from your nursery or online at Amazon.
The longer you care for your Ehrenbergii, the easier it will be to understand their water needs. Especially since the watering frequency changes as the seasons’ change.
We’ve put together a guide on water frequencies in different seasons to make things easier. Check out our article HERE.
Sansevieria Ehrenbergii require plenty of bright indirect sunlight to thrive.
Indoor Ehrenbergii can tolerate sunlight. However, only in short doses. If you expose your Sansevieria Ehrenbergii to direct sunlight, ensure it is only dappled sunlight in the early morning or late evening. Midday and afternoon sun is too intense for indoor snake plants and will quickly dehydrate the leaves, causing leaf burn.
When grown outdoors, the Sansevieria Ehrenbergii becomes hardened to the weather elements and has higher tolerances for direct sunlight.
Read more HERE for tips on lighting conditions for snake plants.
As succulents originate from the Eastern parts of the African climates, your Sansevieria Ehrenbergii will thrive in warm weather.
The recommended indoor temperature for Sansevieria Ehrenbergii is between 50-90° Fahrenheit (10-32° Celsius).
We caution all snake plant owners to be careful of extreme temperatures. At freezing temperatures, water expands when frozen. This means the water reserves in the Ehrenbergii leaves can freeze, causing irreparable damage to the leaf cells.
If your area is susceptible to freezing temperatures during winter, we recommend bringing your snake plants inside the house, where the temperature is at more acceptable levels.
Humidity isn’t talked about much when it comes to snake plants. However, it is essential in regulating your snake plant’s internal processes, such as transpiration.
Keep your Sansevieria Ehrenbergii in between 30 and 50% relative humidity.
Not enough moisture in the air (low humidity) accelerates the transpiration process, quickly dehydrates your plant, and causes water stress.
At the other end of the spectrum, too much moisture in the air (high humidity) will prevent transpiration at the other extreme, and your Sansevieria Ehrenbergii will suffocate.
We have written an in-depth article discussing how humidity affects snake plants.
Soil & Fertilizer Requirements
The properties of the soil you use for your Sansevieria Ehrenbergii can have profound effects on the health of your houseplant.
Choosing the best soil for your Sansevieria Ehrenbergii can significantly impact your plant parent experience. Quality soil will reduce the frequency of your watering, facilitate the uptake of nutrients by your snake plant, and reduce its susceptibility to pests and disease.
To be effective, your snake plant soil must be:
- a sandy loam consistency (light and airy), and
- contain some organic materials with water absorption properties.
We have devised a recipe for the perfect snake plant potting mix. You can also watch our video on making snake plant soil below.
Pest and Diseases
If there is one disease that you should familiarise yourself with for your Sansevieria Ehrenbergii, it is root rot.
Root rot is a fungal disease that can develop when your snake plant has been sitting in waterlogged soil from being overwatered. The process of eliminating root rot is straightforward. However, it is onerous. You can read our step-by-step guide for removing root rot in snake plants HERE.
Some leaf-borne fungal diseases, such as mildew and leaf spot, can infect your Ehrenbergii. We explore these diseases and (more importantly) treatments HERE.
Snake plants are most susceptible to sap-sucking insects like mealybugs, spider mites, and thrips. These pests have the equipment to penetrate the tough outer layer of the foliage and access the nutrient-rich sap.
The best way to detect any signs of pests (or disease, for that matter) is to regularly inspect your potted plants and manually remove any pests you see. The key is not letting their population get out of hand and become an infestation.
You can read more about symptoms of pest infestation HERE.
Like other snake plants, Sansevieria Ehrenbergii requires a tight root system to support its large leaves.
When placed in a container too large for their root system, they will refocus their energy on developing the roots rather than growing new leaves. While they are still growing (under the soil), they will appear to be experiencing stunted growth.
Your snake plant pot should also have adequate drainage with plenty of drainage holes. As we pointed out earlier, constantly wet soil rots your Ehrenbergii root system.
Sansevieria Ehrenbergii Propagation Techniques
To preserve the stunning variegated patterns and colors, we recommend only propagating your Ehrenbergii using the propagation method by plant division or by splitting snake plant pups.
Propagating your Ehrenbergii with a cutting in water or soil risks the new plant reverting to a regular pattern on the foliage, similar to the Sansevieria Trifasciata.
To propagate by plant division, follow these steps:
- Remove the root ball – lift the mother snake plant root ball out of its container.
- Clean and prepare the root ball – rinse your snake plant’s roots under warm water to clear the soil away.
- Identify the rhizome – find the rhizome attached to the baby Ehrenbergii snake pup. Cut the rhizome as close to the main root ball of the mother plant as possible. You want to retain as many thin roots as possible with the rhizome.
- Re-pot your Plants – re-pot your mother snake plant into the original pot with some fresh potting mix. At the same time, fill your propagation containers a third up with a good-quality potting mix (discussed above). Place each pup into the pot and backfill with quality potting mix until the soil level covers the white parts of the rhizome and pups. Give all your plants good watering and ensure all excess water drains out.
You can find step-by-step instructions HERE if you prefer to propagate using cuttings.