Complete Care Guide for Sansevieria Kirkii
Sansevieria Kirkii has a unique but strangely attractive appearance as a snake plant. With leaves coming in various colors, this small to medium-sized sansevieria will draw the attention of anyone passing by.
- includes many variations of color and leaf shape within the Kirkii species
- a hardy houseplant that is drought tolerant, making them ideal for busy plant parents
- easy to propagate using multiple methods such as division from rhizome or cuttings
Sansevieria Kirkii Care Summary
|Watering||Only water when soil is dry|
|Lighting||A position that receives an abundance of indirect sunlight|
|Temperature||60-90° Fahrenheit (15-32° Celsius)|
|Feeding||All-purpose houseplant fertilizer at the beginning of Spring|
|Soil||Loamy well-draining soil|
Images of Sansevieria Kirkii
Getting to Know Sansevieria Kirkii
Whether you are looking to buy or own a Sansevieria Kirkii, we believe an excellent step to successfully growing these beautiful snake plants at home is understanding how they grow in their natural environment.
So with that in mind, let’s get to know the Sansevieria Kirkii.
Scientific Name: Dracaena Pethera
Common Name(s): Sansevieria Kirkii, Star Sansevieria
Naturally growing in the Eastern parts of Africa, and can be found in regions like Tanzania and other tropical areas.
Sansevieria Kirkii naturally inhabits dry arid habitats where rainfall is unpredictable and sparse—making them drought tolerant and ideal houseplants that can handle a bit of neglect from busy owners.
One of the most surprising things about the Sansevieria Kirkii is its appearance.
It takes on the look of a few different varieties of other snake plants, forming its unique look. Some versions of the Sansevieria Kirkii have broad leaves with harsh and ragged edges that form small ground-dwelling rosettes.
While other Sansevieria Kirkii (the star variety) can have long, slender leaves that look like spears.
The colors can vary from dusty brown and copper (Sansevieria Kirkii Coppertone) to grey-green colorations (Sansevieria Kirkii Silver Blue) to the more common dark bottle green with light green variegated patterns that we are used to seeing in snake plants.
It is incredible how diverse the appearance can be within just one subset of the species.
If that wasn’t enough, the flowers that the Sansevieria Kirkii produce look very different from the typical snake plant flower.
The flower stems are not as tall as other varieties of snake plants, instead being little bushels of flowers with numerous thin flowers shooting out from one central spot.
Sansevieria Kirkii Detailed Care Instructions
This section will build upon the care summary at the beginning of the guide. We’ll explore why the Sansevieria Kirkii requires these specific care requirements and provide links to more detailed resources.
Allow the soil to dry before adding more water to your Sansevieria Kirkii.
As you care for your Kirkii, you will begin to get a feel for when it needs more water. However, if you are unsure how to tell when the soil is dry, try to use the finger soil moisture test or a soil moisture meter from your nursery or online at Amazon.
The frequency of watering will change from season to season. In winter, the Sanseveria Kirkii goes into a dormant state. This means you may only be watering once a month. In spring and summer (the growing months), you may need to water it once a fortnight or more, depending on the weather conditions.
For guidance on seasonal water frequency, check out our article HERE.
Provide your Sansevieria Kirkii with plenty of bright indirect sunlight.
Indoor Sansevieria Kirkii can tolerate sunlight. However, only in short doses. 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 Kirkii 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 areas in Tanzania, your Sansevieria Kirkii will thrive in warm weather.
The recommended indoor temperature for Kirkii is between 60-90° Fahrenheit (15-32° Celsius).
We caution all snake plant owners to be careful of extreme temperatures. Water expands when frozen. This means the water reserves in the Kirkii leaves can freeze, causing irreparable damage to the leaf cells.
If you live in an area that experiences freezing temperatures, we recommend bringing your snake plants inside the house during winter. This will ensure the leaves are protected against frost and damage.
Keep your Sansevieria Kirkii in between 30 and 50% relative humidity.
Humidity isn’t always the most talked about topic regarding snake plants. However, it is essential for regulating their internal processes, like transpiration.
Not enough moisture in the air (low humidity) accelerates the transpiration process, quickly dehydrates your plant, and causes water stress.
Too much moisture (high humidity) will prevent transpiration at the other extreme, and your Sansevieria Kirkii will suffocate.
We have written an in-depth article discussing how humidity affects snake plants.
Soil & Fertilizer Requirements
Choosing the best soil for your Sansevieria Kirkii 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
Root rot is the primary disease you should concern yourself for your Sansevieria Kirkii.
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.
Other less common leaf-borne fungal diseases include mildew and leaf spot, which can infect your Kirkii. 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 problems you see. The key is not letting their population get out of hand, becoming an infestation.
You can read more about symptoms of pest infestation HERE.
Like other snake plants, Sansevieria Kirkii 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 Kirkii’s root system.
Sansevieria Kirkii Propagation Techniques
To preserve the stunning variegated patterns and colors, we recommend only propagating your Kirkii using the propagation method by plant division or by splitting snake plant pups.
Propagating your Kirkii 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 Kirkii 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.