Complete Care Guide to Sansevieria Pinguicula (aka Walking Snake Plant)
If you aren’t familiar with this snake plant, you are in for a treat.
The Sansevieria Pinguicula is also called the walking snake plant because of its unique growing style. In all aspects of its appearance, it looks like a typical sansevieria – except that it appears to be defying gravity! The foilage hovers above the ground, growing on what looks like legs or stilts – but is, in fact, their roots.
Fortunately, they retain the easy-to-care-for characteristics of other snake plants. They are also low-maintenance houseplants, ideal for enthusiasts with busy day-to-day lives.
Speaking of no time, we’ve compiled a quick summary of the care specifications for the Sansevieria Pinguicula below.
Sansevieria Pinguicula Care Summary
|Only water when soil is dry
|A position that receives plenty of bright indirect light
|50-95° Fahrenheit (10-35° Celsius)
|Any humidity, except for high humidity
|All-purpose houseplant fertilizer at the beginning of Spring
|Loamy well-draining soil
Images of Sansevieria Pinguicula
Getting to Know Sansevieria Pinguicula
This section will get up close and personal with the Sansevieria Pinguicula. By understanding where they come from (originate), we can appreciate their natural environment and try to mimic the conditions to allow them to thrive.
As we identified at the beginning, the Sansevieria Pinguicula has several other names.
Scientific Name: Dracaena Pinguicula
Common Names: Walking snake plant, walking sansevieria,
Like many other snake plants, the Sansevieria Pinguicula originates from Africa. It is known to grow more locally in Kenya in extremely dry climates that receive very little natural rainfall. With their unique hovering growth patterns, they can even populate areas with abundant bare rocks and clay soil.
These guys are one of the toughest snake plants around.
The Sansevieria Pinguicula belongs to the dwarf variety of snake plants. This makes sense, given their hovering growth style. Supporting sizeable heavy foliage with just a few aerial roots would be tough.
At maturity, their size will usually max out at around 1 foot (30 centimeters) in height. But it isn’t uncommon for them to stay smaller.
Their leaves do adopt a similar appearance to other snake plants, with thick fleshy leaves where they have water reserves to survive dry periods.
Their coloration is more of a muted dusty green than the rich dark vibrant greens we are used to with other snake plants.
There is also a variegated Sansevieria Pinguicula variety, where the foliage will sport thick yellow stripes running the length of the leaves.
Sansevieria Pinguicula Care Instructions
Okay, now that we know the Sansevieria Pinguicula, let’s explore their care requirements in detail.
Just because the Sansevieria Pinguicula can survive on very little water in its natural environment doesn’t mean we should withhold water when caring for them at home.
Generally, we allow the soil to dry between each watering completely.
The watering frequency will change with the seasons and can be as infrequent as once a month in the cooler periods of the year.
For guidance on seasonal water frequency, check out our article HERE.
The hardy walking snake plant can endure hours of direct sunlight when planted outdoors. However, once they adapt to indoor environments, their tolerance to direct sunlight lessens.
If you intend to keep Sansevieria Pinguicula indoors, we recommend positioning them in a position that receives plenty of indirect bright light.
They will tolerate brief periods of direct sunlight in the early morning and late evening. For more tips on snake plants and lighting conditions, check out our article HERE.
Temperature & Humidity Requirements
When it comes to temperature, the Sansevieria Pinguicula is much more forgiving than other snake plants. This is due to the harsh conditions they endure in Kenya. They are used to extreme heat and can even survive near freezing temperatures – both extremes that the difficult Kenyan desert experiences.
The recommended temperature range is 50-95° Fahrenheit (10-35° Celsius).
Be mindful of freezing temperatures. Water expands when frozen. And because your Sansevieria Pinguicula stores water in its leaves, frozen water can cause irreparable damage to the leaf cells.
For humidity, just about anything goes with the walking snake plant. As we have mentioned, it is a hardy plant that can endure varying climates.
We do caution growing them in high relative humidity environments. The increased moisture levels can inhibit some natural processes, such as transpiration, and potentially suffocate your snake plant. Plus, the constant moisture may promote diseases to develop on the foliage.
We have written an in-depth article discussing how humidity affects snake plants.
Soil & Fertilizer Requirements
One thing we always do when we introduce a new snake plant to our collection is to repot them into fresh homemade soil.
Choosing the best soil for your Sansevieria Pinguicula can significantly impact your plant parent experience. The proper 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 loamy 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
The most significant threat to indoor Sansevieria Pinguicula 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.
As we mentioned earlier, foliage can also attract leaf-borne fungal diseases in humid conditions, such as mildew and leaf spot. We explore these diseases and (more importantly) treatments HERE.
Regarding pests, walking 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) is to regularly inspect your Sansevieria Pinguicula 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.
The good news is, unlike other snake plants, Sansevieria Pinguicula can happily grow in any container. The only requirement is that it has plenty of drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. You can even use terracotta pots to help extract excess moisture from the soil.
How to Propagate Sansevieria Pinguicula
The easiest and most successful way to propagate Sansevieria Pinguicula is through division.
Because the separate plants are so easy to identify and divide, we recommend this method over other popular propagating techniques, such as growing leaf cuttings.
To propagate by plant division, follow these steps:
- Identify the Point of Separation – because the Sansevieria Pinguicula hovers above the ground, you don’t need to worry about uprooting your snake plants. Simply identify the point at which you would like to make the separation.
- Make the Cut – take a sharp knife sterilized with rubbing alcohol and make a clean cut.
- Repot your Plants – fill your propagation containers a third up with a good-quality potting mix (discussed above). Place each newly separated walking snake plant into a pot and backfill with quality potting mix until the soil level covers the roots. 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.
Sansevieria Pinguicula – Common Questions
Are Sansevieria Pinguicula Considered a Rare Snake Plant?
Yes – Sansevieria Pinguicula is a rare variety of snake plants. You can find some propagated walking snake plants in some specialized nurseries. However, they will likely not be elevated yet. It will take a few years for them to develop pups with aerial roots that show the characteristics of walking plants.