Sansevieria cylindrica

Overall Plant
Common Name: bowstring hemp 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers indoors
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Tolerate: Drought


Best grown in evenly moist to dry, well-draining soil in part shade. Can easily be grown as a houseplant and tolerates a wide range of cultural and environmental conditions. It prefers warm locations with bright, indirect light and some full sun. The leaves will not grow as tall or thick in shady conditions. Protect from hot afternoon sun. Use well-draining potting mix. Water semi-regularly during the growing season, with significantly reduced watering from fall through winter. Tolerant of drought. Shallow, clay pots are recommended because the roots of this plant are not deep and the large leaves can make pots top-heavy and prone to toppling. Indoor plants may be taken to shady outside locations in summer. Easily propagated by division. Hardy in Zones 10-11.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sansevieria cylindrica, commonly called bowstring hemp, is a rhizomatous, succulent perennial native to tropical southern Africa. Mature clumps will reach up to 6' tall and spread to fill a 2' area. Will slowly form dense colonies from underground, spreading rhizomes. The grey-green leaves have variable, horizontal, dark green stripes and are cylindrical in shape, narrowing to a point at their tips. The leaves emerge from a fan-shaped rosette and can reach up to 6' tall and 1" wide. An upright, spike-like inflorescence will emerge from the center of the rosettes rarely if grown indoors or seasonally if grown in the ground outdoors. The inflorescences can reach up to 3' tall with 1" long, tubular, white blooms. Plants are sometimes grown in braided forms.

Genus name honors an 18th-century Italian patron of horticulture.

The specific epithet cylindrica means "cylindrical", in reference to the shape of the foliage.

The common name bowstring hemp refers to the fibers that can be extracted from the foliage of some Sansevieria species.


Overwatering often causes root rot. Watch for mealybugs and spider mites.


Good low-maintenance indoor plant. Can make an interesting tall ground cover for shady areas where hardy.