Sansevieria kirkii 'Silver Blue'

Common Name: mother-in-law's tongue 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asparagaceae
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers indoors
Bloom Description: Rarely flowers indoors
Sun: Part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen


Winter hardy to USDA Zone 10-12. In St. Louis, this is an easy-to-grow houseplant that tolerates a wide range of cultural and environmental conditions. It prefers warm, bright locations, but tolerates some shade. Protect from hot afternoon sun. Best grown in a well-draining potting mix. Water regularly during the growing season, with significantly reduced watering from fall to late winter. Do not pour water on the center of the rosette. Indoor plants may be placed in shady outside locations in summer. Propagate by leaf cuttings or dividing offsets.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sansevieria kirkii is an evergreen, succulent perennial native to Tanzania and parts of surrounding tropical eastern Africa. The flattened, stiff, oblanceolate, dark grey-green leaves have white mottling, slightly wavy margins and can reach up to 3' long and 3" wide. The foliage emerges from a creeping, underground rhizome forming a procumbent to upright rosette of 3-4 leaves. Creamy white, tubular flowers are held in a rounded cluster up to 8" in diameter atop a stout flowering stalk.

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

The specific epithet kirkii honors Sir John Kirk (1832-1922), Scottish physician and explorer who collected living specimens of this species and sent them to the Royal Gardens at Kew.

'Silver Blue' features low-growing rosettes of stiff, thickened, blue-grey foliage with dark green horizontal and vertical stripes. The leaves can reach up to 1' long and 4" wide. The leaf margins are wavy and tinged with white and red. Mature rosettes will reach around 6" tall and 1' wide. Will slowly spread by underground rhizomes to form small colonies.


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


Good low-maintenance indoor plant.