Sansevieria Pinguicula – Important Care Tips

Sansevieria pinguicula is a really bizarre African plant. It is known as the walking Sansevieria because of its roots that grow out of the soil surface. They elevate the whole plant, resembling legs. At the end of each of these aerial roots grows a new plant.

If you enjoy collecting unusual plants, Sansevieria pinguicula is one you will love. The thick, pointy foliage is interesting to look at and resembles a miniature Agave plant. This drought-hardy, tough plant is easy to care for because it naturally grows in arid conditions.

Even if you are new to keeping houseplants, you should have great success growing the walking Sansevieria. This article discusses the weird and wonderful Sansevieria pinguicula – where it comes from and how to cultivate, maintain and propagate it.

Sansevieria Pinguicula Characteristics

Sansevieria Pinguicula

This Sansevieria looks very different to others in this genus. This is because Sansevieria pinguicula actually belongs to the genus Dracaena. It is also called Dracaena pinguicula. It is a member of the Asparagaceae family.

This evergreen perennial grows slowly during the warmer months of the year. Its growth grinds to a halt over winter when it enters a state of dormancy.

The word ‘pinguis’ is Latin for fat. The plant is named for its thick, pointy leaves that end in sharp spines. It has a very short stem, and the leaves grow upward and outward in a rosette shape.

The leaves are fleshy and succulent with a waxy coating to prevent moisture loss. They are 1 to 1.5 inches thick and concave in shape, with a wide channel running down the middle. The leaf tips and edges are red brown, and they grow up to a foot in height.

Unlike other Sansevieria species that have variegated foliage, Sansevieria pinguicula has blue-green leaves that are uniform in color. Variegated varieties of this species are ultra-rare and highly sought after by collectors.

This plant’s defining characteristic is its roots. These grow like stilts below the plant, lifting it off the ground. Sansevieria pinguicula has thick, rhizomatous roots that are covered in a cuticle to prevent water loss.

Its flowers appear on a long flowering stalk. Each stalk holds a cluster of 5 or 6 light brown blooms. They are oddly shaped, resembling little bottles.

Related: Sansevieria Mikado – Complete Care Guide

Native Habitat Of Sansevieria Pinguicula

The walking Sansevieria originates from Africa. In 1943, it was first described by the Swiss botanist Peter René Oscar Bally.

Sansevieria pinguicula is endemic to extremely arid regions of Kenya. This plant has many adaptations that allow it to survive hot, dry conditions. In its native habitat, it grows in dry, exposed, rocky soil.

Guide To Growing Sansevieria Pinguicula

Potted Sansevieria Pinguicula

As long as you keep this plant warm and water it regularly, it should be perfectly happy. Despite their rarity, they are really easy to grow and care for.

Soil Type

Sansevieria pinguicula requires loose, porous soil with excellent drainage. The soil should contain some organic matter to retain some water.

Potting mixture designed for cacti and succulents works well for this plant. You can also create your own potting mix.

Combine 50% organic potting soil with gravel, perlite, and coco peat/coconut coir. This combination of organic and inorganic matter is perfect for Sansevieria pinguicula.

It is critical to use a substrate that drains freely to prevent the risk of overwatering and root rot. They absolutely cannot tolerate their roots being in soggy, saturated soil.


Classified as a xerophytic plant, this Sansevieria is seriously drought hardy. However, this does not mean the plant does not require regular watering.

Give it a deep watering, and then wait until the soil in the pot has dried almost 100% before watering again. Watering it too frequently will cause the plant to suffer.

It will take a while for you to get used to how often your walking Sansevieria requires water. Remember that it will need more water during spring and summer than in winter.


This plant enjoys moderate lighting conditions. It can tolerate growing in direct sun or very deep shade, but it prefers bright, indirect sunlight.

In very harsh, direct sun, the leaves can burn. In dark shade, the leaves turn a duller shade of green and grow very long and thin. Therefore, it is best to find a happy medium for this plant.

If you are growing it outdoors, choose a spot with partial sun or dappled shade, especially if you live in a tropical climate. In non-tropical climates, you can get away with growing them outdoors in full sun.


Because of where it comes from, the walking Sansevieria is an incredibly heat-tolerant species. It is cold temperatures you need to be wary of. They do not enjoy temperatures below 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) and cannot tolerate frost.

If the soil is dry, it can survive temperatures as low as 40 degrees F (5 degrees C). But if the soil is wet and the temperature dips below 45 degrees F (7 degrees C), the plant can die.

The ideal daytime temperature range for Sansevieria pinguicula is between 77- and 95-degrees F (25 to 35 degrees C). At night, the temperature should stay between 50- and 68-degrees F (10 to 20 degrees C) to keep this plant comfortable.


Because it is so well-adapted to extremely arid conditions, humidity really is not a factor to be concerned about. This plant can survive at any humidity level.

Misting the leaves or placing a humidifier near the plant is unlikely to make a difference to its growth. Just let it be!


Sansevieria pinguicula is a very slow grower. If you want to boost its rate of growth slightly, feed it once during the growing season with a balanced organic liquid fertilizer.

Feeding it more often than this will not benefit the plant. Never feed this plant during winter while it is dormant.

Maintaining and Propagating Sansevieria Pinguicula

This plant’s super slow growth rate makes it very low maintenance. They do not require annual repotting or pruning of any kind.

Follow this easy guide for maintaining your walking Sansevieria:

Repotting Sansevieria Pinguicula

Soil for repotting

Because it grows so slowly, you probably will not need to repot your Sansevieria pinguicula for 3 to 5 years. The roots need space in the pot to grow, and when the roots outgrow the pot, you will notice the plant’s growth slow down even more.

When it becomes root-bound, it is time to repot it into a larger container. Choose a pot that is about 2 inches wider than the old pot and make sure it has holes for drainage.

Gently invert the plant to remove it from its pot. Use your fingertips to gently tease the roots apart if they have matted together. Shake off most of the old potting soil. Plant it into its new pot in a fresh potting mixture.

How To Propagate Sansevieria Pinguicula

The fastest way to propagate walking Sansevieria is by division. The plant essentially does all the work of propagating for you. You do not even have to take it out of its pot!

Wait for the roots (called aerial stolons) to grow out of the soil. It will look as if your Sansevieria is walking on stilts.

At the end of each of the roots will grow a new little rosette. It will take a long time for the new plantlets to grow their own roots.

When the plantlets have their own little stilt-like roots that are at least 1.2 inches long, you can cut them off of the parent plant and put them into their own little pots.

Do not cut the plantlets off before they have rooted properly! They will not survive because they do not have enough energy and water stored in their tiny leaves to grow roots.

Plant the new little plants in moist, well-aerated potting soil and keep them regularly watered.

Also Check: Sansevieria Masoniana – Complete Plant Care Guide

Pests and Diseases

Sansevieria pinguicula is not susceptible to any major pests or diseases. Regularly wipe down the leaves to keep them free of dust, and at the same time, keep an eye out for insect pests like mealybugs, spider mites, or aphids.

To prevent fungal infections of the leaves, do not allow drops of water to remain on the foliage for extended periods. Root rot is an issue if this plant is overwatered.


This rare and unusual plant is easy to care for, as long as you follow a few basic guidelines. Given the right growing conditions, they will grace us will their exotic, spikey looks for many years.