One very bizarre plant, the Sansevieria pinguicula is better known as the Walking Sansevieria. This is due to its unusual growth habit. Sansevieria pinguicula rhizomes do not grow underground, but the plant rather sprouts aerial stolons.
Its scientific name, pinguicula, is derived from the Latin language. “Pinguis” translates to the meaning “fat”. This is attributed to the shape of this plant’s leaves.
The Walking Sansevieria is native to the eastern parts of Africa. Specifically, this plant is found in the more arid regions of Kenya.
Sansevieria pinguicula is a succulent with a rather short stem. It resembles the Agave plant and is mistaken for a dwarf of this species. The Walking Sansevieria, however, belongs to the Dracaena genus.
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Sansevieria Pinguicula Care Guide
Keeping a Sansevieria pinguicula happy and looking its best is an easy task. This plant likes bright, indirect light and prefers to be watered only once its soil has dried out. Although specific humidity levels aren’t required the Walking Sansevieria likes to be kept in warmer temperatures. Well-draining soil is a must-have for this succulent plant.
Like any other succulent, the Walking Sansevieria prefers a soil that has excellent drainage. Soils that are porous work great. It may even be beneficial for your to create your own soil mix!
This mix should consist of a combination of both inorganic materials and organic materials. At most, your organic to inorganic parts should be split of fifty-fifty. A higher organic part equates to better drainage.
Examples of some materials that can be used are peat, perlite, decomposed granite, gravel, bark chips, or even coconut coir. For the other part of the mix, regular soil will do the job.
Other than creating your own mix, a potting mix for succulents can also be used. It is imperative that the soil you use for your Sansevieria pinguicula drains water freely. These plants are susceptible to root rot and soggy soil is its kryptonite.
Walking Sansevieria plants are quite tolerant and will adjust to a variety of light levels. This plant can handle anything from full, direct sunlight to deep shade. Although not all of these levels of light are the Sansevieria Pinguicula’s ideal.
Under certain conditions, your plant may experience a bit of ‘wear and tear’ as it were. Being exposed to intense, direct sun may result in leaf burns. Placed in a spot with little to no sun, a deeply shaded area, you may notice your Walking Sansevieria’s leaves start to dull in color.
There is, however, a happy medium for your Sansevieria pinguicula. You can’t go wrong with placing your plant in bright but indirect light. This light level is ideal for your Walking Sansevieria plant’s growth.
Sansevieria pinguicula plants grown outdoors prefer different light levels. If grown in a region that is tropical they prefer to be in a spot that is shaded or semi-shaded. In non-tropical climates, it will easily tolerate being in full sun.
Less is more when thinking about watering your Sansevieria pinguicula. These plants are drought-tolerant and frequent watering will result in a suffering plant.
Watering your Walking Sansevieria plant once every one to two weeks is perfect. Ideally, your plant’s soil should have dried out before you even consider giving it more water.
During the warmer months of the year, your Walking Sansevieria experiences its growing season. This is when your plant will require its watering most frequently. But as soon as temperatures begin to drop, the amount and frequency of watering should drop too.
During the colder winter months, watering your Sansevieria pinguicula is only necessary once a month.
The sure-fire way to know when to water your plant is to check its soil. If the soil around your plant, about as deep as your first knuckle, is dry it is time for a watering!
The Walking Sansevieria has excellent heat tolerance. As this is a plant native to dry and arid regions, it is understandable that it prefers to be in warmer temperatures. Fluctuating temperatures can be tolerated but freezing temperatures are not this plant’s ideal.
For best-growing results, it is recommended that you keep your Sansevieria pinguicula in daytime temperatures between 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F). During the night, cooler temperatures of between 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F) are comfortable for your plant.
Sansevieria pinguicula plants can survive near-freezing temperatures if their soil is dry. Wet soil and temperatures below 7°C (45°F) can be a fatal combination for your Walking Sansevieria. Frost should also be avoided.
Hardy and seemingly unnerved by the conditions they are kept in, it is no surprise humidity isn’t a biggie for this plant. Whatever level of humidity is in your home is just fine for the Walking Sansevieria.
This is an unimportant factor in its books and it will take the humidity as it comes. The Sansevieria pinguicula really will put up with just about anything.
If you are wanting to fertilize your Sansevieria pinguicula a balanced mix of nutrients is ideal. Fertilizing should only be done once during its growing season. The Walking Sansevieria is a slow-growing plant and fertilizing it does increase its rate of growth slightly.
Unfortunately, there are just two methods of propagating this interesting looking plant. Preferred by most and by far the fastest method to propagate your Sansevieria pinguicula is through division. The other option available is through leaf cuttings.
The leaf-cutting method of propagating your Sansevieria pinguicula is still viable. The downside to this method is that it is time-consuming. Nonetheless, it is a method that works well.
Walking Sansevieria plants are evergreen and perennial. They actively grow in warmer climates such as during the spring and summer months. During winter your Walking Sansevieria will shift into a dormant state.
Relatively small, the Sansevieria pinguicula only grows to about 30cm (1ft). The spread of this plant is also likely to only reach a maximum of 30cm (1ft) too. Individual leaves range in lengths between 15cm to 30cm (0.5ft to 1ft) and thicknesses between 2.5cm to 3.8cm (1in to 1.5in).
As a flowering plant, the Walking Sansevieria grows flower stalks to a maximum of 30cm (1ft) too. They are not known to bloom often as with the rest of its species, the Sansevieria pinguicula has trouble blooming.
The flowers produced by this plant, although rarely seen, are beautiful all the same. Appearing at the end of the vertical stalk, the flowers grow in clusters.
The flower stalk rises from the rosette of the Walking Sansevieria and the clusters number in fives to sixes. These flowers appear in white, near white, and brownish colors and are uniquely bottle-shaped.
After flowering, the rosette of the Sansevieria pinguicula will stop growing. This, however, does not mean your plant will die. The growth of your Walking Sansevieria’s stolons will continue even after the blooming process.
Unlike others of its kind, the Sansevieria pinguicula does not grow from underground rhizomes. Instead, it grows aerial stolons that terminate into new plantlets. The plantlets then produce roots that are almost like stilts.
These stilt-like roots grow downwards towards the ground. This results in a young plant that appears to be walking away from its parent. This unusual growing habit is what got the Sansevieria pinguicula its nickname.
Foliage belonging to the Walking Sansevieria are blue-green in color, thick, fleshy, and end in a point. They are arranged in a rosette and are almost moon-shaped. The point in which each leaf ends is more of a horny, sharp spine.
Walking Sansevieria leaves have surfaces that are covered in a thick and waxy cuticle. They contain the deepest stomata of any other plant in the Sansevieria species.
Walking Sansevieria plants grow comfortably both indoors in pots and outdoors in the ground. They are known to grow well in all sorts of containers.
Be sure, when potting or even repotting your Sansevieria pinguicula that you give it a large enough space. Always allow your plant space to grow. When your plant has loose roots, it will be more likely to grow taller and stay healthier.
The growth of your Walking Sansevieria will slow when it becomes root-bound. At this stage, you should consider repotting it into a larger pot.
Sansevieria pinguicula propagation
Only having two ways to propagate your Walking Sansevieria is not a bad thing. In fact, it is something to be excited about. These two methods are tried, tested, and proven to work.
Walking Sansevieria plants practically do the work for you in this first method. Unlike the process of division for others of its species, this does not need to be dug up or removed from its pot. Because of its aerial stolons, the plantlets produced can just be cut away from the parent plant.
Like their parent, the plantlets grow a rosette of leaves. Their rosettes grow before they begin to grow roots.
When propagating your Sansevieria pinguicula through division, it is vital that you do not remove the plantlet before it develops roots.
You should wait until your plantlets’ stilt roots have grown to at least 3cm (1.2in) long. If you remove the young Walking Sansevieria before it has grown roots, it will not survive. The plantlet will not have sufficient energy or water reserves in its leaves to grow its roots.
However, as soon as the plantlet has grown its stilt-like roots to the recommended length, it can be cut away. Once removed from its parent plant, the plantlet can be planted into its own pot.
The soil used when potting your new Sansevieria pinguicula should porous and slightly moist.
Typically, when propagating through leaf cuttings, leaves are removed after the plant has flowered. This is because the rosettes no longer grow after flowering.
Entire leaves can be cut away from the rosette. These leaves should then be set aside and allowed time for the cut to dry out. Once dried, the leaf cuttings can be planted, cut side down, into a moist, porous potting soil.
Given time, the leaf will begin to grow its own roots as well as a stolon from the cut. The stolon will then bare a new plantlet at its tip.
It should be noted that variegated Walking Sansevieria plants are best propagated through division. Propagating through leaf cuttings will not necessarily preserve the variegation.
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Common problems with Sansevieria pinguicula
Problems faced by this plant are minimal. The biggest threat the Walking Sansevieria faces is root rot. Pest infestations are non-threatening and rare.
These plants are likely toxic when eaten. Although mild, ingesting any part of the Sansevieria pinguicula will result in gastrointestinal problems and irritation. The Walking Sansevieria should be kept out of reach of cats, dogs, and small children.
Another problem, which is more something we as plant lovers are faced with, is that this plant is quite rare. Variegated specimens are especially difficult to come by. They are prized and do not arise often at all.
Tips to keep Sansevieria pinguicula problem-free
Walking Sansevieria plants are easy to please. Avoiding overwatering your plant will keep the threat of root rot at bay. Always check your plant’s soil before watering. If the soil has dried out, it is time to give your plant a drink.
By simply keeping your plant dust free you will avoid attracting pests to it. Although minor, mealybugs and spider mites can be a pain. They are however non-threatening and will not hard your Walking Sansevieria.
Frequently asked questions about Sansevieria pinguicula
Why are the leaves on my Walking Sansevieria long and thin?
Leaves that are long, thin, and of a darker green color have quite likely become etiolated. This is a result of your Sansevieria pinguicula being kept in low light conditions.
Why is the Sansevieria pinguicula nicknamed the Walking Snake Plant?
The plant earned its nickname through its unique growing habits. S. Pinguicula plantlets grow from stolons out of the parent plant. These plantlets produce stilt-like roots which make it appear to be walking away from its parent.
This slow-growing, blue-green succulent is highly sought out and rather rare. Understandably so as it has the most peculiar growing habit.
The Walking Sansevieria is cherished in the plant community for its eye-catching appearance. It is definitely a must-have in any avid plant person’s home or garden!
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.