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Products > Sansevieria kirkii var. pulchra
Sansevieria kirkii var. pulchra - Coppertone Snake Plant
Image of Sansevieria kirkii var. pulchra
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Asparagaceae (~Liliaceae)
Origin: Africa, East (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Variegated Foliage: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Summer
Synonyms: [Dracaena pethera var. pulchra]
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 4-5 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
Sansevieria kirkii var. pulchra (Coppertone Snake Plant) - This semi-succulent plant from Zanzibar in Tropical East Africa can form a clump up to 4 ft. tall but is usually less than 3 feet tall. It has attractive rippled, undulating, dark green leaves, smudged with bronze and light green markings and reddish margins. The very showy white flowers are in rounded clusters that arise on a stout 2 foot tall inflorescence from the center of the plant.

Will tolerate low light levels but grows best and flowers if given bright light and even tolerates full coastal sun. Plant in a well-draining soil and water sparingly and not at all as temperatures dip in winter if growing outdoors. It is one of the Sansevieria that we can grow in containers outdoors exposed to winter rains, so long as planted in a well draining mix and can also tolerate going months between watering. Hardy to 30-32 F. This is a great container plant for interior or exterior use that needs little care.

Sansevieria kirkii var. pulchra grows naturally in Zanzibar and on Pembra and Misali Islands. The name for the genus was originally Sanseverinia as named by the Italian botanist Vincenzo Petagna in honor of his patron, Pietro Antonio Sanseverino, the Count of Chiaromonte (1724-1771), but the name was altered for unknown reasons by the Swedish naturalist Carl Peter Thunberg, possibly influenced by the name of Raimondo di Sangro (17101771), prince of San Severo in Italy. The specific epithet honors the Sir John Kirk (1832-1922) a surgeon and Consul General to Zanzibar who collected plants in East Africa. The varietal name 'pulchra' means "beautiful" "handsome", "fine" or "excellent" in reference to the strongly marked leaves. Long placed in the Agavaceae, the Dracaenaceae and by some in the Ruscaceae families, Sansevieria was most recently placed in the subfamily Nolinoideae within the Asparagaceae family. Molecular phylogenetic studies however have determined that Sansevieria should actually be included in the genus Dracaena and since the name Dracaena kirkii previously existed, if one buys into this merger of Sansevieria and Dracaena, then Sansevieria kirkii could not use its existing epithet and would be called Dracaena pethera var. pulchra. Because of considerable disagreement over this change, the long-standing use of its old name, and so not to cause our own and customer confusion, we continue to list all of these snake plants as Sansevieria. 

This information about Sansevieria kirkii var. pulchra displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.