Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Hahnii’-Bird’s Nest Snake Plant

Sansevieria trifasciata cv. ‘Hahnii’ (Bird’s Nest Snake Plant) on 4-18-12, #87-11.

Bird’s Nest Snake Plant ‘Hahnii’

Sansevieria trifasciata cv. hahnii

san-se-VEER-ee-tuh try-FASK-ee-AH-tuh HAHN-ee-eye

Sansevieria trifasciata Prain is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Sansevieria. It was named and described by David Prain in Bengal Plants in 1903.

Sansevieria trifasciata cv. “Hahnii” was discovered by William W. Smith, Jr. in the Crescent Nursery Company in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1939. It was patented in 1941 by Sylvan Frank Hahn of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I guess that stopped it from being an accepted scientific species or a variety of Sansevieria… I am still trying to figure out how to write the name. Is it hahnii, Hahnii, with or without the ” ? Should it be italicized?

Plants of the World Online lists 73 accepted genera in the Sansevieria genus. The genus is currently placed in the Asparagaceae Family, formerly in the Dracaenaceae, and maybe others before.


Sansevieria trifasciata cv. hahnii on 8-12-12, #115-80. I had borrowed a friend’s camera when I took this photo and didn’t realize his brightness settings were goofed up.

I was given three pots of Sansevieria trifasciata by my good friend and fellow plant collector, Walley Morse, of Greenville, Mississippi. I was living at the mansion in Leland at the time. He gave me a big pot of Sansevieria trifasciata (Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, etc.) and two pots of the Sansevieria trifasciata cv. hahnii (Bird’s Nest Snake Plant).


Sansevieria trifasciata cv. hahnii on a shelf in the west sunroom at the mansion on 7-2-12, #105-14.

I divided one of the pots and left the other one as it was. The strange thing is that the pots were only about half full of soil. I didn’t understand that at the time but later I realized that could have been a good idea…

After I sold the mansion in Mississippi, dad asked me to move back to the family farm in mid-Missouri. So, in February 2013, I made the trip with many plants including the larger pots. I gave the four in the above photo away. I repotted the larger pots, adding more soil do the base of the plants would be closer to the top of the pot. “Hahnii” didn’t like it and died not long after.

Family: Asparagaceae
Origin: The species is native of west-central Africa
Zones: USDA Zones 10a-11 (30-40° F)
Size: Around 12” tall
Light: Light Shade
Soil: Well-drained
Water: Water thoroughly when soil is dry. DO NOT overwater and DO NOT allow the pot to sit in water.

Sansevieria trifasciata cv. ‘Hahnii’ is considered a ground cover that can spread rather fast by underground rhizomes.

Sansevieria do best in moderately bright or filtered light such as in front of a north-facing window. They tolerate low light, but brighter light will bring out the color of their leaves. To much light can cause their leaf edges to yellow.

Their soil should be allowed to dry out completely before watering again. They need to be watered deeply and thoroughly but water remaining in the saucer should be discarded because their pots should never be allowed to sit in water for any period of time. They will not tolerate soggy soil and their roots will rot easily if the soil remains to wet for any period of time.

Sansevieria are light feeders and to much fertilizer will make their leaves fall over. There are several recommendations about fertilizing and a few of the links below will give you some ideas. I never fertilized mine and many people don’t.

Sansevieria like a crowded root system. I read before that they are best grown in clay pots and should not be repotted until their roots break the pot…

Propagation by division and leaf cuttings is pretty simple. Cuttings should be about 4” (10 cm.) long and placed in moist sand. Umm… Be aware the offspring of variegated cultivars will lack the variegated margin if propagated by leaf cuttings.

The NASA Clean Air Study found Sansevieria trifasciata has air purification qualities, removing 4 of the 5 main toxins including carbon dioxide during the night.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.


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