The Best Varieties of Snake Plants (With Photos!)
There are more than 70 species of snake plants that we know of, and it can be difficult to choose which ones to get! To help make decisions easier for you, here’s a compilation of all the easiest and most beautiful snake plants that you can pick from.
The 14 best types of snake plants to pick from are:
- Golden Hahnii
- Whale Fin
- Birds Nest
- Gold Flame
- Green Mermaid
- Samurai Dwarf
Although some people may not believe it, decision fatigue truly does exist. It’s hard to decide which snake plant is the best for us when we have so many to pick from, I know! Allow me to help narrow down the choices so you can pick out the best snake plant for you.
Laurentii is a classic snake plant with yellow edging that needs little care. It is an easy-growing plant commonly sold in many plant nurseries.
Size: 5 feet (1.52 m)
When you think of snake plants, you probably think of Laurentii.
This is the most iconic snake plant of all and can be identified by the striking yellow borders on the edge of its leaves.
It is also very easy to maintain, making it a great choice for novice owners or plant lovers with very busy lives!
You can find this in many plant stores around the world. In other words, they are an even easier houseplant for people to buy and care for because they’re widely available.
Fernwood snake plants have long leaves that tend to sprawl once they mature. They are low-maintenance and can survive with little water, so they are ideal for beginners.
Size: 2–6 feet (0.6–1.8 m)
If you want an edgier-looking plant that has the potential to grow even taller, consider buying a Fernwood.
These interesting plants have minimal water and care needs and are perfect indoor spaces.
Fernwood’s have narrower leaves than other snake plants.
As it gets older, these leaves may start to point in different directions rather than stay upright. Cuttings can be made to maintain a neater look without harming this plant.
The ethereal Moonshine snake plants come with silvery uniform leaves and look very different from other snake plants. Moonshine are easy to grow but cannot be kept in direct sunlight, as their leaves may burn.
Size: 2–4 feet (0.6–1.2 m)
This is one of the most beautiful snake plants there is—at least in my humble opinion!
Oftentimes, snake plants are variegated and have bright green leaves. But this one has a more uniform color. Its pale silvery hue gives it an air of elegance that many other snake plants don’t have.
Moonshine snake plants aren’t hard to take care of, but their foliage may need a little more protection.
To avoid scorching their gorgeous leaves, keep this variety of snake plant out of the direct sun.
4. Golden Hahnii
Although the golden hahnii snake plant is small, it has a habit of growing in a rosette and has beautiful yellow edges. This pretty variety makes for an excellent houseplant that grows best with bright indirect light.
Size: 12 inches (30.48 cm)
This snake plant is a dwarf variety and rarely grows over a foot tall. But what’s nice about the golden hahnii is that they’re perfect for placing on shelves and great for smaller spaces.
Having the classic yellow banding you typically see in snake plants, they also grow in a rosette formation. Because of this, these plants are wonderful to look at from the top and the sides.
Keep your golden hahnii snake plants in spaces with plenty of bright indirect light, and they’ll happily grow throughout the year!
Cylindrica plants are snake plants with smooth and narrow leaves pointing upward. These plants can tolerate shade and are easy to care for.
Size: 5–7 feet (1.5–2.1 m)
Like Fernwood snake plants, Cylindrica has sharp narrow leaves that jut out and stay nice and upright.
Once they grow long enough, it’s possible to braid the leaves of this plant for a more refined look.
These lovely snake plants are perfect for homes and offices with low light and don’t need much maintenance!
6. Whale Fin
Whale fin snake plants are aptly named due to their foliage resembling the fins of a whale. Their leaves can go up to 10 inches wide and they require bright indirect light.
Size: 2 feet (0.6 m)
This fantastic snake plant variety has wide paddle-like leaves that look similar to a whale fin.
Its leaves are dark green with a subtle spotted texture. Whale fin snake plant leaves can grow up to 10 inches (25.4 cm) wide.
Give them plenty of light to encourage more growth, and you’ll have a happy whale fin in your care!
[quote] Whale fin plants are typically only sold with 1–2 leaves. But with the right care, this type of snake plant can produce more leaves.
Starfish snake plants are easy-going hybrids with leaves that closely resemble a large starfish. They’re easy to care for and can tolerate neglect. So they present very few issues.
Size: 2 feet (0.6 m)
This charming but unique hybrid of cylindrica has thick leaves that spread out similarly to a starfish.
Starfish snake plants are generally happy and carefree plants that do not need much water and attention, making them even more delightful to own.
Keep these plants in small pots or let them grow out to form thicker leaves. They’re beautiful either way and are great for plant enthusiasts looking for low-maintenance snake plants.
This snake plant has beautiful copper leaves that look similar to a snake. Coppertone snake plants are not hard to care for. But they are rare and difficult to find in stores.
Size: 3–4 feet (0.9–1.2 m)
For a more unique plant that looks more like a reptile, consider owning a Coppertone snake plant.
Its leaves’ muted copper and green tones can look like the scales of a snake, which is appropriate for a plant named after that very reptile.
Coppertone snake plant tends to sprawl but it can handle intense light and is relatively pest-free.
The only issue is that these plants can be hard to find, making them challenging to add to plant collections.
9. Birds Nest
Birds nest snake plants are compact dwarf plants that grow in a rosette. This plant does not have high watering needs and is ideal for new plant owners.
Size: 12 inches (30 cm)
Now it’s time for my personal favorite, the bird’s nest.
This type of snake plant is stout and bushy dwarf plant that can be grown with other drought-tolerant plants like cacti and succulents.
Other than that, it doesn’t need much water. So they’re perfect for forgetful plant owners.
Birds nest snake plants are incredibly easy to care for. Keep them in small dishes or rounded pots, and they’ll beautifully fill out their containers over time.
Jaboa is a beautiful snake plant variety with wide spotted leaves that can handle neglect. The only downside to owning this plant, however, is that its leaves are more susceptible to insect attacks.
Size: 3 feet (0.9 m)
This is an interesting type of snake plant that has wide leaves which closely resemble the whale fin snake plant variety.
However, they tend to grow much more prolifically—reaching heights of around 3 feet (0.9 m) tall. The blotches of white all over the foliage give them a simple but attractive leaf pattern.
Much like other snake plant types, Jaboa snake plants don’t need much attention and can be left without water for weeks.
However, since it grows so many large healthy leaves at once, it has a higher chance of being targeted by pests.
For more gorgeous plants, check out the 19 Stunning Houseplants With Large Leaves [With Photos!]
11. Gold Flame
Gold flame snake plants are a very easy-to-care-for variety that has foliage with beautiful yellow borders.These plants do not grow very tall but are excellent for beginners because they don’t require much maintenance.
Size: 1–2 feet (0.3–0.6 m)
If you love the bright yellow banding of snake plants but want a more bushy, compact plant, look no further!
Snake plants of the gold flame variety have lovely textured leaves similar to Laurentii. However, their growing habits are more comparable with dwarf snake plants.
This means it tends to stay short and doesn’t grow as tall as other snake plants. But it’s a beautiful specimen that can be found online and grown with ease.
12. Green Mermaid
Green mermaid is a rare but beautiful snake plant with dark green leaves similar to mermaid tails. Such plants can be expensive, but they’re easy-growing snake plants with attractive foliage.
Size: 2–4 feet (0.6–1.2 m)
The stunning deep gray-green leaves of this variety are sure to enchant you with their resemblance to mermaids.
But there is a downside to green mermaids. More specifically, they’re much harder to find than other snake plants. If you do happen to find them, don’t be surprised if they’re expensive.
Once you get your hands on it though, you’ll be happy to hear that they’re wonderfully low-maintenance and have very few issues.
Even though they can be grown in shade, it’s best to keep them under a bright light to maintain their gorgeous foliage.
Cleopatra snake plants are rare and expensive snake plants with stunning colorful leaves. Although they are hard to find, they make excellent drought-tolerant houseplants.
Size: 1–2 feet (0.3–0.6 m)
Go try and ask snake plant lovers which variety is the most beautiful. The majority would probably say Cleopatra.
This exotic snake plant grows in charming rosettes and has a very intricate pattern of dark green stripes against its pale leaves.
Moreover, the tan line on the leaf edges gives the plant a unique outline that most other plants do not have.
Additionally, these snake plants make exquisite houseplants and can survive without water for weeks.
Unfortunately, though, Cleopatra snake plants are ridiculously hard to find and can be pretty pricey.
14. Samurai Dwarf
The samurai dwarf is an extremely rare and uncommon snake plant with thick and fleshy leaves. Although expensive, this snake plant is beautiful and doesn’t require much maintenance.
Size: 1–2 feet (0.3–0.6 m)
Last, but most certainly not least, let’s talk about the samurai dwarf. This is probably one of the rarest and most interesting-looking varieties of snake plants on the list.
The leaves of this type of snake plant are at least 3 times thicker than regular snake plants and look very similar to plump aloe vera plants.
Due to their highly succulent nature, these plants need even less water and attention than other snake plants, which is already very little!
But sadly, these handsome specimens are extremely hard to find and are often sold for more than 50 or 100 dollars.
How to Pick the Best Snake Plant
It is important to inspect snake plants and only buy the ones that are free of pests, disease, and rot. Choose the snake plant that works best for the future owner’s home and budget.
With so many options to select from, you might be wondering which snake plant you should pick.
Pretty much most, if not all, snake plants are low-maintenance and don’t need a lot of water, so the difficulty is generally not an issue with these succulents.
Find out how to Water Succulents and Cacti The Right Way!
Snake plants are succulent and can handle being shipped without fear of the plant dying or being damaged during delivery.
Regardless of whether you buy them online or at a store, select the ones that do not show any signs of pests, rot, or disease.
If you live in a small space, consider buying a dwarf snake plant like the birds nest. But when space is not an issue, you could buy a well-established moonshine to brighten up your home.
Once you’ve narrowed down to the healthiest plants, you can care for and like the most, you’ll be able to buy the best snake plant for yourself and have a higher chance of growing them successfully!
Which snake plants are the rarest?
The rarest snake plant varieties are Cleopatra, Samurai Dwarf, Green Mermaid, Coppertone, and Whale Fin. These plants have unique leaves that cannot be found in other snake plants and can be difficult to find in plant stores. They are also the most expensive, making them harder to acquire.
Which snake plants are the largest?
The tallest-growing snake plants include Laurentii, Cylindrica, Jaboa, Fernwood, and Green Mermaid. These snake plants generally have narrow leaves that grow upright, possibly reaching about 3-foot tall with proper care.
Summary of Best Snake Plant Types
The easiest and most beautiful snake plants to pick from are Laurentii, fernwood, moonshine, golden hahnii, cylindrica, whale fin, starfish, coppertone, birds nest, jaboa, gold flame, green mermaid, cleopatra, and samurai dwarf.
Pick out and buy the snake plant variety that is best suited to the gardener’s home and budget. Many snake plants are drought-tolerant and easy to care for, so the difficulty of growing them is generally not a concern.
- “Dracaena trifasciata” by n/a in NC State University
- “Snake Plant: A Forgiving, Low-maintenance Houseplant” by Susan Marquesen in Pennsylvania State University