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HomeCosta RicaCosta Rica Gardening in a Glance: The Snake Plant

Costa Rica Gardening in a Glance: The Snake Plant

Sansevieria trifasciata is a commonly cultivated plant in Costa Rica, both for its ornamental value and its purported air-purifying properties. The plant is often found in homes, offices, and public spaces, and is appreciated for its low maintenance requirements and ability to survive in a wide range of environmental conditions.

In recent years, there has been increased interest in using Sansevieria trifasciata and other plants for their air-purifying properties in Costa Rica. This is in response to concerns about air pollution and its impact on public health, particularly in urban areas.

Some studies have suggested that Sansevieria trifasciata may be effective in removing certain harmful compounds from the air, such as formaldehyde and benzene.

Here are some other technical aspects of the plant:


A common houseplant found all over the world. Used as fencerows in the American tropics.

Botanical description

Upright perennial plant with stiff vertical leaves, smooth, lancelet, 50 cm tall and variegated with light green and dark green. Flowers are greenish-white in racemes with fragrant scent.

Medicinal Uses

This plant has many legends and folklore uses throughout the tropics. In many regions it was considered a useful treatment for poisonous snakebites, however its most practical application is for skin conditions such as sores and rashes. According to Schultes and Raffauf’s “The Healing Forest,” tribes in South America use it principally for skin problems. Tests have demonstrated the juice has antiviral properties.


For skin problems, a maceration is the most common recipe. Old timers said people chewed on the leaves in case of a snakebite. However, proper medical treatment for snakebites should be administered as soon as possible.

Another common preparation is the aqueous solution, which is made by cutting a leaf in small pieces and soaking it in a liter of water overnight. The next day the solution can be used as a skin wash, much like aloe vera, or to drink. Some campesinos use this water mixture for their chickens to keep them healthy.


This is certainly a plant that deserves more investigation, particularly for its antiviral properties. It is easy to grow as a home garden plant for beauty and medicine all in one. Propagation is by simple plant division of the root system. This is one of the hardiest plants on the planet.

It requires no special soil and needs no irrigation during the dry season. It also has no significant plant disease or insect problems. Care should be taken to plant it in an enclosed area, such as a planter box, since it can spread rapidly if not contained and can become difficult to control. The flowers, which bloom in the dry season, are perhaps one of the most fragrant scents of the plant kingdom.

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