Native to tropical west Africa, Sansevieria Trifasciata is commonly-referred to as the snake plant (because of the shape of its leaves) or mother-in-law’s tongue (because of their sharpness). The former common name does not compliment the plant since many individuals are terrified of snakes, and the latter certainly doesn’t flatter mother-in-laws. I didn’t spend much time researching the origins of this plant but whoever named it either had a rocky relationship with his own mother-in-law or knew someone who did.
It is nearly impossible to kill this plant with the exception of over-watering, which will ultimately defeat it. I know I repeat this many times but with Sansevierias it is extremely vital to follow this advice: use a fast-draining, highly-porous soil to help avoid over-watering. Water only when the medium dries out significantly. Be extra vigilant with the watering can during the colder months when susceptibility to rot is high. In addition, it’s likely that if you’re growing your plant in a cool area during the winter, it may not need any water throughout the entire season. And if it’s growing in a hot, sunny room in the summer, it may need water a little more often.
If you want to eliminate water woes, convert your Sansevieria to hydroculture. Although it’s hard to imagine a succulent growing in a water-based system, this plant is one of the most remarkable performers in this alternative growing style. Conversion is quick and painless; the plant hardly takes notice as you switch it from soil to clay pellets. Make sure to wash the roots free of soil to avoid the possibility of rot. Water roots should appear fairly quickly, anywhere between 4 – 8 weeks.
Although snake plants will grow in almost any light setting, including shady corners, the ideal location is one that offers filtered sun. During the winter time, direct sunshine is handled very well, especially the early morning eastern or late afternoon type. In the summer, you may have to protect against the direct rays in a southern location. I do recommend allowing this plant to bask in the sun for awhile each day, even though it will adapt to a location that offers only low light, because although they will tolerate inadequate light for impressively long periods, over time their health will be compromised. Light-starved sanseviarias may become spindly and their leaves may become limp, literally hanging over the edge of the pot. Once this state is reached, the plant will be unable to stand up by itself without support. Not a pretty sight. Moral of the story: give your sansevieria adequate light.
Average warmth is the preference but the plant can manage to keep on looking good even in temperatures as low as 10ºC (50ºF). Sansevierias will also handle a level as low as 2ºC (35ºF), but I’d keep exposure to such low temperatures to a minimum to avoid cold damage.
Sansevieria Trifasciata is perfect for beginners and novices alike with its charming, eclectic beauty and its nearly indestructible constitution. And although these versatile gems will grow in any corner of a home and deal with full sun or shade, humidity or dry air, frequent or infrequent feeding, and even extended periods between watering, they will thrive with proper care and in the right location. With a little sunshine, careful watering and the right temperature, this plant will shine.
Available almost everywhere for purchase all year round, and practically immortal, it literally is an easy come, easy grow choice for indoors.
Love this plant! Have you ever had one that bloomed? We did! Well, Richard did, he's the gardener! :-)ReplyDelete
I checked "interesting" box above, because it is!
I've grown many of these plants over the years, but not one has ever flowered for me! Looks like your hubby is doing something right by them and they're rewarding him. Mine are just ungrateful...LOL...Delete
Mother-in-law's tongue, hahaha!! I've had this plant a few times over the years and you're right about not over-watering it - it'll just rot :(ReplyDelete
I'm curious to know who came up with the 'mother-in-law's tongue' nickname. There has to be an interesting story behind that.Delete
Hello from Southern California...just came over from Kay's blog, who gave us both an award. I've got a big pot of these mother-in-law tongues on my deck and it's true they are impossible to kill...except if you over water. The pot is getting awfully crowded; I need to divide and re-pot soon I think.ReplyDelete
You have an interesting blog here. I shall return again for visits. It's good to "meet" you.
Welcome, Sara! Southern California? Oh...I'm so envious. You must have beautiful weather. I will pop over to your blog and pay you a visit. Nice to 'meet' you, too.Delete
My plant has tall thin leaves that flop, but they're as thick as the wider ones. Are we passed the point of no return? a sunlight issue then?ReplyDelete
It sounds like your plant is otherwise doing well. If you give your plant sufficient light, it will improve.Delete