How to grow a sansevieria plant (mother in law's tongue)

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How to grow sanseviera (mother in laws tongue)

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Want a plant that is almost impossible to kill? The bold, striking sansevieria could be just the plant for you!

What you need to know about sansevieria

Name: Sansevieria, snake plant, mother in law’s tongue, bow string hemp (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Height: between 70–90cm tall

Foliage: vertical, spear-like, stiff leaves, dark green, some with greyish lines and flecks, some with a creamy yellow strip on the edge of the leaf blade.

Climate: tropical, sub-tropical and warm temperate. Indoors in cooler climates.

Soil: free-draining soil or in pots in light, free-draining potting mix.

Position: keep out of direct sun.

Flowering and fruiting: can produce sweetly fragranced white flowers in late winter and early spring.

Feeding: all-purpose fertiliser in spring and summer.

Watering: water when soil is completely dry.

Appearance and characteristics of sansevieria

Sansevieria is a long-lived, hardy, perennial evergreen indoor plant requiring minimal maintenance. The plant has stiff vertical, spear-like leaves growing from a rosette at the base. As an indoor plant, mother in law’s tongue is a fantastic air purifier, able to absorb toxins. These plants can create a great architectural statement in your garden, provided they are in pots. In some cultures, sansevieria is considered good luck plants because of their ability to purify the air. Throughout coastal areas of eastern and northern Australia, sansevieria is considered an invasive plant with serious weed potential, so keep it in a pot

sansevieria mother in law's tongue

Uses for sansevieria

Virtually indestructible, sansevieria is an ideal low-maintenance potted plant with a strong architectural element, suited to modern homes and decor both indoors and outside in pots.

Caring for a sansevieria plant

Sansevieria almost thrives on neglect and will tolerate both low and high light conditions.  It will also do well in dry air in homes and offices, and just as well in spaces where humidity is high.

Make sure you always let the soil dry out before watering your sansevieria, and try not to get the leaves wet. Too much water will make your plant rot. You can get away with watering this plant every 2–6 weeks. Sansevieria needs very little food, but will appreciate a feed with an all-purpose fertiliser in spring and summer. 

fertilising a mother in laws tongue

Diseases and pests

This tough, no-nonsense plant can sometimes be infested with mealy bugs or spider mites, which can be easily washed off with a jet of water or squashed with your fingers. If the infestation is large, you can treat them with a pest oil. Overwatering can lead to fungal disease, so make sure you only water your sansevieria when it’s completely dry, and don’t let the pot sit in water. If fungal disease does become a problem, treat with a fungicide, always following the directions.

Sansevieria propagation

Growing sanseveria from cuttings

  1. When re-potting your sansevieria, cut off any roots that have small shoots close to the plant.

  2. Pot these in pots containing free-draining potting mixcactus and succulent mix with a handful of regular potting mix is ideal.

  3. Make sure any plant waste is disposed of properly. 

If you like this then try

Fiddle-leaf fig: hardy, easy to maintain indoor plant with glossy green leaves.

Yucca: adaptable indoor or outdoor container plant. Bold, handsome and adaptable.

Zanzibar gem: perfect low-maintenance plant with long succulent stems and shiny waxy leaves.

Calathea: attractive colourful indoor plant featuring beautiful patterned foliage with dark spots and lines.

Start planting today

Check out our huge range of plants now and get your garden growing!

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