A Sansevieria plant, also called a Snake plant, Mother in Law’s Tongue, Bowstring Hemp, and Devil’s Tongue, was originally found growing in Africa and southern Asia. This is a hardy, almost impossible to kill houseplant that thrives on neglect. Sansevieria plants can grow in bright light or shade, are not harmed by low humidity or cold drafts, rarely need to be repotted, and are drought resistant. The only way to kill a sansevieria is by over watering or keeping it in temperatures 40°F ( 4.4°C) or less for aa extended period of time
Description of a Sansevieria Plant
A Sansevieria plant can be used as a table plant when small, or a stately floor plant as it mature. The leaves are arranged and grow in a rosette pattern. Sansevieria plants developed hard, leathery leaves to adapt to the dry, arid regions where they were originally found growing. The thick, succulent leaves store water and the thick leaf cuticles help to reduce the loss of moisture. The flowers of a sansevieria are usually greenish-white and grow atop a long, leafless stem. Flowering usually occurs during the summer or fall.
Popular Sansevieria Varieties
1. S. Trifasciata is the most popular variety sold. It has long, sword-like, succulent leaves that grow about 2-3ft tall. The many trifasciata types include the S. Futuro Robusta” that has grayish green muted patterns on the leaves; and the S. laurentii with variegated leaves that have bright golden edges;
2. S. Zelanica is a bit shorter than the trifasciata and has dark green leaves with creamy white horizontal pattern.
3. S. Hahnii varieties have thick, compact, very short (4”) rosettes of fleshy leaves. The Golden Hahnii and the Silver Hahnii are two popular varieties.
4. S. Cylindrica is a stemless plant with stiff, tall, narrow, grey-green leaves that have horizontal, dark green stripes.
5. S. Braided Cylindrica is created by gently braiding the tall, narrow stems of S. Cylindrica and then gathering the tops of the stems together with a decorative tie.
S. Gold Hahnii S. Cylindrica S. Zelanica Braided Cylindrica S. Hahnii
A sansevieria plant is one of those plants that can only be killed with too much kindness and attention. It is perfect for someone who loves having plants in their home, but doesn’t have the time (or interest) to constantly care for them. The only thing to remember is do not over water!
These plants are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are dangerous in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants,
A Sansevieria Plant, in bright light and under stressful conditions (pot-bound or very dry), may produce flowers every few years. The Sansevieria Plant sends out long spikes filled with numerous small fragrant white or cream-colored flowers. These flowers won’t slow the plants growth or shape, so enjoy them.
Brown mushy leaves on a Sansevieria Plant means you over-watering your Plant. Remove all of the damaged leaves and re-pot the plant into a smaller container with new DRY soil. Place your Sansevieria in a warm sunny location and don’t water until the soil is totally dry.
There are a couple of ways to propagate a Mother in Law’s Tongue. The easiest way is by plant division. You can also use leaf cuttings to propagate a Sansevieria Plant. When using leaf cuttings, cut some leaves into 4” segments, allow the cut ends to dry out for a few days, then plant two or three segments per small pot.
Sansevierias are sometimes referred to as a ” Mother in Law’s Tongue Plant” because the leaves are long, sharp, and pointed. If you happen to nibble on one of the leaves, your mouth may become numb. People who don’t get along with their Mother- in- Law find a connection with this description.