Mother-In-Law's Tongue | Sansevieria trifasciata

This hardy desert plant is also commonly known as the Snake Plant due to the shape of it's leaves or Viper's Bowstring Hemp, as its fibres are used to make bowstrings. In Africa it is often used to weave baskets too.

The Sansevieria is also a great air purifier and humidity leveller - it extracts poisonous substances from the air and transforms them into oxygen.

Useful to know:

Origin

It is mainly found in the deserts of Ethiopia, but is found across the African continent.

Height/Growth

The spikes can grow to 1m in height. It's a vigorous grower too so make sure there's plenty of space in the pot.

Light

It can easily deal with high or low light but it will change the colour of it's spikes. Place it in a well-lit space for lighter leaves and move away from direct light if you prefer darker leaves. Avoid direct sunlight behind glass.

Water

Less is more with this one. Allow the soil to dry thoroughly before watering. Think deserts.

Temperature

It can withstand a wide range of temperatures but don't leave outdoors in British winters. It can take dry heat too so unlike most plants, is ok near a radiator.

Feeding

This tough plant doesn't require fertilising but if you want to give it a bit of extra nutrition, do so in spring or summer and no more than twice.

Grooming

Very little. You can just pull out or snap off dying leaves.

Care

Get ready for a lifetime friendship - Sansevierias are notoriously hard to kill off. They are pretty pest-resistant too, so as long as you don't drown them, they're happy.

Toxicity

We can't imagine many pets would want to chew on the tough spikes, but if they do, they might get digestive discomfort.

Fact

The common name stems from the sharpness of mother-in-law's tongues so bear that in mind if you're gifting this one! On the other hand, if you're heading to Korea on business, you'll be warmly welcomed if you bring one along.



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