Sansevieria Trifasciata (Mother In-Laws Tongue)


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If you’ve not heard of Sanseviera Trifasciata, how about Mother in Law’s Tongue? This is the more popular (and rather cheeky) name for the Snake Plant. If you’re looking for a low maintenance houseplant that’s almost indestructible, a Snake Plant is top of the list.

In West Africa where this species originates, the plant is known as Viper’s Bowstring Hemp. Historically, the local peoples used tough, fibrous strands from the leaves to make bowstrings for hunting. Sanseviera Trifasciata is now cultivated with an amazing range of leaf forms, colours and variegation.


Water / Feed

Water sparingly whenever you notice that the compost is dry. Avoid leaving Sanseviera standing in pooled water. Feed occasionally with diluted cactus feed or general-purpose plant fertiliser.

Pet / Child

The leaves of the Snake Plant contain saponin; a chemical which is known to be toxic. Keep out of the reach of dogs that habitually chew houseplants.

Temperature / Humidity

This is a highly tolerant houseplant that prefers moderate room temperatures. Winter temperatures persistently below 10°C (50°F) should be avoided.

Soil Type

Occasional repotting will be required when the Snake Plant’s roots outgrow the pot. Use a quality houseplant compost with added drainage material in the base.

Light / Position

For steady, healthy growth place the Snake Plant in bright, indirect sunlight. This hardy survivor will also battle-on in a shady spot.

Health Benefits

Sansevieria removes Benzene from contaminated air and also have the unusual ability to release fresh Oxygen into a room at night, rather than during daytime exposure to sunlight.

Growth / Spread

Sanseviera is a slow grower. Expect a maximum height of around 1m (39in).

Geographic Origins

Sanseviera grows wild in tropical regions of West Africa.