Mother-in-Law's Tongue: How to Care for and Repot This Plant
The mother-in-law's tongue (sansevieria trifasciata) is a very popular house plant that originates from West Africa. It goes by name such as viper's bowstring hemp, Saint George's sword, or snake plant, but don't confuse it with the nassauvia serpensIt. This beautiful evergreen has long, stiff, and dark-green, vertical leaves that feature striking light-green bands.
Mother-in-Law's Tongue Provides Many Benefits:
- It can be kept outdoors in warm climates, or, if you live in a cooler part of the world, it can be an indoor plant.
- It is very tolerant to low light levels but equally as happy in sunlight.
- Frequent watering is not required.
- It absorbs toxins, such as nitrogen oxides and is great for improving indoor air quality.
- Beginners can work with it as it doesn't require much maintenance and grows quite quickly.
- Occasionally, this plant will sprout small, white flowers—usually when it is a few years old. How beautiful!
Learn how to split and repot your mother-in-law's tongue plant, and how to care for it to make your growing endeavors a success!
Snake plant, viper's bowstring hemp, Saint George's sword
Up to 40 inches
Bright, indirect sunlight (some direct light is ok)
Once a month; keep the soil dry
60° to 80°F (16° to 27°C) Prefers warm to hot temperatures
Free draining soil
How to Split Your Mother-in-Law's Tongue
Mother-in-law's tongue is easy to split when it gets too big for the pot. Follow these three simple steps:
- Remove the pot-bound plant. You will likely discover more young shoots hidden underneath the earth.
- Pull them apart by the roots, and don't worry about being rough with them. I haven't killed any yet!
- Depending on how big your plant is and how many new pots you want, you may want to do one of two things: plant each individual stem in a separate pot or plant some of the biggest ones in a large pot together. I have done both because I like some on the floor and the smaller ones on the window ledges.
How to Care for Mother-In-Law's Tongue
Be warned, as these plants grow very quickly when they are happy. I have had to throw quite a few of them away in the past because I didn't have room for them all.
- The best way to look after this plant is to ignore it most of the time. It seems to thrive on neglect.
- Constantly watering this plant will rot the roots and eventually kill it. Watering once a month works for me. It's far easier to bring a dry plant back to life than an overwatered one.
- Here is one word of warning: This plant is toxic if eaten, so it is best kept away from young children and pets.
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Ann-Christin