The mother-in-law’s tongue (sansevieria trifasciata) is a very popular house plant that originates from West Africa. It goes by names such as viper’s bowstring hemp, Saint George’s sword, or Mother-in-law’s tongue, but don’t confuse it with the nassauvia serpens. This lovely evergreen has vertical, long, stiff leaves that are dark green with eye-catching light-green bands.
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The Story Of The Mother-in-law’s Tongue
One of the simplest indoor plants to care for is mother-in-law’s tongue. There are rootstocks on the plants from which thick, tall, sword-shaped leaves with succulent traits develop. Mother-in-law’s tongue is a nickname for the leaves’ sharp tips, which stands in for the mother-in-law’s sharp tongue.
Mother-in-law’s Tongue Production
The plant was created in the hot, arid regions of Southern Africa and Asia, where conditions were dry. The 18th-century Italian prince Raimondo di Sangro, also known as San Severo, inspired the name Sansevieria. Sansevieria cylindrica and the classic Sansevieria trifasciata have both been produced since around 2004. Currently, 38% of my mother-in-law’s tongue production comes from this cylindrica. Another type of cylindrical is braided, and this one is made in Thailand.
Benefits Of The Plant
- In warm climates, you can keep it outside, or if you live in a cooler region of the world, you can keep it indoors.
- Although it enjoys sunlight just as much, it is very tolerant of low light levels.
- It does not need to be watered frequently.
- It is effective at enhancing indoor air quality by absorbing toxins like nitrogen oxides.
- Beginners can work with it easily because it requires little maintenance and grows quickly.
- Sometimes, usually after a few years, it will begin to produce tiny, white flowers. How beautiful!
How To Care For A Mother-in-law’s Tongue
Ignoring this plant the majority of the time is the best care for it. It thrives, it seems, on being ignored. Here are the best care instructions for the meticulous gardener, though, with that said.
When Should I Water My Plants?
It’s best to water once a month. Mother-in-law’s Tongue belongs to the group of plants that can be left alone without excessive watering because of its succulent leaves. When in doubt, err on the side of underwatering or watering only after the soil feels completely dry.
This plant’s roots will rot from continuous watering, which will ultimately lead to its death. A dry plant can be revived much more easily than one that has been overwatered.
How Much Sun Does It Need?
This plant enjoys lots of sunlight! For bright, indirect sunlight, put it close to a window. This plant can also withstand direct sunlight, but not for an extended period of time because the leaves will burn. Low light is also tolerable for the mother-in-law’s tongue, but growth may be slowed or the leaves may turn yellow.
The Ideal Temperature For A Mother-in-law’s Tongue Is What?
Although this plant prefers warm to hot temperatures, it can tolerate temperatures in the range of 50 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 38 degrees Celsius). In colder climates, some wilting or yellowing may be visible.
Which Soil Is Ideal?
I suggest using fast-draining soil for this plant because it can develop root rot if it is overwatered. You can combine cactus mix and potting soil.
Is Fertilizer Necessary?
You don’t have to use fertilizer, but if you want the plant to grow a little faster, fertilize twice during the growing season—once in the spring and once in the summer—but no more.
Should I Prune It?
If one of the leaves develops cuts, scrapes, or any other unsightly marks, you should prune it by removing the affected portion of the leaf as closely as you can to the soil’s surface. The reason why you should remove the entire leaf as opposed to just a portion of it is that by doing so, the plant won’t have to support the damaged tissue. Additionally, it presents itself in a more attractive manner.
What Humidity Level Is Ideal?
Despite preferring humidity, mother-in-law’s tongue tolerates dry air. It can be placed anywhere, but because of this, it makes a great plant for your bathroom. It’s so versatile!
What Are The Warning Signs You Should Watch Out For When Buying Mother-in-law’s Tongue?
• Size: Pay close attention to the dimensions of the pot as well as the width and length of the leaves.
• Some leaf varieties are determined by how the leaves are cultivated or braided.
• Health: Verify that the plants are free of suberization (on older plants) and scale insects. Verify the root system’s health as well as the quality of the leaf points.
• Rot. If the mother-in-law’s tongue has been excessively wet for a long time, it may start to rot. So make sure they are secure in the pot.
Range Of Mother-in-law’s Tongue
With the introduction of new cultivars and varieties, the mother-in-law’s tongue has seen a significant increase in its geographic range. The Mother-in-law’s tongue, a Sansevieria trifasciata species with long, emerald-green leaves and golden-yellow edges, is the most well-known. There are additional cultivars of the trifasciata variety that vary in leaf length or leaf color (green, silver, or gold variegated). Cylindrica is distinguished by its long, spherical leaves. The leaves are green or grey and have many different sizes, fan shapes, and braids. The green leaf of the variety kirkii is much smaller and thinner. Additionally, this has various shapes.
4 Ways To Propagate Mother-in-law’s Tongue
When the plant outgrows its pot, it is simple to propagate new plants.
1. By Splitting Or Division
- Take the plant out of its container.
- In order to separate the stalks, cut the roots with a knife.
- Add soil to the roots of the new stalks and plant them in separate pots.
- Mist with water.
2. By Rhizomes
- the plant that is confined to a pot.
- Knock the dirt off gently. Young shoots (rhizomes) will probably be hidden beneath the ground, and you’ll find them.
- Don’t worry about being rough with the shoots; simply pull them apart by the roots. I’ve yet to kill any. With a knife, you can also remove them.
- You might want to either plant each individual rhizome in a separate pot or group a few of the largest ones in a large pot, depending on how big your plant is and how many new pots you want. Because I enjoy some on the floor and the smaller ones on the window ledges, I have done both.
3. By Cutting
- As near the plant’s base as you can, cut a leaf off.
- Place it in a new pot with some water.
4. In Water
- As near the plant’s base as you can, cut a leaf off.
- Replace it every few days after placing it in a vase of water.
- Put it in a pot of new soil once it starts to grow roots.
Care Tips For Consumers
Mother-in-law’s tongue is a low-maintenance plant. The root ball must remain slightly moist, and in the winter, slightly drier. It’s not a good idea to stay too damp for a long time; the plant would prefer to be too dry. The leaf rosette shouldn’t be watered. The Mother-in-law’s tongue can tolerate dry air well because of its succulent leaves. The plant can even survive in the middle of the day if given enough light. You don’t necessarily need to take a break. The mother-in-law’s tongue increases humidity and purifies the air. This helps the environment, which is good news to pass along to your clients.
Creative Tips For The Mother-in-law’s Tongue
The Mother-in-law’s tongue is ideal for plant arrangements with a vertical line because of its straight tall shape. This will produce a fashionable result, especially in contemporary interiors, especially when combined with lovely tall pots. Another good idea is to group Mother-in-law’s tongues into a family because there are so many different types.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the tongue of the mother-in-law require sunlight?
A: It’s best to get indirect or filtered sun. A sunny window should be at least a few feet away from your plant.
What are the advantages of mother-in-law’s tongue?
A: By eliminating the volatile chemicals benzene and formaldehyde, it improves the air quality in your home.
How do you care for a mother-in-law who lives inside?
A: Provide it with a quality potting mix and water sparingly as directed above. You just need to repot it as necessary.
Where in my home should I put a mother-in-law’s tongue?
A: Keep it away from direct sunlight in a partially shaded or dappled sun area.
When should I spritz my mother-in-law’s tongue with water?
A: In the spring and summer, water it every two weeks, and in the winter, every eight weeks.
Why is the tongue of my mother-in-law bad karma?
A: This plant can bring unfavorable or discordant energy into a home, according to the principles of Feng Shui. However, we disagree.
Are small pots appealing to mother-in-law’s tongues?
They don’t mind being root-bound, but you should make sure to repot them frequently.
What is the lifespan of a mother-in-law’s tongue?
A: This perennial herbaceous plant will live for 5 to 10 years.
Do snakes like the mother-in-law’s tongues?
They don’t; their tall leaves are what give them their nickname of “snake plants.”
Q: I’ve had my mother-in-law’s tongue for months, but it isn’t growing. What is going on?
A. It’s completely normal for growth to slow down in the fall and winter. In these months of dormancy, new growth either stops entirely or proceeds very slowly.
A: My mother-in-law’s tongue is getting mushy leaves, but the soil is dry and I am not overwatering it. What’s happening?
A. There are two likely explanations if you’re certain that you’re not overwatering your mother-in-law’s tongue: either your soil is holding too much water, or you have some sort of rot.
What’s going on with my mother-in-law’s tongue leaves that are drooping or wrinkled?
A. When a mother-in-law drinks too much water, her tongue’s leaves droop. Your plant needs more water if the leaves appear wrinkled or begin to bend.
Q: Is the mother-in-law’s tonguetoxic?
A. The mother-in-law’s tongue contains mildly toxic substances for humans and more toxic substances for animals. Human tongues and throats may swell and become numb from the saponins present in the plant. The symptoms are worse in animals.