sansevieria trifasciata – snake plant, mother-in-law tongue

the snake plant (sansevieria trifasciata) is a houseplant classic that was forgotten for some years and is now becoming more popular with a lot of new cultivars available. it’s also known under the name mother-in-law tongue. this succulent is native to africa.

there are a lot of cultivars around with more yellowish or white striped leaves. very popular are the dwarf “hahnii” forms.


the snake plant does best on a bright and sunny place. especially the coloured cultivars need some more light for building up the variegation. a half shady place will be tolerated. during the summer they can be put in the garden or on the balcony.

sansevieria trifasciata needs a well drained soil. good works a mix between humus or garden soil, sand and crushed rocks. keep it moist bu not wet and allow to dry before the next watering. overwatering (especially on a colder place during winter) can cause root rot.

a water soluble or cacti fertilizer in half of by the manufacturer indicated concentration can be given monthly. if at room temperature at winter time every six to eight weeks.

the snake plant can be placed on +/- 15 °c (59 °f) during the winter. then it needs less watering and no fertilizing.


the mother-in-law tongue can be propagated by seeds, division or leaf cuttings.