PLANT Mother-in-Law Tongue or Snake Plant

Mother-in-Law's Tongue (also known as Snake Plant) is one of the most carefree house plants you can grow. It thrives in just about any light. Prefers dry air and soil. Rarely needs repotted.

This succulent house plant grows stiffly upright variegated leaves.

S.t. 'Hahnii' (shown at left) is a compact, low-growing variety that only reaches a few inches tall.Some varieties have leaves that are edged with yellow or white.

Clusters of small, white flowers sometimes grow at the base of a plant when it is a few years old. It rarely blooms indoors, and it may go years between flowering, so it's a nice surprise when it does.

Mother-in-Law's Tongue is ideal for beginners, but seasoned gardeners also love this accent plant's dramatic, sword-shaped leaves. Slow-growing, it will live for many years with good care.

Watering Tip

Water the soil, taking care not to get water on the leaves, which will cause them to rot. If the leaves turn yellow, or get soft and mushy at their base, it's overwatered.

Any problems with growing Sansevieria are usually related to watering. Allow the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil to dry out between waterings during the growing season. In winter, water just enough to prevent the soil from drying out. Overwatering will cause root rot.

Repot in spring, only when plants get crowded and need dividing. Keep the rosette of the leaves at soil level. Use a wide, heavy container to prevent toppling. This tall plant can get top-heavy.

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