Also known as
Variegated Snake Plant, Sansevieria trifasciata, Mother-in-law's tongue, Snake plant
Starr 070906-9018 Sansevieria trifasciata by Forest & Kim Starr (CC BY 3.0)
10 years to reach maturity
This plant has a mild fragrance
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Mother-In-Law's Tongue Overview
Dracaena trifasciata is a succulent, evergreen perennial species in the Asparagaceae family. It is sometimes still known by the older name Sansevieria trifasciata and often sold as such. Leaves grow to between 80-100cm in length and 5-7cm wide. These tend to be dark green in colour with grey-green bands and horizontal marbling. Probably the toughest and most tolerant houseplant you can find, it is virtually indestructible and a great choice for the beginner gardener. Its attractive patterned leaves don't flop or spread, so it's great for tight spaces or where you want something upright. It is commonly known by the names Variegated Snake Plant because of the shape and colour of its leaves, and Mother-in-Law's Tongue due to the sharpness of the leaves. It thrives on neglect and is drought-tolerant, disliking excessive watering (drench once a week and allow to dry out between waterings). Short spikes of small fragrant tubular greenish-white flowers can appear in spring or summer.
Common problems with Mother-In-Law's Tongue
Vine Weevil may attack the roots, and sometimes it can suffer from Soft Rot.
How to harvest Mother-In-Law's Tongue
Generally not harvested.
How to propagate Mother-In-Law's Tongue
Root leaf cuttings with bottom heat during summer. Cuttings from variegated cultivars will lack the same variegation patterns, if grown from leaf cuttings.
Divide clumps in spring.
Remove suckers in spring and replant immediately.
Special features of Mother-In-Law's Tongue
Other uses of Mother-In-Law's Tongue
A low maintenance plant that is prefect as a houseplant in conservatories or subtropical indoor greenhouses.
Some of our favourite plants to grow indoors as houseplants.