Growing Snake Plant “The Mother in Law’s Tongue”

The snake plant or Sansevieria trifasciata is succulent with tall leaves. Unlike many succulents, this tropical plant is not short and squat.

It comes in different colors. Several varieties have thick leaves with buttery yellow edges. Meanwhile, some others are having dark green stripes.

This variety is a favorite plant for interior design. Any style of decor looks great with these indoor succulents.

Just like all the succulents, the snake plant is quite hardy. Moreover, new gardeners would love to have this in their space.


The Origin of Snake Plant

Sansevieria trifasciata, commonly called snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue, is native to tropical western Africa. It is a stemless evergreen perennial that, with proper care, will last for many years.
Snake Plant Origin

Sansevieria Trifasciata is native to West Africa. It becomes an essential part of the African culture.

People in Nigeria believe that snake plants give them spiritual protection. They are even used in sacred rituals by Nigerians.

Moreover, this plant is associated with some African gods such as the God of war.

Besides, snake plants have also become an important part of Chinese history. According to them, this succulent brings good luck.

When you take care of this plant, you will get prosperity, long life, and other good virtues.

The Genus of Snake Plant

Sansevieria is a historically recognized genus of flowering plants, native to Africa, notably Madagascar, and southern Asia, now included in the genus Dracaena on the basis of molecular phylogenetic studies.
Snake Plant Genus

Obviously, this succulent is a type of Sansevieria. This genus has 70 different flowering plants.

They are all in the same group because of similar characteristics. They have upright leaves ad short, thick roots.

As said before, the scientific name of the snake plant is Sansevieria Trifasciata which comes from Latin.

When translated to English, that word means “marked with 3 bands”. It is due to the colored streaks on the leaves.

Besides, snake plants have other popular nicknames, such as the mother in law plant or mother-in-law’s tongue.

It is due to the sharp, pointed leaves. Indeed, it seems quite right.

Another nickname is viper’s bowstring hemp. It is because of the strong fibers that were used to make bowstrings back then.

Snake Plant Varieties

The sansevieria trifasciata is also known as 'mother-in-law's tongue'. It is one of the most popular species of snake plants, and many people choose it for their home due to its hardy nature and low maintenance.
Snake Plant Varieties

The snake plant is not only about the classic green-yellow leaves.

There are many different cultivars you can choose for your indoor decor or a small garden. Several types of snake plants are:

  1. Black Gold

Sansevieria Black Gold is a cultivar of the famous Trifasciata Snake Plant. The elongated dark-green leaves with golden borders can get about 3 feet long.
Black Gold Snake Plant

Black gold or the Viper’s Bowstring Hemp has the dark-green leaves that look like a sword.

Further, this cultivar grows up to 2.5 inches in width and 4 feet tall. The outline is yellow. If it gets enough sunlight every day, the plant will have a more bright yellow color.

  1. Futura Robusta


For a shorter choice of snake plant, you can aim to have this Sansevieria plant. It grows about 24 inches in height.

You can see the grayish lines that strip on the green leaves. Unlike many other varieties, this sword-shaped leaf twists around each other.

  1. Golden Hahnii

 'Golden Hahnii' is a small succulent that forms rosettes of gray-green oval leaves with dark green cross-bands and broad creamy-yellow margins.
Golden Hahnii Snake Plant

It is the golden bird’s nest of snake plants. This dwarf variety will not grow taller than expected. Also, this plant forms low rosettes. The gray-green leaves come in an oval shape.

Additionally, the dark green crossbands have a yellow outline.

The best thing about golden Hahnii is the yellow-green flowers that bloom in the early fall or late summer.

  1. Futura Superba

Sansevieria Futura Superba is another cousin of the Sansevieria family with green pointed and variegated leaves with yellow edges. It is an ornamental plant that grows in irregular rosette pattern. It does well in small pots even in low light conditions.
Futura Superba Snake Plant

It looks like the immature version of the Black Gold variety. This snake plant will grow about 24 inches in height.

The leaves go upright and they will spread in a rosette.

This variety will go about 12 inches wide. Futura Superba mottles with dark green. It handles brighter sun better than many others.

  1. Blue Sansevieria

Stunning blue-gray horizontal bands adorn each leaf blade on the fan-shaped grower. Blue Sword has fairly stout leaves, is fast growing, tight clumping, pest resistant and simply beautiful.
Blue Sansevieria Snake Plant

This variety will grow the leaves in two parallel rows. The maximum width will be up to 2.5 inches and the height will go up to 5 feet.

It has dark-green leaves and a rounded form. When it gets mature enough, the rhizomes will be put off.

The rhizomes will get the plant to form a clump.

Small grayish-white snake plant flower with the purple tip will come out in the early fall or late summer.

  1. Sansevieria Kirkii

Sansevieria kirkii, also identified as star sansevieria, is a snake plant variety that is a bit harder to find. It’s a fantastic indoor houseplant, but also provides an amazing outdoor gardening experience if you’re in the right climate.
Sansevieria Kirkii Snake Plant

This is one of the larger species of spider plants. Kirkii grows in a rosette. It can go up to 2-feet across.

You can see the wavy-edge leaves that go up to 6 feet high. The coppery-bronze color is also pretty unique.

While growing Sansevieria Kirkii, you should give it more sunlight. So, the leaves can be more colorful.

In addition, the sun will make it grow faster.

  1. Ceylon Bowstring Hemp

Ceylon bowstring hemp is a succulent plant with sword-shaped, dark green leaves with large white spots. The leaves are up to 2.5 feet (75 cm) long and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide.
Ceylon Bowstring Hemp Snake Plant

This snake plant produces leaves upright that go 2.5 feet tall and 1 inch in width.

Just like the previous bowstring hemp variety, this one has sword-shaped leaves. There are some white spots on them.

Apparently, There are some dark-green bands on each leaf. To avoid having a yellow outline, do not place Ceylon snake plant under the bright sunlight.

  1. Moonshine

Sansevieria Moonshine is a beautiful, upright snake plant with broad silvery green leaves. It enjoys bright indirect light. In low light conditions, the leaves may turn a darker green but keep its silvery sheen.
Moonshine Snake Plant

It is an albino cultivar. This unique snake plant variety has almost pure silver leaves.

The appearance and color are so different from many others. It really creates a beautiful contrast in your garden.

Put it side by side with other cultivars, you can see what we are talking about.

Taking Care for Snake Plants

Since snake plants tend to be slow growers, they don't usually need any fertilizer—though you will want to replace their soil every eight to 12 months to protect against root rot.
Caring for Sansevieria Trifasciata

If you want to grow snake plants healthy and properly, there are several things you have to know about.

The Best Soil

Snake plants do best with a free-draining soil mix, because they are easily prone to rot. A soilless potting mixture is best to ensure adequate drainage.
Best Soil for Snake Plant

It is important to get the right soil to plant your snake plants. Well, this succulent is very sensitive to water.

It is also prone to root rot. So, you have to plant it in well-drained soil.

You can buy some soil product for succulents because it has got sand that supports good drainage.

Besides, prepare your DIY soil special for succulents. Check for the recipes on the internet, it will be an easy peasy.

You just have to mix several ingredients that are easy to get.

However, if you do not have time for a DIY project, even though it is an easy one, you can just buy the commercial soil.

Check out the Bonsai Jack product called soil mix. It is perfect for succulents.

No need to add any other things anymore. The root rot will not be the problem since it has the right ingredient to fight.

The Repotting

The best time to do this repotting is in the late winter or very early spring. This puts the transplant during the time of year that the plant’s not in active growth mode.
Repotting Snake Plant

Snake Plants are not like other succulents. They like to be a little squished in containers or pots.

Repotting the plants is not necessary until it is needed. You can consider repotting them every three or six years.

However, when you see the obvious overgrowth signs. Repotting becomes necessary.

Although, that does not mean you cannot change the containers for your snake plant. Repot it anytime to get fancy.

Repotting is not hard at all. There are a few things you need to know.

Snake plants prefer to be root bound. So, it is necessary to prepare a new pot with only a few centimeters larger than the previous one.

Before repotting, fill the new container with a third of the succulent soil from the old pot.

Then, pop the snake plant on the pot and do it gently. After successfully getting the plant out, you can begin to put it in the new pot.

Position it properly and make sure the location is two inches below the rim of the container. Wait for a few days, you can begin to water it after that.

How to Water

Snake plant care requires minimal effort. To keep the plant looking its best, water when the soil dries out. The best way to tell when your plant needs watering is to touch the soil every week. When the first inch of the soil feels dry, it's time to water.
Watering Snake Plant

Speaking of watering, snake plants do need water. You can pour it onto the soil by moving through the pot’s drainage hole.

Importantly, ensure that the plant does not sit in any water.

Therefore, if you have the pot with a saucer, lift this container twice a day. Hence, the excess water will drain.

When you touch the soil and the texture is dry, it is time to water the plant again.

The Light Requirements

Plants grow in any light level, from low to high. They grow more quickly in brighter light, but strong direct sunlight burns leaves, especially when plants are outdoors. An ideal spot is about 10 feet away from a west or south window.
Snake Plant Light Requirements

This succulent would love to have indirect sunlight but it is also pretty adaptable. The area with full sun and low light will not be a big problem.

The indirect sunlight will only make them thrive even more. So, it does not mean that snake plants can die under full sunlight all day.

As a suggestion, place the plant near an east-facing window.

They will grow healthy and happy. Why is that? That kind of window position will give them direct sun during the morning time.

These cultivars need indirect sunlight for the rest of the day. How about planting snake plants outdoors?

Well, the best place for them is in the shade. Even though the succulents can handle full sun, it is not a good thing to try.

There will be a risk of sun damage and other issues. Thus, snake Plants do look gorgeous in a sunny spot.

If you want, just place it under the full sun outdoors. Keep your eyes close to your snake plants and make sure to always water them enough.

Additionally, when it starts to burn, get the shade cloth ready.


Above all, knowing how to grow and take care of a snake plant, you will be ready to plant it just about anywhere you want in your house.

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