Other names: Mother-in-law’s tongue, Snake plant
Scientific name: Sansevieria
One of the most carefree plants you can grow, snake plant adapts quickly to life in homes, workplaces, and shopping malls. Often described as indestructible, snake plant tolerates neglect but responds to good care by growing sturdy, sword-shaped leaves, which often are edged with yellow or white. Clean them periodically with a damp cloth to maintain a glossy sheen. Very old plants sometimes produce clusters of white flowers in winter, but most indoor-grown plants go many years between bloom cycles. This is a top houseplant for beginners, but seasoned houseplant growers also love snake plant for its stalwart constitution and dramatic upright form.
Do snake plants get flowers?
Snake plants are not usually grown for their flowers, but blossoms have been known to happen on some varieties (and since most snake plants are hand-me-downs, few people can identify them by name). When they do occur, the flowers are white, small, fluffy, and sometimes headily fragrant.
How to care for snake plants?
As for care, they are all bulletproof. I have never met anyone who has killed a snake plant. It’s nearly impossible to do. A lot of people have thrown them out, but few have succeeded in neglecting them to death. If you want to do it right, give snake plants indirect light (they can burn in a direct south-facing window), water them when the soil is dry (which happens often if you haven’t repotted), and provide average home temperatures. Humidity, or lack thereof, is not usually an issue. When they are happy (and it doesn’t take much to please them), snake plants will increase by sending up more snakes. They do this with so much gusto that they have been known to muscle out of plastic containers, so move your snake plant into a clay pot as soon as possible. Select a container that is squat and weighty on the bottom; the crowd of heavy succulent leaves can topple easily. Another solution is to divide off some of the leaves. Surely you know some folks who desperately need a plant they cannot possibly kill, try though they might.
Snake plant specifications
Light: From spring through fall, bright indirect light. In winter, moderate light.
Temperature: Average indoor temperatures (65–75°F/18–24°C) year-round, with no chilling below 60°F/16°C.
Fertilizer: From late spring through fall, feed monthly with a balanced houseplant fertilizer mixed at half the normal strength. In winter, do not feed.
Water: In spring through summer, water often enough to keep soil lightly moist. In winter, allow soil to become nearly dry between waterings.
Soil: Regular potting soil, possibly amended with a handful of sterilized garden soil to give it a slightly heavier texture.
Repotting: Repot as needed in spring every 2 to 3 years. As plants become taller, add pebbles or small stones to the bottom of the container to add weight, which prevents toppling.
Longevity: 20 years or more; indefinitely if propagated by division every 5 to 10 years.
Propagation: Division in early spring. Use a sharp, serrated knife to cut through the thick roots.
Selections: Standard selections such as ‘Laurentii’, with creamy yellow leaf margins, grow to 24 in/60 cm tall. Dwarf forms such as ‘Golden Hahnii’ and ‘Silver Hahnii’ grow to half that size, with sharply variegated leaves.
Display tips: Snake plant’s tall, linear look makes it an ideal background plant to group with other foliage plants. It moves willingly to new locations provided steady warmth is maintained.
You can also display snake plants at the corner of the house or near the vertical spots. It will help to make your house look softer