A Blooming Mother-in Law Tongue Plant in June

TheGardenLady received this question from Alice.

My sister gave me two pups from her mother n laws plant about 7 years ago. She passed away in 2014. Now my plant blooms in the same month (June) that she passed. I have never saw these plants bloom before.

You are taking perfect care of your Sansevieria to get it to bloom regularly- correct amount of fertilizer, perfect light and amount of watering and properly pot bound. What a lovely memorial to have it bloom for you in June when your loved one passed. Keep up your good care so that you can be lucky enough to have the plant continue to flower.

The person in the video above has the mother-in-law plant Sansevieria, flower at the end of summer.

Flowering Sansevieira

Flowering “mother-in-law’s tongue” by malyousif

TheGardenLady received this question from Cathy.

What are the white flowers ghrowing out of my sansevieira plant?  My friend had this plant for years and she never got them.

Lucky you!

Sansevieria or  mother-in-law’s tongue, like many plants, DO have flowers. They are white or a pale yellow green and some are quite fragrant. Also, you might see nectar balls on the flower stem. These flowers come when everything in the culture is just right- right light, temperature, humidity, etc. Your friend might not have had them growing in this optimum situation or it might have been just ready to bloom when she gave the plant to you. You are lucky to be able to see the flowers in your home. This is not a usual event. So sit back and enjoy the flowers, even though they are not that showy.
See here.

Why Plant Leaves Fold

folded leaf spider nest by mycocortex

TheGardenLady received this question from Jim.

I believe my snake plant is underwatered. The leaves are folding in half length-wise. I have probably underwatered in fear of overwatering. Any suggestions for bringing my snake plant back without overwatering it?

Snake plant or Sansevieria is a tough plant that has few pests. But it does have some pests. My guess, and it can only be a guess because I cannot examine your plant, is that you are not under watering your plant but that your plant may have some pests.

When you have plants indoors, the environment is not what the plant is used to; so a plant can be stressed much more than it would be if it were growing outside in its natural environment. The stress might be from your not giving the plant the minimum amount of water that it needs. I water my  Sansevieria plants just a few times when it is indoors during cold weather and they are perfectly healthy. However, if I felt the plant were under watered, I would give it a drink- which I hope you have done for your plants.  Whatever is stressing your plant and whenever your plant gets stressed, it becomes less resistant to problems. Therefore your plant might become vulnerable to some insects pests. The three main insect pests of the Sansevieria plant are 1) the Vine Weevil grub, 2) mealy bugs or 3) spider mites.

Continue reading “Why Plant Leaves Fold”

What to do with a Big Sansevieria

Sanseviera by Phlora

TheGardenLady received this question from Ellen.

I was given a re-potted [Mother-in-law’s tongue] plant. It is so  tall that I am having difficulty finding a place to put it. Can the plant be cut off or will it die?

There are many kinds of Sansevieria, Mother-in-law’s tongue plants, and some can grow to be over 6 ft tall. Since you were given one of the taller types, it is understandable that you may be having trouble finding a spot to house it.

Whoever gave you the Sansevieria knew how to properly care for it. Many people want their Sansevierias to grow to full size as they do in nature and have concerns that their plants are not growing tall enough in pots in their home; you are having the opposite complaint. Perhaps because it was so tall that was why your friend gave it away.

If it is a specimen plant, you might consider giving it to someone who appreciates it as it is and maybe just keep one of its leaves to start a new plant. Or you might even want to exhibit this specimen in your local flower show and not cut anything off. Flower shows want to exhibit specimen plants like this; you don’t have to raise a plant to show it- you just have to own it.

It seems sad to destroy something that sounds so magnificent. Continue reading “What to do with a Big Sansevieria”

Do Sansevierias Grow Outdoors in New Zealand?

Cooktown Trip (Group 28) – An Environmental Disaster – Mother in-law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) (Snake Plant) by emblatame (Ron)

TheGardenLady received this question from Pauline.

Does [Sanseveria] grow outside? I live in New Zealand. (Auckland)

Depending on which of the approx 70 different species of Sansevieria you are interested in growing will determine where they can be grown outdoors as a landscaping plant. Sansevieria plants are native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa and need the same temperature where they came from to thrive in your area.

The most common Sansevieria grown in the US is the Sansevieria trifasciata grown as a houseplant unless you live in a frost free zone which in the states would be

USDA Zones 9b to 10a: which is about -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

TheGardenLady saw them growing in private gardens in California. However, I have read that in frost-free areas, Sansevierias can become quite invasive because of their vigorous and spreading rhizomes.

Continue reading “Do Sansevierias Grow Outdoors in New Zealand?”

How to keep old Sansevieria or Mother-in-laws tongue plants happy and healthy

Snake plant by Fuzzy T

A number of readers have asked how to keep old Sansevieria or Mother-in-laws tongue plants happy and healthy. Many readers have inherited family sansevieria plants and want to do the right thing in revitalizing the plants. The best suggestion is to join a Sansevieria society to get their journals that give information about the plants and where you can write to a specialist who works with almost no other plant family. See here.

One question is: What sized pot should it be repotted in? According to the University of Arizona,  they recommend that for all plants the ” rule is that the diameter of the pot should be about one-third the height of the plant from the top of the foliage to the soil line.” Because Sansevierias have strong roots that can break pots, the Sansevieria International Society recommends planting the plant in a deep enough pot to allow its shoots to reach bottom and turn back upwards.

Continue reading “How to keep old Sansevieria or Mother-in-laws tongue plants happy and healthy”

How To Decide On Whether to Grow these Kmart Plants Outdoors

Dracaena marginata blooming by our Bamboo Gate by jungle mama

TheGardenLady received this question from Luella.

I bought some plants from Kmart a few weeks ago and I was wondering if I could plant them outside. I have a mother-in-law’s tongue, a drac marg (whatever that is), and what I believe is a rubber tree.

You did not tell me where you live for TheGardenLady to know if you can grow them outdoors. The plants that you bought do not tolerate any frost or snow or they will die. Since you bought them at Kmart, I imagine you live in an area that cannot grow them outdoors. All three plants that you bought are considered ornamental indoor plants in most of the continental United States.

Dracaena marginata comes from Madigascar. If you live in the plant hardiness zones 9 and 10 you could grow it outdoors.

The rubber tree, also known as a Ficus elastica, will grow outdoors in  hardiness zones 10 or 11. Hawaii is in these zones. In a pot, the Ficus remains manageable but these plants can become really huge trees that can grow up to 50 feet tall.  So even if you lived in a zone where the Rubber Tree would live outdoors, I doubt that you would have enough land to grow such a large tree. But don’t worry about its getting too big in your house. When grown in a pot the Rubber tree should only grow about 10 feet tall.

If you live in California and some other hot areas of the US, you might be able to grow the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue plant, Sansevieria, outdoors. You need to live in Plant Hardiness Zone 8 or higher.

Check the Hardiness Zone you live in to see which plants you can grow outdoors.

Even if you can’t plant these three plants outdoors permanently,  know that during the hot summer months you can take all three plants outdoors in their pots.  They love hot weather.  But you must bring them in before the first frost or they will die.

Where To Buy Sansevieria, also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

Sansevieria – Mother-in-law tongue or Snake Plant by Green Acres Nursery

TheGardenLady received this question from Glen.

Where can I find a mother-in-law’s tongue to buy?

Generally you should be able to buy Sansevieria – common name is Mother-in-Law’s Tongue – at your local nurseries or garden centers that sell indoor plants. If you cannot find the plants locally, there are numerous sites online where you can order them in the US and abroad. You might also contact or join the International Sansevieria Organization or a local Cactus Society to see which nurseries they recommend.

There is a website called Cactus Mall that lists places to buy Sansevieria.  See here.  This site has interesting information about Sansevieria.

Untitled by *n*o*o*r*

You can buy Sansevieria on eBay.

Though TheGardenLady cannot recommend any specific online nursery, a short list of online nurseries where you can order Sansevieria are:

Bob Smoley’s Gardenworld

Brookside Nursery

Glasshouse Works

Succulent Garden website

Hope this helps.

Taking Care of Your Sansevieria (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue)

Sansevieria francisii by allloe

TheGardenLady has received a number of questions about Sansevieria or Mother -in- Law’s tongue. Two of the questions are listed here. Two others relate to keeping the Sanserieria alive after freezing and what to do if the plant has root rot.

My wife has a snake plant that’s starting to bloom, and it has a sticky liquid coming from the pod clusters. I’d like to know what it is and what it’s for?

I am caring my for my mother-in-law’s mother-in-law tongue. I of course don’t want to kill it, but it looks awful. I think it was over-watered at one time, and kept in the dark, damp, cool basement, over the winter months. I have recently brought them upstairs, where it is warmer and can dryout a little. It appaers the soil never dried out. The leaves at the soil line are yellowing and going up the plant leaf itself. They are falling over and nothing I do can keep them standing up. I think originally they were potted in Miracle grow potting soil. I would like to save these plants, but I not sure what I can do? Can I just cut the top portion of the leaf off and place it in soil to re-root?

There is no question that Sansevieria is a very popular plant. One of the reasons that the plant is so popular is because it is such a tough plant that is so easy to grow with so few problems or pests. There are about 70 species of sansevierias to have a variety of leaves to choose from. Because of its popularity there is an international Sansevieria Society in England. If you are interested, you might want to join or order some of their journals. Or you might want to join one of the many cactus and succulent plant societies in the US and around the world.

White milkglass with Snake Plant by sunshinesyrie

Sansevierias come from tropical and subtropical areas. Therefore a minimum temperature of about 50 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended. Short periods of lower temperatures may be tolerated as long as the plants are dry. They die if left out in the frost. If your plant has frozen, there is little hope that it will survive. But you can cut off the mushy parts of the leaves and leave the roots in the ground. If the roots are not frozen, they may push up new leaves. Leave them in the pot for a while and put the pot outdoors when the weather is warm and see if anything grows. You can always throw the pot out if nothing emerges by the end of the summer and start over with new plants. They are a relatively inexpensive plant to buy or maybe a friend will give you one of her plants.

I cannot stress enough the fact that Sansevierias thrive on neglect, especially in the cold months. If potbound and under stress ( usually in the summer), the plant will send up a stem with small, inconspicuous flowers. The plant is not grown for its flowers, it is grown for its leaves. But the flowers are an exciting thing to see and they are very fragrant. The sticky liquid on the stem is the nectar.

Continue reading “Taking Care of Your Sansevieria (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue)”

Is your mother-in-law tongue plant harmful?

sansevieria blooms by pennycarnathan
sansevieria blooms by pennycarnathan

TheGardenLady received this question from Chery.

Is the aroma produced from the blooms of your mother-in-law’s tongue plant

As far as TheGardenLady is concerned, she enjoys the fragrances of flowering plants and does not believe any of them are harmful. She loves the fragrance of the Sansevieria, Mother-in -law’s tongue plant. Fortunately, TheGardenLady has no allergies.

Though there is some problem if one eats the plant parts or some people get what is called contact dermatitis from touching the plant. The plant has low toxicity, and it may cause excessive salivation – though rats fed the flowers have died.  Read this.

TheGardenLady would recommend keeping the plant away from animals or children who might eat or play with the plant.

People who are sensitive to or have allergies from plant fragrances are another issue. TheGardenLady has never seen any evidence of the aroma of the Sansevieria being harmful, but she is not a physician and can not say if the Sansaviera fragrance would be harmful to people with allergies to fragrances.