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?”

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.

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.

Taking Care of Your Mother-In-Law’s Tongue Plant

”]Sansevieria - Mother-in-law tongue or Snake Plant [Photo by Green Acres Nursery and Supply]TheGardenLady received this question from Donna:

I have a  that is turning yellow. I have had it for over ten years and it’s been in the same pot since. It has always done well, but here recently it is becoming sick. There hasn’t been any change to it to cause it. Any suggestions?

Since you say that you have had your Sansevieria Trifasciata plant, commonly called Mother-In-Laws Tongue or Snake plant, for over 10 years, I doubt that you have a gold variety like`Vandal Gold`, a Sansevieria that I have read about but do not know where to buy.

And I am amazed that you have a plant or anything that hasn’t had any change in all that time. There is nothing in TheGardenLady’s house that hasn’t changed in 10 years- including TheGardenLady.

Continue reading “Taking Care of Your Mother-In-Law’s Tongue Plant”