Mother In Laws Tongue Plant : Snake Plant


The Mother In Laws Plant, also known as Mother in laws tongue plant, (most common name snake plant) is a flowering plant. It is primarily grown for its slick sword like long leaves. This plant is growing very slowly. This plant can be grown by anyone because of its easy caring nature. The mother in law plant is very much tolerant to low and high sun light and ease of watering.

The botanical name of Mother in laws plant is Dracaena Trifasciata. Thisplantis belongs to the family Asparagaceae which is native to Tropical West Africa, from Nigeria East to the Congo.

The most common names are Snake Plant, Saint George’s Sword, Mother-in-law’s tongue, Mother in law plant and Viper’s Bowstring Hemp. Before 2017, it was also known as Sansevieria trifasciata.

Mother in Laws plant has thick and vertical sword shaped leaves. The leaves are dark green in color and are marked with lighter green bars going horizontal along with the blade like leaves. Some varieties have a yellow border along with the leaves.

The plant can cause serious problems if over water or allow residing in very cold temperatures for long time.

It picked up the name mother in laws tongue due to the sharpness of its evergreen sword like leaves. This is a flowering plant but flower can’t bloom when planted indoor. To get flowers, mother in law plant should be grown outdoor in suitable atmospheric condition.

This plant is toxic to cats or dogs. It can cause them to feel unwell, start vomiting or have diarrhea, if ingest. This plant is not highly toxic to humans but still can cause uncomfortable symptoms.

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Biological NameDracaena Trifasciata, Sansevieria trifasciata (Before 2017)
OriginWestern Africa
Common NamesMother in law’s tongue, Snake Plant, Saint George’s Sword, Mother in law plant, Viper’s Bowstring Hemp
GrowthHeight uo to 30 inches (70 cm)
ToxicityToxic to pets like cats and dogs
Plants General Facts

Characteristics of Mother In Law Plant

The important characteristics are as follows.

Basic Information

The mother in laws plant or snake plant is an evergreen perennial plant. Mature leaves are dark green in color with yellow strips on both edge.

The leaves usually range from 70–90 cm (approx 28–35 inch) long and 5–6 cm (approx 2–2.5 inch) wide.

Looks and Displaying

The tall looking leathery upright leaves are what make this succulent visually appealing rather than the flowers that may appear. The leaves are fleshy that sit within a rosette arrangement and can grow up to 2ft tall.

Level of Care

Please read the care instructions below. These plants are very easy to grow and maintain. However, the more you know about its basic needs, the better and stronger it will grow.


Small greenish white flowers may bloom when this species got mature. This seems as though it happens by luck rather than effort. Keeping this plant to the correct conditions gives the plant a higher chance of appearing buds.


Sometimes the tips of leaves will turn brown. In this situation, all you need to do is to cut the leaf at the soil surface and remove it completely.


Propagate by division during re-potting time. You may also remove offsets that appear near the base of the plant. It can be propagate by 2 inch leaf tip cuttings. But, dividing the plant seems to be the most successful approach of propagation.

Cut a leaf of snake plant and slice into 3-4 inch pieces. Make sure you remember which side of the leaf is the top and which side is the bottom.

Put the cuttings top-side-up in fresh soil mix and keep the pot in an area that gets bright but indirect light.

The cuttings will start rooting after approx 3-4 weeks. You will get a fresh batch of snake plants after some time.


The following varieties of Mother In Laws Plant are available.

  1. Golden edged leaves
  2. White edged leaves
  3. Green and grayish mottled leaves.

The golden edged leaf (S. trifasciata laurentii) is the most common variety among these.


Uses and Benefits of Mother In Laws Tongue Plant

While all plants purify air-borne toxins the snake plant is among the top plant’s tested and added to a list by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) for removing, benzene, formaldehyde and other harmful toxins.

The plant exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide using the crassulacean acid metabolism process, which is only present in a small number of plant species. It allows them to withstand drought.

The microscopic pores on the plant’s leaves, called the stomata and used to exchange gases, are only opened at night to prevent water from escaping via evaporation in the hot sun.

As a result, stored oxygen is released at the opening of the stomata at night, unlike most plants which continuously exchange gases during the day.

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Requirement to Grow and Care

The requirements to grow and care of Mother In Laws Tongue Plant is quite easy. Following are some important points.


Always use a common well draining garden soil as potting mix.


This plant stores water within its foliage. So it is not necessary to keep the soil damp. Water them when soil becomes dry. Don’t over water. Over-watering can cause the root rot.


The mother in laws tongue is well known for coping with direct sunlight and low light conditions. Hence, bright but indirect sunlight condition is preferred.


During the main growing season, from Spring to Autumn, feed with a diluted fertilizer once a month.


Average warmth is fine of approximately 15-24°C and no lower than 10°C.


Average room humidity is advised. But this plant can tolerate dry air conditions and drafts.


The snake plant does not enjoy being re-potted very often. So re-pot only when the pot cracks from growth. They’re best potted within a clay pot that can crack once maximum growth space within the pot is used.



The most common cause here is over watering in cold conditions. It may be identified by the leaves yellowing or drooping. You will need to remove the most affected parts or discard the whole plant, if the entire base is completely affected.

If you know you have not over watered check the temperature of the room. Because, it may just dropped below 10°C and causing the rot. Remember to take cuttings for propagation if this happens – unfortunately.

Special Instructions

Handle this plant with hand-gloves. In some cases, the plant causes skin irritation. We advice to take care when handling any plant.

Pests and Diseases

Pests– Snake plants are susceptible to mealy bugs and spider mites. Both of these pests attack the leaves of your spider plant in a similar fashion, sucking the sap out of the leaves.

If you have a heavy infestation, it’s best to just start over with a new plant. But if you catch them early, you can prevent the infestation from growing.

Combat spider mites by misting the plant and wiping them off. For mealy bugs, wipe them off with a cotton swab of rubbing alcohol

Diseases- The most common disease will be a root rot due to over-watering. It’s common because gardeners tend to treat snake plants like other types of houseplants that aren’t succulents, watering on the same schedule.

The solution for root rot is simple: water less, and repot into fresh soil to allow the roots to dry out. You may also need to cut off any mushy leaves.

You may also run into brown rust spots on the leaves, which is caused by allowing water to sit on the leaves during cold or cloudy periods.


Q. My snake plant is not growing for months. What is going on?

A. If you bought it during the fall and winter months, it’s completely natural for growth to slow down. These are the dormant months that new growth is either completely stopped or extremely slow. However, if you are in the spring and summer months and it’s still not growing, revisit the care guide above and see if you’re not giving your snake plant what it needs.

Q. The leaves of my snake plant are becoming mushy. But the soil is dry and I am not over watering it. What is happening with it?

A. If you are positive you’re not over watering your snake plant, then there are two probable causes: your soil is holding too much water, or you have some kind of leaf rot. Check to see if your soil is too peaty and holds too much water, and re-read the diseases section to see if you may have a rot.

Q. The leaves of my snake plant are drooping.What to do?

A. Unlike most plants, the leaves of a snake plant will droop when they’ve gotten too much water not too little! However, if the leaves have a wrinkled appearance or start to bend, it’s a surefire sign that your plant isn’t getting enough water.

Q. Is snake plant toxic?

A. All parts of the snake plant are mildly toxic. The poison found in the plant can cause the tongue and throat to swell and be numb. In severe cases there may be distress in the digestive tract.

While low doses of the plant normally don’t produce any symptoms, large doses can cause vomiting or nausea.


I am very sure that you have enjoyed this information. This article is about to the care for a Mother In Laws Tongue Plant or Snake Plant. If you have any question, please let me know in the “Comment” section. Otherwise, use “Contact us” form to get in touch with me.

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