Sansevierias are valued for their interesting appearance and durability. Although the most common variety is known as Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law's Tongue for its long, pointed leaves that stand straight up in the pot, other varieties grow from compact rosettes and reach mature heights of only about 4 inches (10 cm). Because Sansevierias thrive with minimal care and live for many years, it seems nearly indestructible. They are suitable for planting outdoors in USDA plant hardiness zones 10b through 11b.
Place Sansevierias in moderately bright or filtered light. Good locations include a spot in front of a bright, sunny window covered by a sheer curtain. Although the plant tolerates low light, bright light brings out the colors in the leaves. However, intense light may cause the edges of the leaves to turn yellow.
Allow the soil to dry completely before watering, and then water deeply until water drips through the drainage hole. Allow the pot to drain, and then discard the water that remains in the saucer. Never let the soil become soggy, and never let the pot stand in water. Water sparingly throughout the winter. Like most succulent plants storing water in their leaves, Sansevieria rots quickly in excessively wet soil.
Place Sansevieria in average room temperatures. Protect the plant from drafts and cold temperatures as it is damaged below 50 °F (10 °C).
Feed the plant once every three weeks throughout the summer. Use a general-purpose fertilizer for houseplants diluted to one-half of the strength suggested on the container. Sansevieria is a light feeder, and too much fertilizer makes the leaves fall over.
Repot the plant into a container one size larger only when the roots outgrow the pot. Sansevieria thrives and may produce blooms when its roots are crowded. Fill the container with lightweight commercial potting soil. Some people repot plants only when the roots crack the pot.
Remove dust by wiping the leaves with a soft, damp cloth. Avoid commercial leaf-shine products, which may damage the leaves or cause them to take on a rusty appearance. If any leaves are damaged or blemished, cut them off, even with the soil.
- Back to genus Sansevieria
- Succupedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus