Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Houseplant of the Week: Sansevieria

Sansevieria. Mother-in-law's tongue. Snake plant. Whatever you call it, there's a reason why we use this houseplant so much. And why your mother used it, and your uncle and grandparents. It's so easy to grow that the best possible way to kill it is by giving it too much love.


Before you brush it off as being a "Grandma plant" or too old fashioned for more modern tastes, consider Sansevieria's striking architectural form and dramatic foliage markings. These features make it an updated classic, perfect for traditional and contemporary interiors alike. Although it's native to tropical western Africa, it'll grow outdoors in very mild climates, and makes a stunning indoor houseplant in virtually any location.

AT A GLANCE

Common Name: Mother-in-law's Tongue, Snake Plant
Botanical Name: Sansevieria spp.
USDA Hardiness zones: 10 - 12
Size: 2' - 4'
Light Requirements: Low to medium
Water Requirements: Low to average (once or twice a month)
Soil Requirements: Well-drained
Flower: Light greenish-white appearing in the spring when planted outdoors, followed by orange berries. Although not impossible, Sansevieria used as houseplants rarely flower and fruit.
General Description: Sansevieria is a stemless, green succulent, featuring upright, stiff, fleshy sword-shaped leaves with leaf markings and margins in shades of grey-green, yellow and dark green. There are no serious pest or disease issues, although this plant will rot if overwatered or allowed to sit in water.