Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Snake Plant, Mother-in-Law's Tongue
Sansevieria trifasciata

Family: Asparagaceae
Genus: Sansevieria (san-se-VEER-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: trifasciata (try-fask-ee-AH-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Sansevieria craigii
Synonym:Sansevieria jacquinii
Synonym:Sansevieria laurentii

One vendor has this plant for sale.

109 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden

Cactus and Succulents

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From leaf cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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36 positives
17 neutrals
8 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive poeciliopsis On Feb 2, 2015, poeciliopsis from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Central Phoenix -- Sansevieria trifasciata grows in-ground in my garden, but requires winter protection. It has survived extensive freezes with a fabric cover, but suffers damage. Light freezes kill the tall leaf ends even under cover and the 2013 freeze of several weeks, with a low of 24F, killed over half the clump. But it came back rapidly. It grows in filtered (deciduous tree) shade with water every other week in summer and none in winter.

Negative Clary On Jul 24, 2014, Clary from Lewisburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Extremely invasive in the tropics. Most of the Carribean is overrun with this, as is much of Australia. Grows in dense thickets and chokes out native species of plants, also displaces native animals & insects through habitat loss.

The distinction listed below, that this variety is not invasive but Sansevieria hyacinthoides is invasive, is not accurate. All species of Sansevieria are invasive in the tropics. A study was done in Hawaii on the specific problem of invasive Sansevieria trifasciata on the Islands and this cultivar is included in the Global Invasive Species database.

Dangerous for cats indoors and invasive outdoors, it gets a negative rating from me.

Positive dvcmck On Jul 23, 2014, dvcmck from white oak, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Have several cultivars of trifasciata and have grown them all for years. Mine bloom every summer except for the Hahnii types which have a growth pattern that reminds me of the top of a pineapple. I think they are the easiest of houseplants. water normally during growth in the summer and perhaps as little as once a month in winter. I'm 65 and have always had these( or been around them as a child). We had cats at home and I've always had at least one cat as an adult and never experienced any problems. Original plant was my grandma's!

Positive Harmicky On Jul 8, 2012, Harmicky from (Zone 9b) wrote:

I'd like to point out an error in several members' comments on this species.

There is a substantial difference between Sansevieria trifasciata and Sansevieria hyacinthoides. The latter is indeed an invasive pest species, and is listed on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC). Sansevieria trifasciata, however, is NOT an invasive species, and is not listed on the FLEPPC.

Sansevieria trifasciata, for which this page is dedicated, IS SAFE to plant outdoors without fear of invasion.

Positive MonicaBrooke On Jun 9, 2012, MonicaBrooke from Laurel, MT wrote:

I love, love this plant I got my first one 12 years ago when it was maybe 6" tall it is now almost 5 1/2' feet tall. Mine has bloomed several times and is doing just wonderful it has been in every type of light in my house. I recently propagated it for the first time and the little guys are doing well. I have two smaller ones also in various light and just purchased two of the bird nest variety from the nursery were I work. I have recommended this plant to the many people that stop in and tell me they can't grow anything. My coworker has one for over 25 years. This plant is so very easy to grow a a great first plant for kids. It makes an excellent specimen plant with lots of drama.

Negative aclagett On May 5, 2012, aclagett wrote:

I believe my cat chewed on the tip of a leaf of this plant this morning -- she threw up twice, crouched down and started panting and sighing. Tried to walk and her back legs were all wobbly. She didn't want her breakfast. Hasn't moved all morning. I'm pretty sure it's the sansevieria -- she was healthy and normal only a few minutes before all this happened. I'm going to keep the plant outdoors from now on, so she can't repeat this experience.

Negative mgosz58 On Feb 11, 2012, mgosz58 from Milwaukee, WI wrote:

I live in Wisconsin. I have had this plant for many years. I have a problem with the leaves flopping over, and I have to put it up against the wall for the leaves to lean against. From what I am reading, I may be overwatering. Also, they almost seem to be growing to high in the soil. Maybe it is too overcrowded? It's in a plastic pot, which has not broken. Any suggestions?

Negative kennedys On Aug 7, 2011, kennedys from Jupiter, FL wrote:

This plant is extremely invasive in Jupiter, FL. I planted a small plant and it has taken over the backyard and now going into the neighbor's yard, causing lots of issues. The roots are long, horizontal carrot like shoots that start a new plant wherever they get broken. I put straight liquid brush killer on it and it did nothing. I am laborously digging out each root (which has run under other plant roots) and putting in a garbage bag to dispose. Please don't plant in south Florida! Those of you who want it as a house plant can come get all you want just for digging it up!

Positive annlof On Jan 28, 2011, annlof from Camarillo, CA wrote:

In my coastal Southern California garden, this plant survives on rainfall alone (usually only 13-15 in. a year and none from May-October.) I've heard that snake plants can be invasive in zone 10, but this must refer to the "wet zone 10" of Florida; I've found the plant to be well-behaved. A great choice if someone who is looking for a tough plant for dry shade.

Negative katekatekate On Oct 25, 2010, katekatekate from Sarasota, FL wrote:

This plant is HIGHLY INVASIVE in Florida.

I moved into a property where mother-in-law's tongue was either planted or volunteered. I pulled it all out three months ago and it is now back and looks as though it has spread even further. I would urge anyone in a subtropical climate - other then Nigeria where this plant is native - to NOT plant it, at least not outdoors where it can take over everything and spread into your neighbors' yards.

Positive Peggy1155 On Jul 3, 2010, Peggy1155 from Fairless Hills, PA wrote:

I think there is a lot of confusion here between the snake plant, called Mother-In-Law's Tongue and the plant called Mother-In-Law Plant (Dieffenbachia) - they are not related at all and are totally different.

Dieffenbachia is also called Dumb Cane and is the plant that can cause paralysis of the vocal cords. It has soft flexible broad oblong leaves and is fairly low growing. It is extremely toxic to cats.

The snake plant on the other hand has very straight, stiff, hard long spike type leaves that grow straight upwards. And though it is not something you would want to eat, it's toxicity is considered quite low.

I have had cats all of my life (I'm 54) and snake plants all of my life - none of my cats have ever been interested in the snake plants at all. Dieffenbachia, however, a cat will go for in a New York minute so should never be around cats or children!

Positive Newtonlady On May 27, 2010, Newtonlady from Newton, NH wrote:

My mother received the snake plant as a gift as a small plant in 1958. I was given the plant when she passed in 1991.

It's been repotted 3 times since each time sharing it with friends and family. The plant is about 4 feet tall and flowers every year. It doesn't mind that I'm neglectfull about watering.

We've always had cats and occaisionally a dog none showed interest in the plant.

It has a place of prominence on the floor in our kitchen dinning area (southeast exposure). Visitors comment about it's "intersting leaves, size and age (52)". I love this plant and will continue to share it with friends and family everytime it needs repotting.

Neutral gray_53 On Feb 20, 2010, gray_53 from Mcdonough, GA wrote:

I'm trying one with hydroculture (sans pebbles)

Positive bobomatic On Jan 8, 2010, bobomatic from Gainesville, FL wrote:

This is probably the easiest indoor plant there is. Almost (but not quite) impossible to kill the thing. It literally thrives on neglect. It will live happily in an office with no windows. I did kill one by not watering it for about six months, but a month or more without water it could survive. They are more easily killed by over-watering than by under-watering.

Mine did bloom once, and a friend told me they only bloom when they are root bound (which mine was). She said their native habitat is small coastal islands, and they spread until they have filled the island, then they bloom so they can produce seeds to spread to another island. I don't know how accurate that claim is, but I've seen them in the wild on a coastal island in Florida, and they do grow in very dense patches. In any case, if you are trying to get one to bloom, you might try letting it get root bound and then experimenting with different watering cycles.

Positive andrizzle On Jan 7, 2010, andrizzle from Clay, NY wrote:

Very resilient houseplant... I have a 12" pot of this in a northeast window. I received one leaf of this in a flower arrangement 4 or 5 years ago, and I let the flowers sit in a vase too long... when I finally went to throw out the old flowers, the mother in law's tongue cutting had lots of roots! I stuck it in a pot of soil, and within a month it had quadrupled in size! Currently, at the tallest point, this plant is about 4 feet tall. Last spring I saw its first flowers that lasted many weeks.

Mine seems to enjoy being potbound... it probably gets about a cup or two of water every month or less.

Neutral mandycraze On Dec 18, 2009, mandycraze from Frostburg, MD wrote:

I love this plant! It is easy to maintain, and I have a brown thumb, so if I couldnt kill it, no one can! The only problem, and it;s a big one, is that it IS indeed poisonous to cats and dogs. That is according to the ASPCA. My cat has really shown an interest in this plant, and will not be taking any chances on it. To the people who have had this plant and cats at the same time, I think is great that they did not get sick! Me however, I am not taking any chances!

Positive holeth On Jan 3, 2009, holeth from Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is a great plant for beginners, or to give as a gift to that friend with a black thumb. It tolerates poor conditions down to the typical dorm room over break (ambient room light, 40°F, weeks without water).

I've also seen it growing in huge concrete urns in the Bahamas (direct tropical sun, 110°F, salt spray & hurricanes). I bet the Bahamians keep them in planters because of their deep spreading woody runners and invasive reputation [zones 9-11].

Sansevieria is also one of NASA's top 10 houseplants for removing indoor air pollution.

If someone starts out with a wee pup, they'll stay a convenient size for many years. I had one in a 6-inch pot for 5 to 10 yrs before it needed repotting. In a lousy north window it bloomed every year.

The flowers are so fragrant, although a bit sticky. The leaves have an elegant simplicity and delicate graceful curve.

I've now taken to planting them with other succulents: twisted sansevieria spikes leaping from the center of a cascade of Christmas cactus. I'm thinking of adding an intermediate layer, but not sure what. Perhaps Kalanchoe.

I tried to extract fiber from leaves that broke off while dividing a large specimen. I couldn't get rope, much less bowstrings. I yield to the generations of cultural knowledge of dealing with these hardy succulents.

Positive steadycam3 On Jan 2, 2009, steadycam3 from Houston Heights, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have had this plant off and on for 40 years and most of that time I had cats. Ive never noticed my cats being interested in the plant at all. Mine has bloomed once or twice and both times the fragrance reminded me of carnations.

Positive palmbob On Dec 6, 2008, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I noticed a note below that Sansevierias will kill cats if eaten by them. I suppose if a cat were out to eat an entire Sansevieria it would indeed become quite ill, but the toxicity of these plants is extremely low. Many pet sites even consider this group of plants as non-toxic to cats. I would not avoid this plant just because you had a cat. I have not seen nor heard of a single reported case of toxicity in a cat (you should call the Illinois Animal Poison Control if you are still unsure). There are far more toxic house plants than Sansevierias to be more concerned about.

Positive kniphofia On Dec 6, 2008, kniphofia from Morpeth
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

My absolute favourite house plant. Yes they can survive being neglected, but with some TLC they are a magnificent plant!

Positive frogtog On Nov 22, 2008, frogtog from Mobile, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Mine stayed in the same old black 12" nursery pot for about 15 years until it just split the sides in several places and started putting on new plants on the outside. I finally broke down and made 8 more pots out of it after it bloomed for the first time. I keep them outdoors until it gets about 40 at night then put them in the greenhouse. They are all growing fast! I can't wait to get another bloom!

Neutral plantladylin On Sep 22, 2008, plantladylin from South Daytona, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Although not a favorite of mine, I have a few in containers. They make an interesting houseplant. Some folks plant them in the ground here in the south, which is not a good idea, as they are invasive and can take over an area quickly.

Positive motherinlaw On Sep 13, 2008, motherinlaw from Fort Smith, AR wrote:

Perhaps there is some confusion with sansevieria, and diffenbachia (also called dumb-cane), which can paralize the vocal cords. Do not keep this plant in the same house as small children or cats. My husband gave dumb-cane as a house-warming gift to our friends. Their toddler ended up in the hospital after eating on a leaf. But I have never had a problem with mother-in-law's tongue with cats or children. They just never bother it.

Positive wormfood On Jul 30, 2008, wormfood from Lecanto, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I had abandoned my green/birdhouse due to an allergy to the hay I used as an amendment to the soil. I cleared out most of the plants but left the snake plants 'cause I didn't think they were worth the trouble. That spring, after no water the whole fall and winter, they were in there just blooming up a storm. Never seen it before. And of course all the neighbors would not believe it until they saw them, too. Now they are kept in their pots sideways under the work tables all winter long until the night temps level off at 60*

Positive LiliMerci On Apr 19, 2008, LiliMerci from North of Atlanta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Once, I was given an old plant as a gift and the following month, it bloomed. I was told that this plant only bloomed once every 10 year, or is it that it will bloom once it's 10 year old. Something like that....

Neutral peachespickett On Mar 28, 2008, peachespickett from Huntington, AR wrote:

Mine flowered indoors here in Arkansas in a sunny western window...tough plant, but the flower fragrance, as someone else here posted, literally made me almost sick. I thought it smelled strange, not pleasant but not repelling, and after a few minutes I got a terrible headache. Now when it blooms I admire it from afar.

Positive Sansevieria On Mar 1, 2008, Sansevieria from Orangeburg, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Sansevieria (Snake Plants) became popular across the United States of America because they were one of the plants, along with African Violets, Jerusalem Cherry, etc that Woolworth stores sold in the 1920's and 30's. The Florida plant industry had its start growing these plants for distribution to that chain.

In Japan this plant is called 'Tigers Tail,(とらのお)'. In Brazil it is commonly known as espada-de-são-jorge (sword-of-saint-george)

Positive JerusalemCherry On Jan 3, 2008, JerusalemCherry from Dunellen, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

Easy to care for plant: Did you know where this plant got its name from?? These plants belong to the Agave-family (Agavaceae), although several botanists place Sansevieria together with Draceana and Cordyline in the Lily-family (Liliaceae), while putting Agave-species in the Amaryllidaceae. The Swedish naturalist C.P. Thumberg got the plant from its discoverer, Vincenzo Petanga from Napels, who wanted to name the genus after P.A. Sanseverino, duke of Chiaromonte and collectioner of rare plants in the south of Italy. However, because of linguistic problems, Thumberg erroneously named it Sansevieria, after Raimondo di Sangro, prince of Sanseviero, who was a military man and an inventor, and had nothing to do with plants. Hence, instead of Sanseverinia, the genus got its current name.

The Sansevieria (aka Snake Plant, Mother-in-Laws-Tongue) is named for the chevrons/cross-banded patterns on its sword like leaves. Even without the serpent connection, many people find this houseplant kinda blah. The embodiments of the 1970s houseplant phase (along with those Spider Plants in macramé hanging baskets) this plant refused to die. It was the zombie like survivor in a dim lighted, overheated home where all the other plants had the decency to kick the bucket.

A friend once told me the Sansevieria reminded them of their parent’s nursing home. They said it was a dusty plant sitting in a window for years. This plant also reminds people of a used car lots 1970’s/early 80’s office (the bad 70’s paneling and all that). For many years I myself hated the look of this plant (I’m born in 1974). It was #1 on my least favorite plants list. Just plain old boring...

Now lets look at the Sansevieria from a new point if view. I had purchased a Snake Plant in 2007 at Home Depot for my office since I knew they grow well in office settings with the fluorescent lights. I put the plant in a nice looking bonsai pot with some stones on the surface of the potting soil. All my co-workers started asked me about the Snake Plant. I noticed all the people asking were just younger (born 1980ish and after). They have no experience/prejudice with this plant at all. To them, it was different and cool looking. I guess the saying, “What’s Old Is New” must be true. Co-workers were so impressed, they stopped over at LOWES/Home Depot to pick one up one for there desks too. Who knew that the Sansevieria now is available in many different varieties (moonshine, black gold, hahnii types that look like Hosta etc). So many colors that appeal to different people, I can now see how this plant is popular again.

What’s great is Snake Plants are easy to care for as long as you don’t over water. I understand most snake plants are native to Africa. They thrive well indoors and much info is available about them on the internet and this website is great too.

I have read varieties developed in the 1930’s and 40’s are by a grower named Sylvan Hahn are called birdnest types or called “Hanhii” for their smaller clusters of wide leaves. Golden Hahnii is a heavily variegated yellow and green form. I find a variety named Silver Hahnii to be supremely elegant looking. The leaves are a silver-green suffused with faint green bands. The leaf margins are a fine, dark green or marginated. Another interesting snake plant is called Bantel's Sensation after its discoverer, Gustav Bantel. An upright form, it has slender leaves that are heavily streaked in green and white. It looks more like a variegated pond iris than a snake plant (different). Also, one called Sansevieria Manolin is very different looking too.

With all these varieties, it is perhaps no surprise that some floral designers are beginning to take a fresh look at this old workhorse. NY designers advised they were struck by the number of new varieties available. Ironically, this plant can have a futuristic look. For high-tech electronic displays in Manhattan etc snake plants put in square stainless-steel containers looks ultra mod.

A few places on the web will sell this plant, like ebay, glasshouseworks, bobsmoleys etc. Dave’s Garden has good write-ups on these garden centers, so you can check it out b-4 you purchase anything.

Positive Deb3 On Oct 29, 2007, Deb3 from Granite City, IL wrote:

My friend gave me a Snake Plant about 3 years ago. It was about 1-1/2 to 2 feet tall when she gave it to me and it is now over 3 ft tall. I am in zone 5 so this is a house plant for me but I do put it outside in the summer in an area that is mostly shade. I had no idea that these plants bloomed. I also have a mother-in-laws tougue which to me looks like a miniture version of this plant. It is only about 10 inches or so tall but the leave look identical to the larger plant. Both plants require very little attention. The leaves are very attractive although I have heard about them being poisenous to cats. I do have 2 cats but they never bother these plants.

Positive Geneseeglass On Sep 16, 2007, Geneseeglass from Royal Oak, MI wrote:

I have had this plant for13 years, and my hubby's mother for 25 or so before that. Apparently, it came in a basket to welcome his little brother into the world. I have a little tale about this poor thing.
It was a GORGEOUS specimen - his mother took great care of it, but when she passed, it was given to my husband to take care of (a 20 something prof. musician/partier). One day, I was looking for something in his room and moved this pile of clothes to reveal a pot with 1 stem, brown and whithered, laying in this pot. I yelled, "How can you kill this plant?? NOTHING can kill this plant!"
Needless to say, I rescued it, have divided it many times with great success, passed it's babies all over, and it graced me with beautiful white flowers this summer for the first time. It only gets outside in the summer because I live in Michigan, but I was so thrilled with the flowers. They smelled so good and were so dainty for such a tough looking plant.
Anyway, thanks for listening to my little story.... just my experience with the plant...

Positive ehofacket On Aug 24, 2007, ehofacket from Lake Elsinore, CA wrote:

I have successfully grown this plant outdoors in Corona and Lake Elsinore California. Survived the severe frost we had in early 2007 when temps got down as low as 19 degrees. Some damage was sustained, but it was easily cut out and has re-grown back. I have not had a problem with it spreading, but I also drip it. Maybe the high heat and low humidity and rain fall summers keep it in check here in the growing season.

Positive Opoetree On Jul 19, 2007, Opoetree from Oak View, CA wrote:

We have had this plant for 30 years. I think I dug it up out of the yard of our first house. It has been remarkably tolerant -- drought conditions, heat, cold, freezing weather -- but, I have only seen it bloom one time...and it was wonderfully fragrant! Until I read those other comments, I thought maybe I had just imagined that one time of bloom. I will have to try to coax it to bloom again!

Neutral Noreene On Jul 6, 2007, Noreene from Lancaster, PA wrote:

Personally, I do not like them, but my Mom sure does! She has several that are decades old, grown in pots indoors. They like to be crowded, like subway riders in Tokyo, crammed into the pots. This summer we put them outside in partial sun, and one is actually getting ready to flower for the first time! Will send photos when it blooms.

Neutral MollyMc On Mar 15, 2007, MollyMc from Archer/Bronson, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Personally, I don't care for this plant due to it's invasiveness in zone 10 and they will poke you in the eye.

I am a little confused as to why someone said hardiness was not applicable. I had a pot of these in my unheated greenhouse when the temps in there went down to 25F. Only lost a minor amount of tongues. They are being planted in the ground today around a bird bath to help provide moisture for some cannas I am putting in.

They will be low care for the birdbath owner and our cold winters will help control it.

Positive minnewyork On Feb 25, 2007, minnewyork from Larchmont, NY wrote:

I've had the same snake plant in the same (small) metal pot for 35 years. I was so surprised when it bloomed once, about 5 years ago. Lately it's been looking sick and losing a lot of leaves. After reading the comments, I'm thinking that I could be watering it too much lately. Does anyone think that I should add anything to the soil after all these years or have any other suggestions? I would like very much to keep this plant alive. Thanks for your help.

Positive Japan_Grandma On Jan 19, 2007, Japan_Grandma from Yukon, OK wrote:

I have had my Mother-in-Law's tongue for at least 20 years, maybe as long as 30. My husband's landlord gave it to him because he had about killed it. I keep it outdoors, in a pot, from mid-March to the first freeze; and indoors in my "plant room" during the winter. (Quite a lot of Southern sunlight, and not much heat at night.) It broke a plastic pot maybe 7 or 8 years ago and I repotted it in a larger ceramic pot. Now this year, to my amazement, it has bloomed. It had the buds on it for a month or so, and last night I realized it has a lovely smell of hyacinths. I was so intrigued I found Dave's Garden just researching it. Also I have had cats as long as I've had it, and no bad experiences for it or the cats, although it IS on the top level of a wrought iron plant shelf.

Positive Silver_Wolf On Jul 10, 2006, Silver_Wolf from Broomfield, CO wrote:

Debbiewake, the plant you describe that your Mother gave you is a "Pregnant Plant" also known as Mother of Thousands or Mexican Hat Plant (Bryophyllum daigremontianum). I've had them, and you need to be very careful with them, as they spread and multiply very quickly. Even if indoors, if allowed to overhang another plant's pot they will drop the babies into the other pot and take it over. DO NOT plant it outdoors...

As for the Mother-in-Law's Tongue, I've had one indoors in my office with no windows and only fluorescent light during office hours for several years. I remember this same plant from 25 years ago when I was in junior high school. I have never seen it bloom, but it has only been in my possession for 10 years or so. I'm about to repot and divide it to spread the greenery around my office a bit.

Positive isom On Mar 22, 2006, isom from Mission BC
Canada (Zone 8b) wrote:

It grows well with a minimum of attention & actually seems to prefer being neglected. I must admit that while the blooms are supposed to be fragrant, I suppose each one has their own idea of what smells nice & what doesn't. When it first flowered, I was happy as I read that it had a heady fragrance. More like a funeral parlour! It was so unpleasantly strong & the odour made me feel ill. Sadly, I couldn't bear the smell so cut all the flowers off. I won't let mine flower now.

Neutral MerryMary On Dec 31, 2005, MerryMary from Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

It grows very well here in zone 9b outdoors, not bothered much by the occasional frosts, but you must keep it in check, or it can take over a small area quickly. Blooms November through Feb here. Most I have are around 2 - 2 1/2 feet tall. It is VERY hardy, you just can't kill it, but it can become a problem if you don't stay on top of just where you want it to be. It may be better suited as a potted plant, so it won't spread to areas you don't want it.

Positive vossner On Dec 25, 2005, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Was not aware this plant was toxic to cats. Interesting--my cat seems the one to be doing the damage. This is the only plant he bothers and leaves in shreds. Have not had problems with kitty getting sick. A vigorous plant, which I keep controlled in a large pot. Extremely low maintenance. Have it outdoors getting afternoon sun, and indoors in very low light. Does well in both locations.

Neutral debbiewake On Jul 21, 2005, debbiewake from Charlotte, NC wrote:

I had never heard that a snake plant was called a "Mother-in-law's tongue". I had had several of these plants for years and have had great success with them.
My mother recently gave me a "baby" from a plant that someone gave her. My mom said the woman told her that the plant was called "Mother-in law's tongue". It is not a snake plant. The plant is a single stalk like stem and the leaves are triangular shaped with jagged edges and almost the texture of a succulent. The edges of the leaves produce small round "seeds". As these fall from the plant, many "babys" produced in the soil below. My mom said that when she first saw the plant it had beautiful purple flowers on it. We have not seen those yet. Does anyone know what this plant might be or how I could find out about it?

Positive eviestevie On Apr 2, 2005, eviestevie from Austin, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

i've had my plant for about 3 years in a container. it was given to me as a gift before i became a consiensous gardener and was totally neglected, yet continued to thrive. i rarely watered it and it was in a shady area inside of the house. it didn't grow much during that time, but it didn't die either. now it is in a sunny west window and is watered once a month. several new leaves have sprouted and it seems to be growing well. it has never bloomed, but this plant is definitely a survivor.

Positive gretaduck On Feb 4, 2005, gretaduck from Pittsboro, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

I enjoyed reading all the comments above! Snake plant is a "nostalgia" plant for my first start from my mother YEARS someone else I've only experienced one blooming in my lifetime. Appreciate it for its independence...little light, little watering required. Having lived in colder states than FL, I was surprised at its reputation as an invasive weed.
Greta in NC

Neutral nature_girl On Feb 4, 2005, nature_girl from Singapore

i have not tried growing this plant before, but here in singapore it is quite common. i have never seen a pot that was destroyed by sansevieria. in fact, many of the sansevieria plants i have seen grow in pots.sansevieria rarely flowers in singapore. i have only seen a flowering sansevieria plant once in my lifetime.

Positive BingsBell On Aug 29, 2004, BingsBell from SC, MT (Zone 5a) wrote:

As a no-brainer house plant, it is great. Its vertical growth fits well into a blank wall space or a corner.

Requires little light, little water and don't re-pot it until it literally breaks the pot it is in. It seems to love to be crowded and gets taller when it is crowded.

Mine blooms every year but it isn't a sweet scent. It is rather obnoxious. It doesn't mind being ignored.

Negative NativePlantFan9 On Jul 22, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Snake Plant, Bowstring Hemp, or Mother-In-Laws Tongue is a great houseplant native to Africa. DO NOT, I repeat, do not plant this popular plant outdoors in the warm climates it thrives in (particularily my zone in Florida, 10), though! Its extremely weedy outdoors in zones 9 to 11 and southward! They take over a large area over time and may disrupt vegetation (on Florida EPPC Plant List Two). Best to keep it indoors carefully (reportedly poisonous) where it dosn't spread! It can be kept in many parts of the world indoors with proper care and temperature.

Negative CatskillKarma On Jul 14, 2004, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

I don't know about snake plants being poisonous to housecats, but I know my housecat was poisonous to my snake plants. Many years ago I lived in a loft in NY City and my bedroom wall consisted of a row of potted snake plants each about four feet tall. My cat killed half a dozen of these very vigorous potted plants by systematically peeing on them even though the pots were packed so tightly there was no room for him to stand in the pot. Never could figure out how he did it, and it took him almost a year to kill all of them, but there was no mistaking the odor of cat pee on the plants

Positive hanna1 On Jul 13, 2004, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

It is so easy to take care of this plant, no care at all, except when I lived in Chino Hills, Southern Calif, We had a freeze, the whole huge plant just bent over, and that was the end of that one. My father has had his in the same container now for over 20 years, never repotted it, it's hysterical, over 2ft across, I'll have to take a pic next time We go down.

Neutral LilCactusCat On Jul 7, 2004, LilCactusCat from West Monroe, LA wrote:

Hello - I just purchased several buckets of this neat plant at my local home improvement store and was reading through all the notes posted. I saw the note about Snakeplants being poisonous to housecats - is this true? Does someone have more information than what was previously posted. I did not see much discussion after this certain posting so I am hoping that it was just this one person's bad experience. Any info on this subject would be appreciated as I have a cat who will take a bite or two out of my aloe vera from time to time and this plant is so much like an aloe . . .

Positive Maudie On Jun 20, 2004, Maudie from Harvest, AL wrote:

These are such attractive plants that require very little care.
They will tolerate low lighting conditions indoors and thrive in part shade outside. Water only sparingly during winter months to prevent rot, otherwise when the soil becomes dry. I have never understood their boooming habits but just enjoy their beauty and fragrance when they do decide to

Positive MrRedwood On Jun 19, 2004, MrRedwood from San Francisco, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

Sansevieria is commonly seen as a plant in offices, even fast food restaurants, since it seems almost impossible to kill. When friends have tentatively asked for a good starter plant, this is the one I give 'em. The only real instruction: don't over water. I guess temperature or humidity extremes could still cause problems, but not here in San Francisco.

Another point: don't put these in plastic containers-- the roots will eventually warp the post into an oval, and crack most plastics.

Neutral maisoui11 On Jan 24, 2004, maisoui11 from Modesto, CA wrote:

i have had a large one in a pot on my screened-in patio in orlando, florida, for about 2 and a half years. i rarely water it--maybe once a month, if that. it blooms dec-feb, and thrives! it loves to be ignored and it's extremely healthy.

however, i have not had success with these inside the house since i moved to florida. in coastal southern california, i had many in the house, and they thrived. within a year and half in florida, all of my houseplant snakeplants died. perhaps it was the air conditioning, or something else?

Neutral TerriFlorida On Sep 30, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

While snake plant is an attractive upright houseplant, I will never plant it outside even though it should be too cold here in zone 9b for it to survive. I have held one prisoner for years in a pot in the yard. Before I moved in 2002, it had broken its pot (plastic) and was trying to escape out the bottom. After I moved, I divided it (an adventure in itself) and now hold two large pots and three small ones prisoner.

At Epcot, this plant is, or was, along the entry to the undersea ride, and made quite a nice show there looking somewhat like seaweed and all. However, these people knew the plant, and it was surrounded by concrete on all sides in a raised bed! Very bright light, afternoon shade -- big happy plants. It must have been quite a job tending that bed.

Anyway, if you love it, grow it but keep it contained and away from pets trapped inside -- they lack common sense where eating plants is concerned.

Neutral Monocromatico On Sep 27, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

Out of curiosity, this plant is used for ritualistic purposes by followers of the Umbanda (an african cult with catholic influences), along with another plant called "Guiné" or "Guinea" (genus Petiveria, family Phytolacaceae).

Negative amorning1 On Sep 27, 2003, amorning1 from Islamorada, FL wrote:

Noxious weed here in zone 11.

Neutral gaelen38 On Apr 12, 2003, gaelen38 from Zephyrhills, FL wrote:

I have heard the reason this plant is called "Mother In Law's Tongue is because of the properties of the liquid this plant contains. Seems given in a small dose in coffee or other drink, paralyzes the vocal cords of the person drinking the concocction, Hence the name "Mother In Law's tongue". I do not advise using this at ALL in anyone's coffee or other liquid!

Positive RamonaS On Apr 11, 2003, RamonaS from Dundas
Canada wrote:

I live near Toronto, and have owned this houseplant for 15 years or more, and it has bloomed for the very first time spring of 2002 and now again spring 2003. I do nothing special to it except water once a week and occasionally dust of the leaves. The small white flowers that it produces are very fragrant. For me, this plant is very easy to grow.

Positive llilbearblue On Jan 19, 2003, llilbearblue wrote:

According to information I gatherred, as well as experience, the Snake Plant will tolerate low light but performs best in med. or high light.
I have found the propagation of this plant to be simple. The fact of the plant being poisonous is new to me. I display the snake plant for indoor beauty and have found it to be a very tolerant and an eye pleasing addition to my housegarden.

Neutral dgc On Nov 19, 2002, dgc wrote:

Do not grow indoors if you have cats. This plant is DEADLY to cats if they chew on any part of it!

Neutral Dinu On Apr 24, 2002, Dinu from Mysore
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

Plants that grow from leaf cuttings will not have the yellow stripes. Blooms only in Summer.

Neutral karencordova On Mar 28, 2002, karencordova wrote:

There is now a new variety of Snake plant, a compact version that is 4-6 inches tall and 6-7 inches wide. Requires same care as the Snake plant.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Jones, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Goodyear, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Alameda, California
Bakersfield, California
Camarillo, California
Carmichael, California
Castro Valley, California
Clayton, California
Clovis, California
Elk Grove, California
Folsom, California
Lake Elsinore, California
Long Beach, California
Oak View, California
San Diego, California (2 reports)
Santa Barbara, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Van Nuys, California
Broomfield, Colorado
Meriden, Connecticut
Bartow, Florida (2 reports)
Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Bradenton, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Deltona, Florida (2 reports)
Dunnellon, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2 reports)
Gainesville, Florida (2 reports)
Holiday, Florida
Hollywood, Florida (2 reports)
Jacksonville, Florida
Jupiter, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lake Worth, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Navarre, Florida
North Fort Myers, Florida
Ocala, Florida (2 reports)
Ocoee, Florida (2 reports)
Oldsmar, Florida
Plant City, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Ruskin, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sanford, Florida
Sarasota, Florida (2 reports)
Satellite Beach, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Venice, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Winter Park, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Mcdonough, Georgia
Norcross, Georgia
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
Honomu, Hawaii
Delhi, Iowa
Wichita, Kansas
Franklinton, Louisiana
Independence, Louisiana
Leesville, Louisiana
Metairie, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Frostburg, Maryland
Rockville, Maryland
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Lucedale, Mississippi
Laurel, Montana
Claremont, New Hampshire
Newton, New Hampshire
Dunellen, New Jersey
Jersey City, New Jersey
Carmel, New York
Clay, New York
Deposit, New York
Larchmont, New York
New Rochelle, New York
Oneonta, New York
Poughkeepsie, New York
Ridgewood, New York
Pittsboro, North Carolina
Rowland, North Carolina
Waxhaw, North Carolina
Bloomingdale, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Duncan, Oklahoma
Ninnekah, Oklahoma
Valliant, Oklahoma
Forest Grove, Oregon
West Linn, Oregon
Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Mc Keesport, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Tyrone, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Greenwood, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
Alvin, Texas
Anahuac, Texas
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Broaddus, Texas
Brownsville, Texas
Bryan, Texas
Dallas, Texas (2 reports)
Deer Park, Texas
El Paso, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Harlingen, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Johnson City, Texas
Lampasas, Texas
Portland, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Round Rock, Texas
San Angelo, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Spring Branch, Texas
Arlington, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Wallace, West Virginia
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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