I guess you could say I’m a fan of houseplants. They brighten otherwise dull corners and bring green life to a room. Where I start to fall off the houseplant bandwagon is when it comes to the maintenance required to grow some of them.
Sansevieria is a great accent plant for any room of the house.
Photo Credit: Sarah L. Ivy
The uniquely mottled greens and yellow of the leaves are quite striking.
Photo Credit: Sarah L. Ivy
It’s embarrassing to admit, but I often forget to water my houseplants. Even the most novice gardener knows water is crucial to plant life! And most houseplants aren’t very happy without adequate water. With that said, I’ll let you in on a little secret – snake plant is one of the most forgiving and simple houseplants to grow. I have one, and yes, it’s still alive.
The selection I’ve got in my house is Sansevieria trifasciata var laurentii. Also affectionately referred to as mother-in-law’s tongue, the plant’s common names alone may make you think twice about bringing one into your home. But the cool thing about Sansevieria is that as complicated as the Latin name may be to pronounce, the plant’s surprisingly easy to grow.
Like its name suggests, this plant is upright with rigid leaves that are almost sword-like. The foliage is somewhat mottled and can be dark green, light green or even have yellow or white margins, depending on the cultivar. The average snake plant grows anywhere from 6-48 inches tall and 10-36 inches wide, so it’s a houseplant with presence.
Snake plants require low to medium light and can tolerate the abuse many of us dole out to our houseplants. It’s recommended you water your snake plant “occasionally,” which is music to my ears! In college, my plant-identification professor told funny, true stories to help us remember plant names a little better. I’ll never forget what he told us about the snake plant. He had one that he stopped watering to see how long it could survive without water. Cruel, I know, but the part I can’t forget is that it took two years for it to kick the bucket! Now, I don’t recommend that kind of plant neglect, but the story shows you how forgiving this houseplant can be!
Aside from being easy to grow, snake plant is fun and fairly simple to propagate. You can easily divide it when it starts to fill its pot, or you can take leaf cuttings and root them in potting soil. Just be aware that if the variety you’d like to propagate has a stripe in the leaf, the rooted leaf cuttings will drop the stripe, so division is the method of choice for those selections.
So whether you’re new to houseplants or have a home full of gorgeous, green foliage, don’t forget to include some Sansevieria in your plant repertoire. It’ll forgive you for forgetting it (occasionally), and it thrives in a wide range of conditions. Truly, you can easily invite this snake in your home with no worries of getting bit!