Plant Care for Mother in Law's Tongue


Mother-in-law's tongue (Sansevieria) is a succulent plant that will add interest indoors all year round with a minimum of time and attention. Mother-in-law's tongue, also known as snake plant because of its dark green, sword-shaped leaves, will do fine in nearly any environment and can even withstand occasional neglect from busy gardeners.

Step 1

Plant mother-in-law's tongue in a container with good bottom drainage. Use a commercial potting soil formulated for cactus mixed with half perlite.

Step 2

Place mother-in-law's tongue in full sunlight. Although the plant will grow in lower levels of sunlight, it will thrive in bright light.

Step 3

Allow the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. Usually, mother-in-law's tongue should be watered no more than once a week. During the winter months, water sparingly, no more than once a month. Mother-in-law's tongue, like all succulents, is prone to rot in excessively moist soil, especially in cool weather.

Step 4

Fertilize in early spring, early summer and early autumn, using a general-purpose liquid fertilizer for indoor plants. Withhold fertilizer during the winter months.

Step 5

Repot every one to two years, as the plant's roots grow rapidly and can break the pot if it becomes root-bound. Move the plant to a container one size larger.

Things You'll Need

  • Planting container with bottom drainage
  • Potting soil formulated for cactus
  • Perlite
  • General-purpose liquid fertilizer for indoor plants
  • Larger container for repotting


  • Smitten with Sansevieria: Central Oregon Cactus and Succulent Society
  • Garden Tips n Ideas: Sansevieria: Aptly named Mother-in-law's Tongue
  • University of Illinois Extension: Sansevieria Mother-in law tongue, Snake plant
Keywords: sansevieria, succulent, snake plant

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.