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Sansevieria trifasciata: care

Sansevieria trifasciata: care

The plant scientifically known as Sansevieriaand in Spanish as mother-in-law’s tongue or tiger’s tongue and in English popularly called snake plant, is from the Liliaceae family native to Africa, Asia and especially New Guinea. This plant became very popular in the 1930s as a hardy houseplant. It is a succulent plant that tolerates drought and little care well, the only thing it does not resist is excess water or extreme cold.

In this EcologíaVerde article we reveal the Sansevieria trifasciata care.

Varieties and types of Sansevieria

within the Sansevierias some are included 60 or 70 plant species rhizomatous perennials. Its Latin name is due to the Neapolitan prince San Severo, who played a role in the development of natural sciences. In general, its species can be divided into two types of leaves: flat leaves and thick leaves.

Best known sansevierias

  • Sansevieria cylindrica: This variety has leaves that reach up to 1 meter in height. Its flowers are milky white with pink tips that form a racemose inflorescence. In turn, this species includes multiple varieties.
  • Sansevieria trifasciata: It is the best known species. It has flat oval leaves that grow from the root zone. These are usually dark green and are separated by light transverse bands. The blade length ranges from 30 to 120 cm. And a width between 2 and 10 cm. The Sansevieria trifasciata It is a plant commonly used for interiors and that stands out for its few pretensions. It is often called pike tail.
  • Sansevieria laurentii: this species has leaves with ivory-colored lateral edges and scented flowers.
  • Sansevieria zeylanica: It has leaves between 30 and 60 cm long with white edges and white flowers that perfume the night environment.
  • Sansevieria Fernwood ‘Mikado’ (Sansevieria hybrid): It is a kind of succulent plant with round dark green leaves with a speckling similar to Fernwood. As the leaves mature, they curl outward.

Other species of Sansevierias

  • Sansevieria grandisthe largest Sansevieria
  • Sansevieria hyacinthoides or hyacinth
  • Sansevieria dooneri or Dunery
  • Sansevieria liberika or Liberian Sansevieria
  • Sansevieria kirkii or Kirk
  • Sansevieria gracilis or Graceful Sansevieria

Location and climate for Sansevieria trifasciata

This plant is not demanding in terms of the place where we are going to place it and, as we will see later, it is popular both indoors and outdoors. Does not require much lightbeing able to grow without problems in the shade, although if it gets a few hours of direct sun a day it will grow stronger and faster.

On the other hand, the Sansevieria has no problem with high temperatures and tolerates drought well, but does not support cold or excess humidity. Unlike many other plants, if you place it near the radiator at home, it will be more than happy. In any case, try to find a place away from drafts, which does not go well.

If you grow it in a pot, it is imperative that it has drainage holes and that you change it when the plant has outgrown it, which will normally happen every year.

Sansevieria trifasciata irrigation

As with most succulent plants, the important thing here is never to overdo it. If you do not water your Sansevieria short, you will see that the leaves deflate and dry slightly, but they will recover as soon as you give them water again. If you overwater it, however, the plant will become noticeably weaker and risk being attacked by fungi, which could prove fatal. Wait until the substrate is dry in its first centimeters deep before watering again, especially in the cold months.

Here you can read more tips on How to Water Succulents and When to Water Plants.

Sansevieria trifasciata: care - Irrigation of Sansevieria trifasciata

Substrate and fertilizer for Sansevieria trifasciata

Sansevieria, like all plants that do not tolerate waterlogging, needs a light and porous soil or substrate, with a drainage as best as possible. If you prepare a mixture with coconut fiber and earthworm humus in equal parts, you will get a soil that is very rich in nutrients and very light. Add a good handful of perlite and vermiculite and you will also have excellent water retention properties, ensuring that your plant is kept in the best conditions.

Do it like this, and you will only have to worry about adding a little more earthworm humus or organic fertilizer when the hot months begin. If you buy prepared fertilizer, use one for green plants or cacti. The years that the Sansevieria has not grown enough to transplant it, remove the first 3 centimeters of substrate from the pot and replace it with a new mixture rich in nutrients.

Sansevieria trifasciata: care - Substrate and fertilizer for Sansevieria trifasciata

Care of Sansevieria trifasciata outdoors

As we have mentioned before, this plant is very grateful and its care is not very complicated. For growing Sansevieria trifasciata outdoors follow these tips:

light and location

To grow the mother-in-law’s tongue plant outdoors, you have to keep in mind that it is not a plant that requires a lot of light, so it can also grow in the shade without suffering. If it is possible for the plant to receive some few hours of direct sunlight a day, it will be able to develop stronger and with greener leaves.


As for irrigation, it must be borne in mind that this plant stores water in its tissues, so should be watered from time to time, with plenty of time. It is a plant that fears excessive humidity, so the soil between waterings should dry out. If the leaves turn yellow, watering should be reduced. Once a month in winter and autumn and every fortnight in spring will suffice.


The ideal temperature for this plant is between 16ºC and 30ºC, but it is sensitive to temperatures below 14ºC. For this reason, it resists the summer well, but in winter it should be avoided that it is at a very low temperature.

Caring for Sansevieria trifasciata indoors

If outside it is easy to take care of it, it is also inside. Follow these instructions on care of the Sansevieria trifasciata in interior spaces:


Since Sansevieria is a warm weather plantHaving it indoors is a good option to keep it at a good temperature (between 16-21ºC) in colder climates. When we have it indoors, it is a light-loving plant, so it should be placed in a well-lit area, but avoiding direct light rays.


In relation to irrigation, as we commented previously, it must be very moderate, without providing so much water as to rot. If you notice that its leaves are wrinkled, tilted or curved, it should be watered. On the contrary, if they become a mess or are greasy, the waterings should be spaced out.

pot and fertilizer

These plants do not require large amounts of soil, but if we place them in a pot, the length of the leaves must be taken into account and more soil must be added so that they are well supported, as the plant needs a pot with good support, as well as a good drainage. They also don’t require much fertilizer, although it’s fine to apply cactus fertilizer once a month, which will make them grow stronger. If leaves are observed to drop, they should be pruned. You don’t have to straighten them, just remove them and remove dirt. It is advisable to transplant them to a larger pot once a year or to one of the same size but renewing part of the soil.

Reproduction of Sansevieria trifasciata or mother-in-law’s tongue

The Sansevieria trifasciata, snake planttiger’s tongue or mother-in-law’s tongue can be multiplied by two methods:

  • Playback by division: It is the easiest way to propagate it. Simply cut the rhizome with a few leaves with a knife. In addition, the shoots that appear next to the base can be planted in pots to have new specimens. Sansevieria trifasciatathe best known, can only be multiplied by division, since cuttings cause them to lose their ornamental yellowish margin.
  • Reproduction by cutting pieces of leaf: Chop leaves into 5 cm long fragments and let them dry for about a week so that the cuts heal. Cultivate in a porous and nutrient-rich substrate, in a warm place, without neglecting watering. New stems and roots originate from its base. You can improve the chances of survival of the new plants by moistening the lower part in rooting hormone, which you can make yourself at home in an ecological way.
Sansevieria trifasciata: care - Reproduction of Sansevieria trifasciata or mother-in-law's tongue

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