Sansevieria Blooming: Flowers Of A Sansevierias (Mother-In-Laws Tongue)
By: Heather Rhoades
You can own a mother-in-laws tongue (also known as snake plant) for decades and never know that the plant can produce flowers. Then one day, seemingly out of the blue, you find that your plant has produced a flower stalk. Is this possible? Do Sansevierias produce flowers? And, if they do, why now? Why not more than once a year? Keep reading to learn more.
Do Sansevierias (Mother-in-Laws Tongue) Have Flowers?
Yes, they do. Though mother-in-laws tongue flowers are extremely rare, these hardy houseplants can have flowers.
What Do Sansevierias (Mother-in-Laws Tongue) Flowers Look Like?
Mother-in-laws tongue flowers grow on a very long flower stalk. The stalk can reach a length of up to 3 feet (1 m.) and will be covered in dozens of flower buds.
The flowers themselves will be white or cream colored. When fully open, they will look a lot like lilies. The flowers also have a very strong ad pleasing scent. The scent can occasionally attract pests due to the strength of the smell.
Why Do Sansevierias (Mother-in-Laws Tongue) Plants Flower?
While it seems like common sense to be as nice as possible to your plants, Sansevieria plants are like a lot of houseplants in that they thrive on a little neglect. A mother-in-laws tongue plant will produce a flower stalk when it is mildly and continually stressed. This normally happens when the plant becomes root bound.
The flowers will not hurt your plant, so enjoy the show. It may be several decades again before you see one again.
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Read more about Snake Plants
The sansevieria trifasciata picked up the name mother in laws tongue from the sharpness of the evergreen sword like leaves that grow in an upward fashion. As mentioned above this plant is a flowering type, however, grown indoors it's fairly hard to encourage flowers (not impossible).
Varieties: There is a number of these succulent type varieties available that includes, golden edged leaves, white edged and the green and grayish mottled type. The golden edged leaf S. trifasciata laurentii is the most common of these.
Flowering: Small greenish white flowers can appear once this species matures in age. This seems as though it happens by luck rather than effort for some growers. Keeping to the correct conditions gives the plant a higher chance of buds and then flowers appearing.
Foliage: The tall looking leathery upright leaves is what makes this succulent visually appealing rather than the flowers that may appear. The leaves are fleshy that sit within a rosette arrangement and can grow up to 3ft tall.
Air purifitying: While all plants purify air-borne toxins the snake plant is among the top plant's tested and added to a list by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) for removing, benzene, formaldehyde and other harmful toxins.
Poisonous for pets: If cats or dogs ingest parts of this plant it can cause them to feel unwell, start vomiting or have diarrhoea. They are not highly toxic but still can cause uncomfortable symptoms.
Snake Plant Care
As mentioned, they are pretty easy going plants, but there are a few things you should know about them.
How To Water Snake Plants
Be mindful of watering these plants. They don’t need a ton of water to survive. In fact, overwatering will likely kill them or make them very unhappy. When the soil dries on top, it is often time to water. If they are overwatered, they will rot. Indoor plants only need to be watered every 2-4 weeks. It really doesn’t get much more easy-going than that. This is a great houseplant for the frequent traveler.
What Kind of Light Do Snake Plants Need?
Snake plants prefer indirect light inside and not full sun. Place your plant about 10 feet away from a window. That being said, they will also do quite well with lower light or even more light, closer to a window. They can get burned from the sun though, so be mindful of how close they are to the direct line of the sun.
What Temperatures Do Snake Plants Like?
Snake plants are pretty tolerant of all temperatures, especially when we are talking about houseplants. Your home generally will not get too cold or too hot to make this plant unhappy. They don’t care for temperatures below 50 degrees.
Is There an Air humidity that is best for snake plants?
Mother-In-Law’s Tongue plants are pretty easy going when it comes to the type of air they are surrounded by. They are happy with low and high levels of moisture in the air. This makes this plant even easier as you can simply leave out on a counter, or put it in your bathroom where the air has much more humidity in it.
How to transplant snake plants
When you get home with a new snake plant from the greenhouse or it arrives at your door from Amazon, you don’t need to transplant right away. Ironically, this is a plant that actually thrives when it’s kept in close quarters in the pot. You can, of course, repot it if you would like it in a pretty spot in your home, but it isn’t necessary. Repotting snake plants only needs to happen every few years. When transplanting or repotting, add some fresh soil.
What kind of soil is best for snake plants
Keep your snake plants in some loose potting soil, cactus mix or even soilless potting mix. They will thrive and be happy. You don’t want a heavy soil that could trap moisture for long periods of time causing root rot. Root rot is one of the ways to kill this plant.
Do snake plants have any pests to worry about?
Spider mites are the biggest concern for bugs and problems with the plant. Generally, these will only come when the plant is suffering. Snake plants are generally very pest-resistant.
Should I use fertilizer on snake plants?
The type of fertilizer needs for snake plants is easy, it isn’t needed. You could feed your snake plant with a little bit of compost or worm castings if you really want to. Don’t do it often, just 2-4 times per year. Also, if you are concerned, you could dress it will a little bit of houseplant fertilizer that is cut in half and well diluted. Again, none of this is necessary. I’ve had my main snake plant for about 12 years now and it’s never had fertilizer or a top dressing.
Snake plants, cats & dogs
There is some evidence that snake plants might be slightly toxic to cats and dogs. It appears that it might take large quantities of ingestion to cause hard to your pets. When in doubt, keep the plants away from your beloved pets.
Value of snake plant Care
The value we see in snake plants is in their ornate beauty. They really are quite a lovely plant to look at. They add interest to any room with their spiky leaves and green hues and stripes. Don’t’ forget to gift these to neighbors who travel often or you think may not have a green thumb. They just might get hooked on houseplants and learn how to care for them.
Some Background on Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, also called Snake plant or its scientific name Sansevieria, is a succulent. The name “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue” comes from the plant’s sharp points at the end of each leaf.
It’s a part of the Asparagaceae plant family and is native to West Africa.
The trifasciata in its name means “three bundles,” referring to the design of its leaves. The leaf markings are split into three distinct sections.
The edges of the leaves are framed with light yellow or white stripes, while the center has two shades of green. The darker green form a zig-zag pattern across the leaf, which some people believe resembles snake skin.
Mother-in-law’s Tongue has upright leaves which make it a good fit for indoor growth. This plant can fit into almost any space, making it popular for interior design too. Some gardeners use it as a background for smaller flowering or fern-like plants.
Snake plants can even act as a natural wall or fence due to their height, but they grow slowly. If you want a large plant, it’s best to purchase a large one from the beginning.
The plant’s standard height is one to two feet, but some have been known to reach three feet at full maturity.
You can trim the tops of your plants to keep them at your desired height. Cutting off the top of a leaf will prevent it from ever growing taller, so choose wisely before you decide to cut.
Thorough watering before you remove the old pot helps loosen the root ball so it slides out easily. Place your hand over the top of soil so the base of the plant is supported between your fingers. The root ball should slide out of the pot when you turn it upside down, although you may need to thump the sides until it slides out if it's stuck. Visible roots on the exterior of the root ball that are dark or soft have developed root rot. You can trim these off with a clean knife. Also cut through any large roots that are completely encircling the root ball so the snake plant doesn't become rootbound.
The snake plant must sit in the new pot at the same depth it was previously growing, while the top of the root ball should sit 1 to 2 inches beneath the pot rim. After setting the plant in the prepared pot, remove or add soil beneath the root ball until it's at the proper depth. Fill in around the roots with additional soil once the plant is situated in the pot correctly. A thorough watering after repotting settles the soil around the roots and ensures the potting media is evenly moist.
How to Propagate Your Moonshine Snake Plant
The most effective method to help make your baby moonshine have a wildly sprouting rhizome structure is by division. While dividing the rhizome, use a sharp and sterilized knife, to protect it from catching bad strains of bacteria.
If you prefer using leaf cuttings to propagate your moonshine snake, make sure it’s at least, 2′ inches and pluck them from leaves that seemingly appear to be mature enough.
As we noted earlier, it’s far more beneficial to use well-draining potting soil— which is incredibly permeable, helps the roots have a firm base, and free from getting soaked in water for too long.
You need to also plant the leaf-cuttings at least 1′ inch deep. This would give them space to develop a rigid support system and the roots will grow rapidly in no time. Remember to place the growing medium somewhere with filtered light since direct sun rays tend to scorch the leaves.
Common Pests & Diseases You Might Deal with
Being an extremely hardy plant, you won’t need to fight any serious infections or pest attacks. The only pests you’ll probably worry about are mealybugs and spider mites.Growing such a nifty plant comes with less trouble and the problems it might experience aren’t hard to fix.
When the temperatures are persistently too cold or say when the roots are drenched in water for long hours, a few dark spots tend to develop on the leaves, so you need to pay close monitoring on this sign.
Is The Moonlight Snake Toxic?
Most Sansevieriascontain mild toxicity levels that could result in irritation when ingested by humans or pets. These toxic elements are known as saponins and when consumed in large portions, you’d experience nausea and beginn to vomit in due course.