January Plant of the Month: Sansevieria

Every month Chalet celebrates a plant that has made a significant impact on our gardens, ecosystems and even our health. This month, we shine a spotlight on the Sansevieria also known as a “Mother-in-law’s-tongue” (because of the sharp tip of the leaves) or a “Snake plant”.

Shop Snake Plants and our entire Indoor Plant Collection online and in store. 

Important Update

You might be familiar with names like snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue, devil’s tongue, or viper’s bowstring hemp, but here's a noteworthy update: the scientific name 'Sansevieria' is no more. In 2014, through DNA reclassification, plants of the Sansevieria genus are now officially classified under the genus Dracaena. However, the legacy of the Sansevieria name lives on in our hearts and conversations as a common name.

Why We Love Them

Sansevieria plants have earned their place as the Plant of the Month for various reasons: 

  • Resilience to cooler temperatures, making them suitable for indoor gardening during the winter months. 
  • Low maintenance requirements, ideal for indoor settings with reduced light intensity. 
  • Air-purifying qualities that contribute to improving indoor air quality, especially during the closed winter months. 
  • Best grown in well-draining, sandy loam soil mixes like "Cactus Potting Mix" or "Succulent Potting Mix." 
  • Thrive in bright indoor locations but can survive in low light conditions if not over-watered. 
  • During winter, it's advised to let the soil dry out completely between waterings, requiring watering only once a month in lower light locations.

Overview of Sansevieria

  • Sansevieria, also known as snake plant, is an erect, clumping, broadleaf evergreen houseplant native to Africa, Arabia, and India. 
  • It tolerates low light and cool temperatures, making it durable, easily grown, and difficult to kill. 
  • It's a clean air plant, contributing to improved air quality by removing pollutants. 
  • Used in containers and as ground cover filler in interior landscape designs. 
  • No significant problems with insects, diseases, or other plant issues.

Popular Species and Cultivars

Several species and cultivars of Sansevieria are popular, including: 

  • Sansevieria trifasciata (snake plant, mother-in-law's tongue) 
  • Sansevieria trifasciata `Laurentii' (goldband sansevieria) 
  • Sansevieria trifasciata `Hahnii' (birdnest sansevieria) 
  • Sansevieria trifasciata Futura' and Moonshine' (new cultivars) 
  • Sansevieria cylindria, reclassified as Dracaena angolensis ('Starfish')

Care Tips for Sansevieria

  • Sansevieria is described as "easy to grow and difficult to kill." 
  • Adaptable to different light levels, with moderate to low light requirements. 
  • Infrequent watering is essential, allowing the surface of the potting mix to dry between water applications. 
  • Avoid waterlogged soil by using well-draining potting mix and pots with drainage. 
  • Tolerant of a wide range of temperatures, including cooler indoor environments. 
  • Propagate through division of offsets or leaf cuttings.

Fun Facts about Sansevieria

  • The genus name honors an 18th-century patron of horticulture, Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero. 
  • Chinese folklore associates Sansevieria with eight virtues, bringing success, beauty, long life, knowledge, well-being, creativity, fervor, and poetry to a home. 
  • Traditional beliefs attribute Sansevieria plants with being symbolic for good luck and resilience. 
  • Hardy in warm, frost-free locations in Zones 10-12.

Whether you still call it Sansevieria or embrace its new name Dracaena, this plant remains a "tried and true," long-lived companion that is easy to care for. It's a great addition to your houseplant collection, perfect for beginners, and available in various cultivars. Visit Chalet to explore the different varieties and test your willpower to resist their charm!

Shop Snake Plants and our entire Indoor Plant Collection online and in store.