One of the most favorite plants is the snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue. Despite having it already at home, you don’t know why it is called the mother in law’s tongue. What’s the story behind the nickname?
What Makes Snake Plant Called Mother-in-Law’s Tongue?
The snake plant is called the mother-in-law’s tongue because its leaves are sharp, pointed, or severe, just like the tone of a mother in law when they lose control or cannot contain their temper when their children offend them.
All About Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
The details are as follows:
- Common Names: Mother in law’s tongue, snake plant, viper’s bowstring hemp
- Scientific Name: Sansevieria trifasciata
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Clade: Tracheophytes
- Clade: Angiosperms
- Clade: Monocots
- Order: Asparagales
- Family: Asparagaceae
- Subfamily: Nolinoideae
- Genus: Dracaena
- Species: D. trifasciata
- Origin: Western Africa
- Max Growth (approx.): Height 30 inch or 30 cm
In Africa, Madagascar, and southern Asia there are approximately 70 varieties of snake plants. Here are some examples:
Sansevieria trifasciata is the most popular species for gardening. Due to its sharply pointed leaves, this species is known as mother-in-law’s tongue. There are times when snake plants bloom. However, it is a rare thing and won’t occur more than once a year. It usually happens in the spring and the ones that bloom are those that are left outside all year round.
Sansevieria twist has twisted leaves, as its name suggests. This variation produces green and yellow foliage. It is possible for this variety to flower, but after flowering, it will stop producing new leaves. The plant can grow up to about one to two feet tall, and approximately the same width.
India’s Sansevieria robusta is the one that originated there. In addition to being unique, this one is also in high demand. It is known as a bulletproof plant because of its robust nature and immunity to neglect. Its leaves are shorter and wider than those of the other species and it has the same color and pattern of horizontal leaf crossbanding as the other species.
Snake Plant Care Tips
Snake plants require little maintenance. They are able to tolerate full sun and low light so well. They still prefer indirect sunlight, however.
Snake plants are prone to rot, so it is important to keep them well drained and not over water them, particularly in the winter. Allowing the soil to dry between waterings is essential. Planting them in sandier soil is recommended as they are from arid deserts.
Snake plants do well in temperatures of 55 to 855 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the warmer remains the best option. If the temperature in your place is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you may want to think twice about planting them.
People seem not to be adversely affected by snake plants. According to the ASPCA or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, they are higher for pets like cats and dogs. These plants contain natural insecticides and fungicides called saponins. When ingested, snake plant substances can cause gastrointestinal reactions, including vomiting and diarrhea in both animals and humans. Snake plants are toxic in all parts. In the worst cases, it can be fatal if your pet consumes too many snake plant leaves at home.
Pests and Problems
It is true that snake plants are easy to grow, but they aren’t the kind of plants that have no problems. Overwatering and cold are the most common issues. Although they are also known as pest resistant plants, this does not mean they are free from insect problems. Mealybugs and spider mites can attack them. When the sap from the leaves is sucked by these two, the leaves will be wounded and shed. If you want to get rid of mealy bugs or spider mites on your snake plants, you can dab the mealy bugs with alcohol and wash the leaves, or you can increase the humidity around the plant to eliminate the spider mites.
Snake plants need fertilizer to grow. The snake plant needs less water than other indoor plants, but fertilizer is necessary because it gives the plant some advantages. Nutrients are best provided by it.