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Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sanseveriatrifasciata), known also as the snake plant, has long been an indoor and outdoor favourite with its sharp, witty nature. This succulent makes for a striking feature in almost any light condition and is a perfect choice for the beginner gardener.
Getting to know your Mother-in-law’s tongue
Grow guide: They will grow faster in bright, natural light but will also fare well in moderate to low light. When planted outdoors, be aware of harsh direct sunlight as this will burn their leaves. Water plants directly onto the soil (avoiding the rosette centre) to prevent root rot.
Claim to fame: Hardy and packed with attitude, their sword-shaped leaves are bold and unapologetic with bright yellow borders from base to tip. Indigenous to SA, these plants are adaptable and easy to care for. You may even be lucky to see their elusive white flowers if you look after them well.
In the garden: This succulent is ideal as a potted attention-grabber, both on the patio and indoors. They will also fill large beds where they bring in height (up to 60cm) and texture. Plant them in rich soil with excellent drainage. Water infrequently and avoid frost-prone areas.
Pest patrol: Plants are generally low-maintenance and not prone to pests. Keep an eye out, however, for mealybugs and spider mites and ensure roots are never waterlogged. Feed with a balanced fertiliser like All Purpose monthly during spring and summer to increase pest resistance.
Did you know? Snake plants are known as CAM plants, which means they can remove carbon from the air at night and store it for later use.
Top tip: Dull leaf colours and thin foliage may indicate that your plant is not receiving enough light, whereas crispy, yellowing foliage is a sign that there is too much light or sun.
Try this: Protect indoor Snake plants from harsh sunlight by hanging a sheer curtain in front of windowsills.