Our plant of the month for March – the Sansevieria Trifasciata – goes by many names, from the snake plant, to Saint George's sword, to perhaps our favourite of all, mother-in-law's tongue. What better plant to feature ahead of International Mother's Day? (Sunday, May 12th)
There are in fact some 70 different species of mother-in-law’s tongue, each characterised by its glossy green leaves that appear to stick straight up out of the soil, with subtle stripes and spots, and distinctive yellow edges. Originating from the deserts of Ethiopia, among other places, the first snake plant was recorded when naturalist Carl Peter Thunberg brought it to Italy in 1794. Thunberg named the plant after the Italian Prince Raimondo di Sangro, who hailed from from San Severo.
How to care for it:
Given its desert origins, the mother-in-law’s tongue is partial to a little heat. It will do well in both shade and sun, away from any draught, and its colour will adapt according to its surroundings. Want yours to look a little darker? Position it further away from the window. A little lighter? Pop it closer to the window in a spot where it will receive more sun. When it comes to watering, be sure not to overwater this desert native – allow the soil to dry out thoroughly between waterings for optimum health. The snake plant is a fast grower, too. Its sizeable spikes can reach 1m tall, which means that repotting is essential to avoid a cracked pot.
Top Floom tip:
Aesthetically pleasing the mother-in-law’s tongue may be, but it’s a hard working perennial that will naturally work towards eradicating the humidity in your home. Consider the snake plant the skin booster you’ve been seeking – thanks to its ability to convert poisonous substances into oxygen you can ensure healthy glowing skin. Why not start a collection of mother-in-law’s tongues? Now that’s a sentence we never thought we would write.