Snake Plant Care – Growing The “Mother In Law’s Tongue”


If I had to create an award for the best houseplant for beginners, the humble snake plant or “Mother-In-Law’s Tongue” would win it.

You can pretty much ignore this plant for a month and it will be ​fine. They have a beautiful and striking appearance in your home, and even remove toxins (benzene, formaldehyde) from your home.

Without further ado, let’s get into exactly how to care for, troubleshoot, and propagate the wonderful snake plant.​

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Snake Plant Overview

Common Name(s) Snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue, viper’s bowstring hemp
Scientific Name Sansevieria trifasciata
Family Asparagaceae
Origin West africa
Height Up to 40 inches
Light Direct sunlight, filter harsh light
Water Mild
Temperature 40-85°F
Humidity Average
Soil Free draining soil
Fertilizer Fertilize in spring with a 20-20-20 fertilizer mixed in a watering container.
Propagation Cuttings or divide
Pests Fungus gnats

Mother in Law’s Tongue has thick, vertical sword shaped leaves. The leaves are dark green and are accented with lighter green bars going horizontal along the blade like leaves. Some varieties have a yellowish colored border along the leaves.

Snake Plant Varieties

While most people recognize the snake plant as the one classic green-yellow variegated ​leaves, there are plenty of different cultivars to choose from.

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Black Gold'

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Black Gold’

‘Black Gold’ has starkly contrasting leaves, with extremely dark-green centers surrounded by light yellow / gold edges.

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Black Jack'

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Black Jack’

‘Black Jack’ has a similar leaf pattern, but grows much shorter than it’s ‘Black Gold’ relative.

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Black Robusta'

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Black Robusta’

‘Black Robusta’ looks like a fully black-leafed snake plant from afar, but the leaves are actually a dark shade of green. The leaves have flecks of silver sprinkled throughout.

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Cylindrica'

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Cylindrica’

‘Cylindrica’ is the most unique cultivar, with completely round stems that look like bamboo stakes stuck in soil.

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Futura Robusta'

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Futura Robusta’

‘Futura Robusta’​ has wider leaves and grows much shorter than other varieties. The leaves are primarily a silvery-green, with dark green stripes.

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Futura Superba'

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Futura Superba’

‘Futura Superba’​ has the classic snake plant leaf pattern, but it grows much shorter. Great for small spaces and apartments.

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Golden Hahnii'

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Golden Hahnii’

‘Gold Hahnii’ is a compact cultiva with thick golden edges and a light green center. A very bright choice!

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Golden Flame'

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Golden Flame’

‘Golden Flame’ is one of the most interesting cultivars. The new leaves start out a fully bright yellow color and then slowly “fade” to a natural green color.

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Moonshine'

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Moonshine’

‘Moonshine’​ is best thought of as an ‘albino’ cultivar. The leaves are almost pure silver, creating a beautiful contrast to other cultivars.

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii'

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’

‘Laurentii’ is one of the more popular cultivars sold in stores, with bright yellow edges and a zig-zagged green pattern in the middle.

Snake Plant Care

Because the snake plant has succulent leaves, it falls into the category of “set it and forget it” type of houseplants. It doesn’t need much care, water, or light, but you still have to give it a LITTLE bit of love if you want it to thrive.


Give your snake plant bright, indirect light if you want it to do well. While it can survive in low-light conditions, it will grow slower and have less color. A good spot for it would be about 3-6′ away from a window that gets a lot of light.


Because snake plants have succulent leaves, they don’t need a lot of water. Keep the soil slightly moist and never over water. If you water too often your snake plant will become mushy and start to rot quickly.​


The best type of soil for snake plants is an African violet soil mixture with a bit of sand added for additional ​drainage.

If you’d like to mix your own soil, use this recipe:

    • 1 part garden soil
    • 1 part peat
  • 2 parts perlite or builder’s sand


To give your snake plant a good chance at thriving, fertilize once monthly during spring and summer. Use a quality houseplant fertilizer that is free of nitrates.

During the winter months, forgo fertilizing completely as the plant grows slowly.


You don’t need to re-pot your snake ​often as it likes to be root-bound. However, if it becomes top heavy and starts to tip over, re-pot it into a pot that is only a couple of inches larger than the current pot.

Learn More: How to Repot Your Snake Plant


Sometimes the tips of leaves will turn brown or entire leaves will die. If this happens, all you need to do is cut the leaf of right at the soil surface to remove it completely. There’s no point in cutting part of a leaf as it will not grow back from the cut point.

Be sure to use a sterilized cutting instrument!​

Snake Plant Propagation

Like most succulent-type plants, propagating snake plants is easily done through leaf cuttings or division. We’ve got a lot more information on how to do it in our article on snake plant propagation techniques.

If you want to preserve the variegation of your snake plant, propagate by division instead of leaf cuttings — if you try via leaf cuttings the plant will revert to green leaves.

Leaf Cutting Propagation Process

Cut a leaf off of your snake plant and slice into 3-4″ pieces. Make sure you remember which side of the leaf is the top and which is the bottom.

Put the cuttings right-side-up in fresh soil mix and keep the pot in an area that gets bright, indirect light.

After about 3-4 weeks, the cuttings will start rooting. After a few months, you’ll have a fresh batch of snake plants to enjoy!​


Snake Plant Care


Like many houseplants, snake plants are susceptible to mealybugs and spider mites. Both of these pests attack the leaves of your spider plant in a similar fashion, sucking the sap out of the leaves.

If you have a heavy infestation, it’s best to just start over with a new plant. But if you catch them arly, you can prevent the infestation from growing.

Combat spider mites by misting the plant and wiping them off. For mealybugs, wipe them off with a cotton swab of rubbing alcohol


The most common disease will be a root rot due to over-watering. It’s common because gardeners tend to treat snake plants like other types of houseplants that aren’t succulents, watering on the same schedule.

The solution for root rot is simple: water less, and repot into fresh soil to allow the roots to dry out. You may also need to cut off any mushy leaves.

You may also run into brown rust spots on the leaves, which is caused by allowing water to sit on the leaves during cold or cloudy periods.​


Q. My snake plant isn’t growing and I’ve had it for months. What is going on?

A. If you bought it during the fall and winter months, it’s completely natural for growth to slow down. These are the dormant months that new growth is either completely stopped or extremely slow. However, if you are in the spring and summer months and it’s still not growing, revisit the care guide above and see if you’re not giving your snake plant what it needs.

Q. The leaves of my snake plant are becoming mushy but the soil is dry and I am not over watering it. What’s happening?

A. If you are positive you’re not over watering your snake plant, then there are two probable causes: your soil is holding too much water, or you have some kind of leaf rot. Check to see if your soil is too peaty and holds too much water, and re-read the diseases section to see if you may have a rot.

Q. The leaves of my snake plant are drooping or wrinkling, what is going on?

A. Unlike most plants, the leaves of a snake plant will droop when they’ve gotten too much water not too little! However, if the leaves have a wrinkled appearance or start to bend, it’s a surefire sign that your plant isn’t getting enough water.

Q. Is the snake plant toxic?

A. All parts of the snake plant are mildly toxic. The poison found in the plant can cause the tongue and throat to swell and be numb. In severe cases there may be distress in the digestive tract.​

While low doses of the plant normally don’t produce any symptoms, large doses can cause vomiting or nausea.​

The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:

Kevin Espiritu

Lorin Nielsen
Lifetime Gardener

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136 thoughts on “Snake Plant Care – Growing The “Mother In Law’s Tongue””

  1. Hi I have just got my first snake plant and I am wondering if the pot it is in is too big! It currently only has two plants (very tall plant) the pot is about 8 inches wide and 10 inches tall. A lot of open space! Should I repot this into a smaller pot and change out the soil that came with it?
    Thanks Eva

    • This is common with the taller varieties, it’s just buckling under its own weight. You can prune these off and propagate new plants with them to clean up the look, or just prune and toss them!

  2. I’m in Columbus Georgia & the lowest temperature it gets is usually in the mid 20’s , but we have gotten into the teens a few times. What is the coldest my snake plant can tolerate ?

  3. There is a different leaf growing in my snake plant – a leaf with leaves on it (short leaves) – should this be part of the Mother in laws tongue?

  4. I stuck the tip of a snake plant in my eye it is not bleeding and I splashed water in my eye I heard it is toxic should I call the Doctor or go to the emergency room my eye is red and it sting a little should I worry about my eye

  5. Hi,

    I just bought my first Snake Plant and I was wondering if it can be reppoted into regular flower potting soil blend. It’s quite difficult to find different types of soil where I live and florists take fortunes for ordering them overseas but I don’t want to ruin it because I love it.

  6. My snake plant is beginning to fold into itself. It has no brown spots and is not drooping and staying upright. It has good drainage and I’m not over watering it. It is in a window with lots of sunlight but I have no clue whats happening to it! Help!

  7. I have several snake plants. All the leaves lay down. They don’t get too much light or water. I cut them off, (I know!) I’ve come to the realization I cant grow them! Any suggestions?

    • If they’ve been growing a while, it’s natural for them to bend in the middle, basically under their own weight. But growing conditions matter too to keep the turgor in the leaves (stiffness).

  8. Hi, i bought a plant that had soil gnats and I did not know, now all of my plants have soil gnats what can I do?

  9. I have some specific problem with my Snake-Plant. I don’t water it too much. After I read this article, I’m little worried that that might be a problem (maybe? I don’t know, still). I cannot send picture of my plant here, but here is what about I’m worried: the 5 highest leafs (50cm long) are not supported enough on the top. Because of that, they are not upright. What is actually problem?
    I need your help.
    I’m looking forward to your answer. Thank you in advance.

    • It’s totally normal for a snake plant to have bent leaves as it ages. The one thing I would worry about is over watering, but you mentioned you don’t do that. You can always support them by tying them together halfway down the leaves. Also consider repotting if it’s outgrowing its current pot 🙂

  10. I would like to repot my first snake plant, and I have the complete opposite of a green thumb. I read above about soil needed , but in regards to the pot…does it need to have a hole in the bottom for drainage?

  11. I’m repotting a snake plant right now. It was given to my mother-in-law at the birth of my husband… who is 67 years old!

  12. I usually put all my plants outside in the summer. I’ve never had any issues. With the whacky weather we are having this year, what should the temps be outside before I put them outside?

  13. I have a potted Laurentii outside in Northern California (USDAA zone 9). I repotted it with cactus soil and noticed that some of the leaves are turning pale. I also noticed bronzing along the edges of some of the leaves. What’s the bronzing and loss of color from and does this plant do well outside in zone 9?

    • I can’t imagine it would do poorly outdoors in zone 9 – cool temperatures and overwatering are the main stressors for a snake plant. May be a fertility issue in the soil, if it’s super well draining it might have hard time holding on to water and getting enough nutrients, thus fading out.

  14. My snake plant has some baby plants growing. Should I let it go in the pot or can I take them out and place in their own pots? They are growing pretty fast. My plant must be happy!

  15. Hi. I have trifasciata laurentii (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue), and the edges of some of the leaves are like eaten (bitten?). What’s the cause? Is there anything I should or can do to stop it?

    • I’ve seen this happen as a snake plant ages…I usually just double-check to see if I’m still giving it all of the essentials it needs to survive, and sometimes I’ll cut back a particularly dead / damaged leaf.

  16. Hi. I recently notice in the soil of my MLT a yellowish substance. When I broke the soil apart in the plant I say a bunch of small round “beads”. I don’t think they are eggs as I could not crush them. I separated them to look at them and just don’t know what they are. I’m trying to find out if it’s cause for concern or normal. I’ve never noticed this before. Does anyone have any answers???? Please help as I am a novice.

  17. Hello, I have snake plants that I have had the rot where it had gotten too much water, but in the same pot the tops of the plant is dried out and brown, which I would take as not getting enough water. I am at loss what to do, had thought I was watering to much but now it looks like it isn’t getting enough water, what do I need to do? please help.

    • The top won’t get water if the bottom / roots have rotted, so this actually makes sense. You will need to change the soil and cut away any of the rotted material and then hope that it’s able to re-establish itself!

  18. Hi, I have a potted laurentii with yellow edges and it is doing very well. The only problem is, the new shoots are all solid-coloured (not variegated with yellow edges like the parent plant). I read that that may happen in low light so I have moved it to a brighter spot (bright SW facing windowsill but without direct light sunlight due to overhanging eaves) but it continues to throw up solid shoots! Anyone have any ideas?

    • What you can try is to propagate your laurentii by division and see if that works. I know that propagation by leaf cuttings will make it revert to green leaves like you’re dealing with. Try creating 2 snake plants from you 1 laurentii – you should retain yellow-edged leaves.

  19. Besides a flower shop where can I buy these plants, the seeds are really difficult to find?

    Where are the flower shops sourcing their plants from?

    Thank you,


    • I would highly recommend NOT starting from seed. It is a slow grower and you’ll do much better if you buy starts from a nursery or garden center. From the nurseries that I’ve spoken to, almost all of them source from larger wholesale nurseries. THOSE nurseries propagate from cuttings instead of growing from seed. Hope that helps!

  20. Hi, I’ve had my mother in law’s tongue for a year now. Initially I overwatered them and most of the leaves have fallen off with rotten roots. I’ve cut them and chuck them in a vase with water. A few of them have grown roots but most of them haven’t grown any roots. The bottom tips are also quite brown. I’ve tried propagating them onto soil and all of them just slowly dried out and rot. please help

  21. I have a plant similiar to a snake plant in my garden..was there when we moved in. It has what appears to be a large bulb root planted in a shady area. It almost dies back completely then reappears. Want to move it to get more sun to see if it revives. Ideas?

  22. I have many snake plants, and have had an easy time with them.. But recently inherited a GIANT one, maybe 3ft tall (4with the pot). I believe I overwatered, since 2 stocks died off with moist bases. The pot seems far too big for the plant.. When I got it, twisty ties and ribbons were holding all the leaves together, around a pole to keep them upright. I’ve released the plant from all that.. Now the tallest stocks are getting pale and I think they may be dying too… I’m thinking I need to change the soil for rot contamination, but is there anything else I should know? I’ve never repotted one of these, and I really want to keep the nice height! How can I make the rest of the stocks get that tall, assuming I can save them?

  23. Some of the leaves on my mother-in-law plant are turning black, what is happening? I just recently brought it in the house for the fall and winder months ahead.

  24. I have found these plants to be the easiest. In fact I have gotten a few.. If your watering schedule is correct (not too much/not too little) and the lighting is correct, these plants will shoot up quickly…

  25. My Mother in law tongue is blooming for the second year in a row. I am thrilled, it was just one and this year two Are coming up. I am surprised since its rare to have it bloom.

  26. My mother-in-law plant is several years old. i have divided it a few years ago, so it’s 2 plants now. There are 3 little green sprouts growing from the soil. I have never seen this; does anyone know what it is ??

  27. My snake/mother in law plant is about 3 years old in my pot, a shoot from an over 10 yr old plant my mother owns…it’s about 3 ft tall and in a medium sized pot also filled with blue evolvus…they coexist very well and look great together…they/it lives indoors near a window filled with morning sun…it’s doing beautifully and is flowering now…I’ve never owned one that bloomed, but was aware that they do so rarely. I am so pleased that my plant has rewarded me with these rare and delicate, sweet smelling flowers. I hope it blooms again!

    • I would also like to add…that my plants are in Texas DIRT and CLAY that I dug out from the side of the street during construction near my high rise building in the middle of downtown Dallas, mixed with a little potting soil and mulch on top…now kept in my living room on the 6th floor…root bound with great drainage and allowed to dry out between waters. Both mother in law and evolvus (which usually only grows outdoors) seem to LOVE this method of care. I’m very pleased. :o)

  28. i have a perfect m- i-laws tongue. one leaf from malta.four years ago. juust flowered, like heavy dew. very sticky. 2ft tall. i make a habit of feeding it with my beer dregs. have cut one leaf and and so far is going great.. bon chance.

  29. My uncle has recently died and has left a huge collection of mother-in-laws tongues. Any ideas who would be interested in them to buy as I would like them to go to someone who would appreciate them or who could sell them on to others who would get pleasure from them? We are based in Essex, UK.

  30. My mother in law’s tongue plant isn’t wrinkled or droopy, but have very short root system and literally falling over to the edge of my pot. I took it outside to repot it, only to discover that the 3″ roots were dry and couldn’t balance the 2-3 foot stems, so very difficult to get them to stand straight up now. Other that staking each stem, what do you suggest? The stems are healthy and firm, but the root system cannot support them any longer. Thanks for any help. Also, do you recommend “cactus” fertilizer or “plant” food?

  31. i just received 2 pieces of MLT that have been broken off from a very old plant at the present time I have it setting in water to root but idk if im suppose to or not this plant is about 4 feet tall with numerous tongues I have 2 pieces plz let me know what to do i’d luv to keep the plant but do not want to kill it in the water to root tyvm NJ

  32. My Mother-in-law’s tongue is very large and I would like to separate it but I’m afraid that I will kill it!How do I separate it?

  33. I am going to ask one of my friends for a cutting! They look nice, except they really do show scarring well (especially on trimmed leaves).

  34. I have a small snake plant and the root ball is so small compared to the size of the plant that it tends to fall over. It is now leaning against a trellis to keep it upright since the roots won’t support the plant

  35. I live in southern Florida and have a area of my outside garden planted with snakeplants. A friend told me that his snakeplants killed other surrounding plants. Does anyone know if the snakeplant root is toxic to other plants in the garden? I can’t seem to find any info on this. Help. Thanks, Jack

  36. I have a Mother In Law’s Tongue she blooms three times a year, I fertilize her spring to fall and water it every two weeks or so with Peters 20/20, in the fall and winter I don’t water her very often only when I think of it…She sits by a window that gets full afternoon sun and is about 3 feet from the window and she loves it, leaves are strong and perky..I have lots of plants and my apt. is a jungle and I love it..My 4 Hoyas bloom all the time and Beefsteak begonia blooms in the winter, I rarely water them in the winter and they love it 🙂 They sit on a window seal and get either morning or afternoon sun 🙂

  37. This is the second year in a row that my plant mother-in-law bloomed and people tell me that they have never seen one blooma nd mine has tear drops on it .something

  38. Yes, you can remove leaves from the plant without killing it. It’s best to use a sharp knife and cut as much of the leaf off as close to the bottom of the plant as you can. Drooping leaves are usually caused by over watering.

  39. I really hope someone can help me with some desperately needed advice please. I must begin by confessing that know nothing about plants or caring for them, but recently I took over something from a deceased relative that I have been told is a variety of the Mother-in-Law plant. Every picture that I see on the internet seem to be of individual leaves growing from the base of the plant where mine is more like a very long tube of leaves that follow the malformation so i’m not sure.

    I’ve always known of this plant in the house when I visited and now its mine, scary thought, it has been badly neglected for at least 25 years. It used to be straight, and about 7 years ago was half the size. It has had a bit of a mad growth spurt in the intervening years. It did flower once about 15 years ago when I was a kid and the flowers matched those that are on the net for M-I-L plants.

    It’s actually growing at an almost 45 degree angle now and then bends back over itself with two more curves until the tip points vertically upwards. The problem is (apart from the obvious already stated!) that it is very unstable and i’m scared its going to snap at the root base if I don’t do something soon. I’ve uploaded some pictures onto photobucket as I’m probably not explaining all this very well.

    It has lived as long as I can remember on a windowsill facing the sun and I’ve put it in a similar situation. It has to be propped against a wall for support or it will snap under its own weight. It would be far too tall if I staked it straight so I will need to cut it down if that’s at all possible but I don’t want to kill it. I have no idea how to do it though, searching for information led me to this site. If anyone could help with advice on what I can do to improve the poor things situation I’d be very grateful. Thank you in advance.

  40. I have a Snake Plant and was reading on here several questions concerning “folding leaves lengthwise”; “drooping from the base”…the only answer I seen was over-watering. Mine actually did this when I didn’t water it enough, or so I thought; however, I didn’t see if it would be ok to cut a drooping leaf, or if it will straighten back up on its own? I just re-potted it and positioned it so the leaf would semi stand on its own, but I’m not holding out much faith in this process….Is there anything else I could do to help it?

  41. I have a plant that is very old, i brought it in for the winter and for the first time every it has blooms on it, beautiful, they remind you of (honey Suckle blooms) I noticed this morning drippings hanging from under the blooms, thought it was water but as it turns out the dripping are from inside the bloom and the taste the purest , sweet sugar and wonderful taste, AWESOME!

  42. My mother-in-law plant has some very long leaves/tongues that I would like to cut off. Do I simply cut the leave(s) at the base? Please help.Thanks


  44. My leaves of my mother-in-laws tongue are starting to fold in half lenghtwise. What is causing that? Color is green, They’re just all seeming to close in half. Help!!

  45. I have an offspring of one from my grandmother from 1976, my mother has that one now and it has been repotted several times, at present there must be 16 pots from the same plant, The original is still alive and five and half feet tall but never bloomed. and I even had to cut back a couple leaves for on reason or another. of all the plants from this one , only the one in the bathroom that has an western 12″ x18″ window has bloomes for the first time. all repotted plants was given three shoots. the flowers are wonderfull, and would be great if I knew what to do to keep them blooming..thanks to all of you who have taken the time to write a little of what you know and why. god bless !

  46. i have mother in law tongue plants outside that have been here since before i moved in. I never really liked them and we tried to dig them out but the roots are so large and and some have even gone under my driveway. i planted lilies and was hoping we had gotten all of the mother in law plants’ roots but instead the plants have multipled . apparently in trying to cut them out we cut them into smaller pieces and i would love to know how i can get rid of them without digging up my lily plants and without killing them. does anyone have an idea so i can quit pulling them out almost daily? i am desparate. thanks:)

  47. I have a few different plants in my family room area. I just recently got this mother in law tongue. All of the sudden I have spider mites all over it and also some flying things that I can’t identify. I have tried the soapy water trick, and I had no luck at all. Today I went to Lowes and got some insecticidal soap and I put the plants out on the porch. I didnt have this problem until I bought the mother in laws. the other plants I have had for about 2 yrs +, Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • Erica, what works for me is taking a lid from a plastic container and adding a couple of drops of dish liquid and adding some apple cider vinegar . Let that sit next to the plant preferably at a window and it will eventually catch the insects .They are fungus mites. They lay eggs in the top part of the soil .The host gnats will eventually land in this container and die .You may have to refill it daily . I have caught as many as 20 gnats in one day this way and it may take awhile to catch them all .Just be patient .Do not sit the vinegar on the soil as this could kill the plant.

  48. My snake plant has some leaves the bend over and some leaves that look like they are folding in half length wise. What causes this?

  49. I have a snake plant .it is beautiful and tall but now there are four or five things coming up out of the dirt about the size of a thumb.; They do not have leaves on them. Are they new plants or blooms or what?

  50. My plant started out as a 3 stem throw-a-way from a nursery in Hingham, Mass. I plucked it out of the trash, then babied it for years. Took it with me where ever I moved. Had it on my kitchen counter, next to the sink, and used to hang my re-used-washed zip-lock bags on it to dry the bags. Repotted it as it expanded in width. Then we moved to Swansea, Massachusetts, and planted it in the ground in the Florida room addition.
    Year round light, and bright area, but never full sun. It finally bloomed !!! and the whole Florida room was full of this delightful aroma. My cat never touched the plant. When we moved to Florida, it broke my heart to leave the plant behind, but the new owners insisted the MILT plant, MUST STAY PUT. I finally asked my husband to get me another plant while here in Florida. I need a place to drip-dry my zip-lock bags !!
    Watering the plant only once every two weeks, in a very well drained pot. Never let its roots sit in water. think of it almost like a cactus. “less is best”. Once it starts to bloom, it must get polinated to bloom again. When it was in the Florida room, a few hornets, and the like would get in, and I guess they did the BEE thing, and the plant bloomed again, Year after year. So I suggest you put the plant outside during the summer, so the bees get to it. And when I did water it, I always used the sink sprayer. From the TOP of the plant. (imitating natural rain, and room temperature water) Also washes any dust off the leaves, to keep its pore’s open. And the Florida room, always had the Juke box playing soft rock, SLOW oldies, or 40’s & 50’s instrumentals. Fresh spring & summer breezes whenever the weather got nice, I’d open the windows for clean air.
    My first bloom was when the plant was about 6 inches across. Must be a mature plant.
    My plant was 30 years old when I had to leave her in Massachusetts.
    Whenever growing any plant, you must immitate the original native habitate.
    And wipe off any foreign objects (spider webs, scale, etc) with a damp washcloth dipped with a mild dish detergent. I only fertilized it once in the spring, and once in the fall with “flowering plant food”. That will encourge blooms.

  51. just wanted to say that my mil plant has bloomed twice now in the last month. very pretty delicate flowers. i was totally shocked cuz i didnt know that they would/could bloom. my plant is about 18 to 20 years old

  52. Help We were up north and Florida had some really cold weather. My mothers tongue is all brown on the top quarter of the plant. Should I trim these? Leave it but it doesn’t look pretty. HELP please.

  53. I live in northern Canada, and my snakes tongue plant has never lived outdoors. I inherited it from my grandfather over 20 yrs ago and he had it many years prior. This one is also a spawn off that one, and therefore has been re potted. Last summer,(2009), it bloomed for the very first time, as well as 2 others that are much older. This one however is now in bloom as i write this. (March 7/10). This one is always in a south facing window, sometimes gets a bit of winter air when my door opens and closes. It also is planted in about a 5″ width and 9″ deep pot and is 3 ft high. I have also heard many say that they have never ever seen them bloom. I am so happy my did , its B E A U tiful!!!

  54. Hi.
    I have had my mother-in-law for over 32 years. It bloomed for the first time about 5 years ago. And has bloomed several time. I live in middle Missouri. My husband was in the Army so we were stationed in many different places. When we went to Germany I had my mom keep it for me. I sit it outside for the summer, but this year when I brought it in, it started getting brown circle spots on the leaves. It is over 4′ tall and I hate cutting the leaves off.

  55. My Mother in law bloomed this year much to my surprise. The blooms were so sweet smelling. I didn’t even know that they would bloom. Mine is in direct sunlight by a window and has been since it was given to me. Some of the leaves are about 5 feet tall. Love it.

  56. I have a snake plant with large white fuzzy growth on several of the leaves. Any ideas as to what might have caused these. the growth almost looks crystalline.

  57. For those who had the blooming snake plant, did a “fruit” form where the bloom was? Mine did; several green round pods formed where the blooms were, and all of them fell off except one. The remaining one has turned reddish orange. Has anyone seen this? I rooted this snake plant from a larger pot that got overcrowded. The original plant has never bloomed. I have had both outdoors all spring and summer.

  58. Can anyone recommend a good fertilizer? It says on the website to find a water soluble, nitrate free one. Where can I find that?

  59. Lorna,

    When they (MLT) were in full bloom I pulled open the sliding glass door and was hit with a most pungent smell. I have lived here since 1994 and I have never noticed that they had a smell at all.
    I did clear a sky blue vine from overhead i guess giving them a little more sun made them real happy
    Do you know anything about “Sky Blue Vine”?

  60. I’ve had my mo-in-law plant for about 10 yrs, moved it from Oregon
    8 yrs ago to western AZ & about a month ago, it started this little
    stem & w/in the last 3 days has started blooming & like all above
    have said, it is a wonderful fragrance & i’ll be sorry to see it end.

    When I bought it, it just had 3 leaves (tongues) & only about 7 inches
    tall, now it is almost 5 ft tall !

    Lovely plant ! Lorna

  61. Sheryl & Sherry,
    I just happened to find this website and I was wondering if I should now after all blooming has finished relieve the plants by cutting the dead blooms off? And then I read that these plants that have spread across the width of my yard and……..BLOOM ONCE A YEAR EACH YEAR! Are not suppose to? Did I understand that correctly?


  62. My mother-in-law tongue has bloomed for the first time too. It is an older plant, probably at least 10-15 years old. It had belonged to my mother before me. I didn’t even know they bloomed. I have had it on my sunporch all summer and trimmed all the damaged and yellow leaves off a couple of months ago. Maybe this extensive pruning helped it bloom, I don’t know. When the stems first starting getting the little nectar drops I tasted a drop and it is very sweet, like honeysuckle. The flowers smell “green” and powdery. The plant is living outside in Maryland. Based on previous posts, it seems the key to blooms is the plant living outside for an extended period of time.

    • My snake plant is 15 years old, has always been inside, was re-potted about six months ago and is now in bloom with two beautiful stalks of flowers. It is in a bright room but not in the direct sunlight. I did fertilize it recently; maybe it helped the blooming. It is about 5 feet tall and very healthy.

  63. Hi Bonnie and Sheryl
    Congrats, I hear this is very rare and may only happen once in the plants lifetime.
    Mine only bloomed for max of 2wks. I took lots of pix and I still miss the wonderful scent. I’ve had corn plants bloom several times with the same sweet smell (and only in the eve), and hope my snake plant will bloom again too!

  64. MY mother in law tongue has bloomed for first time ever -i did not know it could bloom-i keep it outdoor on patio year round- i live in texas – i have had this plant for many years and do not know what i did to make it bloom- looks very nice – now that it bloomed will it die?-like century plant maybe?

  65. MARY ANN,

  66. I would if i had a cat as even though the plant is poisonous cats are clever. There are many plants in the garden which are poisonous in which their instinct tells them not to touch. (no cats but mother in law tongue plant and kids.)

  67. I can not believe it, my snake plant has blooms that are growing out the center, it is in a pot and is about 2 feet tall and the bloom stalk is 1 foot tall it looks like the blooms will be white. I’ve never seen this, I’m in central Fl. and I keep it outside all year.

    • Wait till they open, they small wonderful. I also have a snake plant and live in central Florida. I leave mine out all year round in a pot but protect it in the winter from the cold. It flowers every year. These flowers seam to close at night and open during the day. Enjoy it because not everyone gets them to flower at all.

  68. I used to have problems with the leaves of my snake plant drooping and falling out but I think I was over-watering it and I moved it into a brighter light and now the leaves are firm and upright – the plant looks so happy. Hope that helps.

  69. The leaves on my snake plant seem to be getting large brown spots in which sap secretes, also on some of the leaf stems half the stems seem to be shrinking, any ideas for me.

  70. If the plant gets too much water it will cause the leaves to just fall off and it will also cause them to droop. Most experts recommend that soil be kept just barely moist, but some say that it is best to let the soil completely dry out before watering.

    Most plants will begin to wilt with too little water, but this one wilts or “droops” with too much water. Too little water causes the leaves to become wrinkled.

  71. My Mother in Law plant is very large (4″ to 4 1/2″ with even some 5″ or more spikes). I have had it for 25 years or more. It rarely looses leaves. The leaves are always bright, firm and not miscolored. My problem is droopy leaves. The new, center leaves stand up but the older and outer ones droop to the floor. I have tried tying them up posted and unposted. I have tried trimming them. Nothing seems to change. I have this large, beautiful, vibrant plant with droopy leaves. Is there anything I can do?

    • The mother-in-law plant cant tolerate temperatures much lower than 50 degrees F or much higher than 95, ideally the temp should be between 60 and 85. Keep this in mind if you decide to plant yours outdoors during the summer. If you do decide to do that it would be best to leave it in a pot so that you will be able to move it to the shade or bring it back indoors if the temperature starts to get too high or too low.

      • At both houses I’ve lived in Daytona Beach, the plants have survived 40-degree nights during the winter, planted into the ground with no mulch or special care.

  72. Hi
    please help

    the leaves of my snake pant easily come out of the soil. they have drooped to the left of the pot and can’t remain upright. one touch, and they leave the soil ocmpletely. What is wrong with it?

    • To much water.
      I came to your site to check into the flowering. I grew up with a mother in laws tongue. In all my 56 years my Moms plant never flowered. I was shocked to see the shoot stick out through the center and then flower. I had to have my curiosity pleased. My plant is about 3 years old. Thank You for the info.
      A Duggan

      • snake plants will bloom a lot especially when they are pot bound. I recently re -potted mine and it was totally root bound and I was
        surprised it had not broken the pot. I replanted it into 3 different pots now and gave my neighbor one of them. Now the original part of the plant is about 3 feet tall.

    • I have had my MLT for about 1 month. Today I was shocked when I found a bloom today 11/7/13. I did not realize these plants bloom. Dainty blossoms on a long stalk.

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