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Mother-In-Law’s Tongue: Modern Style for a Retro Houseplant

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Mother-In-Law’s Tongue: Modern Style for a Retro Houseplant

June 4, 2017

Sansevieria trifasciata, snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue, sword of Saint George. No matter what you call this houseplant, the West African native is almost impossible to kill. (My mother can attest to this; she has one nearly 100 years old.)

According to landscape designer Beth Mullins (of Growsgreen in San Francisco), mother-in-law’s tongue is “retro and easy and can handle dark corners with very little water.”

Little water? Yes; in fact, overwatering is one of the few ways to kill the plant. Dark corners? Check. (Though in bright light, it will flower.) And retro? To a fault; the trick with sansevieria is not in keeping it alive, but in keeping it in this decade. Sansevieria was all the rage in the 1970s, and though it’s made a comeback, it still can look retro–in a bad way.

Here are five ideas (circa 2017) for styling mother-in-law’s tongue at home:

A Mother in Law&#8
Above: A Mother in Law’s Tongue won’t complain about living in a dark corner. See more at Best Houseplants: 9 Indoor Plants for Low Light. Photograph by Mimi Giboin for Gardenista.
Ceramic planters by Form & Fable hold desert-style houseplants, including Sansevieria (far right).
Above: Ceramic planters by Form & Fable hold desert-style houseplants, including Sansevieria (far right).
UK-based garden designer Isabelle Palmer has a potted Sansevieria in the bath, where it enjoys higher levels of humidity. For more, see Required Reading: The House Gardener. Photograph by Helen Cathcart.
Above: UK-based garden designer Isabelle Palmer has a potted Sansevieria in the bath, where it enjoys higher levels of humidity. For more, see Required Reading: The House Gardener. Photograph by Helen Cathcart.
John Baker and Juli Daoust, the couple who specialize in hard-to-find Scandanavian pieces in their Toronto store Mjölk. On a recent trip to a local nursery to buy houseplants, they couldn’t resist stocking up on extra pots and plants to take to the shop, too. Here, via their blog Kitka Design, is the felicitous result.
Above: John Baker and Juli Daoust, the couple who specialize in hard-to-find Scandanavian pieces in their Toronto store Mjölk. On a recent trip to a local nursery to buy houseplants, they couldn’t resist stocking up on extra pots and plants to take to the shop, too. Here, via their blog Kitka Design, is the felicitous result.
Sansevieria is happy to go outdoors in warm weather. Photograph by Mimi Giboin for Gardenista.
Above: Sansevieria is happy to go outdoors in warm weather. Photograph by Mimi Giboin for Gardenista.

For more houseplants, see:

Finally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various houseplants with our Houseplants: A Field Guide.

Additionally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for mother-in-law’s tongue with our Mother-in-Law’s Tongue: A Field Guide.

Interested in other tropical plants for your garden or indoor space? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various tropical plants with our Tropical Plants: A Field Guide.

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