Mother-in-law’s tongue, Houseplant of the month of August
Mother-in-law’s tongue, also known as the Sansevieria, is the Houseplant of the month of August. It is an indestructible powerhouse, who would rather give humidity than take it and is happy to swap the desert for a trendy pot in your home.
Long live humidity
You will know the Mother-in-law’s tongue by its strong, pointy leaves which grow straight up out of the soil. They are (grey) green, striped, spotted or have yellow edges. The striking leaves do great but invisible work: they increase the humidity which is good for your skin, eyes and airways.
Ethiopian desert plant
You will find the Mother-in-law’s tongue in the wild in the deserts of Ethiopia, as well as other countries. This birthplace explains why this plant is so strong and stays upright in dry heat, resulting in a robust houseplant which behaves as a good guest. It’s not so strange that the Mother-in-law’s tongue has made such an impressive comeback in recent years.
Caring for the Mother-in-law’s tongue
The Mother-in-law’s tongue is really easy to care for. The plant, due to its origins, copes well with dry heat, for example, from the central heating. The Mother-in-law’s tongue is comfortable in a light position, but don’t place it in the full, burning sun. Don’t give it too much water and let the soil dry out between watering. Our advice is rather too little than too much water.
• There are at least 70 varieties of Mother-in-law’s tongue.
• Naturalist Carl Peter Thunberg named the Sansevieria in 1794, after the Italian prince Raimondo di Sangro, who came from San Severo and was a great inventor.
• In many African countries the leaves of the Mother-in-law’s tongue are used to make string and baskets.
• The Mother-in-law’s tongue becomes darker when it is further away from the window and lighter when it is nearer the window.
• A Mother-in-law’s tongue is the ideal gift for someone without green fingers, for in the office or in a school: the plant won’t complain if it isn’t watered for a while.
• The Mother-in-Law’s tongue only flowers occasionally: there is a stem between the leaves where the flowers grow on.
• In Korea Mother-in-law’s tongue is used to welcome participants of events or business partners.
• Sansevierias remove poisonous elements such as formaldehyde and carbon dioxide from the air and give oxygen in return, so place a Mother-in-law’s tongue in your bedroom for a good night’s rest.
For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Published on: 29 July 2015