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Mother In Law Tongue Care

Mother In Law Tongue Care

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Mother in law tongue care is easy given the fact that you are dealing with such a live-anywhere, low-maintenance, indoor plant. It’s very commonly grown and can be easily recognized by its dark-green vertical leaves with light green bands stretching from one end to the other.

Although it doesn’t require much care, it simply thrives when given some TLC, which will be evidenced by the strength of its long leaves.

These plants occasionally produce white flowers but this is more common in older plants. The blooming season occurs during winter, but it’s actually quite rare. So much so, that you can go decades without seeing as much as a bud on them.

Like the Peace Lily and Air Plants, Mother in law tongue is an excellent choice for those who are just beginning their indoor plant journey. However, the sturdiness of its leaves and their beautiful shape also makes it a favorite amongst seasoned plant enthusiasts.

Another great thing about these plants is their longevity. They are known to survive for more than 20 years. If you want them to live beyond two decades, I suggest you split and repot them at regular intervals of 5 to 10 years.


Mother In Law Tongue Care


As mentioned earlier, these plants are known for their low maintenance demeanor. Meaning, they can survive in both low light as well as brighter light. I recommend you provide it bright indirect light from spring to fall. For winters, temperate light would work well.


They can thrive outdoors if the climate is warm. However, in a cold climate, it should ideally be kept indoors. I recommend that the plant should be kept at an average temperature of 18 -24C (65-75F). It’s not advisable to keep temperatures lower than 16C/60F.

Water and Humidity

Although you are not required to water it frequently, it does need to be watered enough to keep the soil moist in the warmer months. During winter, there’s no harm done if the top soil dries between periods of watering.


The soil used should be a mixture of regular potting soil and purified garden soil. This mix will help create a texture that is rich enough for it to thrive.


The plant should be fed anytime from the end of spring to fall. The snake plant or mother in law tongue fertilizer used should be half the strength recommended on its packaging and should generally be avoided in colder months.


Repotting a mother in law tongue is easy and the process should ideally be attempted in spring. If the plant’s height has increased manifold, we recommend adding small stones to weigh down the container and avoid the plant from getting toppled over. Also repotting should take place within 2 to 3 years or as per the plant’s requirements.


If you want to split the plant, I recommend you do it in early spring.  The best way to propagate a plant is through division. Separate the plant using a toothed blade-knife on the roots. The separated part can be planted into a prepared potting mix.

Final Mother In Law Tongue Care Tips

The Mother in law tongue makes quite a sight, especially when used with other foliage plants. It can easily adapt to any environment provided there is warmth.

It also comes in a number of varieties such as ‘Laurentii’ whose sword-like leaves grow up to 3 to 4 feet tall and ‘Golden Hahnii’ which is a smaller type of Sanseveria with oval-shaped dark green leaves and yellow margins.

Mother In Law Tongue Care – Troubleshooting

Although mother in law tongue care can be quite hands off, you shouldn’t completely neglect it when you decide to invite it into your home as a houseplant. Problems are rare with this plant, however, it pays to know how to deal with any issues that may occur.

Problem: Roots becoming soft, pulpy and brown. Leaves losing strength and turning yellow.

Cause: Roots are decaying due to an infection.

Solution: If you notice these symptoms, immediately split the plant and repot it. Add fresh, fertilized soil and get rid of the soil gone bad. To make sure that the plant does not get infected again, use sulfur powder on the healthy roots and add a growth-promoting root mixture rich in mycorrhiza. This will help spur microbial activity and enhance the nutrient absorbing process of the plant

Prevention: Do not water more than necessary. In fact, only water the plant when the top 2 to 4 inches of soil are entirely dry. Since dehydration is slow in winter months, you should water at an interval of as long as 1 to 2 months.


Problem: Withering, yellow leaves with marks on them despite the plant not being over-watered.

Cause: The plant is suffering from temperatures too cold for it.

Solution: Get rid of only those leaves which are in bad shape with no signs of redemption and let the healthy foliage remain.

Prevention: Make sure the plant is kept in a warmer environment with a daytime temperature that remains between 60 to 80F and the night time temperature that does not drop past 55F.


Problem: Underdeveloped or abnormal growth of leaves.

Cause: The plant is suffering from a bug infestation. To recognize the infestation, look for pink insects covered with white, fibrous and gooey material.

Solution: To get rid of the infestation, the bugs will need to be cleaned out using alcohol swabs or a moist cloth. If you’re using alcohol swabs to clean the plant, make sure you do a patch test to ensure it doesn’t damage the leaves.


Problem: Discolouration of leaves accompanied by the development of webs between them and at the bottom of the plant.

Cause: Spider mites

Solution: If any of the leaves are severely damaged, they will need to be cut off. For a moderate infestation of spider mites, insecticidal soap will do the job. Just spray it over the plant and wipe it off with a clean cloth. Another way of getting rid of the mites is to overturn the plant and wash the leaves with lukewarm water.

Prevention: Keep the plant clean and dust it regularly. This will prevent the spiders from laying eggs on the plant. Also, make sure the environment around the plant is not too dry as dryness causes spider mites to multiply.


I hope this article helps increase your understanding of mother in law tongue care.

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Mother In Law Tongue Plant

Christine Mattner

What started out as purely a desire to keep my indoor plants alive has turned into a full-blown passion for sharing what I have learned over the years about selecting, growing and caring for indoor plants with those who may be new to the wonderful world of houseplants.

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