Anyósnyelv 4 - Sansevieria trifasciata (novenytar.krp.hu)
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Mother-in-law's tongue (Snake plant) care

Latin name: Sansevieria trifasciata

The mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant (Sansevieria sp.) belongs to the family of Lilies (Liliaceae). It has 60 known species in the group of Sansevierias, which are native to tropical Africa and some parts of Asia, but they can be found on warmer parts of South Africa and islands at eastern shores of Africa as well. Some of them are popular indoor plants. Others (Sansevieria hyacinthoides) are grown because of their fibers, which can be used for making towing ropes or even carpet weaving.

As the Chinese say, Seven Gods gave the seven virtues to those, who kept the Sansevieria. They placed the plant in a bright, glazed pot, which was decorated with dragons and phoenix birds. It is believed that it attracts lucky dragoons as magnet. It was popular like the lucky bamboo.

According to the 1989 study of NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, there are 17 plants (often kept as indoor plants or summer decorating items) which can remove toxic chemicals from the air, such as trichloroethylene, benzene and formaldehyde, reducing the level of carbon dioxide by photosynthesis in the same time. One of these plants is mother-in-law’s tongue as well, which can do photosynthesis on artificial light as well, and it also can produce oxygen and bind carbon dioxide during the night. So it is good as decoration for our room and also for our health.

It grows several meters high in its native land. It has succulent behaviour. The fleshy, sword-like leaves have roles in the retention of water. The older plants kept in the flat flower generally, on their long rein, they grow clusters of small, white, slightly green, pink or purple flowers in spring. The flowers smell especially strong after dark.

They say Sansevieria always intends to runaway. The reason is that it expands rapidly with its rhizomes, especially under the ideal dry, sunny circumstances. It often crushes its container bowl as well. In open field, it grows its shoots far from the mother plant. That is what it can't do as an indoor plant, so it almost jumps out from the pot. If we plant it deep, its root reaching the bottom of the pot will go to the surface again. When new shoot grows a leaf, we can propagate it with transplantation. We can even keep the smaller, rampant species in a hanging basket. Except variegated species, we can also propagate mother-in-law’s tongue with leaf cuttings.

Requirements and care:

Mother-in-law’s tongue is easy to keep for everyone, tough, decorative, showy plant with vigorous growth. It tolerates dry air, drafts, water-free periods, bright sunshine. It is important to pay attention to only one thing, avoiding the overwatering, because it can die.

Light and heat requirements:

It has very modest needs. In a sunny place, in a half shaded place and even in shade, in poor light circumstances it persist, althought in such circumstances it may very prolonged.

Place it close to the window, because it likes filtered light, but be aware that leaves can become yellowish because of too strong (burning) sun. It likes temperature around 18 °C mostly. Take care of not to leave it on temperature under 10 °C even in winter.

Watering requirements:

It must be defended from overwatering the most. It is adapted to limited water supply. This is evidenced by thick, glossy leaves, covered with a layer of wax. Do not spray the leaves of the mother-in-law’s tongue, it doesn't need that. Water it monthly, rarely we should use nutritional supplementation, but it needs just a very small amount. Between two waterings, leave the soil get dry a little.

Further care:

During its care, overfeeding such as overwatering involves definite disadvantages. The transplantation due only two-three years, in early summer, in soil type of Florasca C or similar, not too tough and nutritious soil or soil mixture. It is expedient to put drainage basin and drainage layer of gravel in the bottom of the pot or other container expedient.

Propagation:

Its propagation it the easiest with leaf cutting propagation. The 6-8 cm long, mautre, become tough leafes, can strike root easily with cutting propagation in slightly moist sand or mixture of sand-peat-perlite. The already rooted pieces of leaves with beginnings of sprouts can be planted into the pot in pairs or threesome, but the pot should never be disproportionately large.

Mother-in-law’s tongue can also be propagated from the shoots, during transplantation. In this way we can be obtained from the stripe, the yellow-edged leaves from other kinds of color variations too in the genetic well-offspring coloration. Leaf cutting propagation of these can result only simple green base color progenies, which can also be growth easily.

To separate the shoots, the ball of soil and roots lifted out from the pot should be broken down a little in order tho make the original point of shoots appear. To each separated sprout should belong a part of root, which is the condition for success of further growing, following the implantation individually or even in pairs or threesome into a proportional size of pots.

Most common diseases, pests of the Mother-in-law's tongue, main reasons of their destruction:

Brown rust spots can often appear on the leaves of mother-in-law's tongue and you can't get rid of them. It can be prevented to have new ones by avoiding water getting among the leaves, especially in cold, cloudy periods.

In the case of falling out from stem or rotten stem, yellowing leaves, necrosis occured because of overwatering, if it effects the whole stem, make a leaf cutting from the upper leaves, and throw out the remaining parts. The stem of the mother-in-law tongue which is kept under wet and damp circumstances, becomes rotten in a few weeks, the plant falls out. If only a part of mother-in-law’s tongue is damaged by the disease, take it out from the pot and cut off the sick parts. Put sulfur on the surfaces of cut and plant it again. Place it to a warmer place and keep it dry.

It is sensitive to scale insects.

Precaution:

Its thick and sharp-pointed leaves can cause even seriuos damages if a child is not careful and the other hand - maybe this is the bigger danger - the leaves and sprouts of the plant are both toxic. As a result, it can cause allergic reactions. This can manifest in mild rash, but also can caouse vomiting and diarrhea - if anybody pecks from the plant.

Sources:
http://www.kertpont.hu/
http://www.edenkert.hu/
http://www.ezermester.hu/
http://www.femina.hu/