Is Mother In Law Tongue And Snake Plant The Same? An In-Depth Research


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Key Takeaways

  • Both plants are the same plant species, originating from West Africa.
  • They are low-maintenance, needing little light and water.
  • These plants improve indoor air quality by removing toxins.

Have you ever wondered, is the mother-in-law tongue and the snake plant the same?

You bet they are! Imagine a tall plant with pointy green leaves that stand upright, looking a bit like a snake. That’s them! Originating from West Africa, this plant looks better. It’s super easy to care for, needs little light, and can even help clean the air in your home.

Is Mother In Law Tongue And Snake Plant The Same

So, if you see a plant labeled as a mother in law tongue, know it’s the same as a snake plant and green friend. Let’s learn more about this-

Is Mother In Law Tongue And Snake Plant The Same?

Alright, your green query: is mother in law’s tongue a snake plant? Absolutely, yes! These two are just different nicknames for the same tough cookie of a plant. Its real deal name? Dracaena trifasciata. But most folks love calling it a snake plant also known as mother in law’s tongue.

You might scratch your head, wondering, “Why do they call a mother in law’s tongue snake plant?” It’s all in the looks! This plant shoots tall, has sharp, pointy green leaves, and reminds you of snake skin. Native to West Africa, it’s not just a pretty face. This plant is one of those indoor plants that don’t worry much.

“How do you take care of a mother in law’s tongue or snake plant?” you may ask. They’re super easy going. You don’t need to be a plant whisperer because they don’t need much water and are excellent with indirect and bright light. But keep them out of direct sunlight, and don’t overwater them to avoid root rot. They’re pretty chill but don’t like soggy feet—no root rot, please!

Even cooler is that this plant isn’t just about the good vibes. It’s a hard worker, too. It silently fights against invisible bad guys in the air, keeping your space all fresh. Letting it out in your garden might spread since it loves the thrill of new spaces.

So, whether you’re into plants that need indirect sunlight, those that can brave cold temperatures, or you’re just a fan of succulent plants with a bit of sass, both are the same thing! has got you covered. It’s a slice of West Africa right in your living room, a piece of wild turned friendly. 

Why Do They Call A Mother In Law’s Tongue Snake Plant?

You know, you’re right to wonder, “Is Sansevieria a snake plant and mother in law’s tongue?” They’re all the same thing, just different names for this super cool plant!

So, with its tall green leaves, this plant can grow a few feet high. Coming from far places like West Africa, it’s tough and only needs a little water. It loves a sunny spot but does okay in places with just a little light. But remember, it doesn’t like super cold temperatures, so keep it cosy!

Why Do They Call A Mother In Law's Tongue Snake Plant

Now, about its names. People started calling it “mother in law’s tongue” because the leaves are sharp, like some folks’ jokes about their in-laws! The “snake plant” probably comes from the leaf pattern resembling snake skin.

Its official science name used to be Sansevieria trifasciata, but the intelligent folks decided “Dracaena trifasciata” was better. There are many common varieties, each with its unique touch on the leaf design.

Why should you keep one at home? They’re not just lovely to look at; they help clean the air. They’re like little green plants that care for indoor air quality, fighting off nasty stuff like chemicals we can’t even pronounce!

Just don’t over-water them; they hate having wet feet! Soggy soil can make their roots all mushy, and nobody wants that. It could be your pick if you’re thinking of a low-maintenance buddy. 

What Are The Different Varieties Of Mother-In-Law’s Tongue And Snake Plant?

If you’re asking, “What houseplant has a mother in law’s tongue?”, you’re talking about snake plants. Yep, these indoor plants are super cool and go by many names.

Here are some quick picks

  • Sansevieria trifasciata: This one’s the show’s star. You can find different snake plant seeds, like Bantel’s Sensation with white flowers or Laurentii with golden edges. They usually like indirect light and warm temperatures.
  • Sansevieria cylindrica: These have rounded, dark-green leaves. They’re often called African spear plants and can handle indirect sunlight like champs.
  • Sansevieria ehrenbergii: Cool name, right? These have blue-green leaves that turn red at the base. Another nickname for it is rhino grass.
  • Sansevieria starfish: Think of a starfish but as a plant! Shorter and broader leaves make this one stand out.
Different Varieties Of Mother-In-Law’s Tongue And Snake Plant

You might want to consider one of these:

  • Easy to Care: They hate soggy soil and don’t need much water.
  • Location Flexible: They’re good to go whether you live in West Africa or South Africa. Even bright light or indirect light is okay for them.
  • Air Cleaners: These plants are great for indoor air quality.

What Are The Key Similarities Between Mother-In-Law’s Tongue And Snake Plant?

Here is a breakdown of some of the similarities between the snake plant:

Key Similarities Between Mother-In-Law’s Tongue And Snake Plant
Scientific nameSansevieria trifasciata (or Dracaena trifasciata)
OriginTropical Africa
LightTolerates all light conditions, from full sun to shade.
WaterDrought-tolerant, prefers dry soil.
FertilizerApply once a month during the growing season.
Temperature70°F to 90°F (21°C to 32°C)
HumidityTolerates all levels of humidity
FlowerWhite or cream-colored, fragrant, rarely blooms indoors.
BenefitFilters toxins from the air.
Key Similarities Between Mother-In-Law’s Tongue And Snake Plant

What Are The  Differences Between Mother-In-Law’s Tongue And Snake Plant?

If you pick snake plants, then you have a good choice! Wondering if you can plant different types of snake plants together? There are so many fantastic varieties to choose from. For instance:

  1. Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’ is your go-to classic. It sports those signature green bands and yellow edges. You can’t go wrong with this one!
  2. Are you feeling the need for something petite? Check out Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Hahnii’. This dwarf variety has short leaves that make a fantastic cup shape.
  3. If dark green is your vibe, meet Sansevieria trifasciata’ Zeylanica. Its leaves come with a lighter green stripe, offering a subtle contrast.
  4. And let’s not forget Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Black Gold’. It’s a luxury model with dark green leaves lined with golden yellow edges.

So whether you’re hunting for indoor plants that are okay with indirect light or all about direct sunlight, there’s a snake plant that’ll fit your style and space. 

Here is a table that compares some of the features of these cultivars:

CultivarLeaf shape        Leaf colourLeaf pattern
LaurentiiSword-shaped          Dark greenYellow edges and green bands
HahniiRosette-shapedLight greenDark green spots
ZeylanicaSword-shapedDark greenLight green stripes
Black GoldSword-shapedDark greenGolden yellow edges
Differences Between Mother-In-Law’s Tongue And Snake Plant

Mother-In-Law’s Tongue Vs. Snake Plant: Which One Is Right For You?

You’ve got a decision to make between two unique Sansevieria trifasciata plants. Yep, you heard me right: Both plants are like close cousins in the plant world.

Mother in law’s tongue sports dark green, spear-like leaves framed by a smooth yellow border. It’s a real showstopper that can grow up to five feet tall. If you’re going for something bold and colorful, this one’s for you!

On the other hand, the snake plant has more straightforward green leaves adorned with lighter horizontal stripes. There are no yellow borders here, but it’s got its quiet charm. Plus, it can reach up to three feet tall. It’s a great pick if you’re into a more understated look.

Care-wise, both are chill. Just give them well-draining soil and water them occasionally. They dig warm temperatures and do a side gig of cleaning indoor air by destroying nasty toxins like benzene and formaldehyde.

So what’ll it be?

Want to go dramatic with Mother-in-law’s tongue or keep it cool with a snake plant? Either way, you’ll add a fab touch of green to your space. 

How Do You Propagate And Care For Mother-In-Law’s Tongue And Snake Plant?

Here are some easy tips on how to take care of your snake plant:

How Do You Propagate And Care For Mother-In-Law’s Tongue And Snake Plant


Whether you’re looking to expand your plant family or need to replant a broken snake plant, you can make new ones by dividing the root or by taking leaf cuttings. Remove the plant from its pot and shake off the dirt to split the root. Cut the root into pieces, ensuring each piece has some leaves and roots. Plant these pieces in pots with soil that drains well. To propagate with leaf cuttings, cut a healthy leaf near the bottom and let it dry for a few days. Cut the leaf into about 3-inch pieces and stick them into moist soil, ensuring they’re right-side up. New plants might take a few weeks or months to grow from the leaf cuttings.

How Long Does it Take to Propagate a Snake Plant? Discover the Perfect Timing Here!


Snake plants can handle different light conditions, from bright to low light. But don’t put them in direct sunlight because it can harm their leaves. Water your snake plant only when the soil feels dry when you touch it, usually about once a month or less often. Overwatering can cause root rot and hurt the plant. The ideal temperature for these plants is between 60°F and 80°F (16°C to 27°C), but they can deal with slightly warmer or cooler temperatures. Just don’t expose them to frost or freezing weather. You don’t need to fertilize them much, and you can even give milk in a snake plant as a natural fertilizer in the spring and summer to help them grow faster. Snake plants usually have few problems with pests and diseases, but watch for fungus gnats, spider mites, and mealybugs. You can eliminate these pests by using insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do Mother-In-Law’s Tongue And Snake Plant Have The Same Air-Purifying Qualities?

Both are the same, scientifically Sansevieria trifasciata. It’s an easy-care indoor plant that purifies the air, removes toxins, and may improve mental health.

Are There Any Specific Cultural Or Regional Differences In The Common Names Of These Plants?

Yes, plant names can differ by region. Local names can vary, leading to confusion. Scientists use scientific names to avoid this issue and identify plants accurately.

Can Mother-In-Law’s Tongue And Snake Plant Be Used Interchangeably In Terms Of Care And Maintenance?

To care for your snake plant, use well-draining soil, don’t overwater, provide indirect light, keep it warm, and fertilise monthly for a healthy and air-purifying addition to your home.

What Houseplant Has A Mother Plant Tongue?

The mother plant, the Snake Plant, has the scientific name Sansevieria trifasciata laurentii. It’s a West African succulent favoured for indoor decor and gardens.

Can Mother-In-Law’s Tongue And Snake Plants Be Toxic To Pets Or Humans?

If you think your child has eaten any part of a mother-in-law plant, getting medical help immediately is crucial. This plant, also called the good luck or snake plant, can harm pets.


Okay, now you know the answer to ‘is mother in law tongue and snake plant the same?’ Whether you’re captivated by the bold beauty of the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue or drawn to the understated charm of the Snake Plant, you’re inviting a piece of timeless natural artistry into your life. These plants, though distinct in appearance, share a common heritage and require similar care.

So, whether you crave drama or a more laid-back aesthetic, these green companions are a fantastic choice, breathing life and freshness into your living space.

Raina Trick

Written by

Raina Trick

Meet Rayna Trick: Your Indoor Plant Whisperer! With her roots in environmental science and a passion for exotic succulents, she’s the Green Thumb of the Year. Rayna’s here to be your plant companion, sharing her expertise and nurturing your green oasis at PlantTrick. Let’s make your indoor space bloom, one leaf at a time, together!

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