Sansevieria robusta (Mother In Laws Tongue Plant)

Last updated on September 4th, 2022 at 09:59 am

Sansevieria robusta, commonly called the mother in laws tongue plant or snake plant, is one of the most common types of sansevieria found in homes and offices around the world. This hardy houseplant features beautiful dark green leaves that are long and cylindrical, growing up to 36 inches in length!

Sansevieria plants are native to western Africa and can be seen growing abundantly in their natural habitat, though they do well inside our homes as well.

Mother in laws tongue plant (Sansevieria robusta) can grow up to 3 ft tall and 3 ft wide, making it one of the larger plants that you can grow at home without worrying about taking over your entire apartment. They are also incredibly easy to care for, requiring very little sunlight and almost no water.

Sansevieria robusta has been used in traditional medicine from ancient times as an antispasmodic, antipyretic, analgesic and to treat inflammation, coughs and other respiratory ailments, fever, and convulsions. It has also been used as a remedy for digestive disorders such as constipation and indigestion due to its cathartic effect on the bowels and stomach that stimulates peristalsis.

Origin and distribution

Sansevieria robusta plants are native to tropical Africa, and they’re grown all over Asia. They’re also cultivated in other tropical parts of the world like Mexico, South America, and Florida. This plant has been reported to do well in temperate climates, but it can only withstand temperatures down to 10 degrees Celsius for short periods of time.

At temperatures below freezing, sansevierias become susceptible to a fungus that causes leaf spots and discoloration. For these reasons, it’s best to grow mother in law’s tongue as an indoor houseplant.

Sansevieria robusta propagation

Sansevieria robusta

Sansevieria robusta can be propagated from stem cuttings. To prepare a cutting, place a small amount of rooting powder at each cut end of a 4 to 6 inch section of stem. Gently insert the cutting into the rooting medium up to the lowest nodes, then cover it with about 1/4 inch of medium. Place in a warm area out of direct sunlight and keep moist until new growth appears.

Once new growth appears, move to normal potting soil and continue care as usual. This plant is also easily propagated by the division of established clumps. If dividing a large clump, it is best to replant in two separate containers so that they have room for healthy growth. If you are only dividing one or two plants, repot them into smaller containers and allow them time to establish before moving back outdoors.

Sansevieria gracilis (Variegated Sansevieria)

While Sansevieria robusta does not have any special care requirements other than those listed above, their hardiness varies depending on the species.

Sansevieria robusta care information

Sansevieria robusta

The Sansevieria robusta is a very low-maintenance plant. Just as you should not overwater other plants, be sure to keep an eye on your sansevierias’ soil. The potting soil should feel light and dry to touch at all times. Watering, in general, should only occur when it is needed since over watering can cause root rot. It is also important to note that too much water will kill off your mother-in-law’s tongue in no time.

Light requirement

Sansevieria robusta doesn’t require a lot of light or water. When planting, make sure to keep your plant at least 12 inches away from a bright window or direct sunlight. Too much light and heat can burn your plant. And remember to always use well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes!

Sansevieria are typically grown as houseplants, but they can withstand low light. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight or near large windows that receive a lot of sun. You’ll want to mimic their natural habitat and keep them in filtered sunlight when possible. If you live in a hot climate, you may be able to plant these outdoors if given partial shade and plenty of water.

Soil/potting mix

Sansevieria robusta plant prefers a soil that is slightly sandy and very well-drained. It can be grown without soil as long as it is watered about once every week. The best time to water sansevieria robusta is in the late afternoon/early evening so that it has plenty of time to dry out before nightfall. Watering too much will cause root rot, which will kill your plant.

A good rule of thumb for watering is if you stick your finger into the soil up to your first knuckle and feel moisture, you should probably wait another day or two before watering again. If you stick your finger in and feel no moisture at all, then it’s probably safe to water now.

Sansevieria kirkii (Coppertone Snake Plant)


To water your sansevieria robusta, use distilled or purified water to avoid the buildup of mineral salts in your soil. Allow soil to dry slightly between watering, but not so much that it dries out completely. Do not allow your plant’s soil to get soggy or sit in standing water. That said, don’t let your soil become bone-dry either, sansevierias prefer moderate moisture.

If you’re wondering how often to water your plant, a healthy Sansevieria should require about 1/2 cup of water per week. The easiest way to check is by sticking your finger into the soil; if it feels dry at about an inch down, give it a good watering. Also, keep in mind that plants often need more frequent watering when they are actively growing or during hot weather.


Any houseplant can benefit from fertilizer; however, Sansevieria robusta has very specific needs. Since sansevieria does not require special soil to grow, only water, it is important to feed it properly or else it will become weak and will not be able to stay healthy for a long period of time. A popular method of fertilizing sansevieria is with a bone meal because bone meal provides them with all essential nutrients.


Sansevieria robusta requires low to medium amounts of light, in temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures outside of these ranges can cause damage to your Sansevieria, so be sure to monitor your home’s environment. Because of its lack of need for high amounts of light and heat, Sansevieria is an ideal plant for those who enjoy keeping houseplants indoors in colder months.


Mother in laws tongue plant thrives in humid conditions, growing between two and five feet tall. The soil should be kept moist, but not overly soggy, and your pot should be placed in a room with good airflow and indirect sunlight. Be sure to allow for adequate drainage to avoid root rot from excess moisture. Overwatering is a common cause of death for new plants; make sure that you are providing your sansevieria with what it needs to survive before adding too much water or fertilizer.

The ideal humidity range is between 40 and 60 percent. You can monitor your plant’s humidity by checking its leaves; if they appear to be shriveled, or are curling inward, you may need to increase your indoor air’s moisture levels. This can be done with a humidifier or by running a hot shower in your bathroom for 10 minutes and then leaving it open for an hour or two.

Sansevieria Moonshine (Sansevieria Silver Queen Snake Plant)


Sansevieria robusta is a slow-growing plant and will not require much pruning. It may occasionally get too large for its current container, however. When it reaches about 10 inches in diameter, gently prune off several of its leaves. The removed portions can be potted as new plants in their own containers.

Be sure to dig a hole twice as deep as the plant’s pot to ensure proper drainage and air circulation; when repotting, add a commercial houseplant fertilizer at one-half strength.

When to repot

Sansevieria robusta

As a general rule, Sansevieria robusta should be repotted every two years. If you notice your plant is becoming top-heavy, or if roots are escaping through drainage holes, it’s time to repot. Take care not to over pot your plant; sansevierias hate having wet feet. Repotting in spring or summer gives your plant plenty of time to adjust before winter sets in and reduces transplant shock. The best soil for your sansevieria is a mix of 50 percent potting soil and 50 percent perlite.


Sansevieria robusta plants are tropical plants and therefore have a dormancy period which is designed to protect it from cold winters in temperate regions. They can be kept indoors all year round in rooms where temperatures do not fall below 18°C or 64°F.

During their winter dormancy, they should be kept dry at a temperature between 12-16°C or 54-60°F. This can easily be achieved by placing them on a windowsill out of direct sunlight. If you’re keeping your plant inside during its dormancy period, it will need repotting into fresh compost every 2 years.

You should also prune back any dead leaves and flowers before placing your plant into its dormant state as these will rot if left on over winter. Your plant will still require watering during its dormant period but only when its soil has dried out completely; otherwise, you risk rotting your roots.

Sansevieria robusta flower & fragrance

Sansevieria robusta are often used as indoor foliage plants, but they do produce small white flowers on occasion. The leaves of sansevierias can have a strong unpleasant smell when crushed, which has led to their common name of snake plant. This odor is released when dry; watering will reduce or eliminate it.

Sansevieria masoniana: The Whale Fin Snake Plant

Growth rate

Sansevieria robusta is a very slow-growing plant. It takes an average of two to three years for your plant to reach maturity, though in some cases you may have to wait up to five years before they will flower and reproduce.

Just like other succulents, it prefers indirect sunlight and it only requires watering once every couple of weeks. As long as it gets at least 8 hours of sunlight every day, your plants should do just fine! You should also repot them once they get too big.


Sansevieria robusta is toxic to both humans and pets. Like other plants from its family, it contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause swelling and irritation if touched or eaten by humans or pets. Make sure you store your plant in a secure location away from curious children and pets.

USDA hardiness zones

Sansevieria robusta thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. This plant is cold-hardy, but not as cold-hardy as some other plants. It will survive temperatures down to about 15 degrees Fahrenheit, but it will take a beating if exposed to freezing temperatures for long periods of time.

The ideal temperature range for growing sansevieria is between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an area that experiences consistently hot weather, you may want to look into another variety of sansevieria.

Pests and diseases

When properly cared for, Sansevieria robusta is immune to pests and diseases. However, if your Sansevieria suffers from root rot or another disease, it is best to remove it as soon as possible; most likely you will lose all or part of your plant. Only replant after you have removed all traces of a pest or disease. If you can’t find an exact cause, try changing your watering habits, this may be enough to prevent future problems. If not, re-evaluate your lighting conditions and temperature range.