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Sansevieria –A Houseplant & A Natural Filter for the Home

Crystal: Hi Michelle!

I’ve just read some great things about Sansevieria plants (Mother-in-law’s tongue). Apparently they are great air purifiers, even removing formaldehyde from the air!

My question is twofold: 1) Do you know if I can buy these in a nursery in the Akron area and 2) How do I care for them once I get one home? The inside of my house is blocked from a lot of light, so I am hoping you’ll tell me they do well with little sun.

Thanks for your help!

Michelle: Hello Crystal!

This is the perfect time of year for this question – I am so glad you asked!

As we prepare for the coming holidays, eagerly watching the weather channel to see if snow will be in the forecast, many of us spend much more time indoors. Not realizing, as most of us do not open windows during the day to circulate fresh air through the home, and many toxins can build up within a “closed” home from carpeting, paint, furniture, wood finishes, cleaners, etc.

Most plants, indoors and out, breath in emissions with their leaves and stems and breath oxygen with their root system. A plant becomes the perfect organic filter. Though, some plants are much better at this than others, as they inhale such toxins as formaldehyde and exhale clean breathable oxygen.  A terrarium is one of the best examples of a small completely organic self-contained unit, breathing in, exhaling out and filtering. The rainforests are the worlds largest oxygen filter, as more than 85% of the worlds oxygen comes form the plankton in the ocean, we all depend on the rainforest to keep our air well filtered.

Sansevieria is a wonderful plant with very cool markings and growth. When I was a child we had these growing throughout our home and my mother called them “snake plants”. At the time I did not realize the second nature of these plantings but grew to understand and admire their tenacious spirits.

In Akron, Ohio the best place to look for these plants would be at a nursery that carries indoor plants, as this plant is considered an arid tropical and not hardy enough to withstand our winters outdoors. Funny enough, sometimes you can spot a small specimen at the open corridors at the entry of grocery stores, maybe they know of its purifying powers.

They love full sun and part shade so most residence, be it a house, condo or apartment will have a cozy place for the Sansevieria to call home. This is also the perfect plant for the busy lifestyle as it is more like a succulent and needs very little watering, i.e. the office cubicle.

Sansevieria has many followers with much good energy to say about the plant – Noting its filtration ability many opt to use it in the children’s playroom or nursery. Those using the energies of feng shui enjoy the Sansevieria for its upward growth. In Korea the Sansevieria is commonly given as a gift during the opening of a new business or other auspicious events. I worked with the Akron Federal Building a few years back, placing these plants throughout the lobby as contracted through the previous landscape company I was a designer at, I am sure they are still there.

If you are looking for a companion plant for your other indoor plants the Sansevieria is a good choice. If you are a flop with indoor plants and would like to try again this plant is the best choice for you.

 Once you have one – you will love it –