Asparagaceae (asparagus family) or Agavaceae (agaves family)
mother-in-law tongue, bayonet plant, African sisal
Appearance & Preferences
From the tough leaf fibres of this plant, Africans make tendons for their hunting bows - hence the name Bogenhanf. The fact that it is also called mother-in-law's tongue may be due to its pointed, upright leaves: These can sprout a good 120 cm high. With good care, delicate, fragrant flower panicles appear after a few years.
Decades ago, the Sansevieria was a guest in virtually every living room, then it went out of fashion, but is now celebrating its comeback: the new admirers find that the graphically clear figure of the plant fits perfectly into the modern ambience.
Sansevieria are robust, purifying the air of benzene and trichloroethylene. They can safely move into the bedroom because they do not absorb CO2 during the day but at night, thus increasing the oxygen content in the room.
Even at less optimal locations the bow hemp thrives, only against draughts it has an aversion.
Archery hemp is able to store a lot of water. Therefore it can cope better with longer dry periods than with too much water.
Accordingly, bow hemp should rarely be watered. It does not tolerate prolonged or stagnant moisture - the roots are damaged and the leaves become soft at the lower end and bend.
When it is wet, it falls ill with root rot, which can be recognised by the brown colouring of the leaves. Otherwise it is very rarely attacked by diseases or pests.
For fertilizing, cactus fertilizer is recommended in half the dosage indicated on the packaging.
Consumption can lead to symptoms of poisoning in children and cats, such as nausea, vomiting, cramps and diarrhoea. It is advisable to consult a doctor.