How to Balance the pH for Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria) Plants

Maintaining the proper pH level in the soil is crucial for the health and growth of Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria) plants. These resilient plants thrive in slightly acidic to neutral soil, with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. By understanding the ideal pH range and following a few simple steps, you can ensure your Sansevieria plants receive the optimal growing conditions.

Identifying the Current Soil pH

Before adjusting the pH, it’s essential to determine the current pH level of your Sansevieria’s soil. You can use a soil pH test kit or meter to measure the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. This information will guide you in the right direction for balancing the pH.

Adjusting the Soil pH

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If the soil pH is too high (alkaline), you can lower it by adding an acidifier or an acidic fertilizer granules. Conversely, if the soil is too acidic, you can raise the pH by adding garden lime.

Lowering the Soil pH (Acidifying)

To lower the soil pH and make it more acidic, you can use the following methods:

  1. Acidic Fertilizer Granules: Apply a small amount of acidic fertilizer granules, such as those containing ammonium sulfate or sulfur, to the soil around the plant. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate dosage.

  2. Vinegar or Citric Acid: Mix a solution of 1 part vinegar or citric acid to 10 parts water, and water the soil around the plant with this solution. Be cautious not to overdo it, as too much acidity can harm the plant.

  3. Peat Moss or Sphagnum Moss: Incorporate peat moss or sphagnum moss into the soil to increase its acidity. These organic materials can help lower the pH over time.

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Raising the Soil pH (Alkalizing)

If the soil is too acidic, you can increase the pH by adding the following:

  1. Garden Lime: Apply a small amount of garden lime, following the manufacturer’s instructions, to the soil around the plant. This will help neutralize the acidity and raise the pH.

  2. Wood Ash: Sprinkle a thin layer of wood ash around the base of the plant. The ash contains calcium carbonate, which can help increase the soil’s pH.

  3. Baking Soda: Mix a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 cup of water, and water the soil around the plant. Baking soda is a mild alkaline substance that can help raise the pH.

Monitoring and Maintaining the Ideal pH

After adjusting the soil pH, it’s essential to monitor the plant’s progress and make any necessary additional adjustments. Retest the soil periodically to ensure the pH remains within the ideal range of 5.5 to 7.0.

It’s also important to note that the pH can fluctuate over time due to various factors, such as watering, fertilizer use, and plant growth. Be prepared to make periodic adjustments to maintain the optimal pH for your Sansevieria plants.

Watering and Lighting Requirements

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In addition to the proper pH, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue plants also require well-draining soil and bright, indirect light. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other issues.

Repotting and Soil Preparation

When repotting your Sansevieria, use a well-draining potting mix that is formulated for succulents or cacti. You can also create your own DIY potting soil mix by combining the following ingredients:

  • 2 parts regular potting soil
  • 1 part coarse sand
  • 1 part perlite or pumice
  • 1 part coco coir or peat moss
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This mix will help ensure the soil has the right balance of nutrients, drainage, and aeration for your Mother-in-Law’s Tongue plant.


Maintaining the proper pH level is crucial for the health and growth of your Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria) plants. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily balance the soil pH and provide your Sansevieria with the ideal growing conditions. Remember to monitor the pH regularly and make adjustments as needed to keep your plants thriving.

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