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How often to water and fertilize bow hemp? With proper care the plant will feel comfortable in your home

Bow hemp (Sansevieria) is considered one of the easiest to care for houseplants ever. It is almost indestructible and can thrive even with neglect and decorate various corners of the apartment for a long time. Nevertheless, the plant has certain preferences when it comes to location, watering and fertilizing. When and how often to water and fertilize the bow hemp, we explain in today’s article.

How do I care for a bow hemp?

Mother in law plant at the window

Although bow hemp is considered easy to care for , it – like any other plant – has some requirements for location and care that are important for good plant health.

Still known as mother-in-law’s tongue, the tropical plant prefers a bright and warm location without drafts, where the temperature does not fall below 15 ° C in winter. Strong temperature fluctuations do not like the indoor plant, so make sure that the room temperature is as constant as possible.

The best soil for the bow hemp should be permeable and low in nutrients. Since this plant is a kind of succulent, it is better to choose special cactus soil as a substrate. The pot should definitely have good drainage.

Watering bow hemp properly – when and how often?

How often to water bow hemp and how much

Unfortunately, there is no simple, unambiguous answer to the question of how often to water bow hemp. However, there are several factors that influence and determine the ideal rhythm for watering.

First, it’s important to know that these houseplants are considered succulents because they store water in their thick, fleshy leaves. They are native to areas in Africa and South Asia where they are accustomed to intense weather. Thanks to its ability to store water, bow hemp is naturally very hardy plant that can survive periods of drought. It is also more susceptible to root rot than some other tropical plants and can be easily overwatered.

As a general rule, however, bow hemp should be watered from below and not directly into the leaf rosettes to prevent the leaves from rotting.

Water requirements depend on growing conditions

Although bow hemp is generally drought tolerant, the frequency with which it should be watered and the amount of water each plant requires depends on its growing conditions. Light, temperature and humidity, soil type, and the type of planter can all affect a Sansevieria’s water needs.


The amount of light bow hemp receives is the most important factor in determining how often it needs to be watered. Plants that grow in a lot of light need to be watered more frequently, while plants that grow in low light don’t need as much water.

Temperature and humidity

Bow hemp does well in a wide range of temperatures and humidity levels, but one should be aware of the effects of different temperatures and humidity levels on the water needs of their plants. In general, a plant grown at higher temperatures will require more water than a plant grown at lower temperatures. Also, a plant grown in high humidity requires less water than a plant grown in dry conditions. This means that a bow hemp grown in hot, dry conditions will require significantly more water than a plant grown in cold, humid conditions – and vice versa.

Watering bow hemp by soil type

Ideally, bow hemp should be planted in sandy, well-drained soil. This will keep the excess moisture away from the roots after each watering. However, if the plant is planted in soil that is not as well-drained, it will not need to be watered as often as in a well-drained substrate.


The type of pot in which bow hemp grows can affect how often it needs to be watered. Terracotta pots, for example, soak up moisture from the soil, causing the soil to dry out more quickly than in a plastic pot. If the pot has drainage holes, excess water will drain out of the drainage holes each time you water, resulting in drier soil, while pots without drainage holes will hold excess water in the soil longer. Make sure you are familiar with your plant’s type of pot and how it may affect its growing conditions.

When to water bow hemp

Sansevieria bow hemp low maintenance houseplant

As a rule of thumb, bow hemp should be watered as soon as the soil dries out completely. In the spring and summer, you will need to water your mother-in-law’s tongue more frequently than in the fall and winter because of the stronger light, higher temperatures, and more vigorous growth. So, you may need to water your plant once a week in the spring and summer and only every two to three weeks in the fall and winter. If you’re not sure if it’s time to water your plant, remember that it’s generally better to water your bow hemp less often and less frequently than to overwater it. You can also purchase a moisture meter to test the soil and make sure it is completely dry before watering.

If a plant gets too little or more than the required amount of water, it will respond after some time. This will help you determine if there is a problem watering your bow hemp plant:

Signs that the plant is not getting enough water include

  • brown tips
  • dying leaves
  • hard, compacted soil that is coming away from the edge of the pot

If you notice any of these signs, water your plant well and keep an eye on it. If the soil is compacted, you may need to repot the plant and provide it with fresh soil, but usually a few regular waterings will be enough to bring the plant back to life.

Signs that your plant is overwatered include

  • yellow leaves
  • muddy stems
  • waterlogged soil

If you notice signs of overwatering, you should remove the plant from the pot and check its roots for root rot, which can kill the plant if not detected in time.

What fertilizer for bow hemp?

Bow hemp thrives best in a nutrient-poor soil. Fertilizing is necessary only once a month between March and October, and in a weak dosage. But which fertilizer is the right one?

The best choice is a good cactus liquid fertilizer, which you apply together with the watering water. Alternatively, a liquid fertilizer for green plants is also suitable. You can also fertilize the houseplant with some home remedies such as coffee grounds.

When do you need to repot a bow hemp?

Bow hemp when to repot tips

And how can you tell that the low-maintenance houseplant needs a new pot? Simple – take a closer look at the roots: do they protrude from the substrate? If so, then the plant should move to another pot. For this purpose, the spring and especially the months of March and April are best suited.