The dwarf sansevieria, or Sansevieria ballyi, is a perfect addition to your succulent garden or houseplant collection. Another close relative of the classic mother-in-law’s tongue, it’s just as easy to grow…so let’s get started!
Guide to Quick Care
Often referred to as the dwarf snake plant, Sansevieria ballyi is also native to southern Kenya and Tanzania. A Swiss botanist based at the Nairobi Coryndon Museum was the first to name it after Bally. In East Africa he named and described many succulents, and many species bear his name.
Sansevieria ballyi leaves are lateral compressed, cylindrical in shape, 2-4′′ long and 1/4′′ thick. A spine ridged on the face is a red-brown apex. Several scale leaves are found on stolons and the bases of rosettes.
A dwarf sansevieria has pale greenish-white flowers that reach a maximum of one inch in length, forming a raceme six inches long. There are normally two flowers in each cluster. The plant does not get very tall, reaching roughly ten inches in height.
Sansevieria Ballyi Care
Light & Temperature
Plants thrive in just about any light whether it’s bright light or full sun or low light or shady areas. Despite its good tolerance to low light levels, it requires bright, filtered light for optimal growth. Lower light levels will make plants’ leaves become etiolated, darker green, and longer and lighter than usual.
If you wish to grow the dwarf snake plant indoors, position it in front of a bright sunny window facing north or in front of a bright, bright window that is shaded for some of the brightest parts of the day. Leaves that receive harsh sunlight at the edges will become yellow.
Sansevieria ballyi is hardy in theory down to 25°F (-4°C), but for normal growth, you need to protect it from freezing temperatures and keep it away from winter rainfall. It is best to have temperatures in the range of 60-75 °F (16-24 °C).
Water & Humidity
During the growing season, dwarf sansevieria can withstand short periods of drought, and you only need to water it once a week. Overwatering may cause root rot. Allow 1 inch of surface soil to remain dry between waterings. During the winter, water just enough to prevent the soil from drying out completely.
Place your plant somewhere that has nice, dry air. Plants do not prefer moisture in the air.
As with most xerophytic plants, Sansevieria ballyi grows best in a porous, well-drained potting mix. An acidic pH of 6.5 ensures ideal growth. You can add weight and drainage with gravel, perlite and decomposed granite.
Sansevierias are light feeders. They may be fertilized once a month throughout the summer months using a balanced fertilizer mixture. It is recommended to dilute it to half its strength on the bottle. Fertilizing isn’t necessary during the winter.
The Sansevieria ballyi is slow-growing. You may need to repot your Sansevieria every 2-3 years into a container one size larger as the roots outgrow the container. Remove the plant from the existing container when needed to make repotting easier. Fill the new container with commercial lightweight cactus mix.
Various methods of vegetative propagation are available, but division and leaf cutting are the most effective. Remove and root the plantlets at the end of each stolon.
When rooted, the plantlets must not be removed until they have developed stilt roots. Since the plantlets grow a rosette of leaves before they begin growing roots, patience is key.
The plant can be cut at any point after the roots have grown sufficiently to be able to plant it in a slightly moist and porous soil. If you are cutting trees, they must be at least one inch in length.
If you don’t want to, you don’t have to prune. As and when needed, get rid of any damaged or dead foliage. Plants may be pruned if you want them to look bushy and heavy as they get more mature.
Under normal conditions, you will not experience serious growth problems.
Over watering is usually the cause of this plant’s problems since it quickly rots in moist soil. If the plant is overwatered it may attract fungus and mold, causing the roots to rot. Brown roots are caused as a result of it. As the disease progresses, leaves start yellowing, wilting and reducing in size. Later, they also turn mushy.
It shouldn’t be left outside in temperatures lower than 55 °F (13 °C) as this can cause cold damage leading to scarred leaves.
There are three main pests that are most likely to develop in houses.
You can remove mealy bugs by wiping the leaves with rubbing alcohol after dipping a cotton swab in it. This problem can be permanently eliminated by a systemic insecticide.
Use the same procedure of wiping with rubbing alcohol if you suspect a spider mite attack. In some cases, it may be necessary to cut off the infected sections of the plant.
Diseases do not affect Sansevieria ballyi. Root rot is the most common cause of fungal infections. They can be treated by using fungicides and keeping the soil aerated and not kept wet.
What is the maximum size of Sansevieria ballyi?
This plant will grow 6 to 10 inches tall with a similar spread, so it is quite a dwarf variety!
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