Complete Beginners Care Guide to Sansevieria Ballyi
Known as the baby of the family, the Sansevieria Ballyi is a miniature version of a snake plant. They are dwarf plants with unique characteristics.
- small and compact, it is the perfect succulent addition to those that have one too many plants in their collection
- drought hardy and low-maintenance, they make an ideal first plant for novice gardeners
- easy to propagate due to the off-shoots of baby snake plants
Sansevieria Ballyi Care Summary Table
|Watering||Only water when soil is dry|
|Lighting||A position that receives plenty of bright indirect light|
|Temperature||65-80° Fahrenheit (18-26° Celsius)|
|Humidity||Any humidity, except for high humidity|
|Feeding||All-purpose houseplant fertilizer at the beginning of Spring|
|Soil||Loamy well-draining soil|
Images of Sansevieria Ballyi
Getting to Know Sansevieria Ballyi
When you become a plant parent to a Sansevieria Ballyi, we feel you must learn as much as you can about where they came from. This knowledge will form an understanding of their essential needs and requirements for you to get them to thrive in your home.
Scientific Name: Sansevieria Ballyi L.E.Newton
Common Name(s): Dwarf Sansevieria
Originating from the southern parts of Kenya and Tanzania on the African continent, the Sansevieria Ballyi is accustomed to dry, arid conditions.
Like other members of the snake plant family, they are drought-hardy due to their ability to store water in their leaves and stolons.
While they naturally grow in direct sunlight in their native environments, the varieties of snake plants we find in nurseries are not hardened to sunlight and will suffer from leaf burn and temperature stress – more on that later.
Appearance and Flowers
In appearance, the Sansevieria Ballyi is similar to the Walking Snake Plant, Sansevieria Pinguicula. Rather than growing snake plant pups from rhizomes underneath the soil’s surface. They produce stolons above ground and self-propagate via extensions. They can sometimes be described as a tangled mess when allowed to grow wild in the garden!
By far, the feature they are best known for is their size. They are miniature and are well suited to being a regular-sized snake plants for lego people. They are adorable.
The colors of the Sansevieria Ballyi vary from dusty green to dark bottle green, with lime green variegated patterns running horizontally along the leaf.
They can produce flowers, however, only on rare occasions. When they do, they have a ball of delicate cream-colored flowers from a stalk that grows from the base of the rosette of leaves. We like to describe it as a bunch of fireworks suspended in animation.
Sansevieria Ballyi Detailed Care Instructions
For those that want to familiarize themselves with the specific care requirements of the Sansevieria Ballyi, here is a detailed guide on setting your home up to allow your snake plant to thrive.
As we mentioned at the beginning, the Sansevieria Ballyi is drought tolerant and, as such, has low watering requirements, which is part of why snake plants are popular as indoor plants.
Sanseveria Ballyi prefers its soil to dry between each watering.
The challenging part is knowing when the soil is dry.
Using a finger soil moisture test is a budget-friendly and convenient way to tell when the soil is dry.
However, a more accurate way to tell when the soil is dry is to use a soil moisture meter from your nursery or online at Amazon.
The watering frequency changes each season. For guidance on seasonal water frequency, check out our custom infographic HERE.
How Much Light Does a Sansevieria Ballyi Need?
Indoor Sansevieria Ballyi plants thrive in bright light for 6-8 hours a day.
Position your indoor Sansevieria Ballyi in a position that receives plenty of indirect light. Direct sunlight can be tolerated by your indoor snake plant, however, only in small doses. Midday and afternoon sun is too intense for indoor snake plants and will quickly dehydrate the leaves, causing leaf burn.
As mentioned earlier, outdoor Sansevieria Ballyi plants are more tolerant of direct sunlight. Similar to their natural environment in Africa, they become hardened to the weather elements and have higher tolerances for direct sunlight.
Read more HERE for tips on light conditions for snake plants.
Temperature Requirements Sansevieria Ballyi
As succulents from Africa, your Sansevieria Ballyi thrives in warm weather. However, their temperature tolerance is narrower than other snake plants.
The recommended indoor temperature for Ballyi is between 65-80° Fahrenheit (18-26° Celsius).
Where you want to be careful is at the extreme temperature zones. Water expands when frozen. This means the water reserves in the Ballyi’s leaves can freeze, causing irreparable damage to the leaf cells. Note the rhizomes beneath the soil’s surface will be insulated.
We recommend bringing all snake plants indoors for the winter. It will protect them from the harsh cold temperatures and ensure they don’t experience frost damage.
Keep your Sansevieria Ballyi in between 30 and 50% relative humidity.
Short-term fluctuations won’t bother your Sansevieria Ballyi. However, check the relative humidity with a hygrometer if your Sansevieria is beginning to suffer.
Humidity can be challenging to control, and as such, it is easy for a beginner to overlook. It is essential for regulating your snake plant’s internal processes, like transpiration.
Not enough moisture in the air (low humidity) accelerates the transpiration process, quickly dehydrates your plant, and causes water stress.
Too much moisture (high humidity) will prevent transpiration at the other extreme, and your Sansevieria Ballyi will suffocate.
We have written an in-depth article discussing how humidity affects snake plants.
Soil & Fertilizer Requirements
The soil quality you use for your Sansevieria Ballyi can profoundly affect your houseplant’s health.
Quality soil will reduce the frequency of your watering, facilitate the uptake of nutrients by your Sansevieria Ballyi, and reduce its susceptibility to pests and disease.
To be effective, your snake plant soil should be similar to that of its natural environment:
- a sandy loam consistency (light and airy), and
- contain some organic materials with water absorption properties.
We have devised a recipe for the perfect snake plant potting mix. You can also watch our video on making snake plant soil below.
Pest and Diseases
If there is one disease that you should familiarise yourself with for your Sansevieria Ballyi, it is root rot.
Root rot is a fungal disease that can develop when your snake plant has been sitting in waterlogged soil from being overwatered. The process of eliminating root rot is straightforward. However, it is onerous. You can read our step-by-step guide for removing root rot in snake plants HERE.
Some leaf-borne fungal diseases, such as mildew and leaf spot, can infect the foliage on your Ballyi. We explore these diseases and (more importantly) treatments HERE.
Snake plants are most susceptible to sap-sucking insects like mealybugs, spider mites, and thrips. These pests have the equipment to penetrate the tough outer layer of the foliage and access the nutrient-rich sap.
The best way to detect any signs of pests (or disease, for that matter) is to regularly inspect your potted plants and manually remove any pests you see. The key is not letting their population get out of hand and become an infestation.
You can read more about symptoms of pest infestation HERE.
Like other snake plants, Sansevieria Ballyi requires a tight root system to support its large leaves.
When placed in a container too large for their root system, they will refocus their energy on developing the roots rather than growing new leaves. While they are still growing (under the soil), they will appear to be experiencing stunted growth.
Your snake plant pot should also have adequate drainage with plenty of drainage holes. As we pointed out earlier, constantly wet soil rots your Ballyi’s root system.
Sansevieria Ballyi Propagation Techniques
To preserve the stunning variegated patterns and colors, we recommend only propagating your Ballyi using the propagation method by plant division or by splitting snake plant pups.
You are propagating your Sansevieria Ballyi from a cutting, which risks the new plant reverting to a regular pattern on the foliage, similar to the Sansevieria Trifasciata.
To propagate by plant division, follow these steps:
- Identify the area to cut – because the Ballyi develops stolons above the soil line, it is easier to propagate than other snake plants. The key is to wait until the stolons have established their aerial roots (stilts). This signals that they have matured enough to live a life of independence.
- Cut the stolon – find the stolon attached to the baby Ballyi snake plant pup. Cut as close to the mother plant as possible. You want to retain as much of the stolon as possible with the new pup.
- Re-pot your new pup – Fill your propagation containers a third up with a good-quality potting mix (discussed above). Place each pup into the pot and backfill with quality potting mix until the soil level covers the white parts of the rhizome and pups. Give all your plants good watering and ensure all excess water drains out.
You can find step-by-step instructions HERE if you prefer to propagate using cuttings.