Last updated on August 25th, 2023 at 12:35 pm
Sansevieria ballyi, also known as birds nest sansevieria varieties or Dwarf Sansevieria, is one of the rare sansevieria varieties and most unusual dwarf varieties available in the world today. Sansevieria ballyi has several distinguishing characteristics that set it apart from other sansevierias.
This dwarf variety is more suited to being grown as an interior plant than most others, making it suitable for small spaces and greeneries where space might be limited.
It is an easy-to-grow variety of sansevieria characterized by its tiny size (typically between 3 and 10 inches tall) and thin leaves that have dark green stripes with pale green leaf centers.
The Sansevieria ballyi is an attractive and common variety of sansevieria that grows with single or multiple stems, reaching heights of around 8 – 12. Unlike other popular varieties such as the snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue, and some varieties of sansevieria that grow large enough to become a tabletop plant or even a small tree, the dwarf sansevieria stays relatively small.
Origin and distribution
Sansevieria ballyi is native to Gabon, a country in central Africa. Although first discovered in 1875, it wasn’t formally described until 1932 by Bally, hence its name. The species is distributed in moist forests and swamps along rivers and lakes in Gabon.
Plants are rarely found more than 600 meters above sea level, which suggests Sansevieria ballyi has a relatively low tolerance for cold temperatures and may not survive outdoors during temperate winters. In their natural habitat, plants grow in waterlogged soil or on rocks near riverbanks.
They can also be found growing out of tree stumps and rotting logs where they receive shade from overhanging vegetation. In cultivation, plants prefer bright light but tolerate partial shade as well as the full sun if given enough humidity. Like other dwarf sansevierias, sansevieria ballyi grows slowly and makes an excellent houseplant because it requires little care.
It will do best when grown in a pot with at least one-third of drainage holes filled with pebbles or coarse sand. This species is very sensitive to overwatering, so avoid using saucers under your plant’s pot unless you have sandy soil that drains quickly.
Sansevieria ballyi propagation
Birds Nest Sansevierias are propagated by small shoots sprouting from their root systems. Although they’re rare to find in nature, these plants grow easily in containers and have been known to live for more than 20 years! They are resilient houseplants that require little water or maintenance.
If you’re new to propagating plants, sansevieria ballyi plants are a great option. Their leaves are hardy and easy to maintain, making them excellent for beginner gardeners. To get started growing your own bird nest sansevieria, follow these steps
- Find an area with bright but indirect sunlight in which to grow your plant.
- Fill a container with rich potting soil, leaving about one inch of space at the top of the container.
- Dig up two or three of your bird nest sansevieria from their original location and place them into their new container filled with soil.
- Water your newly transplanted bird nest sansevieria until water comes out of the bottom of its container.
- Place your bird nest sansevieria back into direct sunlight after watering it and wait for new growth to appear within four weeks.
- Once new growth appears, cut off any dead or dying leaves using sharp scissors.
- Continue cutting off dead or dying leaves as they appear throughout the life of your bird nest sansevieria.
- Maintain healthy bird nest sansevieria by feeding it once every six months during spring and summer using a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Enjoy watching your bird nest sansevieria thrive!
Sansevieria ballyi care information
Many houseplants are notorious for being finicky and difficult to grow. Dwarf birds nest sansevieria varieties like sansevieria ballyi are fairly low-maintenance and much more resilient than their larger counterparts, making them a great addition to any indoor environment. Proper care of your dwarf birds nest sansevieria is important; otherwise, it can quickly wither away in poor conditions.
Sansevieria ballyi require more light than other sansevierias. During summer, they prefer direct sunlight and will do well under a shade during the winter months. It is recommended to keep them in an area where there is good air circulation since they are not accustomed to being exposed directly to wind or cold weather. If you have birds in your neighborhood, it might be a good idea to cover your pot with mesh as birds may find their way inside it.
The standard potting mix for sansevierias consists of two parts peat moss, one part perlite, and one part sand. Although dwarf varieties are relatively new to cultivation, they seem to be tolerant of a wider range of soil types. Dwarf varieties need as much water as other sansevierias, so it’s important to let them dry out between watering.
Dwarf sansevierias require less frequent watering than full-sized plants. They’re very drought-tolerant, and as such, watering should be kept to a minimum. Use only when necessary. Water until just moist but not sopping wet; do not allow to sit in water or remain saturated for long periods of time.
Keep your dwarf sansevieria outdoors during warm months and indoors during cold months. It can tolerate low temperatures (as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit), but it will likely lose its leaves if exposed to frost.
If you live in an area that experiences seasonal temperature changes, keep your plant indoors during the winter months and place it outside again once spring arrives. It’s important to note that these varieties are sensitive to too much moisture; overwatering can cause root rot, which is deadly for these plants.
You should feed your Sansevieria ballyi regularly with a low-nitrogen fertilizer to help it grow slowly. If you have never grown dwarf sansevierias before, you may need to buy several plants and try different brands of fertilizer to find out which is best for your plants. Some varieties do better than others on certain fertilizers.
It’s also important to keep in mind that some brands of fertilizer are designed specifically for use on houseplants; these are generally lower in nitrogen than other types of fertilizer, making them more suitable for slow-growing dwarf sansevierias.
It is best to keep these plants between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Nighttime temperatures should be kept between 55-65 degrees. If nighttime temperatures drop below 50 degrees, you will need to bring them indoors and keep them in a house with a higher temperature range until nighttime temperatures rise back into their optimal range.
Like most succulents, birds nest sansevierias prefer a little bit of humidity—but not so much that their leaves shrivel. Misting with water once or twice a week should do it. You can also leave your bird’s nest in a shallow tray of water; just make sure to empty it if it starts to look like soup.
The ideal humidity range is between 40 and 60 percent. You can measure it with a hygrometer, or you can just set your bird’s nest in a bowl of water. If it absorbs all of that water in less than 24 hours, you’re good to go.
You should prune Sansevieria ballyi on a monthly basis. Since they are succulent, you want to ensure that they stay on top of their water needs and don’t allow themselves to shrivel up. Pruning sansevierias is an easy way to ensure their health, but it also helps you make sure they remain compact enough for your home.
You want sansevierias under twelve inches or so; anything taller will be tough to care for in most homes. To prune your sansevieria, simply use scissors to snip off any brown leaves at the base of the plant. If you have small plants with multiple leaves coming out of one pot, consider separating them into two pots. This ensures each plant has plenty of room to grow without becoming too large for its container.
When to repot
If you’re growing a sansevieria from seed, repot your plant after 6 months. If you’re purchasing a mature plant, look for a few new leaves on top of the potting soil. Repot your sansevieria in spring or early summer to give it time to develop its root system before winter. After repotting, keep your sansevieria outdoors in filtered light until temperatures warm up again and it has regained its strength.
Like other sansevierias, dwarf variety Ballyi comes from a tropical climate and therefore does not like to be kept outdoors in a garden during cold months. There are some outdoor gardeners who have had success keeping their plants alive for extended periods of time, but it is best to bring them inside during freezing temperatures and put them back outside in spring once things warm up. The more commonly found varieties of sansevieria do grow well outdoors all year round.
Sansevieria ballyi flower & fragrance
With its dark green variegated leaves, Sansevieria ballyi’s thin white striping sets it apart from other sansevierias. The flower stalks that appear in summer are a bright chartreuse color and remain on into fall, adding seasonal interest to your garden or houseplant collection. Like most sansevierias, Sansevieria ballyi is known for its ability to remove toxins from indoor air. It does so by absorbing carbon dioxide at night through tiny pores along its leaf edges and releasing oxygen during daylight hours. This process is called transpiration.
Dwarf varieties grow fast, but not nearly as quickly as their larger counterparts. Keeping dwarf varieties in small pots will help keep them from outgrowing their space too quickly. Dwarf sansevierias also need less sunlight than larger sansevierias do, which is great for those of us who live in apartments and don’t want to worry about window placement or our plants getting too much sun.
The sansevieria ballyi is very toxic to dogs and cats, so keep it away from these animals. It also contains oxalic acid, which can cause skin irritation in some people.
USDA Hardiness Zones
Sansevieria ballyi is hardy to USDA hardiness zones 10b through 11. In areas where temperatures drop below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best to grow Sansevieria ballyi in a container and bring it indoors during cold weather. If you live in an area with mild winters, you can plant your dwarf sansevieria outdoors during spring or summer. Keep in mind that if you live in a humid climate, your sansevieria will require more frequent watering than plants grown in arid regions.
Pests and diseases
While Sansevieria ballyi plants are generally very resistant to disease, they can still fall prey to a few pests and diseases. Two of these are mealybugs and Pythium blight. Mealybugs are soft-bodied insects that inhabit warm, moist places on a plant’s surface — often somewhere in or near its soil or root zone.
They excrete sticky secretions and feed on sap, which weakens plants. To prevent infestations, keep your sansevieria clean by weeding out any dead leaves or debris around it. Pythium blight is caused by a fungus that attacks potted plants through their roots; symptoms include wilting and yellowing leaves as well as leaf spots.
To prevent infection, make sure your potting mix drains well and don’t overwater your plant. If you notice signs of either pest or disease, treat them with an appropriate fungicide according to package instructions.
Sansevieria ballyi is a dwarf variety of sansevieria, popular for its appearance as much as for its wide range of benefits. Its compact form also makes it easier to maintain in smaller spaces and in home interiors. If you’re looking for a unique plant to add to your home décor or interior garden, consider sansevieria varieties like sansevieria ballyi.