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Cacti & Succulents

Sansevieria Parva Care: Growing the Kenya Hyacinth


7 min read

If you’re a succulent lover, Sansevieria parva is a rare snake plant relative that’s you’ll want to add to your indoor houseplant collection or outdoor garden. It will thrive in both situations.

The dark green cross bands of the leaves of S. parva look great among other succulents, or as a statement piece all on their own. Their long soft pointed tip arches gently in their planter. The plant blooms like a hyachinth — relatively fine textured small pale pink flowers emerge in its native range!

It’s potentially one of the hardiest of the Sansevieria species out there. So run out to the nursery and pick one up and let’s learn how to care for this gorgeous succulent species!

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Quick Care Guide

The flower spike on this plant is simply gorgeous.
The flower spike on this plant is simply gorgeous. Source: Level6
Common NameKenya Hyacinth
Scientific NameSansevieria parva
FamilyAsparagaceae
Height & Spread12-20″ tall, 8-36″ wide
LightBright indirect
SoilWell-draining cactus mix
WaterWater deeply but infrequently
Pests & DiseasesRoot rot

All About Sansevieria Parva

Commonly known as Kenya Hyacinth, it’s a popular species of succulent plants for containers or outdoor landscaping. But be aware – this plant is commonly confused with Sansevieria dooneri. Even your local nursery will confuse the two!

The plant was initially described by botanist Nicholas Edward brown who observed the relatively fine textured Sansevieria species with its reflexing medium green thick leaves and orange rhizomes, underground stolons. These characteristics make it look a lot like Sansevieria dooneri.

Sansevieria parva Kenya hyacinth has thick leaves that are 8-16″ long and 0.5 to 1 inch wide, with dark green cross bands growing out of small heavy rosettes. They send out long pendant runners called stolons that end in tiny plantlets, making it a great hanging basket houseplant.

Small, pale pink to white flowers appear in the form of spikes and have a fragrant hyacinth scent at night. These flowers are delicate and relatively fine textured. They have a striking resemblance to a hyacinth flower, hence its common name.

Belonging to the Asparagaceae family, this is a flowering plant native to Easter Africa, namely Madagascar, Kenya, and Burundi. It is also naturalized in South Asia.

Sansevieria Parva Care

A 'Lancet Variegated' version of the parva
A ‘Lancet Variegated’ version of the parva. Source: Level6

Light & Temperature

They’re hardy and can survive in most lighting conditions, but prefer moderately bright, indirect light. If growing indoors, an ideal location is right next to a north-facing window or a bright sunny window with a sheer curtain.

They can grow in shade, but bright light helps bring out colors in the leaves, so avoid too much shade. If it’s too intense, it will cause the 0.5 to 1 inch wide leaves with their dark green cross bands to become weak and elongated and the edges to turn yellow.

They grow best at temperatures of 70 to 90 °F (21 to 32 °C). Temperatures lower than 50 °F (10 °C) will cause the plants to suffer and die back.

Water & Humidity

In general, Sansevierias don’t require a lot of water. Frequent watering will cause root rot and eventually kill the plants. They also grow best in moderate to low humidity conditions. Water when the soil is fully dry. Let it drain through drainage holes, and discard the excess in the saucer. During winter, decrease your watering.

When you do water S. parva, add enough water so it drips through the drainage hole of your planter. Then catch the water with a saucer and discard it so your plant is not sitting in stagnant water, which can promote conditions for diseases. Winter rainfall and cooler will stress the plant, so always water with room temperature water.

Soil

Sansevieria parva Kenya hyacinth requires a well drained succulent mix with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of about 5-7.5. If you don’t have succulent or cactus soil handy, a good potting soil with perlite added will do the trick. Remember to only use light and loamy soils, and avoid those that retain moisture too easily.

In eastern Africa, the plant grows in very fine soil that drains significantly. Try to mimic these conditions when growing it.

Fertilizing Sansevieria Parva

Like most snake plants and other succulent plants, it doesn’t need much fertilizer. Over fertilization will cause the leaves to die. You can feed the plant with a succulent fertilizer once every 3 weeks during the summer when it starts to flower. Dilute the fertilizer to half its strength as labeled on the container.

Do not fertilize in winter or fall, as the plant will be dormant in those growing seasons. In its native range of eastern Africa and parts of Asia, plants generally don’t need a lot of moisture and nutrients in dormancy.

Repotting Sansevieria Parva

The tall foliage can cause your pot to be top heavy. The process is similar to repotting a snake plant, where you should use a wide but shallow pot. Repot once every 2-3 years to prevent it from getting too rootbound.

Sansevieria Parva Propagation

Snake plant propagation can be done in a variety of methods, but trying to glean seed from the relatively fine textured flower is not one of them. Try leaf cuttings for Sansevieria parva, as the 0.5 to 1 inch wide leaves will readily root if given good soil, warmth and bright, filtered light.

Watering and fertilizing lightly is also important when propagating. Make sure the soil is dry between individual waterings. When the leaves have a v shape and erect stature, they are well rooted. You can move the young plants to a larger pot.

Pruning Sansevieria Parva

Done mainly for cosmetic purposes. You can prune any dead leaves or overgrown stems to make the plant bushier and enhance its aesthetic appeal. Any healthy leaf cuttings can be propagated.

Troubleshooting

While there aren’t a ton of problems associated with the Sansevieria parva plant which is native to eastern Africa, here are a few things to look out for.

Growing Problems

Keep at temperatures above 50 °F to avoid cold damage. The water used for irrigating the plants should also not be too cold. Cold stressed leaves develop whitish, water-soaked spots and then fall off. You want to look for slightly reflexing medium green leaves.

Pests

Sansevieria parva is most likely to get attacked by vine weevils, grubs, mealy bugs and spider mites but you can control these attacks with good pest management techniques. Use beneficial nematodes for weevils and grubs, and neem oil or insecticidal soap for mealybugs and spider mites.

Diseases

They mostly suffer from fungal infections as a result of root rot. These can be prevented by making sure not to overwater. If you notice rotting leaves or a soft and mushy leaf base, remove the damaged leaves and stop watering. If this doesn’t fix the issue, replant your S. parva in new fresh soil in a pot of a similar size. Monitor it and water sparsely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is Kenya Hyacinth a flowering plant?

A: Yes, it’s a flowering plant. The usual blooming period is from late winter to late spring.

Q: Does Sansevieria like to be crowded?

A: Like other snake plants, Sansevieria parva Kenya hyacinth does appreciate a little crowding from time to time. However, you can divide your S. parva if it is crowded in its pot.

Q: Are Sansevieria hard to take care of?

A: Yes, like other plants of this species, Sansevieria parva Kenya hyacinth is easy to care for. It will live happily in hanging baskets and small planters. As long as you don’t overwater, you’ll be a-ok.

Q: How often should a Sansevieria be watered?

A: Sansevieria parva Kenya hyacinth needs water when its soil is fully dry.

Q: Should I put rocks under my snake plant?

A: Sansevieria parva Kenya hyacinth may appreciate some rocks incorporated into the soil (rather than underneath the plant). This helps with drainage.

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