The unique appearance makes the starfish plant very eye-catching, and it is quite popular as a houseplant these days. A starfish sansevieria has fan-shaped foliage of light green color, and it has a compact size. You can easily recognize one by its distinct shape and thick leaves that look totally different from other snake plants. It also goes by other names such as African spear plant, boncel snake plant, skyline spear, and spear orchid. We are going to discuss how to care for them and propagate them along with other useful information today. Let’s look at the guide and tips below, and don’t forget to share your thoughts.
1. How To Care For A Starfish Plant
Just like other snake plants out there, starfish plants are hardy, so they are easy to care for. All you need is to know about some essential things they need, and you are good to go. Even if you are a beginner, taking care of a starfish plant is not challenging. Things are even more convenient if you have some experience growing and taking care of snake plants before. Below are the basic care and needs your starfish plants to require, so check them out.
Starfish plants are not needed when it comes to fertilizer, and you will only need to apply it a few times a year. The best time to feed your succulent is during the growing season, which is from spring to summer. Boost their growth by fertilizing them diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer every 3 weeks. Simply spray your liquid fertilizer to the base of the plants, and they will appreciate that by flourishing beautifully. Do not overfeed your plants because you want them to grow fast because it can lead to other problems. Excess fertilizer can attract pests that may cause an infestation that damages or kills the plants. Also, you don’t need to feed them during the winter months since the plants prefer to rest in colder conditions.
You can also create your special fertilizer by mixing 1 teaspoon of good dirt plant food into 1 gallon of water. This formula is perfect for applying twice a year to aid the growth of your plants by providing more nutrients.
Starfish plants can tolerate low light, so it is best to position them in bright indirect light. Indirect light here refers to when the sun’s ray does not directly hit the plant. Many people like to put them either in the corner next to the window or on a table. These two areas are where the light is bright yet indirect, which is exactly what the plants want. With the right light condition, your starfish plants will surely grow fast and healthy throughout the year.
If the only available space that you have in right is front of the window, you can still create shade. Simply add a curtain to shield the light from hitting the plants directly, and that’s it. As long as the shadow is fuzzy, then you are good to go. Don’t forget to follow up by checking the leaves of your starfish once in a while. If the light is too bright, then you will notice yellowing on the leaves. Make sure to rotate the plant in the window to keep it symmetrical as it grows toward the light source.
Besides providing the succulents with the basic feeding that they need, regular maintenance is also an important part. There are a few things that you should always track your plants to detect and prevent problems like diseases or pests. Proper care and maintenance will result in healthy starfish plants, exactly what you want.
- One of the weekly care that you should do is cleaning the leaves of your starfish plant. This is to remove the dust and other possible pests from the leaves. Because their leaves are rather hard and strong, you can easily wipe them with a damp cloth.
- Remove dead or yellow leaves by clipping at the base where they join the central basal rosette. Do not let dead leaves remain too long in the pot with the healthy plant. It can either attract bugs or cause other possible problems that you don’t want to occur.
- Another thing that you should know about maintenance is repotting the plant. When you do so, make sure to choose a container that is around 1 to 2 inches larger. Some suggest keeping it in the current pot and changing the soil every 1-2 years. I recommend changing the pot so that the starfish sansevieria has more room for their leaves to expand.
- Besides your regular checkup, don’t forget to notice if your succulent has a strong smell. When this occurs, it could be mold or pests that cause damage or even rotting to the plants.
The best type of soil for snake plants is well-draining soil because it helps excess water to flow out properly. Well-draining soil is very important because it helps the plants to oxygenate while draining water from the pot well. Along with that, this type of soil also aerates the roots so that they can absorb all the nutrients. Look for loamy potting mix or loose succulent potting mix because it is well-draining, and the plants thrive well with them. Replace the soil immediately if it is soggy to prevent fungal diseases and other problems.
Another important factor to have in mind is the type of pot that you choose for your starfish plant. Always pick the pots that have drainage holes to let the excess water out. There are many pretty pots with proper drainage holes out there that you can choose from. The right pot also plays an important part in keeping your plants healthy. No matter if you keep them right next to you in the room or by the window, pots are essential.
Since starfish plants are pretty tough, they will endure most conditions indoors very well. The daily room temperatures are actually good for them, but things change when winter comes. These plants can tolerate temperatures as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and they should not be colder than that. Your plants can experience frostbite immediately if you leave them in areas where the temperatures are too cold for them. The ideal temperatures for these plants should be between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remember that these tropical plants thrive in humid and hot weather where they come from. To create a nice living condition, you can mist the leaves multiple times each week to stimulate the natural environment. Another way is to supply them with humidity is by resting the pot on a pebble and water tray. Once the temperatures are perfect for them, you will get to see their bright color even in winter.
As tropical plants, starfish sansevieria are drought-tolerant so that they can live without water for a long time. This makes it easy for you to water because it does not need daily or frequent watering. You can water your starfish plant whenever the soil is dry for about 2 inches down. The easy way to test that is by using a stick to probe the soil and check, very simple. In summer, you can water it more often because the water also dries fast on hotter days. Slow down the watering in winter months to avoid water accumulation that can lead to root rot and other diseases. Water them every 1 to 2 weeks in summer and extend your watering habit to once a month in winter.
2. How To Propagate A Starfish Plant
No body shaming here, but starfish plants are fatter and shorter than other sansevieria cylindrica varieties out there. It only grows up to 8 inches tall unless it puts up a flower spike. You should know that this plant grows slowly because it produces fleshy and thick cylindrical leaves. So you will have to wait if you want to propagate them, and the instructions to follow are all below for you.
- Starfish plants will make rhizomes or small pups that grow right out of the soil by the plant. To propagate, you have to cut out one offshoot from the main plant then plant it in a separate pot.
- You can also cut off a leaf at the base then leave it to dry. This process may take weeks until the roots grow. When it dries, you can plant the offshoot in the soil then mist it. You will see new roots sprout within the next few weeks.
Here is a quick video that shows you how to propagate a starfish plant; feel free to check it out.
3. Starfish Plant – FAQs:
3.1. What is a starfish snake plant?
A starfish snake plant is a houseplant that has chubby cylindrical leaves that stands out from other snake plants. It has starfish-shaped foliage, and it grows beautifully as both indoor and outdoor plants. This plant is native to Southern Africa, specifically Angola. You can grow it as an ornamental indoor plant or an outdoor plant in the garden or yard. This plant is very easy to care for, and its unique appearance makes it even more interesting to have.
3.2. Is a starfish plant a succulent?
Yes, it is. Starfish plants are drought-tolerant and succulent plants that love bright indirect light. They thrive in a wide range of conditions, from low light to full hot sun, because they come from. This is why starfish plants are also great for busy plant lovers out there because all succulents are easy to grow. These plants don’t need a lot of attention, and they still look bright and pretty for you.
3.3. How often do you water a starfish plant?
Water them every 1 to 2 weeks in summer and extend your watering habit to once a month in winter. Overwatering can cause root rot and other diseases that will damage the appearance and health of the plants. Underwatering can make the roots dry, resulting in dead or yellowing leaves. You should always let the water dry between each watering and avoid watering it if the soil is still moist.
3.4. What are starfish plant diseases and pests?
If you have experience growing snake plants before, you know that root rot is their main and most common disease. Root rot disease is a common issue in starfish sansevieria care. Prolonged exposure to water will lead to infection to the roots, which results in leave yellowing. There are a few solutions to treat this problem, depending on the conditions of the plants. Look for the decaying roots and cut off the blackened and slimy parts, and make sure to keep the healthy ones. Treat the plants with fungicide in case you suspect any bacteria or fungi resulting from the disease in the soil. Change the soil or let the soil completely dry before watering it again.
The most common pests that attack starfish plants are mealybugs and vine weevils, and things can get ugly with them. You can detect the attack of vine weevils by the “eating away” look at the edges of the leaves. When you see that, you will be able to find an adult vine weevil somewhere on the plant. Mealybugs on starfish plants look like tiny white bugs that leave behind like a white cotton wool-like on the leaves. If you spot them early, you can save your plant by spraying it and its soil with neem oil. Neem oil can kill the pests and possibly prevent them from coming back for a period of time. Don’t forget to remove their dead bodies and thoroughly check the entire plants in case there are others are hiding.
3.5. Are starfish plants toxic?
Yes, they are. Starfish plants are toxic to pets (both cats and dogs) and possibly children if ingested. Ingesting parts of these plats can cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting to your cats and dogs. As for kids, the symptoms of stomach problems are similar to what happens to pets. So if you have curious kids and pets in the house, keep the plants out of their reach.
The combination of bright green color and unique shape makes starfish plants one of a kind. These plants are actually quite rare to find, and that is why they are quite famous and popular. It is like a flex to be able to have a starfish plant, among other collections, at home. So if you come across one, maybe you should get it. Starfish plants might not look nice alone, but they look great with other greeneries. This could be your next favorite indoor plant to have on the table, and it is so worth it.