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How to Care for Starfish Snake Plants?

Starfish Snake Plant
Starfish Snake Plant

The Starfish snake plant is native to southern Africa and it is most common around Angola. Starfish snake plants have tall cylindrical leaves that are stiff, which are a pale green colour with zigzag bands that run horizontally.

The leaves on this plant grow vertically and are straight. This plant will usually grow to a height of about one foot and a width of one foot.

Each of the leaves on this plant can grow to about ten inches in length and the flower stalks tend to be about three feet in height. These plants have starfish shaped foliage which makes this plant an ornamental option.

What Does Your Starfish Snake Plant Require?

Light Requirements

Starfish snake plants are best grown in a bright room, which has a lot of direct sunlight. These plants will do well when sitting in a sunny window, which is ideally south facing.

Although these are a desert species of plant, they will still do well in complete or partial shade. When these plants are deprived of light for too long, they will become leggy and start to lose their colour.

Temperature Requirements

Starfish snake plants can grow outdoors in warm environments. The ideal temperature for these plants is between fifteen and twenty-six degrees centigrade, which makes it ideal for growing indoors. These plants need to be protected from extreme climates.

Soil Requirements

Starfish snake plants need to be in soil that is sandy and loose, which has a good level of drainage. A good mixture would contain soil and perlite.

A soilless form of potting mix that is designed for succulents and cacti will also work for these plants. Avoid using a very dense soil.

Humidity Requirements

Starfish snake plants require a high level of humidity to do their best. These plants require a good circulation of dry air.

Indoor environments are ideal for this plant as the air tends to be dry. These succulents will be able to get enough moisture when they are correctly watered.

How to Water Starfish Snake Plants?

Starfish snake plants only need to be watered when the soil becomes dry. During the summer months, these plants should be watered every couple of weeks. Then, during the winter months, they will need to be watered less often.

Allowing the potting mix to dry before adding water will reduce the risk of overwatering this plant, which is a drought tolerant plant. Before watering these plants, use a finger to test the moisture level of the soil.

When the soil is dry, give the plant a good drenching with water that is at room temperature, then allow the excess water to drain off before returning the plant to the sunny location.

How to Fertilise Starfish Snake Plants

Starfish snake plants do not require a lot of feeding, as these plants tend to grow in sandy spoil, which doesn’t offer much nutrients. Feeding these plants on a monthly basis will be beneficial for the plant although not essential.

It is best to feed these plants with a half strength succulent fertiliser, but only add this during the growing seasons and avoid feeding them during the winter season. As starfish snake plants are slow growing, overfeeding will lead to an excess build up minerals and salts.

Extra Tips for Starfish Snake Plants

Pests and Diseases

There are not many problems that can affect this plant as it is a low maintenance plant, which is hard to kill. These plants may get attacks from spider mites, mealybugs and other indoor plant pests.

Pests

If the plant develops white cotton like substance on the leaves, then this is a sign of mealybugs. It is important to deal with any household bugs that appear on the plant as this will allow the plant to grow well.

There is no need to use chemicals to deal with the problem, as there are several organic insecticides that can be used.

Adding neem oil to the soil can be a very effective way to deal with vine weevils. Use the neem oil instead of water to add moisture to the plant and this will kill any vine weevils living in the soil.

Diseases

Starfish snake plants are not prone to any diseases and the only disease problem that they face is fungal infections such as root rot.

The fungal problems are usually a result of overwatering, which causes the roots to decay. This problem can be prevented by correctly watering the plant.

Pruning

There are generally no requirements when it comes to pruning, which makes this plant easy to look after. The thick and fleshy leaves on this plant make it a very ornamental plant.

The only pruning that these plants really require is propagation when required or the removal of yellow leaves.

Propagation

The best method of propagation for Starfish snake plants is plant division. The base of this plant produces small leaves which are known as pups and they usually have underground rhizomes.

Divide the plant carefully to ensure that each of the small sections have roots and then repot them to create new plants.

Repotting

Starfish snake plants will only need to be re-potted on an annual basis. As with other slow growing succulents, these plants will grow well when they are rootbound. When repotting these plants, select a pot that is one or two sizes bigger than the current pot.

Heavier pots, such as terracotta pots are the best to use as these plants can become top heavy.

  1. Carefully remove the plant from the existing container.
  2. Check the roots for any signs of decay and trim the roots.
  3. Fill a new pot half way with a suitable potting mix and plant  the Starfish snake plant.
  4. Use soil to fill the remaining space and press the plant down to ensure that it is stable in the soil.
  5. Allow the soil to dry out before adding water, as this will give the newly potted plant time to settle.

FAQ

How Do you Take Care of Starfish Snake Plants?

Starfish snake plants are a hardy species of plants, which features broad and long leaves. These are ideal plants to keep indoors as they are tolerant and adaptable. The broad leaves on these plants can soak up carbon dioxide and toxins.

These plants are very easy to care for. Therefore, they are perfect for first time plant keepers. Dark leaves on this plant is a sign that the plant is healthy. Signs of pale, floppy or yellow leaves is a sign that there is a problem with the plant.

A potting mix that allows for a good level of drainage is the best substrate to use for these plants, as they do not require a lot of water. 

Do Snake Plants attract Snakes?

The Starfish snake plant does not attract snakes. The sharp points on the leaves will put snakes off approaching the plant.

Why Does My Snake Plant Have Brown Tips?

When the Starfish snake plants develop brown tips of the leaves, then this is commonly caused by sporadic and infrequency watering. Although these plants can withstand prolonged periods of drought.

These plants still enjoy being watered on a regular basis. Plants that are overwatered can lead to mushy or soggy leaves.

Can Starfish Snake Plants Grow in Partial Sun?

Starfish Snake Plants can grow in partial or bright sun, but these plants will bloom in full sunlight. These are a hardy type of plant that can adapt to a range of circumstances and environments.

How Often Should I Water Starfish Snake Plants

Starfish snake plant is a hardy species of plant which doesn’t require a lot of water. Between watering, this plant allows the soil to dry out as this will reduce the problem of overwatering.

During warmer months the plant will need to be watered every couple of weeks and during the colder month watering once a month or less will be enough. Ensure that the water doesn’t build up in the centre of the leaves, which can cause the plant to become mushy.

What Does the Starfish Flower Smell Like?

It is uncommon for these plants to flower, however when kept in bright sunlight, it can produce flower stalks that are tall. On occasions that these plants do flower, they produce a pink bud and the flowers are white in colour.

Although flowering on these plants is irregular, any flowering will happen during the spring months.

How Big Do Starfish Snake Plants Grow?

Starfish Snake Plants are a slow growing plant species and they will do most of their growing during the spring and summer months.

Are Starfish Snake Plants Toxic?

These plants have a mild level of toxicity; however, it is best to keep them away from children and pets to avoid any problems.

When these plants are consumed, they can cause stomach problems, diarrhoea, and vomiting.

Are Starfish Snake Plants Succulents?

Starfish snake plants are classed as a succulent therefore care needs to be taken when watering. Excessive watering can lead to root rot in these plants.

Mokkie, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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