The starfish plant aka sansevieria gets its name from its eye-catching fan-shaped light green foliage. The shape of this indoor star fish plant has thick, striped leaves extending in a fan from its base.
This Sansevieria plant is rarer than other succulent snake plants you’ll find at the grocery or hardware store.
The sansevieria cylindrica var. Patula’ Boncel’ (san-se-VEER-ee-uh sil-IN-dree-kuh var PAT-yoo-luh BON-sel) is a snake plant cultivar. It is part of the Asparagaceae family, it’s an evergreen perennial found in Angola.
The starfish variety does not grow as tall as a standard snake plant. You can also identify the starfish by its distinct hand-shaped spread.
You may hear these common names for the starfish sansevieria:
- Boncel snake plant
- Spear Orchid
- Skyline spear
- African spear plant
Learn how to care for the starfish snake plant by following its light, water, and soil preferences.
Starfish Sansevieria Care
Keeping your starfish sansevieria alive and thriving is easy. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know:
Size & Growth
The Sansevieria starfish is fatter and shorter than other sansevieria cylindrica varieties. It grows up to eight inches tall unless it’s putting up a flower spike.
Growth occurs slowly, as the plant produces thick, round leaves. The leaves point upward in a fan pattern from one central rosette.
With the right lighting conditions and occasional fertilizer, you can encourage the plant to grow faster.
Flowering and Fragrance
Under the right conditions, your starfish succulent snake plant will grow a long raceme of flowers.
This spike can tower as tall as 3′ feet over the leaves of the plant. Its pink buds open up to become white blooms.
Neither the plant nor its tiny blooms will emit much of a fragrance.
If your succulent has a strong smell, it’s a sign you should investigate for problems like mold or pests.
Light & Temperature
All succulent plants love bright light, and the sansevieria cylindrica starfish is no exception. While bright indirect light is its favorite, the starfish plant will tolerate a wide range of conditions from full, hot sun to low light.
Even when temperatures fluctuate, the starfish sansevieria will tolerate most indoor conditions.
It can grow in climates with 60° degrees Fahrenheit temperatures. But, plants suffer if the thermostat drops much lower.
This tropical plant thrives in hot, humid weather.
Mist the leaves several times a week to simulate their natural habitat. Resting the pot on a tray of pebbles and water will also supply the plant with humidity.
Watering and Feeding
The most common mistake in starfish sansevieria care is overwatering.
This plant enjoys having its soil dry out between waterings. Watering every 1-2 weeks during the growing season is common.
In the winter, water the plant once a month.
Always allow excess water to drain through the holes in the bottom of the pot. Next, empty the drainage saucer. Letting the plant sit in water can cause root rot.
During the growing season (spring and summer), boost plant growth by fertilizing with diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer every three weeks.
Soil & Transplanting
Drought tolerant Sansevierias grow best in well-draining, loose succulent potting mix. This plant even seems to thrive when it becomes root bound in the pot.
When repotting the plant, choose a new container 1-2″ inches larger than its previous pot. You can also keep it in the current pot and change the soil every 1-2 years.
Grooming And Maintenance
Wiping down leaves with a damp cloth is beneficial for starfish sansevieria care. Remove dead leaves by clipping at the base where they join the central basal rosette.
Rotate the plant in the window to keep it symmetrical as it grows toward the light source.
How To Propagate Starfish Sansevieria?
Eventually, Sansevieria Starfish plants will produce rhizomes, or small pups pushing out from the soil next to the plant.
The easiest way to propagate is to cut one of these offshoots from the mother plant and plant it in a new pot.
If there isn’t a rhizome, propagate by cutting off a leaf at the base and letting it dry out. It can take weeks for the cut edge to turn dry and white on a thick plant like this.
Once dried, plant it in soil and mist the leaf. Roots should appear after another 2-3 weeks.
Starfish Snake Plant Pests or Diseases
Vine weevils are the most common pests to attack this plant.
How do you know if you have a weevil infestation?
If you notice edges of the leaves “eating away” look for an adult vine weevil on the plant.
Spraying the plant and soil with neem oil may save the plant if you catch it early enough.
Root rot is a common issue in starfish sansevieria care. Prolonged exposure to water will cause root fungal infections and the leaves to turn yellow.
- Cut off slimy and blackened roots
- Treat with fungicide
- Allow the soil to dry out between watering
If you’re wondering how to care for star snake plants, remember its reputation. It thrives on neglect.
The best way to help the plant fight off pests and infections:
- Provide bright, indirect light
- Use a pot with plenty of drainage
Whether brightening your space with its ringed foliage or enjoying the unique beauty the plant provides, caring for starfish sansevieria plants is easy and rewarding.