The Stromanthe Magic Star (aka Stromanthe ‘Sanguinea’ Magicstar) is a gorgeous plant that originates from the jungle canopies of Brazil.
This tropical find looks like a legit child of Stromanthe Sanguinea and Stromanthe Triostar! As you likely know, it’s a member of the “prayer plant” family, and is a relatively rare plant when compared to its close relative, the Calathea.
The Stromanthe Magic Star has a variety of other names, including:
- Stromanthe thalia ‘Magic star,’
- Stromanthe sanguinea
- Calathea “Magic star” (though it’s not a calathea!)
Defining Appearance & Features
The Magic Star is known for its long, glossy leaves, cut through with white pigmentation, pink speckling, and a subtle maroon underside. The Stromanthe and the Calathea are often confused with each other, but they are a separate genus within the same family.
Stromanthe Magic Star Care (Breakdown)
- Light: Bright, indirect
- Soil: Well-draining
- Humidity: 60%+
- Temperature: 65°F-75°F (18°C-24°C)
- Fertilizer: Stromanthe/Calathea Mix or Complete Nutrient
How to Care For a Stromanthe Magic Star (Detailed)
This plant is a tropical beauty with specific requirements as far as keeping high humidity and a balanced watering schedule. It can seem complicated, but this plant is suited for newbies and experts alike!
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about caring for your Stromanthe Magic Star!
Light – How Much Light Does a Stromanthe Magic Star Need?
The Stromanthe Magic Star will flourish with lots of bright and indirect sunlight. This mimics its origin as a plant in the Brazilian rainforest.
Bright, indirect sunlight can be achieved by filtering sunlight with curtains or even other plants (that like direct light) before it reaches your Magic Star.
You can also place this plant in a northern or eastern-facing window so that after the sun rises it has access to indirect sunlight all day.
How Can I Measure How Much Light My Plant is Receiving?
If you are not confident in your ability to gauge the light in your home, consider investing in a light meter! Light meters measure in footcandles (FCs), and the perfect light for this plant will be between 200-400 FCs.
Best Soil and Mixture Type
If you want to make your watering schedule as easy as possible, you need well-draining soil. This allows the plant to absorb the water it needs without retaining too much and becoming waterlogged.
A Simple Soil Mix
For the best well-draining soil, create a mixture or look in stores for one containing the following elements:
- Peat or coco coir to increase moisture retention (two-thirds of total mixture)
- Perlite to assist with drainage (one-third of total mixture)
- Charcoal to remove soil impurities and to help the plant retain nutrients
A mixture that is two parts peat/coir with one part perlite will be able to retain water while still draining properly.
Additions such as charcoal are not necessary, but can still help improve the soil’s overall composition and structure.
Many new plant owners overlook the importance of humidity – a mistake that can greatly impact any plant! This is especially true for the Stromanthe Magic Star, a tropical plant that requires consistent humidity in order to properly flourish.
Ideal Humidity Range
The ideal range of humidity for this plant will be above 50%, most likely between 50% and 70%.
Increasing Humidity Levels
If you are worried about maintaining sufficient humidity, consider buying a humidifier. You can also place your Magic Star in a high-humidity area such as the kitchen or bathroom, as well as placing it with other plants in your collection (known as grouping).
Small Signs Your Plant Isn’t Getting Enough Humidity
Signs that your plant needs more humidity include a crisping of the leaves and browning of their edges, as well as a potential yellowing (though yellow leaves can have many causes!).
Watering will be the most important part of Stromanthe Magic Star care, and it can be intimidating and frustrating in equal parts trying to find the perfect schedule.
We’ve covered that this plant needs well-draining but moisture-retaining soil. Along those same lines, watering is all about striking a balance and providing enough water without saturating the plant.
Here are some tips to follow when it comes to watering your Magic Star!
- Frequent watering or watering to excess (puddles appearing) are likely to cause root rot, which is the quickest way to kill this delicate plant.
- Always feel the first few inches of soil with a knuckle or fingertip to see if there is moisture. If you feel moisture, you can wait another day or so and check again before watering. If it feels dry, water right away! You can also use a testing stick to check for moisture if you prefer to keep your hands clean.
- Water just enough to moisten the soil. Spread out the water consistently around the entire plant, and water the soil directly rather than coming from above the leaves.
- Water more frequently during the growing season (spring/summer), and less frequently in winter.
If you follow these tips, watering will become much easier! This tropical plant is all about balance, and as long as you consistently feel the soil for dryness and water when needed, you can find a consistent schedule that works for you.
As you can expect, this Brazilian beauty does not do well with cold temperatures! In fact, you should avoid keeping this plant close to an air conditioning unit or window to avoid any sudden cold drafts.
Intense cold, even for a short period of time, can shock and damage your Magic Star.
Ideal Temperature Range
The ideal range of temperature for this plant will be between 65°F and 75°F, or 18°C to 24°C.
Try to keep the temperature around at least 70°F (about 21°C), as 65°F or 18°C is the absolute lowest this plant can tolerate.
Try to keep the overall temperature in your apartment or home above this level, or at least around the room where the plant is located.
Fertilizer is a must if you want your Magic Star to flourish! Once the nutrients in the soil have been used up, your plant has no other options for nutrients.
You can choose between slow-release fertilizer pods, classic fertilizer, or a spray, here are some essential elements to look out for in fertilizer.
We’ll list out which elements are essential and which are just nice additions to have!
- Nitrogen (essential)
- Potassium (essential)
- Phosphorus (essential)
- Calcium (good addition)
- Magnesium (good addition)
- Sulfur (good addition)
Fertilizers with these three essential elements are great for growth.
Tip! Remember that you should not be fertilizing your plant in winter, as it will not be growing and could lead to root burn. Save the fertilizer for the proper growing season for the best results!
Over the course of time you own your Stromanthe Magic Star, you will only need to repot a handful of times! On average, this plant only needs to be repotted about every two years.
Signs Your Plant Needs Repotting
You will notice it is time to repot when the stems begin to appear crowded and the roots creep out of the drainage holes of the pot. Check after the growing season has ended and winter has begun to see whether or not it is time to repot.
Picking a New Pot – What to Look Out For
When you choose a new pot, make sure you pick one only a few inches bigger than the previous one. This may surprise you, but a pot with too much room is equally as bad for the plant as one with too little room.
Prepare the new pot with the same soil you have been using, and carefully lift the plant from the old pot with both hands. Place it in the new pot and cover with soil, and your potting job is done for another two years!
Best Way to Propagate a Stromanthe Magic Star
Finding a quality Stromanthe Magic Star can be difficult, but this lovely plant is in high demand. As a result, you might find that the best thing to do is to grow a new one from the one you already have!
When propagating a Magic Star, you will want to use the division technique. Here is everything you need to know about propagating by division!
- Wait until the growing season is just beginning. Early spring will be your best bet, so the new cutting can begin to grow into the soil!
- Gather the following supplies: a new pot filled with soil, your current Magic Star, gloves, and a small knife or garden shears.
- Remove your current plant from the pot and examine the roots. Find a natural division and use your hands to further separate from the rest of the roots. Use your knife or shears to gently cut away the chosen section, including the stem and leaves.
- Place the new cutting in the new pot and cover with soil. Repot the original plant.
- Care for both plants as usual.
If you follow these steps, you will hopefully have a brand new Stromanthe Magic Star to add to your collection!
Plant Toxicity – Is The Magic Star Safe?
Some houseplants need to be fiercely guarded from children and pets. Luckily, your Stromanthe is not one of them!
While children or animals can damage the plant by tearing off leaves, any accidental ingestion will have no negative side effects. The Stromanthe Magic Star is non-toxic to humans and animals, so there is nothing to worry about.
Potential consequences of eating this plant could include nausea or indigestion, but those are common effects of eating a houseplant.
There is no cause for concern, although you can talk to a pediatrician or veterinarian if there are any issues!
Now, we will finish up with a review of some of the most frequently asked questions about Stromanthe Magic Star care. We’ll talk a bit about common problems and pests so you know what to expect!
Q. Is Stromanthe Magic Star a Calathea Plant?
The Stromanthe Magic Star is frequently identified as a calathea plant, but this is actually not true!
While the plants may be similar in appearance and in their movements as prayer plants, they are not the same.
In reality, stromanthes and calathea are both part of the Marantaceae family, but separated by genus.
So, the answer is no! The Stromanthe Magic Star is not a calathea plant, but it is certainly a common mistake to make.
Q. How Do I Clean the Leaves of my Stromanthe Magic Star?
Over the course of caring for your plant, you might notice some dust or other small issues appearing on the leaves. Cleaning the leaves is important for appearance, but it must be done gently.
Here are some ways to clean the leaves of your plant:
- Use a feather duster or cloth to gently wipe away dust
- Rinse the plants with water, either while watering or by using a wet cloth
- Spray the plants with a water and soap solution
Common Problems and Pests
Let’s wrap up with a quick review of the most common pests and problems facing owners of a Stromanthe Magic Star. The biggest pest problem will be spider mites, tiny white dots drawn to sap who can damage the leaves and stem.
To get rid of spider mites, wash the leaves of the plant gently with soapy water or rubbing alcohol. Take care to remove any mites left over, and treat the leaves with an insecticide to prevent them from returning.
A scale infestation from small scale bugs is another big pest problem. Deal with this issue pruning and disposing of any infected leaves with a large infestation.
You can also try to pick the bugs off the leaves with tweezers before using neem oil or another insecticide to kill them.
Q. Why Does My Stromanthe Magic Star Have Yellow Leaves?
Problems like yellowing leaves can be distressing, but there are clear signs that lead to yellowed leaves. This can include over or underwatering and a lack of humidity.
Check each aspect of care and make improvements where they are needed. In no time, your beautiful Stromanthe Magic Star will be back to normal!