The Stromanthe Magic star Prayer plant, with long, narrow, glossy leaves with bits of white variegation and maroon underside, is also commonly sold under the name Stromanthe thalia ‘Magic star,’ Stromanthe sanguinea, and Calathea “Magic star.”
Although a bit muted compared to its close relative, the Stromanthe Triostar, this plant is just as beautiful.
Whether you are an experienced plant parent or a newbie in the field, this plant is easy to care for than many other prayer plants. You shouldn’t have any issues keeping this plant alive. However, if you want it to show off its full potential, proper care is a must. From the prayer plant family, Magic star too follows the sunlight’s rhythm — it opens its leaves in the morning and closes them at sunsets. As it closes its leaves, it reveals more of its glorious ruby red leaf undersides.
How To Care For Stromanthe Magic Star
- Bringing the plant home
- Light conditions
- Humidity and temperature
- Toxicity Information
- Pests and other common issues
Plant name: Stromanthe thalia ‘Magic star’
Common names: Stromanthe sanguinea ‘Magic star” and Calathea “Magic star”.
Native to: Brazilian rainforest.
Lighting: Bright, indirect sunlight. You can turn pot weekly to give it even sun light.
Care: Keep soil moist but it’s best to let the top level of soil dry a little before watering again. Use a pebble tray, humidifier, or spray mists to keep humidity high. Keep away from direct sunlight.
Common problems: Browning or yellowing of leaf edges, spider mites, root rot.
Toxicity: Non-toxic to humans and pets
Bringing the Stromanthe Magic star home
Check your chosen plant for any injury — insect bites on the leaves, yellowing or browning, wobbly-to-hold stem, or anything else that looks off.
If you are getting your plant from the nursery, you can ask the owners when the plant was last fertilized or any other care tip they can offer. We all have our tips and tricks, and you might just learn something wonderful. However, if you are purchasing the plant from the regular store, know that the workers there aren’t necessarily trained in plant care to the extent you want and might even give you advice that isn’t the best.
Once you bring your new plant, do not place it with the rest of your plants just yet. Even the best inspection and the most reputable nursery can’t guarantee you a 100% pest-free plant. There is always a chance something is still alive or hatching, so separating your new plant from others will prevent larger infestations if that is the case. Observe your plant for a week or two.
Give your plant time to adjust to its new environment. The change can cause stress to the plant, and it might not do as well as you want it for a couple of weeks. We also don’t recommend repotting the plant as soon as you bring it home.
How much Light does Stromanthe Magic Star Need?
This plant should be happy in a good bright spot with no direct sunlight. Like other prayer plants, too much direct sunlight can be harmful to your Magic star. Direct light will burn the leaves, if exposed to sun and you mist the plant, small brown burn dots will appear on the leaves.
Turn your plants weekly so the leaves get even exposure to sunlight.
How often should you water Stromanthe Magic Star?
Water more frequently during growing season, less in winter.
During the growing season (warmer months of the year), you want to water your plants frequently to keep the soil moist, but not wet. Be careful not to overwater because waterlogged soil for your Magic star can be tragic. Soggy, wet soil will eventually lead to your plant’s death. Watch out for yellow and browning leaves which can be of root problems due to overwatering.
As to how many times per week you will water your Stromanthe Magic Star – this depends. Depends on the plant size, soil, humidity levels of your home, and many other factors. Keep checking the soil with your fingers, feeling if it’s damp. Once the top layer starts to dry out, it’s time to water.
During the winter season, you will most likely need to water less frequently as the plant will use up less water. Check whether the soil has become dry to the touch before you water again. Although the prayer plant family is stationed at the jungle floor, they need a little oxygen around their roots in between watering. This is why you need to air-out the soil a little between each watering.
Lukewarm rainwater and filtered water are best for your plant. Distilled water is OK too. However, we would advise you not to use distilled water solely, especially if you are not fertilizing your plants. Salts, chlorine, minerals, and fluoride in tap water can make your plant’s leaves burn and also causes them to turn brown and curl up.
If you use tap water, let it sit for a day or two before using it to water your Stromanthe Magic Star.
Soil Dried Out?
If you accidentally dried out the soil, it will need a thorough soak to nurse the plant back to health – if this happens occasionally, your plant should be OK, but don’t let this be a habit. Place the pot with the plant into a basin filled with water. A good portion of the pot should be submerged. Allow the plant to drink water through the bottom holes for at least an hour. Feel the soil after soaking. If it loosened up and is damp, remove the pot from the water. If needed, water the plant from the top a little too, but make sure all excess water drains out. Place it back to its spot and wait for it to flourish again.
Humidity and Temperature Requirements of you Stromanthe Magic star
Like all prayer plants, your Stromanthe will prefer an environment with high humidity. The humidity should be above 50%, to keep your plant happy.
You might want to use a pebble tray under your pots to help retain higher humidity levels in the plant’s surroundings. This is a very simple and budget-friendly method, just make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the pot to prevent any risks of root rot.
If your plant is struggling and you can’t raise the humidity enough, you might want to invest in a humidifier to keep your plants happy.
You can manually mist your plants from time to time to keep them feeling moist, while this is mostly beneficial for the soul, it does help the plants a little too, as the water droplets evaporate from the leaves.
Not providing the right amount of everything to your plant can be easily seen in the leaves. If it is too dry in the room, your leaves might get crispy edges.
As for the temperatures, warm temperatures are best, don’t let the temperature drop below 65°F (18°C) – or at least not for long. 65-75°F (18-24°C) is ideal. Avoid drafts too. If you don’t have well-isolated windows, keep the plant away from windows in winter.
How to Clean the Leaves
If your plant is collecting dust, you can easily clean it. The leaves can be cleaned with a soft damp cloth. You can also use a mild dish soap solution (a drop of soap diluted in water). Try this mixture on one leaf first, to see if it causes any damage (some dish soap brands can be a bit too aggressive).
How Often Should You Fertilize Stromanthe Magic Star?
During the growing season (warmer months of the year – spring to early fall), you can fertilize your Magic star to encourage better growth. Once or twice a month, use a balanced liquid fertilizer for healthier, more attractive foliage.
This plant cannot tolerate too many minerals in its soil; we recommend using half the strength of the recommended dosage (as per package instruction) of your chosen general/houseplant fertilizer.
When to repot?
When the stems are looking a bit crowded or when you start noticing the plant is becoming rootbound, you might want to repot. As time goes by, the soil will also become nutrient deficient, so it’s generally OK if you repot every 2 years or so, giving your plant fresh soil.
You will need a wider pot for transferring your Magic star for its roots and stems to grow more, only going up a pot size or two as you repot. Remember to use a suitable soil mix.
Repoting is best done in spring as the plants start focusing on new growth at that time.
The right soil for your plant
Many gardening stores carry soil mixes that are mixed with tropical plants in mind, making them suitable for your Magic star.
If you are making your own soil mixture, you will need soil that drains well as well as holds moisture. You can mix up general planting soil, adding a mix of perlite and peat (two parts peat per one part perlite).
Magic star propagation
Magis Star is propagated by division.
When you propagate, you have to remove the plant from the pot and carefully separate the stems for each new plant. Always use the right soil for propagating.
Do not fertilize your newly propagated plant and let it become established before feeding. What is crucial at this point is that they get the necessary humidity and light to grow.
Is Stromanthe Magic Star toxic to cats, dogs, or humans?
These plants are considered non-toxic to pets and humans.
* There have been no negative health issues reported with prayer plants. Keep in mind toxicity information on plants can change. This is something that is best talked about with your veterinarian. Even with non-toxic plants, nibbling plants should be avoided, and keeping plants away from pets, especially if they like to eat them, is best.
Pests and Common Issues With Stromanthe Magic Star
Watch out for sap-sucking bugs (spider mites). If the infestation is large you will notice small webbings on your plant. Spider mites iteslf are rally tiny and easy to miss.
Mealy bugs can also be an issue for this plant.
Check your plants regularly for pests, especially the less healthy-looking plants.
Providing your plant with enough humidity will also protect it from these pests.
Stromanthe Magic Star Leaves Yellowing
If you notice the leaves on your plant starting to turn yellow, one of the more common possible causes is overwatering.