Cryptanthus bivittatus, also known as Earth Star Plant, is a species of Cryptanthus from Brazil. This plant is characterized by its striking star-shaped leaves, thereby earning itself the name. The leaves are long and narrow; growing in a rosette pattern. It blooms with small, white flowers. It is a popular choice for home gardens, bringing much-needed variety with a different look, compared to other plants.
Earth Star Plant Main Characteristics
|Common Name||Dwarf Rose-Stripe Star, Earth Star plant, Green earth star, Pink Starlite, Starfish plant, Star Plant, Vary-leaf star|
|Botanical Name||Cryptanthus bivittatus|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||10 to 12|
|Mature Size||Height: 0.25-0.50 feet; Spread: 0.50-1.00 feet|
|Bloom Time||July to August|
|Propagation methods||by seeds, by offsets|
Earth Star Plant Care
The Earth Star Plant requires very little care. Making it an ideal choice for gardeners more prone to neglect than others. Having said that, some care is still required to ensure the best possible growth. Here’s what you need to know:
Light and Location
It loves bright, indirect light but can also tolerate low light levels. Less light means less vibrant growth with duller, more muted colors. Whereas, full sunlight results in washed out, bleached foliage. This plant is mainly used as an indoor container plant or as a feature in rock gardens. However, when paired with sphagnum moss, Terrariums are also a great choice.
These plants prefer moist, but not soggy, soil and should be watered regularly. However, don’t let the water sit in the pot for too long, as this plant doesn’t like being waterlogged. Instead, ensure proper drainage, both by using the appropriate potting mix and drilling holes in the sides of the pot. Make sure you never allow the potting medium to dry out completely before you water again, because this may also cause wilting.
This is a tropical plant that requires a warm climate to grow. The ideal temperature for cultivation is between 16-27 degrees Celsius (60–80°F). Although it’s mildly drought-tolerant, it’s best not to put that to the test.
Humidity levels are one of the most important factors for Earth Star Plant grown indoors. Not only does it prevent the plant from drying out, but also helps in growth and development. When growing Earth Star Plants indoors, maintain humidity levels around 70%.
Keeping the plant near a water source is another way to achieve higher humidity levels around your plants. Humidity can also be maintained by grouping plants together or by using a humidifier.
You can mix balanced fertilizer in water and spray the mixture on the plant. Cryptanthus Bivittatus is not intolerant to overfeeding, but you should use only half of the dose recommended on the package once a month. Feeding should be done every other month in the fall and winter. That will be enough for these low-demanding plants.
Propagating Earth Star Plant
Cryptanthus bivittatus propagation is easy- just wait for the offsets to grow to the appropriate size before planting. The best chance of successful propagation is in the summer when the pup has grown to half the size of its parent.
After you’ve removed the pup from the parent, plant it in a bed of moist soil and cover the entire pot with a layer of plastic to trap all the humidity inside. Wait for a month for the first signs of growth to show.
You can also propagate by seeds, but the chance of germination is low and it takes longer to reach its mature size. The recommended strategy is to use the offsets.
Potting and Repotting Earth Star Plant
When potting, be sure to use a slightly larger pot than you think you need. These plants are aggressive growers and will quickly outgrow a small pot. This plant is also intolerant of regular potting soils. They usually result in stunted growth or health problems down the line. The easy route is to buy a standard orchid potting soil. It has generous amounts of peat, sphagnum moss, and other organic materials. Just make sure that the end result is a well-draining potting mix that retains some moisture.
Repotting is generally required when the plant has outgrown its current pot (usually after two or three years), or when the soil becomes dry and compacted. When repotting, be sure to use a potting mix designed explicitly for Bromeliads. Pick a pot one size larger than the current pot. Fill it up with the potting mix and gently ease down the root ball into its new home. Be very careful with the roots; they’re very sensitive.
Earth Star Plant is non-toxic to humans, cats, dogs, and horses.
This houseplant is typically pest-free. However, it can be host to mealybugs or scale insects on occasion. These pests can cause significant damage to the plant and should be promptly treated if detected.
Easy Guide to Growing Earth Star Plants – Tips & tricks (Video)
How to propagate Earth Star plant?
You can propagate this plant both by planting the offsets or by planting the seeds. The offsets need to be planted in the summer after they’ve grown to one-third the size of their mother plant.
How to plant Earth Star pups?
The offsets of the Earth Star are called “pups”. You can grow a new plant from these pups if you plant them when they are about one-third the size of their parent plant. Simply twist and pull them off. Fill a pot with a standard bromeliad potting mix and plant the pups. Keep the soil moist and cover the pot with a layer of plastic to keep the humidity inside. Your pup should start growing in about a month.
How often to water Earth Star plant?
Don’t let the soil get dry at any time. In spring and summer, you water more often than in the fall and winter as these plants need more water during the growth phase. But never let the soil get dry, regardless of the season.