Botanical name: Ctenanthe spp
Ctenanthe Plants are evergreen perennial plants which are grown as indoors plants for their attractive and often variegated foliage.
The leaves are large, oval shaped and are marked by strikingly beautiful silver patterns. The undersides are often a beautiful dark-maroon color.
Ctenanthe grow best in bright, indirect light, consistently moist soil and high humidity areas. The plants require average room temperature inorder to thrive. They cannot tolerate soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot.
Ctenanthe grow to a height of about 7 ft and they bear large, oval leaves usually about 1-2 ft long.
There are about species in the Ctenanthe genus but only a few can be grown indoors succussfully.
The popular Ctenanthe for growing indoors include;
Ctenanthe lubbersiana, (Bamburanta),
Ctenanthe burle-marxii, (Fishbone Prayer Plant),
Ctenanthe amabilis, (Beautiful Ctenanthe),
Ctenanthe oppenheimiana 'Tricolor', (Never Never Plant),
Ctenanthe setosa among others.
These groups of plants are sometimes commonly called Prayer Plants in reference to their curious characteristic of closing their leaves at night.
Ctenanthe spp are native to the topical regions of Central and South America, mainly Brazil.
Various Ctenanthe are avilable online at Etsy. Buy beautiful and healthy Ctenanthe Plants online from Etsy.
Photo Credit: plants.ces.ncsu.edu
Ctenanthe grows best in bright, indirect light. Too little light will result in loss of the beautiful variegation. It can also grow under a grow light where natural light is not sufficient.
Keep it away from direct sunlight as it can lead to sunburn on leaves and yellowish leaves.
Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth and prevent leggy growth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
Water Ctenanthe thoroughly and keep the soil moist at all times during the growing season. Reduce watering in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.
Being a tropical plant, water it with water that is at room temperature to avoid shocking the plant which can result in reduced growth.
Ctenanthe Plants are sensitive to chemicals dissolved in water, therefore, water it with water that is free of chlorine and flourides.
Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of the plant.
Avoid wetting the foliage during watering or water from the bottom instead to prevent fungal infestation. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Ctenanthe prefer average warmth with a minimum of 130C. Protect the plant from cold draughts and sudden changes in temperature. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.
Ctenanthe require high humidity inorder to thrive. To raise humidity, surround the pot with wet moss. You can also set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
Clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to keep them clean and neat. Read more on how to clean houseplants.
Feed Ctenanthe with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once monthly through out the growing season. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.
Repot Ctenanthe every 2 years at the beginning of the growing season. Use a pot with a drainage hole and free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.
Ctenanthe do not like to sit in soggy soil, therefore, ensure the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole as soggy soil can lead to root-rot.
The large plants can be divided at the time of repotting and use the splits to propagate new plants.
The best soil for Ctenanthe should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.
Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for this plant. Buy quality Potting Mix for Ctenanthe Plant from Etsy.
Pruning Ctenanthe is easy as it involves removal of dead and yellow foliage to maintain the plant neat and attractive. Cut back the stems at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth. Read more on how to prune houseplants.
Ctenanthe Plant propagation can be done at the beginning of the growing season by plant division.
Take out the Ctenanthe plant from its pot and divide it into several sections. Ensure each section has some roots inorder to hasten rooting.
Pot the sections into individual pots in moist, free-draining soil. Ensure the pots have a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Cover the pots with clear polythene to create a greenhouse effect and maintain warm humid conditions which hasten establishment of the Ctenanthe plants.
Place the pots in a warm, well-lit shaded place until new growth has emerged in the sections.
Gradually remove the polythene cover over a period of two weeks to acclimatize the new plants.
Then move the set up to a warm, brightly-lit place and maintain the soil moist until the new Ctenanthe Plants are well established after which routine care can begin.
Photo Credit: Hortology
Ctenanthe brown leaf tips and edges is due to too dry air (low humidity) as the plants are very sensitive to low air humidity.
Ctenanthe limp and rotting stems are due to too cold air and or too wet soil. At this point, the plant may be too far gone to be saved.
To prevent limp and rotting stems, maintain an average warmth with a minimum of 130C. Protect the plant from cold draughts and sudden changes in temperature.
Also, avoid soggy soil by ensuring that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil is free-draining.
Ctenanthe curled, spotted leaves and lower leaves yellowing are due to underwatering.
Water the Ctenanthe Plant thoroughly and keep the soil moist at all times during the growing season. Do not let the soil dry out between waterings but reduce watering during the cold season. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Ctenanthe brown and dry leaf tips accompanied by stunted growth are an indication of spider mite infestation due to the air being too dry.
Ctenanthe discolored or scorched leaves are due to exposure to of the plant direct sunlight. Move the plant to a shaded spot or protect it from direct sunlight to prevent its death.
Ctenanthe is prone to leaf spot disease due to the humid conditions that it prefers. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the disease.
Ctenanthe Plants (Ctenanthe spp) like other Marantaceae plants are non-toxic to both humans and pets as indicated by ASPCA. They are safe to grow indoors.