How to grow and care for Ctenanthe Plant (Ctenanthe spp) Indoors

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Ctenanthe Plant Care

Botanical name: Ctenanthe spp
Family: Marantaceae
Common name: Ctenanthe, Never Never Plant, Bamburanta, Fishbone Prayer Plant, Beautiful Ctenanthe

Ctenanthe Plant Description

Ctenanthe Plants are evergreen perennial plants which are grown as indoors plants for their attractive and often variegated foliage.

The leaves in Ctenanthe plants 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 Plant Size

Ctenanthe Plants grow to a height of about 7 ft and they bear large, oval leaves usually about 1-2 ft long.

Ctenanthe Plant Varieties

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 commonly called Bamburanta, Ctenanthe burle-marxii commonly called Fishbone Prayer Plant, Ctenanthe amabilis commonly called Beautiful Ctenanthe, Ctenanthe oppenheimiana 'Tricolor' commonly called Never Never Plant and Ctenanthe setosa among others.

Ctenanthe Plant Related Plants

Ctenanthe are closely related to the Calathea, Maranta and Stromanthe.

These groups of plants are sometimes commonly called Prayer Plants in reference to their curious characteristic of closing their leaves at night.

Ctenanthe Plant Origin

Ctenanthe are native to the topical regions of Central and South America, mainly Brazil.

Ctenanthe Plant Buy

Buy beautiful and healthy Ctenanthe Plants (Ctenanthe spp) from Etsy.

Ctenanthe Plant Care

Photo Credit: plants.ces.ncsu.edu

Ctenanthe Plant (Ctenanthe spp) Care Indoors

Ctenanthe Light requirements

Ctenanthe grows best in bright, indirect light. Too little light will result in loss of the beautiful variegation. Ctenanthe Plants can also grow under flourescent light.

Keep your Ctenanthe away from direct sunlight as it can lead to sunburn on leaves and yellowish leaves.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure your plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth and prevent leggy growth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Ctenanthe

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 your Ctenanthe 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 Ctenanthe with water that is free of chlorine and flourides.

Ensure the pot for your Ctenanthe has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot.

Avoid wetting the foliage of your Ctenanthe during watering or water from the bottom instead to prevent fungal infestation. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for Ctenanthe

Ctenanthe prefer average warmth with a minimum of 130C. Protect your plant from cold draughts and sudden changes in temperature. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Ctenanthe

Ctenanthe require high humidity inorder to thrive. To raise humidity for your Ctenanthe, surround the pot with wet moss or place the pot on a wet pebble tray. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

You can also grow your Ctenanthe in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium. Read more on how to make a closed terrarium for houseplants.

How to clean Ctenanthe

Clean the leaves of Ctenanthe by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to keep them clean and neat. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Ctenanthe

Feed Ctenanthe with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once monthly through out the growing season.

Withhold feeding for your Ctenanthe 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.

How to Repot Ctenanthe

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.

Ctenanthes 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 Ctenanthe plants can be divided at the time of repotting and use the splits to propagate new Ctenanthe plants.

How to Prune Ctenanthe

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 (Ctenanthe spp) Propagation

Ctenanthe Plant propagation can be done at the beginning of the growing season by plant division.

How to propagate Ctenanthe 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 Ctenanthe 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 your Ctenanthe plants.

Place the pots in a warm, shaded place until new growth has emerged in the Ctenanthe sections.

Gradually remove the polythene cover over a period of two weeks to acclimatize the new Ctenanthe plants.

Then move the set up to a cool, shaded place and maintain the soil moist until the new Ctenanthe plants are well established after which routine care can begin.

Ctenanthe Plant Care, Prayer Plant Care

Photo Credit: Hortology

Ctenanthe Plant (Ctenanthe spp) Problems Indoors

Ctenanthe brown leaf tips and edges

Ctenanthe brown leaf tips and edges is due to too dry air (low humidity). Ctenanthes are very sensitive to low air humidity.

To raise humidity for your Ctenanthe, surround the pot with wet moss or place the pot on a wet pebble tray. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

You can also grow your Ctenanthe in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium. Read more on how to make a terrarium for houseplants.

Ctenanthe limp and rotting stems

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 Ctenanthe limp and rotting stems maintain an average warmth with a minimum of 130C. Protect your plant from cold draughts and sudden changes in temperature.

Also, avoid soggy soil by ensuring that the pot for your Ctenanthe has a drainage hole and that the soil is free-draining.

Ctenanthe discolored or scorched leaves

Ctenanthe discolored or scorched leaves are due to exposure to direct sunlight on your plant. Move your Ctenanthe to a shaded spot or protect it from direct sunlight to prevent its death.

Ctenanthe curled, spotted leaves and lower leaves yellowing

Ctenanthe curled, spotted leaves and lower leaves yellowing are due to underwatering.

Water Ctenanthe 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

Ctenanthe brown and dry leaf tips accompanied by stunted growth are an indication of spider mite infestation due to the air being too dry.

Remove the dead growth and set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your Ctenanthe. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Ctenanthe Pests

Ctenanthe pests are mealy bugs, aphids, scale insects and spider mites.

Isolate the affected Ctenanthe plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Ctenanthe Diseases

Ctenanthe is prone to leaf spot disease due to the humid conditions that Ctenanthe prefers.

Isolate the affected Ctenanthe plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the disease.

Is Ctenanthe (Ctenanthe spp) toxic?

Ctenanthe Plants (Ctenanthe spp) are non-toxic to both humans and pets. They are safe to grow indoors.

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