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How to Grow Ctenanthe


Ctenanthe is grown mostly for its unusual foliage. Young plants commonly produce several short stalks, each then produces a long stem with stems and leaves branching from the stalks. Leaves are various shades of green with yellow markings and reddish undersides.

Get to Know Ctenanthe

  • Plant type: Tropical perennial
  • Growing Zones and range:
  • Hardiness: Prefers 70° to 75°F (21°-24°C) during the day, slightly cooler at night.
  • Height and width: Up to 36 inches (91cm) tall
  • Foliage: Oblong leaves on slender stalks; leaves are green with regular silver-white markings between the veins and burgundy-red undersides.
  • Flowers: Inconspicuous white flowers from in spikes
  • Bloom time:  Summer
  • Uses: Houseplant
  • Botanical name: Ctenanthe  oppenheimiana
  • Common name: Ctenanthe
Ctenanthe 'Burle-marxii'
Ctenanthe ‘Burle-marxii’

Where to Plant Ctenanthe

  • Ctenanthe grows best in bright light, no direct sun.
  • Grow Ctenanthe in an all-purpose potting mix.

How to Water and Feed Ctenanthe

  • Keep the soil evenly moist. Mist frequently; Ctenanthe grows best with 50 percent humidity.
  • Fertilize Ctenanthe every 2 weeks during the growing season with an all-purpose fertilizer for houseplants.

Ctenanthe Care

  • Ctenanthe prefers to be slightly potbound; repot every 3 or 4 years.
  • Let Ctenanthe rest during the winter; reduce water, never allowing the soil to dry out completely; withhold fertilizer.
  • Mealybugs and spider mites may attack Ctenanthe.

Ctenanthe Propagation

  • Propagate Ctenanthe by division in spring.

Ctenanthe Varieties to Grow

  • Ctenanthe ‘Burle Marx’ grow to 15 inches; tops of leaves are gray-green feathered with dark green.
  • C. compressa grow 2 to 3 feet high; leathery leaves are oblong and asymmetrical.
  • C. oppenheimiana grow 3 to 5 feet tall with narrow, leathery leaves that are dark green and banded with sliver above.


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