If you are looking for foliage plants for a shaded position, Ctenanthe could be worth considering. They are popular in warmer climates where they give a tropical look to the garden. In cooler climates they are grown as indoor plants.
The great thing about Ctenanthe, is that they are low maintenance, and these are more hardy than many of their more fussy relatives.
Although they do like moist soils, they are also adaptable, in dry conditions they conserve moisture, simply by rolling their long leaves into tubes thus decreasing the surface area, less exposure equals less transpiration.
Common names are bamburanta and never never plant and Ctenanthe is a part of the Maranta family which include,
- Climate – To grow Ctenanthe outdoors you will need a warm temperate to tropical / sub tropical climate. Indoors, a temperature range of 15C (60F) to 25C
- Light – All species prefer bright filtered light. In low light leaf colour will be muted.
- Water – Well drained moist soil, dry soils will cause problems and leaf curl. When watering avoid using very cold or heavily chlorinated water.
- Humidity – These are plants that require humidity to thrive. Use a humidifier indoors, pebbles in a dish of water below the pot or the occasional mist spay.
- Flowers – Flowers are white to yellow however insignificant, these plants are grown for the foliage.
- Soil – Humus rich well drained. When container grown, repot every 1 – 2 years.
- Pruning – Generally not required except for removal of any dead or damaged foliage.
Easy from offsets removed from clumps. This can be done at any tome of the year. Make sure you take a small, strong shoot with adequate root system.
Remove with a sharp knife and repot in a good quality potting mix. Keep warm and just moist until new growth is evident.
A number of varieties are available for sale, some of the best are listed below.
- C. amabilis – This is more of a low growing type than many, pale and mid green variegated foliage.
- C. setosa – Silvery green leaves with a deep red reverse, very popular as an indoor plant.
- C. tricolor – This is a C. oppenheimiana variety with strongly coloured red, pale yellow and green foliage, red flowers.
- C. lubbersiana – Commonly called Bamburanta, strongly marked foliage varied in colour.
- C. oppenheimiana – If you lived in a student house in the 60s, you most likely had this plant, commonly called the never never plant. Grey and grey green foliage.
- C. compressa – Large foliage deep green with lime to yellow markings.
- C. burle-marxii – Strong variegation, a light silvery green with deep olive green markings. Again a lower growing type.
Is this plant poisonous to cats? Yes it is, so don’t feed your cat on it.
Ctenanthe are available for sale from the following nurseries
Australia's finest bamboo display gardens. Non-invasive clumping varieties at competitive prices for screens, windbreaks, garden ornamentals, timber and shoots. Small suburban garden right up to the commercial growers. Can ship to anywhere in Australia. Hervey Bay, QLD. OPEN 7 DAYS