Plants

Evergreen Perennial (Ctenanthe Burle Marxii): Plant Care Guide

With its striking, striped foliage, the Ctenanthe Burle-Marxii (pronounced ten-an-thee) is a unique houseplant that resembles a tiger hiding in the shade – this makes it an ideal option for rooms without direct sunlight.

Native to Brazil and part of the Marantaceae family (prayer plant), this easy-to-care-for plant is named after the famous Brazilian landscape designer and artist – Roberto Burle Marx.

The Evergreen Perennial plant is known by a number of different names, including:

  • Stromanthe amabilis
  • Calathea Burle-Marxii
  • Calathea amabilis
  • Calathea fishbone
  • Fishbone prayer plant

Care needs

To thrive, these plants require two simple things – humidity and shade, which thankfully most homes and offices are able to offer.

These plants enjoy humid spaces, so for best results and to ensure they grow well, mist the plants every few days to boost humidity levels. When cared for correctly, they can grow to a size of 35 cm and because they are evergreen perennials, they boast greenery all year round.

Size and Growth: Given it is native to South America, it is little wonder the Evergreen Perennial enjoys humid surroundings. It is a great option for those with smaller homes or little space available, as it is a slow-growing plant and can often take up to two seasons to reach its final height.

The picture-perfect leaves can span around 30cm in their full form and grow in fan-like clusters.
In fact, the leaves are this plant’s most astounding feature. They boast a unique, striped, fishbone pattern and are light green-grey (or sometimes red) on the underneath and dark green on top.

Fishbone Prayer Plant Flowering: Although Ctenanthe Burle-Marxii plants are not celebrated for their blooms, they do feature flower clusters, which sit at the tips of the lengthy stalks and are surrounded by thick foliage. The blooms do not boast a scent and tend to flower in the winter months or in early spring. These minuscule white flowers rarely reach half an inch and boast cherry-red bracts.

Watering needs

Regular feeding and watering are required, even throughout the winter months. Water consistently during warmer periods, and try to rely on rainwater if you can. In the winter months, ensure the soil remains moist and do not overwater your plant as saturated soil can cause root rot.

You may wish to further boost your plant’s health by adding a liquid fertilizer in the summer months once every two weeks for extra nutrients.

Soil and Transplanting Prayer Plants

Ctenanthe Burle-Marxii thrives best in fertile, moist soil with exceptional drainage. Opt for a mix of peat moss and regular potting soil, along with a little sand. If you decide to move your plant inside during the winter months, consider switching it to a large pot, as this makes moving it around much easier and reduces root stress to the plant.

Light requirements

Ctenanthe Burle Marxii plants enjoy the shade. For this reason alone, do not place them in areas privy to direct sunlight, as this can cause the leaves to become scorched.

If growing this plant outside, choose a spot that benefits from morning or afternoon sunshine. When growing inside, an eastern-facing window boasting bright indirect light is beneficial to the plant’s wellbeing. This species can withstand a wide temperature range, however, freezing temperatures must be avoided at all times.

One huge environmental concern is humidity. Ctenanthe Burle-Marxii requires moisture all year round to thrive, which may mean moving your plant to various locations, especially if your home isn’t a humid place. If so, be sure to mist the plant on a daily basis.

Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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