Ctenanthe (Ctenanthe setosa), cousin of Calathea: culture, maintenance

The Ctenanthe (Ctenanthe setosa) is a vigorous houseplant, a cousin of Calathea and Maranta that can sometimes be confused because of their similarities. This tropical perennial rhizome grows in the humid forests of southeastern Brazil, where it originates, but in our latitudes it must be grown at a minimum temperature of 13°C.

Ctenanthe (Ctenanthe setosa), cousin of Calathea

The long lanceolate evergreen leaves are streaked with cream or silver-green on a dark green background as if the veins are prominent. These very decorative graphic foliage is Ctenanthe’s main asset.

Regardless of the time of year, small, unremarkable, pale yellow flowers grow in clusters.

The basal leaves from the base have very long petioles, longer than the leaves, forming a fairly dense erect tuft. In the natural environment, Ctenanthe setosa can grow up to 1.5m, but indoors, the tree usually tops at a height of 60 or 70cm.

  • Family: Marantaceae
  • Type: indoor plants
  • Origin: Brazil
  • Color: light yellow flowers
  • Sow: yes
  • Cut: no
  • Planting: spring
  • Flowering: all year round
  • Height: 60 cm (up to 1.5 m in original environment)

Ideal soil and exposure for Ctenanthe setosa

Since Ctenanthe setosa is of tropical origin, it is usually grown in partial shade, where the soil is cool, fertile, and rich in humus. But for potting and inside, you’ll have to provide it with high humidity in a fertile mixture of peat and loamy soil, in mild exposure without direct sunlight. : these conditions are so desirable to achieve, they sometimes make the development of the Ctenanthe difficult.

Date of sowing, division and planting Ctenanthe setosa

It is in the spring that you will plant Ctenanthe seeds between 18 and 24°C.

The division of large rhizome clusters is also carried out in the spring, around March.

For planting and repotting, spring is still the ideal season: when pots get too large, just cover them.

Ctenanthe setosa . maintenance and culture department

To maintain freshness, place the potted plant on a plate covered with gravel. Water once or twice a week during the growing period and then every 10 days in winter, barely allowing the substrate to dry out between watering.

Diseases, Pests and Parasites Ctenanthe setosa

Mealybugs are the main enemy to watch out for in case they attack plants, especially in greenhouses.

As an indoor plant, bright spaces, shady patios or greenhouses are also protected from direct sunlight.

Type Ctenanthe There are about fifteen species in total. Offended Ctenanthe setosayou will often find Ctenanthe burle-marxii (40-60cm) has a compact habit and dark green and light green striped foliage, enhanced with red undersides, Ctenanthe lubbersiana (2m) dark green leaves with irregular yellow spots on top and pale green underside, Ctenanthe oppenheimiana dark green leaves with silver V-shaped bends on top and wine red on the back, Ctenanthe oppenheimiana ‘Three Colors’ creamy, light green and dark green mottled foliage…

(image credit: 9V1BH – CC BY-NC 2.0)

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