How to Grow Ctenanthe - Planting & Caring

By Sharon & Team   /   Herbaceous Category   /   2023

Ctenanthe, also known as prayer plant, is a tropical plant that is known for its beautiful foliage. The leaves of the ctenanthe are variegated with different colors and patterns, which makes it a popular plant for home gardens. The ctenanthe is a fast-growing plant and can reach up to 2 feet in height. It is a relatively easy plant to care for and does not require much attention.

How to Grow Ctenanthe - Planting & Caring

Growing Easiness

Is it easy to grow Ctenanthe plant? When it comes to the ctenanthe plant, Oppenheimer says that it is easy to care for the plant. However, other species are more difficult to take care of.

Plant Size

How big can it be? Common ly known as the never-never plant or fishbone prayer plant, the ctenanthe is a species of plant native to Brazil. It is not a very large plant, only growing to be about 90 cm in height and width. The ctenanthe's leaves are what give it its distinctive appearance. They are dark green with white or light-colored stripes running down them, looking somewhat like fishbones.

Growth Rate

How fast is the growth? Unless the plant is trimmed, it will keep growing and will produce 5-6 new leaves per year. The new leaves will be larger than the previous ones.

Ctenanthe Basic Knowledge

Plant Form Herbaceous
Family Marantaceae – Marantaceae
Origin Brazil, Costa Rica

Lifespan, Perennial or Annuals

How long is the lifespan? So, they can live for quite a while with the right care. The minimum lifespan of a Ctenanthe plant is usually about 3 years. However, with proper care, they can live for much longer. Many Ctenanthe plants have been known to live for over 10 years.

Ideal Temperature

What is the ideal temperature? Although the Ctenanthe plant is tropical, it does not like high temperatures and requires high humidity. The ideal temperature range for this plant is 71.6-77 degrees Fahrenheit in summer and no lower than 60.8-64.4 degrees Fahrenheit in winter. The plant does not tolerate sudden changes in temperature well.


What about the humidity? Because this plant is from the tropical rain forests, it needs high humidity to feel comfortable. The leaves of the plant will show signs of drought stress if the humidity falls below 60%. In summer and winter, spray the plant at least 3 times a week, and preferably every day, using soft water. Place the pot in a tray with wet pebbles to help increase the humidity around the plant. Especially dangerous is the low humidity in winter, which can be increased by using a humidifier or by placing the plant on a pebble tray.

Light Requirement

What amount of light this plant needed? When grown indoors, Ctenanthe plants prefer bright, diffused light. They will do well near a south-facing window, but should have some shading from direct sunlight. North- and west-facing windows are also suitable. Ctenanthe plants are shade tolerant and can tolerate more light than some other indoor plants. However, too much light can cause the leaves to twist and the colors to fade.

Soil Composition

What is good soil for Ctenanthe? The reason why the soil has to be breathable is because the plant is originally from a tropical rainforest. The plant does not like to sit in water, so the sand or perlite helps with drainage. The peat is added to help the plant retain moisture.

Watering Time

How much I must water Ctenanthe? If you want your Ctenanthe houseplant to thrive, you must keep the soil moist at all times--but not soggy. In summer, water every four days using warm, soft water. If you don't water enough, the leaves will begin to twist and dry up. In winter, cut back on watering to once a week, but when new leaves begin to form, the soil should be allowed to dry out between waterings. Be sure not to allow water to stagnate in the pot, and avoid getting water on the leaves, as this can cause brown spots.

Fertilizing and Nutritient

About fertilizer. Unless the plant is actively growing, it does not need fertilizer. During the growing season, however, it's a good idea to fertilize the plant every 15-20 days with a liquid fertilizer, diluted twice. The cesspool is not well tolerated by stagnation of calcium and nitrogen in the soil.


How to reproduce Ctenanthe? The best time for division of the plant is late spring. It is important not to damage the roots of the plant while division. In some species, at the ends of the shoots, leaf sockets arise, which easily take root. Also, the plant can be propagated with stem cuttings, which are cut with a piece of rhizome at 1.5-2 cm under the knot. To reduce the evaporation, it is desirable to cut the leaf plate or twist it into a tube. The cherry should be put in water or in peat with sand and covered with polyethylene.


Why Ctenanthe won't bloom? Although the flowers are small and nondescript, the plant blooms profusely in the summer. The white flowers are borne in spikelets, which are dense, elongated clusters.

Transfer or Repotting

How much I must water Ctenanthe? The plant should be transferred in the second half of spring. It is necessary to take shallow pots, because the root system of the plant is superficial. In the future, the plant will need to be transplanted every 3-5 years. When transplanting, the plant can be divided.

Caring The Ctenanthe

How to care the plant? Unless you live in a tropical climate, you will need to bring your Ctenanthe indoors for the winter. The leaves of the plant, like all members of the family, are formed at night – this is normal. In summer, the plant can be taken out to the garden or to the balcony, but it should be protected from the wind. The plant does not like draft gas and combustion products. Completely dried leaves should be removed in a timely manner. Wipe the leaves with either a soft dry cloth or a brush, since they are easily damaged. The plant has old, near-to-center parts of the rhizome dying off. Therefore, the plant should be periodically divided.

Pests & Challenges

What is the challenge when caring Ctenanthe plant? While it is possible to maintain at home, there are a number of conditions which, if not met, will result in the plant's leaves wilting and eventually dying. These include a lack of moisture in the air, drying of the soil, or overheating of the leaves. In addition, the plant is susceptible to a number of pests, including spider mites, mealybugs, and scutes, which can further damage the leaves.

Toxic & Poisonous Type

Are Ctenanthe poisonous? known as “never-never plant” The Ctenanthe plant, also known as the "never-never plant", is a poisonous plant that can be found in tropical regions. The plant gets its name from its unique flowers, which never seem to open. The Ctenanthe plant is very poisonous and can cause severe stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea if ingested. If you come into contact with the plant, it is important to wash your hands and clothing immediately.