Ctenanthe setosa

29 Feb

Ctenanthe setosa (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Ctenanthe setosa (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Indirect bright to medium light

Flowering period: All year round

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1m

Eventual Spread: 1m

Hardiness: 10a, 10b, 11, 12

Family: Marantaceae

Ctenanthe setosa is an evergreen perennial with a clump forming habit. Its striped dark green and silver/ grey leaves are purple on their undersides, elliptic with entire margins, up t0 45cm long and 10cm across. Its leaf petioles are hairy. Its white flowers are borne on short spikes. Its rots have rhizomes which aids its slow spread.

Ctenanthe setosa, commonly known as Prayer Plant, is native Brazil. In its native habitat it grows as a tropical woodland understory plant.

The etymological root of the binomial name Ctenanthe is derived from the Greek ktenos meaning ‘comb’ and anthera menaing ‘anther’. Setosa is derived from the Latin Seta meaning ‘bristle’.

The landscape architect may find Ctenanthe setosa useful as an attractive foliage houseplant suitable for bright conditions. It is also suitable for atrium planting as a ground cover plant.

Ecologically, Ctenanthe setosa is of little value to UK wildlife.

Ctenanthe setosa Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Ctenanthe setosa Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Ctenanthe setosa prefers moist, humus rich, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

When maintaining  Ctenanthe setosa as a houseplant its soil should be watered regularly. Watering should be reduced during the winter months. Its preferred active growing temperature rages from between 18ºc to 24ºc, although it will tolerate a winter temperature as low as 10ºc. Feeding with weak fertiliser solution should be carried out once every two weeks during the growing season. This plant may be sprayed to improve humidity. Red Spider Mite and Mealy Bugs may attack this plant.

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