Ctenanthe has the English name Never-Never Plant, i.e. “Never Start!”. Many flower growers find it difficult to create for the plant the Brazilian tropics, where it comes from. This is a rather whimsical plant, very suffering from dry air. But relatively shade-tolerant.

When considering where to keep a plant, think of the rainforest ecosystem. Long daylight hours are the norm for them, although the dense forest canopy creates shading that reduces the amount of direct light.

Improper lighting can lead to problems with foliage, which will negatively affect the beauty of the color, for which the plant is most appreciated. Without a constant source of indirect but bright light, the color patterns on the leaves will change dramatically.

In too little light, the young foliage will be a solid dark green color, and the attractive silver patterns will either be invisible or disappear altogether. On the other hand, too much light will cause bright shades to fade.



Ctenanthe loves organic-rich soils. The soil is made in the following proportions: leafy earth : peat : sand (2: 3: 1), it should be loose and well drained. According to the acidity, the substrate should be slightly acidic (pH 5.0-6.0). Of the purchased soils, it is best to give preference to a special soil for arrowroot, containing perlite.


After purchase, the plant is not transplanted for a year, it is provided with everything necessary. In the future, young plants are transplanted in the spring every year, adults – every 2-3 years. It is useful every year to pour fresh soil based on Biohumus. The pot is selected wide and shallow to create conditions for the growth of rhizomes. The final size of the plant will be determined by the size of the pot.


The leaves of many Ctenanthe have a variegated coloration, however, they are quite shade-tolerant, although they love bright but indirect diffused light. They feel best on windows of western and eastern orientation, on southern ones they require shading from direct sunlight. They grow well in the depths of the premises when illuminated with phytolamps. This plant is a long day, the light period should be 16 hours. However, the Ctenanthe do not respond well to excess light – the leaf plates are smaller, and their color fades.



The optimum temperature for the tendant is +22…+25°C, at night it can be a little lower. During the period of forced rest (autumn and winter), the daytime temperature should be maintained at +20°C during the day and not lower than +16…+18°C at night. Hypothermia of the root ball can destroy the plant. The temperature of +13°C is already critical for the ctenant. And the maximum temperature that the plant can tolerate is + 29 ° C. However, it is necessary to avoid sudden changes in temperature, as well as drafts.


Ctenanthe is a moisture-loving tropical plant. Water it abundantly, but allowing the top layer of soil to dry out between waterings. Stagnation of water is unacceptable, as well as overdrying of the soil. During the autumn-winter period, watering is reduced. For irrigation, only soft settled warm water is used.


s often the main stumbling block in growing Ctenanthe. The required humidity level for the ctenant is very high – from 70 to 90%. The lack of moisture is indicated by twisted leaves. To begin with, you need to find a place for the plant in the room with the greatest humidity. Place the pot on a pallet with wet claydite. All year round, the plant should be sprayed at least 2 times a day with soft water, ugly spots remain on the leaves from hard water. Moisture should be evenly and finely sprayed, because large drops of water can cause the appearance of dark spots on the leaves. A good helper can be a household humidifier. Or the organization of a greenhouse, a florarium, ideally – maintenance in a humid tropical winter garden.


For fertilizing the ctenant, complex mineral fertilizers with a low nitrogen content are selected. Fertilize every 2 weeks. In winter, they are fed every 1.5 months.


It consists in removing dead foliage. Sometimes it may be necessary to limit growth.


Flowering in Ctenanthe is quite nondescript and in room conditions is scarce. With optimal content, slight flowering with white or yellowish flowers collected in inflorescences is possible at any time of the year, with the greatest probability – from February to the end of summer.

Pests and diseases

Perhaps the defeat of spider mites, shield, thrips, mealybugs. But in general, the plant is quite resistant to pests.

In conditions of overwatering of the root system, the development of botrytis (gray rot) is possible.

Ktenant Lubbers Variegata

Propagation of Ctenanthe

Ctenanthe can be propagated by division when transplanted in the spring or early summer, or by apical cuttings.

Mature plants are divided into 2-3 parts, each of which should preserve intact roots. Plant in a pot and water abundantly. Cover the plant with a plastic bag, puncturing a couple of small holes, thus creating the conditions of the greenhouse. Put in a warm place and do not water again until the top layer of soil dries. The greenhouse is gradually removed when young leaves begin to grow.

Cuttings are carried out in late spring – early summer. On cuttings take apical parts up to 10 cm long, with 2-3 leaves. Plant in the soil for arrowroot and root in a greenhouse at elevated temperature and humidity. A small illumination with a phytolamp for 16 hours is also a plus. Roots usually form within 5-6 weeks.

Cuttings are well rooted in water, but it is better to immediately root them in the ground.

Possible difficulties in growing Ctenanthe

  • The leaves lose color, become smaller and dry out- from too bright lighting.
  • The leaves turn brown in direct sunlight – these are sunburns, a ghost is necessary.
  • The tips and edges of the leaves turn brown and dry, the leaves curl, growth slows down – either the air is too dry, or the plant is affected by a spider mite.
  • The tips of the leaves turn yellow and brown – with an excess or lack of nutrition.
  • The leaves curl up and become covered with spots – due to lack of moisture in the soil. The root ball should always be moist, but not oversaturated with moisture.
  • Leaves fall off – with too dry air or excessive watering.
  • The stems wither and rot – the plant is cold, and the humidity of the air is too high. The same is observed with waterlogging of the soil and sharp temperature fluctuations, which lead to decay of the root system.

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