Ctenanthe - Never-Never Plant
DESCRIPTION: These attractive perennials are from tropical Brazil. They are related to the Calathea and Maranta and are mainly grown for the beauty of their foliage. These plants are sometimes known by the name Phrynium in gardens. C. Kummeriana grows 24 inches high and has green leaves veined with white on top and purple underneath. C. Lubbersiana grows 18 inches tall and its leaves are dark green and yellow above and pale green beneath. C. Oppenheimiana grows up to 3 feet high. Its leathery, lance-shaped leaves are green mottled with cream. It produces small, 3-petaled, white flowers in spikes at odd intervals. Its variety tricolor has leaves variegated purple-red and yellow. Setosa will grow up to 3 feet high and it has green leaves.
POTTING: In cool climates, these plants should be grown in a house or greenhouse. The atmosphere should be kept at a steady temperature and humidity, and the foliage sprayed with water several times a day. Much less humidity and spraying is necessary in the winter. Repotting needs to be done annually in February or March so they will flourish. Good compost to use would consist of equal parts of loam, peat and leaf mold, with broken charcoal and coarse sand added for good drainage. These plants will die if they don't have adequate drainage. The soil must not be packed too hard; firm gently with the fingers. Water sparingly until the pots are filled with roots. Their soil needs to be kept moist and shade must be available or else the leaves will be scorched. In the winter, water should only be given when the dirt is somewhat dry.
PROPAGATION: You can produce more plants by dividing the clumps when you repot them. Keep the divided sections in a closed propagating case for a few weeks until they form roots.
VARIETIES: Kummeriana; Lubbersiana; Oppenheimiana; C. setosa.
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