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Never Never Plant Ctenanthe amabilis

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Never Never Plant:

Previously known as:

  • Stromanthe amabilis
Phonetic Spelling
te-NANTH-ee a-MAH-bih-liss
Description

Stromanthe is a bushy evergreen perennial that grows up to 20 inches tall and likes warm, sheltered, shady locations.  It is a popular houseplant in many parts of the world. They have attractive variegated foliage and seldom flower. This species is a member of the Marantaceae or arrowroot family. They are frequently called the prayer-plant family. The plants in this genus typically hold up their leaves at night as if in prayer. The leaves unfurl during the day.

Another common name for this plant is the Never Never Plant. 

The plant is native to Brazil and has been introduced in Costa Rica.

The genus, Ctenanthe, was first described in 1884. The name, Ctenanthe, is derived from the Greek word ktenos, which means "comb," and anthera meaning "anther." The species name, amabilis, is Latin in derivation and means "lovable."

The Stromanthe or Never Never Plant prefers partial shade or filtered light, constant warm temperature, and high humidity. They are tolerant of loam, clay, sand, and chalky soils and all pH levels. The plant needs to be in a draft-free environment. No pruning is required. It is recommended that the plant be fertilized monthly during its growth cycle. The plant should be repotted annually, preferably in late spring to early summer. It may take 5-10 years for the plant to reach its ultimate height of 20 inches,

The plant is propagated by division and stem cuttings.

The oblong leaves have a striking pattern of dark green with stripes of gray and grayish-green. The pattern is said to resemble a wheat tuft. The plant has rather inconspicuous clusters of tubular white flowers which can occur throughout the year.

The plant is desired for its ornamental foliage and is best used as a houseplant in the US. The plant is very frost-tender. Consider growing the plant under glass to maintain constant temperature and humidity. 

Quick ID

  • Leaves are oblong and flattened at the apex (truncate)
  • The underside of the leaf is purple
  • The pattern is dark on grayish-green and resembles wheat
  • Every other dark band extends into the margin

Diseases, Pest, and Other Problems:

This plant is typically disease and pest-free, but mealybugs, red spider mites, and gray mold can occur.

Intolerant: direct sunlight, cold drafts, constant dry air

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#perennials#showy leaves#interiorscape#warm climates#non-showy flowers#fantz#high humidity
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#perennials#showy leaves#interiorscape#warm climates#non-showy flowers#fantz#high humidity
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ctenanthe
    Species:
    amabilis
    Family:
    Marantaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Brazil
    Distribution:
    Native: Brazil; Introduced: Costa Rica; Popular houseplant in many parts of the world.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 4 in. - 1 ft. 8 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 4 in. - 1 ft. 8 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    11b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Tubular
    Flower Description:
    The inflorescence is a raceme with leathery bracts subtending stalked, bracteolate cymules. Flowers are white, small, fleshy. This plant seldom has flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are crowded, in basal rosettes, oblong-elliptic, apex truncate with short sharp acumen, base rotund. They are entire, upper side silver-gray with alternating short and long bands of dark green in the direction of the veins; the long dark green bands extend into the margin. The underside is purple; petiole long, sheathing.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems are short and rhizomatous.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio