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Giant Bamburanta Ctenanthe oppenheimiana

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Calathea oppenheimiana
  • Maranta herderiana
  • Maranta oppenheimiana
  • Phyllodes oppenheimiana
Phonetic Spelling
tee-NANTH-ee o-pen-hiem-ee-AY-na
Description

The Giant Bamburanta is a bushy evergreen perennial that grows up to 3 feet tall and prefers warm, sheltered, shady, and humid conditions. It is a colorful tropical houseplant and has attractive variegated foliage and inconspicuous flowers. The plant is a member of the Marantaceae or arrowroot family. They are frequently called the prayer-plant family. The plants in this genus typically fold 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 cultivar, 'Tricolor,' is most commonly available and has creamy white and green leaves with a reddish color beneath.

The plant is native to Northeast Brazil. They are adapted to shaped tropical forests and jungles.

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 Giant Bamburanta requires bright indirect sunlight, moist and well-drained soil, and high to medium humidity. Brown leaf margins and curled leaves may indicate underwatering. Yellowing leaves may result from overwatering. The plant is intolerant to mineral and salt build-up from the use of tap water which may result in brown leaf tips. Distilled or filtered water is recommended. Drafts should be avoided. 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 the spring or early summer. It may take 5-10 years for the plant to reach its ultimate height. 

The plant is propagated by division and stem cuttings.

The leaves are long, lanceolate, and have patterns of dark green with silver bands. The cultivar, 'Tricolor,' has leaves with a  striking color of dark green with creamy white stripes and reddish-burgundy underneath. The flowers are typically insignificant and may bloom throughout the year. 

The Giant Barburanta is desired for its ornamental foliage and is best grown as a houseplant in the US. Consider growing this plant under glass to maintain constant temperature and humidity. 

Quick ID Hints:

  • The leaf pattern is distinct, light green on dark green
  • Stems are unbranched; petiole length lends height
  • Leaf underside is purple-red
  • Light stripes are even, forked toward the mid-vein

Diseases, Pests, and Other Problems:

Potential pests include mealybugs, red spider mites, and thrips. The need for high humidity may cause gray mold.

Difficult to grow.

Intolerant:  direct sunlight; temperatures less than 60 degrees F.; cold drafts; cold or hard water; constantly dry air; direct fertilization after repotting;

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Tricolor'
    Dark green leaves with creamy white colored stripes or band, burgundy undersides
'Tricolor'
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#colorful leaves#interiorscape#variegated leaves#warm climates#fantz#partial shade tolerant#difficult to grow#container plants#high humidity
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Tricolor'
    Dark green leaves with creamy white colored stripes or band, burgundy undersides
'Tricolor'
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#colorful leaves#interiorscape#variegated leaves#warm climates#fantz#partial shade tolerant#difficult to grow#container plants#high humidity
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ctenanthe
    Species:
    oppenheimiana
    Family:
    Marantaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Brazil
    Distribution:
    Native: Brazil Northeast
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 8 in. - 3 ft. 3 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 8 in. - 3 ft. 3 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Houseplant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    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
    3 feet-6 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 11b, 11a, 12a, 12b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Raceme
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are inconspicuous and overshadowed by the beautiful foliage. The flowers are small, white, or yellow clusters. They have three sepals, three petals, and they form a short funnel. They are not typically seen in cultivation.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    In basal rosette, simple, lanceolate, acute, cuneate, entire, green with silver white markings in direction of veins above, purple-red beneath, coriaceous.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Rhizomatous
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants