Indoor Plant / Ctenanthe Setosa
A plant so polite, she’ll wave you goodbye in the morning! The Ctenanthe Setosa, famous for its dancing stripey leaves and purple underside
Ctenanthe are ground cover plants from the tropical forests of Brazil so these guys thrive in a warm position with medium filtered to soft light. If the leaves appear to be fading or losing their patterning and colour you may have them in too bright a position – move them to somewhere a little more sheltered. Keep them away from heating/cooling units as they are very sensitive to cold or hot drafts and sudden temperature fluctuations.
Ctenanthe Setosa Watering
It’s important to keep up a regular watering routine. In summer you want to keep the soil moist but not soggy. To monitor this, you can use your finger to poke into the top 5 cm of potting mix and feel the soil moisture level before watering. If it feels particularly wet, let it dry out for longer. Over watering can lead to fungal issues or root rot. Try watering a couple of times a week, but always testing the soil first to see if watering is necessary. During winter, when the plant isn’t in an active growing phase you should reduce watering frequency and use tepid/room temperature water.
As with all plants, drainage is essential. Ensure that whatever vessel your plant is in, there are sufficient holes in the bottom to allow excess water to freely drain from the pot and away from the plant’s roots.
Ctenanthe Setosa Humidity
Ctenanthe thrive in HIGH humidity environments, this is one of the major things that trips new plant parents up, especially if we have heaters, aircon or draughty windows and door in the house – this dries out the air and can quickly damage our plants. Some tips for increasing humidity include grouping plants together, placing pots on a pebble tray and if you want to go all out – buy a small humidifier online and place it in amongst your rainforest friends!
Ctenanthe Setosa Fertiliser
Feed with liquid fertiliser fortnightly over the warm, growing period and not at all over the cooler winter months.
Ctenanthe Setosa Extra Tips
Once a month you can wipe down the plants leaves using a damp cloth to clean away any dust that has collected and may be preventing the leaves from breathing. It’s completely normal for older leaves, lower down on the stem of the plant, to fade in colour and brown off as they age. Prune off any damaged or dying leaves using a sharp pair of scissors or secateurs so that the plant can put more energy into the newer, healthier growth.
If you would like to learn more about Ctenanthe and her sisters I can recommend the podcast ‘Bloom and Grow Radio’ season 3 episode 50 – ‘Maranta, Calathea and Stromanthe 101’.
Ctenanthe Setosa Toxicity
A Ctenanthe plant is slightly poisonous. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing.
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