Stromanthe

How to Grow and Care for Stromanthe Indoors

stromanthe

The Stromanthe has impressive, full variegate foliage with vibrant shades of pink. It can be grown outdoors in hot and humid climates, but it does best well indoors and is more commonly grown as a house plant.

A member of the prayer plant family, the Stromanthe folds its leaves up at night, and it can often be confused with the similar calathea plant. Although flowers can develop on this plant in spring when kept outdoors, it's the large, colorful leaves that are its star attraction indoors and out. It's a moderately fast-growing plant but will become temperamental and slow down when it feels disturbed, root bound, or doesn't get enough light.

Stromanthe Care

This isn't a plant for novice horticulturists. It needs a lot of attention and nurturing to keep it thriving in just the exact environment in which it likes to live.

Stromanthes grow best in warm, humid conditions, and this is why they tend to be an ideal house plant, sitting in a window with sufficient indirect light. But keep the plant away from sitting near a radiator or air conditioner.

Turning the plant around once a week can help ensure a good, even distribution of the leaves, as they'll grow in the direction of the light. Misting can also help to create the humidity they need.

Stromanthe should be potted in well-drained, fertile soil that is kept moist but not soggy.

Light

Tropical plants often need light that mimics what would be found in a rainforest environment.

Positioning your Stromanthe in an area with dappled light will provide it with the best chance of flourishing. If it receives too much direct sun, it can burn the leaves. As a houseplant, dust its leaves so the plant can receive more light.

Soil

Your Stromanthe needs a soil that is well-draining, breathable, and light. Although it needs to retain moisture, it shouldn't be too heavy or claggy.

Water

Ensuring your Stromanthe gets a consistent and appropriate amount of water is vital. Get this wrong, and the plant can quickly become unhealthy looking.

Keeping the soil constantly moist, but not waterlogged, is preferable. In cooler weather, this plant can be kept a little drier. Allowing just the top inch of soil to dry before rewatering usually provides good results.

This plant can even be fussy about the quality and temperature of the water. Tap water doesn't produce the best results because the plant is sensitive to the chemicals in ordinary water. Distilled water is ideal but spring water will also work. Make sure the water isn't overly chilled either.

You'll know if you're having watering issues with the plant because its leaves will turn brown or yellow. If the leaves turn brown, remove it from its pot and kept in a dish of water for a few hours before draining, rinsing, and repotting. Yellow leaves mean the soil is waterlogged and needs to dry out before watering again. You'll need patience for this process because it may take a couple of weeks. If the soil won't dry out, then it's time to repot the plant.


Temperature and Humidity

As you would expect with a tropical plant variety, the Stromanthe prefers a humid environment and warm temperatures. It does best in temperatures of around 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many people keep their Stromanthes on a bathroom window. That way they get plenty of humidity. They don't like environments that have harsh, dry heat or air-conditioning.

Fertilizer

Feeding your Stromanthe with a diluted, balanced fertilizer every couple of weeks can encourage it to thrive. Make sure the solution isn't too strong or applied too frequently as this can result in root burn.

If you opt for organic fertilizer, they tend to be less strong, and you might not need to dilute it.

Your plant won't need to be fertilized during its dormancy in the winter months.


Propagating Stromanthe

Unfortunately, you're not going to be able to grow one of these plants from a stem cutting. If you're keen to grow another plant, you can separate some of the rhizomes (clumps of roots) from a healthy mother plant. You just need to make sure each division has at least three or four leaves attached to it, that you use a good quality, moist potting soil, and that you undertake the task in spring or summer. You want to make the divisions before any new growth starts.

Common Pests and Diseases

The Stromanthe plant may attract common aphids and spider mites if the humidity is very low. A mild horticultural soap or neem oil spray can eliminate that problem. If your plant gets too dry, it can attract fungus and mold. Mist the plant daily to keep its environment humid.