Stromanthe is a genus of the marantaceae family and comes in four varieties, including stromnathe porteana, stromanthe ramosissima and stromanthe sanguinea. A more common name for the Marantaceae family is the ‘prayer root’ family.
All varieties are flowering plants that are notable for their large and starchy rhizomes. The majority of plants include pointed, long leaves that come in red, cream and green. Other varieties have light green leaves with darker coloured veins running across the surface.
Stromanthe is a set of perennial herbs native to moist and swampy tropical forests, predominantly found in the Americas, Asia and Africa. Some are dense bushes up to 2 meters high and others are slender, reedy stalks.
Generally, propagation is done by dividing the plant to form two new ones. This is best done when it needs to be re-potted. It is available all year round, but it requires different levels of attention at different times of the year. For instance, it needs to be fed every fortnight from spring right through to autumn.
The family name is marantaceae and 13 genera are included in this family, including stromanthe and calathea.
The popular potted plant stromanthe sanguinea can tolerate half shade to bright light, but doesn’t like direct sun. It should be kept constantly moist, but not too boggy as this can cause the roots to rot. Always choose a good quality potting compost and re-pot, splitting as needed regularly. Every month during spring and summer, use a water soluble fertilizer diluted by half. Remember, it won’t need feeding for the first six weeks after you re-pot it. Try to keep it in a warm spot, above 15 degrees Celcius and spray it with water to help increase the humidity and keep the leaves free of dust.
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Other members in the marantaceae family are popular ornamentals, such as the water canna (thalia dealbata), which can produce leaves suitable for basket making and others that produce edible stalks and tubers.