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With its vivid pastel stripes, the triostar stromanthe (Stromanthe sanguinea or Stromanthe thalia, also known as tricolor stromanthe) is one of the best ways to add a pop of color and dreamy tropical vibes to your space. These full, vibrant plants will grow two to three feet high and one to two feet across at maturity with the proper care.
Native to the jungles of Brazil, this lush plant features elegant pointed green leaves splashed with pale green, cream, and pink on top and colored a deep pink, maroon, or magenta underneath. As a member of the prayer plant family along with marantas and calatheas, your triostar stromanthe will naturally fold up its leaves at night, showing off their striking pink undersides.
A very similar plant with slightly different characteristics and less cold tolerance is Ctenanthe oppenheimiana, also called never never plant or giant bamburanta, but it’s much more rare than the triostar stromanthe.
Best Growing Conditions for Your Triostar Stromanthe
Display your triostar stromanthe in a spot with bright, indirect light, such as an east-facing or north-facing window. This will allow your plant to thrive while maximizing its coloring. Triostar stromanthe plants can live with lower light, but their variegation will be less pronounced. Turn the plant once a week to ensure even growth, as the leaves will grow towards the light source over time.
While these plants are cold-hardy to 40 degrees, they prefer temperatures between 65 to 80 degrees, so it’s best to place them in a warm room with no cold drafts.
Triostar stromanthe plants also require a humid environment, which can be tough to create indoors with forced-air heat or air conditioning. This makes them a great plant to keep in your bathroom window grouped with other humidity-loving plants.
You can also increase the moisture in the air around your plant’s leaves with a humidifying tray. Fill a tray with a layer of pebbles, then add water to just below the top of the pebbles. Place your plant on top of the pebbles, making sure that the bottom of the pot isn’t touching the water surface. Replenish the water in the tray periodically as it evaporates.
How to Care for Your Triostar Stromanthe
Keep your triostar stromanthe’s soil consistently moist, but not soggy. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. The plant may require less water in winter than in summer, so check the soil often when you first get it home, and as the seasons change to figure out a watering rhythm that works.
Feed your triostar stromanthe with standard houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength once per month in the spring and summer. Avoid fertilizing in the winter, when the plant goes dormant.
Triostar stromanthe plants should be repotted every couple of years or when you notice roots growing out of the bottom of the pot. It’s best to repot in early spring before new growth has appeared. When repotting, use a light, peat-based potting soil.
Grouping houseplants like triostar stromanthe together is a great way to increase humidity. The plants release moisture into the air, creating a tropical microclimate.
If you notice dry, brown spots on the leaves, that’s a sign that your plant is getting too much sun. Move your plant to a shadier spot, such as a few feet from a south-facing window.
If you notice crisp, brown leaf edges, that’s a telltale sign that your space is too dry. To remedy this, use a humidifying tray and group your plant together with other humidity-loving houseplants. If your space is very dry, you may need to run a small humidifier in the room to keep the air moist enough for your plant.
How to Propagate Your Triostar Stromanthe
While it’s not possible to grow new triostar stromanthe plants from simple cuttings placed in water, it’s still possible to get two (or more) plants from one. Triostar stromanthe plants can be propagated by division.
To increase your chances of success, it’s best to propagate your plant in the spring or summer. You’ll need a healthy mother plant, fresh soil, a clean, sharp pair of pruning shears, and as many appropriately-sized pots as new divisions you plan to grow.
Step 1: Remove the mother plant from its pot. Loosen the roots and the soil gently with your fingers, then carefully pull apart the rhizomes to separate them into a few clumps. Make sure each clump includes at least two or three leaves. You can use your shears or a clean, sharp knife to separate any connected roots.
Step 2: Prepare new pots with fresh soil for the new divisions you’ve made. Plant the new divisions in the new pots. Replant the mother plant in a container with fresh soil. Water the plants so that the soil is uniformly moist.
Step 3: Keep the new plants in a warm place with bright, indirect light. Be sure to keep the soil moist but not soggy. When you see new leaves appear, that’s a sign that the roots have established.