The stromanthe plant is a tropical evergreen native to the rain forests of Brazil and belongs to the prayer plant family. The plant grows outdoors in hot, humid climates and produces blooms during the winter months. Stromanthe plants can grow indoors in a container as long as it gets adequate humidity and sunlight.
The stromanthe plant is an evergreen perennial that grows upright from a rhizome root. The plant grows up to a height of 5 feet with a spread of 3 feet. The leaves are dark green or green and white on the top with red on the bottom. The stromanthe plant produces clusters of white flowers with red bracts starting in the winter through early spring.
Stromanthe is hardy to plant in USDA growing zones 10 and 11 in areas with no risk of freezing temperatures. The plant grows best in a sandy loam or clay loam soil located in a partially shaded area to prevent sun scald on the foliage. The soil should have a pH level of 5.5 to 6.5. Ground rock sulfur worked into the soil will lower the pH, if needed.
The stromanthe plant prefers moist soil during the growing season and requires supplemental water when the weekly rainfall amount is less than 1 inch. Soak the water to a depth of 10 inches at least once a week in the hot summer months or during periods of drought. Mulch around the plant will help the soil retain moisture. Water indoor plants once the soil is dry to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. Fertilize established plants each spring with a balanced fertilizer. Mist indoor growing plants with water to increase the humidity levels.
Propagate the stromanthe plant by taking 6- to 8-inch stem cuttings in late summer. Choose current year growth that is becoming woody and hard in texture. The stems will produce roots when dipped in rooting hormone and stuck in a tray filled with moist rooting medium. Transplant the cuttings once they produce 1-inch or longer roots.
Stromanthe plants are susceptible to rhizactonia root rot because of the moist growing conditions. Infected plants show signs of wilt starting at the bottom of the plant. Reduce watering at the sign of a problem and apply a fungicide. Remove and discard the plant and surrounding soil if it does not rebound from treatment. Disinfect containers and tools used with the infected plant in a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water. Prevent root rot problems by not over-watering or creating standing water around the plant stem and roots.
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