Despite it’s reputation for being a finicky diva, one member of the prayer plant family that I have enjoyed immensely is the Stromanthe “Triostar.” They have beautiful leaves with shades of green, white and pink with bright burgundy undersides. They almost look as though someone has painted them with a brush and they are hard to ignore.
I believe there is a lot of mis-information circulating about this plant, and prayer plants in general because it has been a fairly easy and stable plant to grow and as such, I often forget to fuss over it.
I did plant two smaller plants together in this larger pot (they are in a 10″ plastic nursery pot that is tucked inside this ceramic planter.) as I feel most prayer plant varieties are much easier to care for in larger sizes. Bigger is better in this instance!
Stromanthe Triostar may not be the plant for you if perfection is your goal. It is quite likely you will get brown tips on your leaves no matter how you fuss over your plant. It’s normal for leaves to do this as they process water, fertilizer and just generally age over time. If it bothers you, you can take clean scissors and trim the brown bits off. It doesn’t bother me and I let them do their thing.
Stromanthe Triostar General Care:
Light: Generally, plants in the marantaceae or prayer plant family are best kept out of high light situations. Too much light will have the stromanthe curling it’s leaves up to protect them. If you notice your plant curling up, first look for pests and then move it back a bit from the light source. Indirect or dappled light is best. Mine is approximately 20 feet from a large west window.
Water: This is where most go wrong with stromanthe. Most care guides say a version of this “keep moist and do not let it become dry.” but I feel that advice leads to many problems. Fungus gnats are one, but root rot and root suffocation is sure to follow. I do let my plant dry out between waterings but I do not let it sit dry for long. I find over watering can contribute to dry crispy leaves by way of root rot. If the roots are not in good condition, they cannot deliver moisture to the leaves.
Do use filtered water as they have a difficult time processing salts that are found in tap water and do flush your pot through from time to time to remove any salts built up in the soil.
Soil: I also feel that soil is a massive problem when it comes to prayer plant varieties. Greenhouses pack them with a peat heavy mix so they don’t have to water as often but continuing to use this type of soil in the home leads to disaster. Repot your plant in a well draining mix that includes perlite so roots can breathe and soil can dry between waterings. If you feel your plant is drying out too fast and requires more than once a week watering, you can always make a change or put it in a larger pot.
Humidity: Again another piece of common advice is to keep humidity high, to mist your plant, or use a pebble tray. Yes, these plants do love humidity but they can also develop fungus, ,mold and rot from leaves and soil staying wet. If you have your plant in a high humidity situation you must also provide great airflow so leaves and soil do not sit wet. Mine is doing well in our general household humidity of 45-55% and I do not mist it.
Fertilizer: This plant isn’t a huge feeder so an organic balanced fertilizer, diluted to half strength will be enough. Fertilize once a month during the growing season. Do take great care in fertilizing your plant as they are sensitive and can end up with burnt leaf tips. Using a soil amendment such as worm castings is a great way to go with sensitive plants instead of a water based fertilizer. It’s often enough.
Pruning and propagation: This plant will not require pruning unless you wish to remove damaged or dying growth. To propagate, wait for the plant to develop a second plant rhizome and root system in the pot and then separate them. You cannot propagate Stromanthe Triostar by leaf or stem cutting.
Pests: Stromanthe can be prone to most pests but will especially attract spider mites if they remain dry for too long. If you need more information about spider mites you can see how I handled spider mites on my indoor hibiscus tree.
Toxicity: Most marantaceae family plants are non-toxic but as with any plant, don’t let pets or children chew on them. One never knows when there might be a reaction.