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Ctenanthe, Never Never Plant, Fishbone Prayer Plant, Burle Marx Ctenanthe
Ctenanthe burle-marxii

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Family: Marantaceae
Genus: Ctenanthe (tee-NANTH-ee) (Info)
Species: burle-marxii (burl-MARKS-ee-eye) (Info)




Tropicals and Tender Perennials


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall



Other details:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Kurtistown, Hawaii

Covington, Louisiana

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 20, 2008, drecenra from Orting, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I've found that this plant grows best in indirect sunlight. Give it rich soil, make sure the soil doesn't go dry, and it will grow great. Misting the leaves helps.

If the leaves curl up, it needs more humidity. Flower stalks take a lot out of the plant, so it will slow it's growth. Cut them off to encourage new growth.

A really nice looking plant.


On Jul 14, 2007, macybee from Deer Park, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Per Botanica Encyclopedia:
Stromanthe - This genus of some 13 species of evergreen, rhizomatous perennials in the arrowroot family is found from Central America to southern Brazil. They often develop short trunks or sturdy, trunk-like stems. The leaves, enclosed in a petiole sheath before expanding, are oblong, heavily veined and 4-18 " long depending on the species. They are usually dark green above with purplish undersides. Infloresences of small white, pink or mauve flowers appear in summer. Leafy bracts enclose the flowers and are occasionally brightly colored. Small, ridged fruits follow the flowers.

Cultivation: Plant in moist, humus-rich, well drained soil in light to moderate shade. Principally tropical plants, they will not tolerate frosts and prefer a mild, ... read more