Monday, March 2, 2009

Plant Find: Calathea, Marantas, and Stromanthe

I am fond of plants from the Marantaceae family.  This family includes several genera that are common houseplants, including Calathea (peacock plants) and Maranta (prayer plants), as well as the less common Ctenanthe and Stromanthe.  There are actually about 30 genera in this family, but those 4 are the only ones with which I am familiar.

Generally, plants from this family are grown for their striking colors.  One of the features I enjoy is watching how all of the new leaves unfurl.  Also, mature leaves will retract whenever they dry out.  Marantas tend to fold in half (like praying hands), while Calatheas roll into a scroll.

Last week I added 3 new plants from this family to my collection.  I found a Calathea at Lowe's for $5 and it was a color variety that I had never seen before.  I figured I should snatch it up in case I never saw it again.  You know how that goes.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="Peacock plant - Calathea roseopicta 'Saturn'"]Calathea roseopicta Saturn[/caption]

When I found myself driving through north Oklahoma City last Tuesday, I decided I should probably stop by my favorite plant nursery, TLC Florist and Greenhouses.  As usual, they had a couple of great plants for a mere $2!  I bought 2 different Marantas.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="Prayer plant - Maranta leuconeura"]Prayer plant - Maranta leuconeura[/caption]

Marantas have a wonderful, delicate feel.  They are fairly sensitive to soil moisture levels.  I try to not let the soil ever dry out.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="Red-veined Prayer plant - Maranta leuconeura erythroneuro"]Red-veined Prayer plant - Maranta leuconeura erythroneuro[/caption]

Back in January, I added 2 other plants to my Marantaceae collection.  One is Stromanthe sanguinea 'Triostar', which I found for a very reasonable price at Lowe's.  It is a beautiful tri-colored plant that I saw in bloom at the Myriad Gardens last week.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="307" caption="Stromanthe sanguinea 'Triostar'"]Stromanthe sanguinea Triostar[/caption]

The other plant is a Ctenanthe, which I got at TLC Florist and Greenhouses.  In case you missed my post about TLC, you can see the post here and the photo album here.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Ctenanthe lubbersiana"]Ctenanthe lubbersiana[/caption]

I will probably post a more thorough guide to plants from the Marantaceae family in the next couple of months.

7 comments:

  1. I think they're pretty, but I should not buy plants from the Marantaceae. I can't keep up with their watering needs. Stromanthe sanguinea is proving to be a problem. And Calathea ornata was a disaster. I can (barely) manage Maranta leuconeura, though I've had mealybug trouble with them.

    I mean, it's not them, it's me. But I'm pretty close to giving up on the whole family.

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  2. They are probably my favourite family too and I love the way their leaves go. I love that Stromanthe. Unlike Mr Subjective I tend to over water plants anyway so they thrive with me. Great post.

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  3. Very nice new additions to your collection. I like the way the Marantas folds their leaves at night. Beautiful colors
    and markings!

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  4. Very colorful Zach! Unfortunately I can't keep houseplants because of my animals. They tend to taste test stuff. ;)

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  5. I like these plants but they are not the easy ones for me. I think they need higher humidity than I have in my house. Good luck with them!

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  6. The triostar is beautiful, and I don't remember having ever seen one. Great find!

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  7. I bought two Triostar this summer and have them outside in containers (NJ, USA). They are growing like wild and seem to love the very hot temps this year. I moisten them a little every morning. I just love them, so dramatic looking in my 'green' (no annuals) garden, but we'll see how they do in the house over the winter.

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