The Stromanthe sanguinea [stroh-MAN-thee] [san-GWIN-ee-a], is one of about 10 plant species in the Stromanthe genus part of the prayer plant family.
The thin, long leaves of the plant give it a distinct look. These leaves are typically a dark green color with pale veins, while the undersides are often purplish red.
You can find these plants in the tropical rain forest regions of South America or your local nursery.
Stromanthes are in the Marantaceae family and close relatives of Prayer Plants (Maranta kerchoveana), Ctenanthes, and attractive varieties of Calatheas. Two of the most well-known Stromanthe varieties are:
- Stromanthe amabilis (Calathea Burle Marxii)– gray-green foliage with dark green markings
- Stromanthe ‘Triostar’ – a beautiful variegated sport of Stromanthe sanguinea is tricolor. Striking, foliage plant, technicolor lance-shaped foliage always amazes.
They grow great in areas outside of their native region when properly cared for. You just need to follow some basic plant care advice, starting with the following tips.
Stromanthe Sanguinea Care
Sanguinea Size and Growth
The first thing you’ll notice about this plant is its upright growth. The stems grow straight upward and may reach about one foot in height. The leaves then grow outward up to 16″ inches.
However, in optimal outdoor landscape conditions, the stems may reach up to five feet and provide a two to three-foot spread.
The stems are typically a reddish color while the leaves are bright green with pale veins and pink undersides.
It’s an easy plant to contain inside a pot or container, as it doesn’t grow very big when grown indoors.
When Does Stromanthe Flower?
The Stromanthe triostar rarely blooms, especially when grown indoors.
If flowers do show up, they should appear between March and April. The plant produces small white flowers with cherry-red bracts.
Best Lighting and Location Recommendations
The suggested USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12 for Stromanthe tricolor plants. This makes them suited for moderate temperatures.
Keep them in partial shade with indirect light, no direct sunlight, whether grown indoors or outdoors.
When grown outside in the ground, try to find a shady spot with indirect light that doesn’t receive direct afternoon sunlight.
NOTE: I’ve seen Stromanthe plants growing outdoors where they receive early morning sun and grow very well.
The ideal temperature is 70° degrees Fahrenheit or right around room temperature.
If temperatures drop below 60° degrees Fahrenheit, plants may suffer leaf burn.
If you live in a cooler region where night temperatures drop below 60° degrees Fahrenheit, move the plant indoors.
Watering and Feeding Stromanthe Plants
The water requirements can be a challenge. It doesn’t like sitting in water, which can also promote root rot.
But, it requires plenty of water to stay hydrated. Keep soil moist. Stromanthe triostar also prefers conditions with high humidity.
If growing the plant in a pot or container, make sure it gets enough water without soaking the soil is difficult. Let the top inch of soil dry out before watering.
Ensuring that it’s kept in a humid environment Misting daily with water may help.
When grown in the ground, root rot is less of an issue, as there is a lot more soil to soak the water.
Fertilize every three to four weeks throughout the spring and summer. Use a balanced water-soluble liquid houseplant fertilizer.
Soil and Transplanting
Use a loose well-draining soil. When growing in pots or containers, use shallow pots with a drainage hole.
To get the soil right mixture combine a houseplant potting mix with extra perlite or pumice.
The perlite helps improve drainage. Use pumice to help loosen heavier soils.
It’s a lightweight, porous material commonly used as a soil conditioner.
Transplanting shouldn’t be needed. If you decide to transplant it, remember to use the right soil mentioned above.
Remove withered leaves, otherwise, no extra grooming is needed.
How to Propagate Stromanthe Sanguinea
Propagate Stromanthe sanguinea including Stromanthe Triostar using cuttings or by division. The division is often the easier method.
To divide the plant, remove it from the container or ground and place it on a table or patio. Use a large knife to cut the plant at the base, separating the root structure in half.
Depending on the size of the plant, you may divide it several times.
Replant each division in a lightweight potting soil with perlite or pumice.
Take cuttings near the crown of the plant. Pot in small pots and keep indoors until the plant takes root. Then transplant it in the ground or a larger container.
For the cuttings to grow properly, they need humid conditions. Placing a plastic bag over the cuttings may help lock in the moisture.
What Are Stromanthe Sanguinea Pests or Disease Problems?
Stromanthe doesn’t attract lots of pests. If you notice aphids, mealybugs or scale remove them by hand when cleaning. Using an insecticide can damage the leaves of this plant.
NOTE: We have used Neem Oil successfully to control insect pests.
If leaves start to wither or turn brown, the air may be too dry, which is the most common problem this plant faces.
Misting the plant daily helps. Also adding an electric humidifier to keep near the plant may help.