Those who buy their first Cthenante Burle Marxii run the risk of becoming irredeemable fans of this species. Whether it is because you have fallen in love with its firm, striking colours, because you find the fact that they move their leaves to greet or bid farewell to the day fascinating, or because you want a unique plant. Whatever the reason, this variety of calathea is charming and I assure you that you will want to have more than one. welcome to the club! I assure you that your plant will be the centre of attention if you follow this care guide for the Cthenante Burle Marxii.
Meet the Cthenante Burle Marxii
- It is also known by the names herringbone prayer plant, Fishbone marantha and Burle Marx calathea.
- Cthenante is a nice maranthaceae, i.e. it is a second cousin of the prayer flower and they look very similar, especially to the naked eye, but if you look a little more closely you will notice the lighter herringbone leaf pattern, and the leaves are more oval and longer.
- It has a compact growth, reaching a maximum height of 40cm but it will continue to fill out with shoots and become bushy. You can separate these shoots and transplant them for propagation.
- This plant is named after the famous Brazilian landscape gardener Roberto Burle Marx. Considered the father of modern landscaping and the ecological approach, he was noted for his use of ornamental plants native to his area, integrated into organic curves that blended with the natural environment, creating captivating landscape compositions that are references even today.
- If you want to create a dramatic effect in your home, you can group it with other plants in dark and purple tones, such as the tricolour maranta or the classic begonias. This will also be very beneficial, as it will increase humidity levels.
Care of the Burle Marxii
Lighting and temperature
Being native to the tropical rainforests of Brazil, these plants prefer to receive plenty of filtered light. Direct sunlight will only burn its beautiful leaves. If you can place it in a room with an east-facing window it would be great, as it can receive plenty of light without any danger. In terms of temperature, this plant adapts very well to a wide range but it is sensitive to frost, so you should shelter it during the winter if temperatures drop too low in your area. It will be safe as long as it has a temperature above 15°C and does not face sudden changes.
Watering and humidity
This plant requires more or less continuous watering, but this does not mean that you should give it a lot of water. Think about frequency rather than quantity, because overwatering can affect the roots. The trick I use with this type of plant to know when it is time to water is to dig a little into the substrate, with a small stick or your fingers. Water when the first 2 cm of substrate is dry, but don't wait until everything is completely dry, because you will kill your Cthenant's thirst.
The tricky point with this plant is humidity. It requires humid environments, so you have to use every trick up your sleeve: group it with some friends of the same or similar species, water dishes with pebbles, spraying and so on. If you can, take it into the bathroom with you when you shower as the steam from the hot water while you shower will do wonders for its leaves.
Substrate and fertilisation
Substrates for this type of plant should be loose, allow good air circulation and facilitate drainage to prevent root rot and have a pH of 6, a little more acidic than others. Some people recommend mixing mulch, peat and perlite. You can use universal substrate, mixed with a little perlite and/or washed sand to improve drainage.
As with almost all indoor and foliage plants, you should fertilise between spring and autumn, avoiding fertilising in winter. The frequency will depend on the type of fertiliser you use. Liquid fertilisers require more frequency, but some slow-release fertilisers need to be replenished bi-monthly. Read the instructions. Some recommend using a fertiliser with a 3-1-2 balance, although any fertiliser suitable for foliage or green plants may work.
Watch out for mealybugs, which tend to love these plants, but if you regularly clean the leaves to keep them dust-free and shiny, you're sure to ward off any potential pests. Clean the leaves with a dry cloth, dampen a little if there are any stains and wipe dry. There is no need to use polish, as it can stain them.
Dedicated to creating an army of cacti, succulents, poodles and cats to help me conquer the world. In the little free time I have left, I play, write and dance.