Stromanthe Triostar Care Guide
The Stromanthe Triostar is pink, variegated and less of a drama queen compared to others in the Prayer Plant family (Marantaceae). What's not to love?! We give her an LTLC rating of 3 out of 5. Not easy care but not (too) difficult either. Find out more below.
This gal has some identity issues. Her true cultivar is actually 'Triostar' but 'Tricolour' seems to be the more commonly used in NZ. Her full name is Stromanthe sanguinea 'Triostar'. However this is NOT the same plant as the Ctenanthe oppenheimiana 'Tricolour' (a variegated copy-cat).
I've seen Stromanthe called Ctenanthe and vice versa. You'll also find her called a Calathea Tricolour or Calathea Triostar, but although Calathea and Stromanthe are relations from the same Maranta family, she's not a Calathea.
Temperature & Light
Find her a warm, brightly lit spot. She's not a huge fan of the cold but more tolerant than other prayer plants. Prefers above 15 degrees, but can put up with down to 5 degrees but only provided all other conditions are okay.
Like other prayer plants, she'll move her leaves a lot! Towards and away from the light during the day, and folded up at night. Bright indirect light is preferred and the more light you give her the more variegation you'll get in return - but no direct light or those precious leaves could burn!
A free'ish draining soil will do the job for the Stromanthe, about 3/4 potting mix and 1/4 perlite or pumice works well for us. If you're an over-waterer, add more perlite / pumice in your mix.
Best not to re-pot her for at least a fortnight or so when you get one of these girls shipped to you though. We'd let her settle in and perk back up first. She may pack a sad and droop those leaves for a while at first.
Lightly moist or slightly damp soil is preferred. Avoid wet feet or soggy soil or you'll risk the dreaded root rot. A good full drench and drain about once a week in summer, and every couple of weeks or so in winter is about right, but always judge it based on her soil (water when the first couple of cm's is dry and water more often when she's growing). Don't overwater, and don't let her completely dry out. Find a happy, moist, middle ground.
Yes, pet safe and non toxic to animals and humans.
Stromanthe pro tips & problem solving
Keeping a Stromanthe alive isn't difficult, but keeping her looking good can be. If the conditions aren't great, those lovely variegated areas can quickly turn yellow or brown, and edges can go crispy.
Why does my Stromanthe have brown crispy leaves?
Humidity is your friend! Brown or crispy ends or edges is a common sign your Stromanthe needs more humidity. Not much of an issue in a typical humid NZ summer, but a humidifer in Winter is absolutely worth it, especially if you have a fire, heat pump, or DVS / HRV that can all dry out the air.
Why does my Stromanthe have yellow leaves?
Like most plant drama, yellow leaves could be due to a few factors, but with the Stromanthe we find it typically relates to water. Often from over-watering or inconsistent watering (letting her go too dry then too wet). Wet feet is a no-no for Stromanthe, so let all that water drain out before returning her to her saucer or cover pot, and keep her evenly moist rather than too dry, or too soggy or wet. Root rot is a risk from over-watering these girls.
Water quality can also cause yellowing or spotting. Stromanthe can be sensitive to chemicals in tap water. Easy fixes: use filtered water, or just leave water out overnight to let the chlorine disperse. If you have a fish tank (or need an excuse to get one), this is your girl. She'll love that high-nitrate, chlorine-free fish water.
I'm having great success with Groconut for my own Stromanthe collection too. I fertilise when my gang are putting out new leaves but I tend to err on the side of caution and only give 1/2 the dose the pack says. I wouldn't recommend fertilising completely dry soil, that's just a waste as it'll drain through instead of staying in the soil.
Keep in mind also, like most plants, older leaves will naturally go more yellow over time. Especially when your Stromanthe's putting all her energy into new leaves.
What is this...?
See that darker pink patch below? at the bottom of the front leaf? No idea what you call that, but that freaked me out the first time it happened. Turns out that's what happens when a leaf has been saturated by water. It's only happened once to my Stromanthe gang and was when I'd accidentally got the leaves wet when watering. It dried out slowly and came back to normal by the end of the same day. Photo from Behnke Nurseries.
LTLC Rating (Love That Leaf Care Rating)
We rate the Stromanthe Triostar a 3 out of 5. We know some green thumbs might scoff and find a level 5 plant easy, while somehow managing to kill a level 1 plant, so take this as a guide only, based on our experience in local conditions here in New Zealand. We give her a 3 mainly because of her higher humidity requirements and tendency to go crispy, but if you have a humidifier, or a naturally high humidity, she'll be fine. Here are a few examples at either end of the LTLC scale to compare:
Level 1: Snake Plant, Ponytail Palm, ZZ Plant, Peace Lily
Level 2: African Violet, most Philodendron
Level 5: String of Pearls, Maidenhair Fern, Boston Fern