When it comes to ornamental houseplants, Stromanthe triostar elevates ‘crowd-pleaser’ or ‘attention-grabber’ to new levels.
The bright green and white leaves with shades of pink give the impression that some inspired artist aimed for a masterpiece and got more than they bargained for.
This star quality makes the stromanthe triostar one of the most coveted flowering plants perfect for adding splashes of bright, natural colors indoors.
But they are not easy to grow; requiring a fair bit of patience to get the desired results. It is very doable though, even for newbies.
In this Stromanthe triostar plant care guide, you’ll learn everything about growing and nurturing it into the picture-perfect beauty folks love.
The guide also includes how to navigate the pitfalls you’d likely encounter and some awesome tips you’d find handy.
Stromanthe Triostar: Plant Care Guide
Stromanthe triostar (Stromanthe sanguinea) is a tropical flowering plant native to the rainforest of Brazil.
Also known as the tricolor ginger plant, it is mostly grown indoors because it is hardy in only zones 10 through 12.
They belong to the prayer plant family of flowering plants with leaves that respond to the absence of light by folding upwards like hands clasped in prayers.
No matter how hard you pray though, they won’t bloom indoors; with those stunning, long broad leaves, who needs flowers!
But outdoors in the hardiness zones, they might put forth white flowers in spring.
Like most tropical plants, they require warm, humid conditions and well-draining soil to be at their best.
And being understory plants, you want to keep them away from direct sunlight.
Filtered light or bright, shaded areas are what they love.
However, a slight variation in any of the standard growing conditions can be problematic.
Basically, they are very fussy plants and sensitive to little changes in the growing conditions (especially lighting) and movement.
In other words, they need constant attention: definitely not the houseplant for brown thumb gardeners.
Let’s now go into more detail about what it takes to grow and care for a stromanthe triostar.
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Acclimating Stromanthe triostar to a New Environment
Stromanthe triostars are so sensitive they would react to even a slight change in air quality.
If you got your plant from a nursery, garden center, or as a gift, you’d have to get it acclimated to your home.
First, no matter the temptation, don’t rush to repot it.
Give it at least two weeks to acclimate and wear off the relocation stress it might be experiencing.
The plant may look sad with droopy leaves initially.
Place it somewhere bright and warm but away from direct sunlight while keeping the soil constantly moist. Be careful not to over-water the soil though.
After the plant has perked up or adjusted to its new environment, you can go ahead and repot it if you still want to.
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Stromanthe triostar Growing Conditions
Stromanthe triostar plants love their soil to be light and well-draining with lots of space for good airflow.
That effectively eliminates heavy soil.
A good, breathable potting mix that retains moisture can consist of a 50/50 combination of standard potting mix and free-draining succulent mix.
Instead of a succulent mix, you could use the same quantity of pumice or perlite.
The temperature requirement should replicate the plant’s native rainforest environment.
They are perfectly happy within a temperature range of 60 – 80°F give or take about 5°F in either direction if all other growing conditions are okay.
This temperature range is easy though since this is the average indoor temperature in most regions.
That said, don’t place them near drafts.
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Getting the humidity right can be tricky. The whole idea is to simulate the very humid air of their natural environment.
Some of the ways to ensure humidity is always at the required levels include:
- Placing the plant on the bathroom window because the air there is always humid.
The window must get the right level of lighting though (see below).
- You could place it close to other plants in a group. Grouping plants is a good way to sustain high humidity
- Mist the plant frequently
- Set the plant on a humidity tray or saucer filled with water. Ensure that the bottom of the pot is above the water by resting it on pebbles.
- Install a humidifier close to the plant if your home is very dry or the other methods were inadequate
Lots of bright, indirect light is a non-negotiable Stromanthe triostar growing condition.
While they might survive in lower light, it would affect the leave variegation.
To get the best from it, all parts of the plant must be exposed. So if the light is unidirectional, turn the plant at least weekly so other pars can get the benefit of the light.
While bright light is ideal, exposure to direct sunlight must be avoided unless you want the leaves to get burnt!
So if the only access is a south-facing window, you need to move the plant a few yards back. You could also prevent direct exposure by installing sheer curtains on the window. The dappled light passing through is perfect.
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Stromanthe Triostar Care & Maintenance
To prevent stromanthe triostar from becoming unhealthy real quick you have to nail watering.
The rule of thumb when it comes to watering stromanthe triostar is to irrigate the soil weekly in the growing season and about once every three weeks in winter or when the weather is cold.
But the fine print is what is really important because how often you water and the amount of water to use depends on factors like the weather and the size of the pot.
This makes it preferable to use a different approach. In the growing season, simply ensure the soil is never dry for long.
So you need to check the soil regularly. And you need to be careful how you navigate the line between consistently moist and soggy soil.
Basically, soggy is very very bad as it can lead to root rot and a host of other problems.
A good plan is to let the soil’s top 1 inch become dry in between watering sessions.
When the weather is cooler, adjust the schedule by letting the soil become a bit drier.
With time, you’d get the hang of this and easily figure out how much water it needs at any particular time.
Tip: When watering, always use water that isn’t colder than the room temperature.
The water quality is also very critical. Never use tap water, even if it is dechlorinated.
They are sensitive to the chemicals in water and break out with brown leaf edges.
The plants respond better to distilled and rainwater.
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In the growing season, fertilize your stromanthe triostar bi-weekly with a balanced product specifically formulated for houseplants.
The best time to fertilize stromanthe triostar is right after watering and ensure it is diluted to half strength.
Quit fertilizing in winter, its dormancy phase.
If you are a fan of organic fertilizers, go ahead and use them.
But since these are not as strong, there is no need for dilution before using one.
That said, always stick to the instructions for each product.
Pruning, Trimming, & Cleaning
Pruning, cleaning, and trimming stromanthe triostar are crucial maintenance chores if you want to preserve the appearance.
Use sterilized shears or scissors to prune any foliage that appears damaged. These are older, dry leaves found mostly at the base of the plant.
Tip: Don’t prune more than a third at any given time to prevent the distortion of the light reaching some parts of the plant.
You also want to trim the leaves using a pair of sterilized scissors.
Again, this is mostly about aesthetics to trim out edges that have turned brown or are damaged. Stick to the natural curve of the leaves while doing this.
Finally, you want to make sure the leaves are not overly dusty. Clean the leaves’ surface and even stem with a damp cloth.
This also helps to control pests thinking of making the leaves and stems their home.
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Repotting Stromanthe triostar
To ensure a flourishing plant, you’d have to repot your stromanthe triostar every couple of years.
This time scale might vary depending on how fast it outgrows the pot.
You’d know it is due for repotting when the roots start poking out of the holes at the bottom of the container and spring is the best time to do it.
Things to keep in mind:
- Use a pot that is one size bigger with several drainage holes.
- Use fresh but similar potting soil to the previous one.
- Remove as much of the old soil as you can from the roots by gently shaking the rootball
- Be careful not to damage the tiny roots while unpotting and repotting in the new pot
- Fill the new pot about a third of the way up with the potting soil
- Place the plant on the soil and cover the roots with more potting to about an inch from the rim and pat the soil down
- Water it very well until excess starts dripping out of the drainage holes
- Place the pot where it gets the best growing conditions. It would take at least a couple of weeks for the shock of repotting to wear off.
The plant should perk back up in about a month.
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Propagating stromanthe triostar
While stromanthe triostar can be propagated using seeds and stem cuttings, the common method is through root division.
Best done in spring or summer, it involves dividing or separating the rhizomes into smaller root clumps. Each root clump must be attached to a stem with at least three healthy leaves.
You could even take advantage of repotting to simply propagate the plant if you need more.
These are the basic steps involved:
- Unpot the plant being careful not to damage the roots
- Brush off the soil to expose the base of the plant and roots
- Use a pair of sterilized shears to cut the root rhizome into smaller pieces.
- Each piece must have roots, a stem, and at least 3 leaves
- Follow the repotting guide above to plant each piece in a pot one size smaller than the parent plant.
- Water the soil and set each pot where it gets the standard growing conditions.
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Stromanthe Triostar Common Problems
Generally, the common issues you’d have to deal with are pretty easy to diagnose with straightforward solutions.
The main drawback being they might occur more often than you’d like to see. But hey, remember, stromanthe is a sensitive plant, and regularly throwing tantrums is simply part of the package.
Essentially, you’d be dealing with issues like yellowing leaves caused by underwatering and improper fertilization (fertilizer burn); or drooping leaves when the humidity is too low. With low humidity, the leaves can also turn yellow or brown at the edges.
Interestingly, the edges of leaves turning yellow or brown can also be due to over-watering. However, with over-watering or soggy soil, root rot is the issue to be more concerned about.
In any case, no matter the issue, resolving it is simply about adjusting the specific growth variable back to the ideal.
Stromanthe Common Pests and Diseases
The most common disease is root rot caused by soil fungi in soggy soil.
You want to avoid this problem because it can be fatal. Staying true to the correct watering schedule is the sure way to avoid this problem.
Also, to avoid soggy soil, ensure the pot is not too big for the roots when repotting or propagating your stromanthe.
Generally, pest infestations shouldn’t be a serious problem unless the humidity is very low.
Then you might a problem with plant suckers like spider mites and aphids.
Both pests can be easily eliminated by spraying the leaves with neem oil or any good horticultural pesticide.
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That’s a wrap for this stromanthe triostar plant guide.
While this is not an easy plant to grow, the rewards are amazing when you successfully cross that bridge.
And while problems might occur along the line, the solutions are usually about ensuring the growing conditions are spot on.
Growing and caring for stromanthe triostar is one of those times you are absolutely certain that nothing awesome comes easy.