Ctenanthe burle-marxii (Fishbone prayer plant) – Indoor House Plants

Ctenanthe burle-marxii (Fishbone prayer plant) - Indoor House Plants

Ctenanthe burle-marxii (Fishbone prayer plant) is an ornamental, evergreen perennial indoor plant. It is a low growing plant that grows to not much more than 12 inches but gets wider and wider. It has oval-shaped, pale green leaves that are striped with alternating lance-shaped bands and have strong burgundy undersides and stems. The stem leaves are much larger than the basal leaves. The white flowers are borne in inconspicuous spikes intermittently throughout the year.

Scientific classification:

Family: Marantaceae
Genus: Ctenanthe
Species: C. burle-marxii

Scientific Name: Ctenanthe burle-marxii
Common Names: Fishbone prayer plant

Ctenanthe burle-marxii (Fishbone prayer plant)

How to care and grow Ctenanthe burle-marxii (Fishbone prayer plant)


It thrives best in bright, indirect light. Will tolerate some degree of shade, however, insufficient light may cause loss of variegation in the leaves. If there is too much light, the colors in the leaves fade.


It grows best in a well-drained, peat-based, indoor potting soil.


It prefers normal temperatures between 60 degrees Fahrenheit – 80 degrees Fahrenheit, avoid temperatures below 12 degrees Celsius / 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures can damage the leaves of this plant.


Water your plant regularly during the growing season and always keep the soil moist but never allow your plant to sit in water. During the winter season, reduce watering and you can allow the topsoil to become slightly dry between each watering.


Fertilize your plant every two weeks with a half-diluted liquid fertilizer during the active growth period (spring and summer). It’s not necessary to fertilize in the winter and fall.


It can be easily propagated by division of rooted offshoots or by cuttings. In spring take cuttings 4 – 5 inches long with three or four leaves and trim off any leaf-stalk sheaths that would be below the soil surface when planted.


High humidity is very important for these plants. If the air is dry, place your Ctenanthe on a pebble tray filled with water. Be sure the plant is sitting on the pebbles and not in the water.


Re-pot during spring season once every 2 years, just in a somewhat bigger pot if the roots have consumed all the space with the present pot.

Pests and Diseases

It has no serious pest and disease problems. Watch for Mealy Bugs, Spider mites, and Aphids. Treat spider mites with insecticidal soap.

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