Tips on how to care for the Ctenacthe plant

When it’s well cared for, the never never plant is guaranteed to add a beautiful homely feel to your home. This doesn’t really matter whether or not you live in the tropics. The plant requires specific growing conditions that are similar to the humidity, temperature, light levels, and soil contents of its native tropical habitat. Without the right conditions, the plant doesn’t grow to its full potential. For example, it doesn’t fully develop the unique foliage coloration which is the plant’s most prized feature.

  1. Light and location

The plant thrives in bright indirect light. Keep in mind that the amount of light determines the frequency of watering the plant. For example, if it’s placed in a darker area, you should water it less but if it’s positioned in a bright place, water it more often to keep the soil moist – more soil moisture lubricates photosynthesis.

Never place the plant anywhere near an operating source of heat due to the high risk of dehydration and crisping foliage which causes the leaves to start turning brown. Once the leaves are brown and drying, they fall off leaving you with a naked plant.

  1. Water

You should allow the top soil to at least dry out before watering the plant in the spring and summer. Ensure that the water isn’t too hot or too cold to prevent root rot on the sensitive roots. If you’re using tap water, allow it to sit for a day or so that the chlorine can settle.

Under-watering symptoms include curled leaf tips, dry brown tips, and crispy yellow patches.

Over-watering symptoms include the leaves turning yellow, the stem collapsing, and ultimately the plant dies. Drainage holes on the containers are very important to prevent this problem.

  1. Humidity and temperature

The Ctenanthe plant requires a stable moist environment to grow. If the surrounding saturation is too low, you can use a humidity tray to create a high humidity environment. it’s okay to hose the foliage once in a while to hydrate the leaves and keep the dust levels down.

The plant should be placed in locations with temperatures ranging from 55-80 degrees F.

  1. Fertilization

Apply a liquid fertilizer every four waterings during the growing season but reduce it to every six waterings in the fall and winter. Ensure that the fertilizer has all the 13 vital nutrients needed by houseplants.

  1. Propagation and repotting

Propagation is via seeds, rhizome division, or stem cuttings. After the plants have reached maturity or after they start flowering, the growth becomes limited to almost none. New rhizomatous growth develops through the soil line.

Repot the plant every two years in the spring. Ensure that it’s hydrated within 24hrs to prevent the risk of transplant shock.

  1. Pests and diseases

Some of the pests you should keep an eye for are spider mites, mealybugs, whitefly, thrips, and scale. These are mostly found in the cubbyholes and undersides of the leaves.

Common diseases associated with the never never plants are root rot, rust, botrytis, leaf-spot disease, powdery mildew, and southern blight.


Growing and taking care of this plant at home is not much of a challenge. The never never plants are relatively easy to take care of as long as you know exactly what they need to thrive. Unfortunately, so many people don’t check to see that the environment in which the plant is grown is habitable. We hope that this piece gave you all the necessary information you need to keep these plants healthy and add color to your home.