Ctenanthe setosa 'Grey Star'

Ctenanthe setosa Grey Star

This is a tall perennial (ht 1.2 m) from the Marantaceae family, with elegant, silvery-grey oblong leaves, richly marked with dark veins and deep purple undersides. I have it in shaded parts of my garden, where it looks attractive at all times and asks very little of me, except to occasionally pull up bits that have wandered a little too far - but I don't regard it as an invasive plant. I cut ragged leaves off at the base every so often. It is perfect for filling a dry corner under trees or masking unappealing fences. Although these plants reputedly need moisture, I find mine cope well in dry shade. I enjoy it with an underplanting of similarly toned Tradescantia 'Zebrina' or with white flowers that tolerate shade, such as Clerodendrum wallichii. They also look good grown with plants of a similar bold foliage shape but coloured green: such as Aspidistra and Spathiphyllum. To propagate, simply pot up some of the rhizomes. The original species comes from Brazil. I have also seen a cultivar called 'Silver Star' that looks very similar to this one - I am not sure what the difference is.

I have seen 'Grey Star' used as an indoor plant, looking very effective.