Plant Description

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. It would also look good with bold ferns that would sort of echo its leaf markings in their form. 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.

Postscript: Having grown this for quite a few years, I have realised it IS an invasive plant. Mine was been planted in a very dry, shaded area, where it probably don't spread as much as in a better garden spot, but it still does form very large clumps and start to appear in the middle of other plants. I now don't recommend it, except when confined to a pot or sited in an area where nothing else will grow and you honestly don't mind if it takes over!

 

Ctenanthe setosa 'Grey Star'
Plant Family: Marantaceae

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