Variegated stromant ornaments

Stromantu, one of the most beautiful representatives of the Marantov family, is called a beauty with a difficult character by no means accidentally. And the point here is not only that this room culture needs to be provided with complex care and strictly controlled growing conditions. The stromant is constantly changing, you want to watch endlessly behind its metamorphoses and movements of leaves invisible to the eye. Either raising the leaves up, now placing them horizontally, or even completely hiding the beauty of the patterns and “exposing” the back side to the gaze, the stromant is always in motion and is actively changing. And it is worth all the effort: the luxurious patterns of the leaves, the beautiful graphic lines, the daring beauty of the plant are so spectacular that the stromanta can become the first star in any collection.

Blood-red stromanthe, or Stromanthe Thalia ‘Triostar’. Farmer Javier Alejandro

Spectacular graphics and complex character of the stromant

How do you call it Marantovoye – Stromant or stromante (stromanthe) – it is difficult to confuse it with other plants. Despite some similarities with calathea, stromanthus stands out even against its background. A variegated evergreen plant of compact size, in which every detail of greenery is beautiful, spectacular, catchy and in many respects daring in appearance, it combines its difficult character with a far from standard appearance. Arrowroot resembles either birds or stylish jewelry.

In indoor culture, dozens of natural species of stromant are superseded by excellent hybrids and varieties of a single species – blood red stromant (stromanthe sanguinea). According to modern botanical classifications, it is more correct to refer it to the species stromanta waist (stromanthe thalia), but our official name is practically unknown.

Description of stromant

Stromanths are herbaceous perennials that create an elegant sod of large leaves perched on long stalks. The height of the stromant waist ranges from 40 to 100 cm. Low, often almost completely reduced, multi-branched shoots are practically not visible in the bushes, it seems that the stromant bushes are formed only by the mass of leaves. Obovate, oval-lanceolate, the leaves of this beauty reach 35 cm in length.

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The color of the plant is largely non-standard. The purple or brownish tone of the petioles and the monochromatic matte color of the reverse side of the leaf plates repeating it is combined with variegated patterns on the upper side. The base color of the leaves is muted green, often closer to olive or marsh, and asymmetrical spots of pink, cream, white, light green, different in shape and size, give it a graphic appearance and catchyness. At the same time, the tone of the reverse side of the leaf sometimes beats off in separate spots and seems to “creep” upward, or it may not repeat at all and only contrast with the greenery.

Variegated patterns resemble either feathers, or needles on sprigs of fir trees, or ornaments of modern impressionists. The texture of the leaves is also unusual: they appear satin or velvety, as if made of luxurious fabric. Whichever side the plant turns its leaves towards you, it will delight you with its attractiveness. And the ability to change position, “move” the leaves and further emphasize the contrast of red and green in stromant is really unique. But the point is not at all in a special capricious character, but in sun dependence. The plant always directs the leaves towards the sun. True, it is not easy to detect sun dependence in a stromant: sometimes it seems that there is no system at all in the “behavior” of the stromant (the position is influenced by temperature, air currents, its slightest fluctuations). But be that as it may, the leaves are constantly moving, shifting, changing the slope and angle, then turning horizontally, then “closing” vertically, dropping lower or moving up. Most often, this movement is impossible to notice, except for a slight noise when the leaves touch. Thanks to this talent, the stromancer is constantly being transformed, renewed, every day looks a little different, updated and subtly changed.

The flowering of stromant is often not even noticed, and completely in vain. Despite its status as an ornamental deciduous plant, the flowering of this plant is also very attractive. Small cupped flowers with irregularly shaped reddish or white bracts exude an intense aroma and are collected in graceful panicles of inflorescences. All stromants bloom at different times, more often in February or spring, but some varieties in summer. True, this beauty also has a significant drawback: a fragrant miracle decorates the bushes, but leads to the fact that the stromant loses the attractiveness of the leaves, the bushes become sparse and fall apart, the plant slows down in growth and does not recover well. Therefore, many growers prefer to give up the pleasure of enjoying fragrant inflorescences in favor of the constant decorativeness of stromant.

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Stromanthe Thalia 'Triostar'Blood-red stromanthe, or Stromanthe Thalia ‘Triostar’. Farmer treesplanet

Blood Red Stromantha varieties

The best varieties of blood-red stromant are:

  • “Triostar” with light, almost white large spots at the top of the plate and rich wine color of the underside and cuttings;
  • “Stripe Star” is a bright purple beauty with bright asymmetrical stripes along the central vein on the upper side of the leaves;
  • “Multicolor” with light green and white spots and washes on a dark background of the plates and a burgundy-red turnover;
  • “Hortikolor” with olive yellow spots;
  • “Maroon” with a central light streak, watercolors turning into dark edges and a dazzling turn.

Be careful: here, under the name “stromanthe amabilis” (stromanthe amabilis), the ctenanthe amabilis (ctenanthe amabilis) continues to spread, which has long been classified into another genus, which does not belong to the stromanthe. It is compact and limited in height to only 25 cm, with broadly oval leaves up to 20 cm long with a light surface decorated with almost Christmas-tree dark patterns and a silvery reverse side.

Ctenanthe amabilisCtenanthe amabilis. Farmer Arno King

Growing and caring for stromant at home

Stromancers are exotic and enchanting beauties with their temper, but beauties are very capricious. It is no coincidence that they are so often recommended to be grown in mini greenhouses, flower showcases, florariums, terrariums, conservatories and greenhouses, and not in living rooms. And only experienced flower growers can grow stromant. But this does not mean at all that it is better to refuse them and one should be afraid of all possible problems. This sissy really does not like either coolness, no drafts, or low humidity. But she does not require special wintering conditions and, if she receives really high-quality care, and you will also constantly monitor the conditions, the stromanta will become the star of the first magnitude in the interior of your home. And will fit perfectly into the collection of other indoor plants. The showiness and beauty of the variegated leaves of the stromant are “undeniable”, it is so bright that it is not afraid of being close to even the most catchy blooming exotics.

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Lighting for stromant

Despite all its sun dependence, the stromanthus does not at all need the brightest location under the bright rays of the sun. Moreover, direct light only harms the plant, and the sun’s rays leave burns, leaves curl and recover poorly. But otherwise, according to the requirements for lighting, the stromant will pleasantly surprise you with its unpretentiousness. She does not like only sunny locations and shadows, but she will cope with any other mode perfectly.

A diffused light place will suit the stromante as well as partial shade, and uneven shade lighting with changes in the level of illumination, and a place in the interior with artificial lighting. The main thing is not to go beyond the average and not go to extremes. There is one significant exception to this rule: varieties of blood-red stromant, which have multi-colored spots on the leaves (more than 2 shades of spots), are light-dependent and will lose their characteristic color in partial shade. Such stromants can grow only in diffused bright light.

In winter, lighting for stromant is not adjusted, with the exception of variegated varieties that like more stability of conditions (it is better to specify the parameter when buying a plant). In this case, the stromants are moved to a slightly lighter place to compensate for seasonal differences.

Blood-red stromanthe, or Stromanthe ThaliaStromanthe blood-red, or Stromanthe Thalia. Farmer Ben Caledonia

Comfortable temperature

One of the most unusual qualities of a stromant is its extreme thermophilicity. These plants not only love warm conditions, but are also very afraid of any changes in their comfortable environment, and even more cold snaps. The lower limit of permissible temperatures is 20 degrees from spring to autumn and 18 degrees in winter. In cooler conditions, even for a very short period, stromant should not be kept. But on the other hand, the upper limit is much more “blurred”: stromants are not afraid of heat and temperatures up to 30 degrees Celsius. It is better to keep stable, warm, room conditions unchanged throughout the year or keep stromant in a warmer environment in summer, and at a temperature of about 20 degrees in winter. But it is better to direct the main efforts precisely to stability, prevention of sudden changes in indicators, a smooth decrease and increase in temperatures without jumps.

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Stromants are very sensitive to temperature fluctuations. They cannot stand not only drafts (and even more cold drafts) but also any contrast between the temperatures of the substrate and the air, surfaces and materials of walls and window sills. These plants should not be placed near heating appliances, air conditioners, on floors, glass or walls, or anywhere else where temperature fluctuations may occur. The stromant is in no case taken out into fresh air and is not placed in rooms that are constantly ventilated in the summer.

Watering and air humidity

In order to find the ideal watering regime for the stromant, you need to be patient and rely on constant monitoring. Despite the general requirements, in fact, each individual plant needs its own frequency of watering (it can be influenced by temperature, and illumination, and other factors). The main goal is to keep the soil moisture stable, to prevent either drying out or waterlogging of the soil in the pot. A guideline indicating the need for the next procedure is the drying of the topsoil. Stable soil moisture is maintained throughout the year, making procedures more moderate and rare only in winter in accordance with the lower rates of moisture evaporation. But it is always better to focus on the degree of drying out of the soil. Another feature is that the water that appears in the pallets must be drained as quickly as possible.

But it is much more difficult than constantly monitoring soil moisture to provide air humidity that is comfortable for stromant. This plant, at the slightest deviation from the conditions of high humidity, begins to suffer from drying out of the tips of the leaves and releases ever smaller and inconspicuous leaves. For this culture, the air humidity of 85-90% is ideal, that is, indicators that can be recreated only in flower display cases and their analogues. But in room conditions, the stromant will be content with indicators as close as possible to this norm, at least 60-70%. If you install humidifier devices next to the stromant or put the pot on a pallet with wet pebbles, moss, expanded clay so that the bottom does not touch the water, you can create a basis for optimal humidity. By supplementing the humidifier with frequent spraying, you will create a stromante no less comfortable environment than in a florarium or a greenhouse. Spray daily or more often, regardless of the season, using fine nozzles for even fine dispersion of moisture and its distribution over the leaf plates.

For stromant, only settled water with soft indicators is used, strictly controlling its temperature: the water should be slightly warmer than the air around the plant, 2-4 degrees warmer than the substrate.

Inflorescences of blood-red Stromanthe, or Stromanthe ThaliaInflorescences of blood-red Stromanthe, or Stromanthe Thalia. Farmer Ben Caledonia

Feeding for stromant

Despite all its capriciousness and exactingness, stromant does not require supernourishing soils and intensive fertilizing. You need to be careful with fertilizers for this plant: excessive fertilizing can cause serious health problems. Fertilizers are applied for a limited period of time, only from May to the end of August. And the frequency of feeding should not exceed 1 procedure in 14 days. The fertilizer dose recommended by the manufacturer should be halved.

For stromant, it is best to choose special fertilizer mixtures for ornamental foliage plants or universal fertilizers containing additional microelements. If you can find it, get a fertilizer for arrowroot.

Pruning stromant

In fact, pruning of this plant is reduced only to the removal of peduncles so that the decorativeness of sods and leaves is not disturbed. As soon as the first signs of the release of flowering stems appear, it is better to remove them early, preventing flowering.

Stromanthe Thalia 'Triostar'Blood-red stromanthe, or Stromanthe Thalia ‘Triostar’. Farmer Javier Alejandro

Transplant, containers and substrate

In order for the stromant to develop normally, it must be planted in very light soil mixtures. The loose texture of the soil for stromant is just as important as acidity (it does not tolerate alkaline and even slightly calcareous soils). Ready-made substrates for arrowroot, rhododendrons, or at least palms or a mixture based on foliage soil, to which 1/3 doses of peat, humus, coniferous earth and sand and a small amount of charcoal were added, are best suited for this indoor plant.

The stromant is transplanted not according to the growth rate, but annually, regardless of age. The procedure is best done not in February or early March, but in April-May. The stromant is transferred to a large container with a new high drainage layer. If there is nowhere to increase the capacity, then the plant is divided and planted in smaller pots.

The transplantation procedure is carried out carefully, trying not to contact the rhizome and not destroy the main earthy coma. Even when divided into several parts, it is better to carefully cut or separate the turf by hand, without freeing all the roots from the soil. The level of deepening is slightly lowered, the plant is placed deeper than in the previous container.

For the stromant, specific pots are chosen – wide, but as shallow as possible, allowing the plant to develop in breadth and build up a sod (corresponding to a short, shallow rhizome). When planted in pots, the height of which exceeds the width, the plant suffers from rot and a violation of the moisture regime.

Diseases and pests of stromant

Stromanta combines moodiness with good disease resistance. Problems on the plant appear only when the correct care regimen is violated. Too cold conditions and dampness can cause rotting of roots and stems, and low humidity – the spread of spider mites (especially red ones) and scale insects. It is better to deal with any problem immediately with insecticides and fungicides, supplementing them, if necessary, with mechanical treatment, removing insects by hand (or trimming damaged parts).

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Common problems in growing stromant:

  • drying of the tips of the leaves, the appearance of brown spots at low air humidity;
  • rotting of stems and wilting of leaves with dampness or cold;
  • curling leaves – dryness or direct sunlight;
  • change in color to brown, discoloration and yellowing of leaves without changing the texture with excessive feeding;
  • loss of variegated color under low or excessive lighting.

Reproduction of stromant

On an industrial scale, stromants are propagated both vegetatively and by seed. But the latter is not very suitable for home breeding: seeds rarely ripen (and only when you sacrifice the decorativeness of the plant in favor of flowering), are almost absent on sale, and the sowing itself requires two stratifications and difficult conditions. Therefore, it is better to give preference to a simple method of dividing bushes and apical cuttings.

Separation of the stromant can be done with every transplant. A quick way of dividing each adult bush into 2-3 sods allows you to get young plants that quickly adapt to new conditions, provided that a not too large capacity is selected. After planting for stromant, it is necessary to maintain a very high air humidity, a semi-shady location and prevent the earthen coma from drying out. You can put the plant under a hood.

Cutting is not much more difficult. The apical cuttings cut in spring or early summer (the cut is made under the second or third leaf, or rather the place where the leaf cuttings are attached to the stem) root well even in water, but they must be placed under a hood or film.

Some varieties produce daughter leaf rosettes at the ends of the shoots, which can be rooted in the substrate under the hood.

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Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

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