Stromanthe sanguinea 'Tristar'
Common Name: stromanthe 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Marantaceae
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: White flowers with cherry-red brachts
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA zones 10-12 where it is best grown in fertile, moist but well-drained soils in light or dappled shade. Performs well with morning sun and afternoon shade. Foliage will usually burn in direct sun, particularly in hot summer months. North of Zone 10, plants should be grown indoors as houseplants or in greenhouses. Houseplants may be taken outdoors to protected locations in summer in part sun to nearly full shade. Houseplants should be brought indoors in fall when temperatures dip to 50 degrees F. Houseplants are best located in eastern windows with high humidity (consider placing container on a bed of moist pebbles and applying a daily foliage mist). Soils must never be allowed to dry out.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Stromanthe sanguinea, commonly called stromanthe, is an upright rhizomatous perennial that typically grows to 5’ tall and 3’ wide outdoors but to a more modest 2-3’ tall when grown indoors as a houseplant. It is native to rainforests in Brazil. Lanceolate to elliptic-oblong, dark olive green leaves (to 20” long and 6” wide) have red undersides. Leaves appear in a basal clump and along branching stems. This is a prayer plant family member whose leaves fold together at night in a manner reminiscent of praying hands. Leaf folding has the added attraction of showing off the red leaf undersides. Tiny white flowers (to 1/2” long) with orange-red sepals and showy cherry-red bracts bloom in panicles (to 2-3” across) in winter and spring.

Stromanthe sanguinea is a synonym of Stromanthe thalia according to The Plant List.

Genus name comes from Greek stroma meaning a bed and anthos meaning a flower in reference to the form of the inflorescence.

Specific epithet comes from Latin sanguineus meaning red in reference to the red flower bracts and leaf undersides.

‘Tristar’ is a popular cultivar which features showy olive green leaves variegated with white, cream and pink. This variegated cultivar goes by a number of different cultivar names including ‘Tristar’, ‘Triostar’ and ‘Tricolor’.

Problems

Mealybugs, root/stem rot and spider mites. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants

Uses

Shaded patio and flower gardens. Excellent houseplant.