Ctenanthe burle-marxii aka Fish Bone Prayer Plant


Ctenanthe burle-marxii, also known as the fishbone prayer plant, is a tender, evergreen perennial native to Brazil. It features oblong to ovate pale green leaves with purple undersides and dark green bands forming a fishbone pattern. The leaves have strong variegation of dark green with silvery-white strokes and prominent main veins. The plant grows as a low ground cover, reaching a maximum height of 30cm (12 inches) but spreading wider. It has soft hairy, purple tinge-green stems and bears inconspicuous spikes of white flowers intermittently throughout the year. Similar to other plants in the Marantaceae family, it closes up its leaves at night, earning the name "prayer plant." During the day, the beautiful pale green leaves with dark green markings are on display, while at night, the deep purple undersides are revealed. Overall, Ctenanthe burle-marxii is a striking and visually appealing plant for shaded tropical gardens.

Common names

Fish Bone Prayer Plant

How to care for Fish Bone Prayer Plant


Fish Bone Prayer Plant requires a bit more attention and knowledge to thrive, making it a suitable plant for those with some gardening experience.


Fish Bone Prayer Plant should be watered regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.


Fish Bone Prayer Plant loves a well-draining soil. Perlite and vermiculite help with drainage, while coco coir adds organic matter, so a good potting soil mix will have all three. You can improve store-bought soil by adding some perlite to it.


To ensure optimal growth, the Fish Bone Prayer Plant prefers bright diffused light for 6-8 hours each day. Insufficient light can result in slow growth and leaf drop, so it's important to find a well-lit location for this plant. Place it near a window, within a distance of 1 meter (3 feet), to enhance its potential for thriving.


Fish Bone Prayer Plant is poisonous if ingested. We suggest keeping this plant out of reach if you have children, cats, or dogs in the home.


The Fish Bone Prayer Plant does not necessitate supplementary humidity. Plants primarily absorb water through their roots, rather than their leaves. Hence, the most effective way to supply humidity to your plants is by watering the soil.


The Fish Bone Prayer Plant should be transferred to a new pot once it has increased in size two-fold, or on an annual basis, whichever occurs earlier. Replacing the soil with fresh potting soil containing all the necessary nutrients, is sufficient enough to support the growth of the plant, thus avoiding the need to use fertilizer. It's important to note that plants derive their energy from the sun and not fertilizer.


New growth will sprout from the top of the plant as it grows upwards.

Region of origin

Fish Bone Prayer Plant’s native range is Central and South America.


If you provide your Fish Bone Prayer Plant with adequate amounts of sunlight and water, it will bloom.

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