If you’re looking for a plant that offers some amazing patterning, color, and even “moves” with the time of day, this is it.
Triostar is a unique houseplant that’s considered to be a prayer plant that’s perfect for beginners.
Striking hues, dark greens, and it even “communicates” more than other plants (drooping, rising/falling leaves, etc.).
This is one of the few plants that’ll reward you for your efforts with its pretty, gorgeous foliage until you’re satisfied.
Let’s learn about how to grow and care for Triostar.
PS: The capitalization of “Stromanthe” and “Triostar” is all over the place. Sorry about that. Sometimes you just get too casual with it. This guide refers to just the Triostar variant, but they all require similar levels of care.
Quick care guide: Stromanthe Triostar
|Scientific name||Stromanthe sanguinea
|Other names||Tricolor Ginger, Magenta Triostar, Stromanthe thalia|
|Soil type||Fertile, loamy, well-draining, peaty|
|Soil pH||5.5-6.5 (acidic)|
|Sunlight requirement||Dappled sunlight, bright sunlight, indirect|
|Bloom season||Spring, summer (rarely blooms)|
|Colors||Green, white, pink, burgundy|
|Max height||5 feet|
|Max width||3 feet|
|Low temperature tolerance||60F|
|High temperature tolerance||80F|
|Ideal temperature range||60-70F|
|Humidity||Moderate (60% or higher)|
|Watering requirements||1-2" per week|
|Fertilizer requirements||Light feeding during spring, summer|
|Plant food NPK||5-5-5|
|Days until germination||2-3 week|
|Days until bloom||Rarely blooms|
|Speed of growth||Moderate|
|Hardiness zones||10, 11, 12|
|Plant depth||0.25" from seed, 3-6 inches from rhizome cuttings|
|Plant spacing||3 feet|
|Plant with||Bougainvillea, gardenia, aucuba, bush lily, fern, bird of paradise, croton, bromeliad|
|Don't plant with||Plants in the same family|
|Propagation method||Seeds, rhizome cuttings|
|Common pests||Spider mites, aphids|
|Common diseases||Root rot, anthracnose, leaf spots, bacterial blight, bacterial wilt, and stem rot|
|Grown in container||Yes|
|Flowering plant||Yes (rarely)|
|Care level||Low (easy)|
|Best uses||Houseplant, centerpiece, garden piece, pathing, bordering, foreground plant, background plant|
What’s Stromanthe Triostar?
Stromanthe Triostar is surely a weird name. I mean, it sounds like something out of Star Wars.
But in reality, what is it?
Stromanthe sanguinea Triostar is a houseplant that offers contrasting, striking colors that will grab your attention on the daily with its bright green, pinks, and complementary patterns.
There are other types of Stromanthe, but Triostar is probably THE most impressive.
Something cool about Triostar is that the leaves move depending on the time of day. They will slink down during the warmer hours and then perk back up during the night.
That’s pretty cool. Maybe plants really can communicate, right?
The leaves are sharp and pointed with dark green coloration on the top and maroon on the bottom. The foliage also has randomized blotches of cream, pink, and lime green. It really is something to look at.
Each Triostar plant can grow pretty big, with up to 3 feet in width and up to 5 feet in height. The leaves look like watercolors that are soft, yet sharp enough to contrast with each other. The leaves can get nearly 2 feet in length with half a foot widths. This is no small plant.
The leaves will grow towards the sunlight quickly. They go down during the day and up during the night. They can do this with the pulvinus- a small structure that operates much like a human wrist. Pretty cool.
Types of Stromanthe
Here are some commonly grown Stromanthe cultivars you may want to check out:
- Stromanthe Triostar (elongated foliage, glossy, variegation, white, cream, pink)
- Magic Star (glossy, elongated leaves, dark brown/red, cream, white)
- Stromanthe Stromatoides (outside plant, rich green foliage, elongated foliage, green only, no variegation)
- Stromanthe Charlie (strong variegation, interchanging white/green stripes)
- Stromanthe Sanguinea (stunning leaves, pink, glossy, no variegation)
What is it good for?
Triostar is good for its looks. That’s the selling point of this plant.
The combination of pinks, greens, and other hybrids make stromanthe one of the most awesome houseplants in existence.
Stromanthe is a non-blooming perennial that does well in the household with minimal care.
Is it easy to grow?
Yes, stromanthe is extremely easy to grow. It basically takes care of itself once you get it going. Other than regular watering, fertilizing, and pruning, that’s about all it takes.
It’s no different compared to any other houseplants in terms of difficulty. Triostar is a good choice for beginners or experts alike.
With its array of dazzling colors, praying leaves, and ease of care, it’s a good choice for the household or garden to add some color without being complicated. Who wants that?
Perennial or annual?
It’s a perennial if kept indoors or outside under proper conditions.
Otherwise, it’ll only be an annual and you won’t really see much of it if you’re growing it outside in the wrong hardiness zone.
Although hardy, it won’t tolerate the cold if you have fluctuating temperatures or dips below 60F.
Is Stromanthe toxic?
Stromanthe is considered to be non-toxic to dogs, cats, and people.
However, because of its colors and “dangerous” patterning, people may mistakenly think it’s toxic.
The more care you provide for it, the more colorful it gets.
Variegated plants have a rep for being poisonous, especially for pets. Triostar isn’t known to be poisonous to humans or pets.
How to grow Stromanthe Triostar
This section covers the basic guidelines for growing and caring for stromanthe.
Depending on the type you’re planting, your plant’s needs may vary.
However, you can use the following tips to get a gist of what’s involved in caring for stromanthe. No worries though. You’ll find it’s easy.
If you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments section!
Check your hardiness zone
Triostar grows well in USDA hardiness zones 8-11.
They’re commonly grown as plant cover in the garden or just typical house plants indoors.
Depending on where you’re planting it, that determines everything.
For indoor growing, you can be flexible on the hardiness zone. Lower zones are permissible as your home is temperature-controlled and will offer protection from the cold.
If you’re growing outdoors, then you need to be wary of the hardiness zone. If it’s too cold, you’ll kill it. In some places, Triostar is grown as a plant cover perennially.
But cooler zones will result in just an annual cover.
So you can enjoy it regardless. It’s just the temperature that will determine if it’s going to be grown as an annual or perennial.
Simply put: Too cold? Grow it annually. But don’t expect to see the pretty foliage.
Natively, these plants like hotter, wetter weather. If you can provide that, then you can likely grow it as evergreen perennials.
It’s possible to grow stromanthe from seed or divisions of the rhizome.
Growing from seed is extremely tedious because they’re hard to source plus they have a lower germination rate.
You’ll often find stromanthe that only bear sterile seeds, so they’re useless for propagation. It’s best to just buy one or find a grown one and take the cuttings.
Once you get a single plant going, you’re good. You can keep taking cuttings from the rhizome for future generations.
Propagation can be a process, but it’s not that difficult once you do it initially. So, let’s dive into it. Shall we?
The first step is to pick out a virulent plant from your local nursery. I always suggest going there in person because you can do some basic checks on the stromanthe so you know you’re getting a good one.
This will increase your chance of success.
When ordering online, you don’t get to see the plant first, so you may end up with a plant in poor condition. This just hinders the chance of rooting success.
Unless you don’t have local garden nurseries, avoid ordering online.
Look for these basic tips to assess it before you take it home:
- No yellowing or browning foliage
- No signs of pests
- Straight leaves with no irregular pattern
- No curling or dried leaves with upright stems
- No holes, damage, or torn foliage
- Plant is grown in a substrate that’s high quality
- Well draining substrate is present
Be sure to read reviews about the nursery or ask the gardener for their advice on this plant.
You can get a good feeling to see how well they take care of their plants this way.
Upon finding the right plant, the next step to propagate it is to gently cut the rhizome into equal pieces.
Each should have at least a few leaves for good measure. Use a sterilized pair of scissors to cut it. The you’ll end up with individual pieces. Each can grow into stromnathe plants. They’re identical to the original.
Use clay, peaty, or loamy soil.
Water retaining soils work well for Triostar. The soil should be well-draining, nutrient-dense, and specifically formulated for potted plants if grown in one.
Since you won’t be repotting until it outgrows the container, choose a good quality soil. It doesn’t matter if you have to spend a few extra bucks to get the “fancier” soil.
For things like this, a small bump in price goes a long way. You’ll get the benefit of a virulent stromanthe rewarding you with those big greens.
Stromanthe prefers slightly acidic soil with pH ranges between 5.5-6.5. If your soil is too alkaline or neutral, use limestone to get the pH to the acidic level.
While the pH won’t make or break your plant, the proper level will get you those big leaves it’s known for.
The key is to provide moist, but never soggy conditions.
Some plants let you dry them out between watering sessions. You should never let it dry out so it’s always moist. But not wet. Use a water-retaining soil paired with a water meter to gauge it all times.
Some substrates, especially ones that contain peat, can always feel moist, but are actually dry. This is why using a meter can help determine if it’s time to water your stromanthe or not.
Other signs that it needs watering is if the foliage no longer goes up or down, or if you notice the leaves are wilting. Use filtered water or dechlorinated water only.
Water more during the growing season. Water less during the wintertime. Use bottom watering planters if possible.
Use a misting bottle rather direct watering. This helps prevent you from overwatering. Spray the leaves with it gently every day. Put an inch of water every week or so.
Stromanthe likes indirect, medium brightness light. While direct sunlight won’t kill your plant (it’s actually kind of good for it occasionally), too much will scorch your leaves.
If you notice the leaves turning yellow, brown, or crisping up, this can be due to excess sunlight that’s just too hot.
You can put your pot near a sunny window that gets some daytime sunlight but avoid peak noon because this is generally too strong for stromanthe. Additionally, putting it near an eastern-facing window works wonders for providing the right amount of sunlight.
West or south-facing windows should be monitored for excess light. Shield it with blinds or put it back several feet from the window to prevent bright sunlight.
Or just put it in the middle of the room so the light is dappled. Rotate the leaves every week so they all get equal exposure. This can fix drooping, yellowing, or browning foliage that can happen from poor exposure or overexposure.
Stromanthe will need regular dosing of plant food to help keep it going with those big leaves for you to enjoy. Use a nice compost or liquid plant food.
General purpose is good enough. Dose as directed, preferably twice monthly. Reduce dosage during the wintertime when the plant doesn’t necessarily need it.
Don’t place stromanthe near drafty windows, HVAC units, or near places that have fluctuating temperatures. Stable ambient temperatures are what stromanthe likes.
Try to keep the ambient temperatures between 60-80F. Nighttime dips are normal and they can be spared.
But if it’s constantly cold for extended periods, it can harm your stromanthe.
While stromanthe can handle temperatures as low as 30F, it’ll kill the foliage. Once or twice infrequently is OK.
Stromanthe is sensitive to temperature changes and will result in browning or yellowing leaves.
Keep humidity at least 60% if possible.
During the winter, watch out for indoor heating because this can dry out your stromanthe. Use a hygrometer to check for ambient humidity. If it’s too dry, it’ll wilt or curl.
Use a humidity tray or pair it with similar houseplants that require more water.
Put them next to each other and this will increase the humidity. Or you can put it in a place that gets more water, such as next to a bathroom or sink.
The container you use plus the substrate can also hold humidity.
For instance, some people grow stromanthe in terrariums, which can help increase humidity because it holds it encased in a smaller area. You can also use a mini greenhouse or just even put a humidifier next to it.
Overall, stromanthe is a low-maintenance plant that requires no effort other than regular watering, feeding, and pruning.
To keep it pest-free and looking good, you’ll want to spend at least a few minutes each week tidying it up. Get a sterilized pair of pruners, then cut off any browning leaves, jagged edges, or tips.
Cut off crispy leaves, curled leaves, or yellow leaves.
When trimming the edges, be careful not to cut off more than needed. Only cut the entire leaf if it’s necessary by making a cut by the stem of the plant near the soil surface.
Cleaning the foliage
Once a month, get a sponge and a bucket of treated water.
Dunk the sponge and then gently brush the leaves with it.
It’ll clean off the dust accumulated from its environment inside your house.
Keeping it clean helps encourage larger leaves because it can efficiently photosynthesize with sunlight. It also helps enhance its overall appearance of it.
Who likes a dusty plant?
Stromanthe will need to be repotted to larger containers when they get too big.
You’ll notice this when the roots start rooting out of the bottom drainage holes or grow against the container.
Don’t repot early because this plant doesn’t tend well to being moved between pots.
You’ll want to repot in a larger container, but nothing too big. If it’s a container that’s oversized, you’ll dry out the plant.
Repot stromanthe in the spring before the growing season.
Stromanthe doesn’t fare well against the elements. It’s not an outdoor plant in areas where it gets cold, specifically below 60F.
This is why it’s commonly grown as an indoor plant so many people can enjoy it across all hardiness zones. Winterizing only becomes an issue if you’re planting it in your garden.
Otherwise, it’s nothing to worry about.
If you’re growing in the right zone, you can simply leave it outside during the cold season with a few inches of mulch to insulate the roots.
If there’s going to be a cold dip, consider putting some additional protective layers, such as plant covers, mini-greenhouses, or moving it indoors for the time being.
People who are in zones lower than 8 can grow it as an annual if it must be planted outdoors.
Otherwise, bring it in to keep it as a perennial throughout the season.
The plant will wilt if exposed to cold for extended periods (such as a few nights in winter). So don’t risk it.
Stromanthe rarely blooms and it’s quite difficult to make it do so. This is why seeds are hard to come by.
Triostar is finicky when it comes to seeds.
It doesn’t germinate easily from seed, and this is why people prefer to just buy it from a nursery and go from there. If you’re up for the challenge, you can try to propagate it yourself.
Stromanthe can be grown with similar plants, especially ones that require high humidity because they can benefit together.
Some plants that are excellent partners include bougainvillea, gardenia, aucuba, bush lily, fern, bird of paradise, croton, bromeliad, etc.
These can be planted nearby stromanthe in the garden or in the home.
Don’t mix different plants in the same pot because they’ll compete for nutrients.
Don’t plant with
Avoid planting with other plants if potted. If you’re growing the garden, give stromanthe adequate spacing. This will prevent competition.
Use soapy water or neem oil to control spider mites, aphids, and other pests.
While stormanthe is hardy to bugs, you may see the occasional infestation. Aphids can be controlled by pruning, manual removal, and neem oil. The same can be done for mites.
Pruning with minimal feeding and constant watch of pests will aid its recovery.
This plant is vulnerable to fungus or mold, which usually comes from humid environments.
Sadly, it needs humidity to thrive.
Thus, you should watch for signs of these issues. Ensure that the foliage gets pruned regularly, use a misting bottle to spray it rather than pouring water, and that you don’t overwater it.
Common questions about Stromanthe care
Here are some other questions readers often ask about caring for stromanthe. You may benefit from them yourself.
How much sunlight does a Stromanthe Triostar need?
Provide bright, indirect light for a few hours a day in the morning. This is easy to do by putting it near an eastern-facing window. Use the compass on your phone to map it.
Does Triostar like to be root bound?
Yes, root-bound is preferable. It doesn’t like pots that are just too big for it.
But when the roots start poking out of the drainage holes on the bottom of your container, then you know it’s time to upgrade.
Don’t jump to a container that huge. It should just be a few inches larger than the previous one.
Why is my Stromanthe Triostar curling?
Stromanthe may curl its leaves to prevent moisture loss.
It actually helps retain the moisture levels by rolling up its leaves.
Try misting or watering more often if you notice curling.
It could also be a sign of overexposure to the sunlight. So if you water it and it still curls, try moving it to a lesser light place area.
Why is my Stromanthe Triostar drooping?
It may droop because it’s not getting enough light or water.
Usually, thirsty plants will droop their leaves when they need water, so if you water or mist it and it doesn’t fix it, then it could be a lack of light.
Try increasing the light exposure and seeing if that rectifies the drooping leaves in a few days.
Why are the leaves on my Stromanthe turning yellow?
Yellowing leaves is due to lack of light.
Turn your plant weekly to get a good distribution for all leaves. Increase sunlight exposure. Triostar likes light, but in a dappled way.
Why is my Triostar browning?
Browning leaves are usually due to possible lack of moisture.
It may need a good misting session.
If you notice that it constantly produces brown leaves, move it somewhere that has higher humidity with wet air, such as your bathroom or kitchen.
Water quality can also cause brown tips on the leaves. Use only distilled or purified water.
Why is there no color?
It could be the lack of sunlight. If there’s not enough light hitting the leaves, you’ll end up with a very green stromanthe with barely any colors.
Give it more sunlight and see if it changes the foliage colors over time. It should bring out the pinks.
- Stromanthe sanguinea – Wikipedia
- Stromanthe sanguinea “Tricolor” – Wisconsin Horticulture
- Triostar Stromanthe – University of Florida, Institute of Food
Enjoy your Stromanthe Triostar!
Stromanthe is definitely one of the more exotic plants you can have in the household in my opinion.
With its striking foliage, complementary colors, and rise/fall cycles, Triostar is one for those that want a cool-looking plant.
What do you think? Do you have any questions? Or tips for caring for Triostar? Let us know in the comments section!
I took interest into microflora and microgreens before it became mainstream. The idea of growing an entire ecosystem on a tiny scale simply was astounding. That’s where I discovered that I actually like raising plants and wasn’t as much of a black thumb as I thought. Now, I’m relaying what I’ve learned to others who are getting into the hobby in a way that anyone can understand.