The stromanthe sanguinea triostar, with its bright cream and green leaves with striking magenta undersides, is often a favorite for fans of more colorful plants than just your traditional green. The stromanthe is a member of the marantaceae family, commonly known as the prayer plant family. A unique feature of all prayer plants is the "folding" up of their leaves for the night, which re-open again during the day to absorb sunlight. (I suggest looking up some really awesome timelapse videos of this behavior!) Stromanthes are native to the rainforests of Brazil but can be found wildly in other tropical areas of the Americas and Asia.
Because of its bright coloration (its variegation), the triostar requires more maintenance than solid green plants. It needs enough bright light to keep its magenta undersides nice and bold. If not given enough light, the undersides of its leaves will emerge stripey with less and less magenta or none at all (they will just be green). On the other hand, its bright creamy variegation also makes it prone to burning from too much light. The stromanthe triostar will need bright but indirect light, like sunlight being filtered down through the canopy of the trees in its native habitat.
WATER AND SOIL
Like most prayer plants, the stromanthe triostar likes to be kept a bit more moist than other aroids, but not soggy (which could cause root rot). This can be a little confusing, but it is a balance of how often it is watered and the type of soil it is in. Like with many other aroids, only water when the top 2 inches of the soil is dry. I highly recommend using a moisture meter for accurate moisture level readings of the soil, rather than just using a finger and guessing. Use a lightweight soil mixture containing ingredients that help balance how much water drains through and how much it retains in order to keep it moist (but not soggy). For example, perlite is light and good for drainage, and moss is light and good for moisture retention. Both ingredients help keep the soil light and fluffy. Avoid heavier materials like orchid bark.
Prayer plants are generally known to be moisture guzzlers, meaning they need much more humidity than most other plants. If their humidity needs are not met, their leaves will often brown, curl up and turn crispy (which can also be a sign of underwatering in general). Maintaining humidity levels between 60-70% is recommended (higher levels could damage your house via mold growth). Use a hygrometer to help track your humidity levels. The best way to increase humidity is by using a humidifier. The larger the space, the more moisture it will need. Mist-based oil diffusers can often work in small spaces. You can also place the triostar in a bathroom (as long as it has enough light) to benefit from your steamy showers. Keep doors, windows and air vents closed to trap in the moisture. You can also group plants close together, as they will collectively raise the humidity levels a tiny bit around them. Other common suggestions for increasing humidity are using pebble trays and manually misting the plant periodically. However, I haven't found either of these solutions to be helpful in my experience, and I do not recommend them. Just go with a humidifier. It even has added health benefits to humans as well!
It's pretty clear that the stromanthe sanguinea triostar may be a bit more difficult for beginner plant parents. I certainly still have trouble with mine, due to my un-ideal space. They can be quite the divas, but if well cared for, their beautiful colorful foliage is extremely rewarding! My triostar is honestly one of my favorite plants I own. If you love these beauties as much as I do, please feel free to share comments and photos with me on Instagram @sen.shoppe and on Facebook @senshoppeofficial!