I bought a Ctenanthe a while back and it has been good ever since. I keep it in a medium bright spot, no direct sunlight, and always a pretty stable temperature.

Recently I have seen some brown leaves, and leaves looking pale as well. I cut away the completely rotten leaves, but after a week, other leaves are dying as well. On the other hand, it is sprouting a lot of new leaves as well. That's why I'm a bit confused about what's happening.

I attached some pictures to help diagnose the problem. I am wondering what I should do to fix the plant.

Click on the pictures for closer view.

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

2 Answers 2


Christophe, is there a pot within the pot? If so, I'd pull it out and see how the roots look. Granted leaves do get old and die, but, I still would check the roots. Leaves can die whether too much or not enough water. The roots need oxygen as well, Yea, kinda catch 22.You may have to repot it. Please let us know what you find,appreciate it. Love the plant.

  • The pot is indeed supsended in the bigger pot. It's the pot it came in from the store. The roots look a bit brownish. I guess this is root rot? Repotting it and then making sure it gets enough of oxygen would be the fix? Jan 4, 2018 at 7:39
  • Christophe, if the roots are mushy, that's root rot.If there's more root than dirt,re-pot. Rule of thumb go about 2-3 in. bigger than the original pot. If the roots are going around & around the pot, go a little bigger.Letting a plant dry out Slightly, will let more oxygen in. Remember, no need to fertilize, new soil has plenty of nutrients. Wait until spring. Love the big pot, but I think your better off putting that somewhere as a visual piece. Let me know how you make out. Jan 5, 2018 at 12:44
  • Okay so I took it out of the pot. It had some white moldy-looking stuff on it here and there so I guess that is mold. The bottom 1/3rd part of the roots was brown and mushy, so I trimmed that off. I was left with a coconut sized ball of white thick roots. I re-potted in general purpose soil in the same pot. I think it still has some room to grow. I have not watered yet, as per your recommendation. I will come back and tell you how it's doing soon :D Thanks for the information! Jan 9, 2018 at 11:10
  • I'm glad you checked! I hope it survives, water isn't always our or their friend. Actually the markings on it reminds me of a prayer plant just bigger. Prayer plants' leaves roll up at night and unfold during the day, pretty cool. Thanks Christophe. Jan 9, 2018 at 19:41
  • This plant does the same kind of thing. The leaves don't roll up, they just flap inward. It's nice to see in the evening while watching tv :) I really enjoy this plant! Thanks for the advice! Jan 10, 2018 at 14:24

Do you still have this plant??

I have a Ctenanthe and it had similar symptoms to yours. The soil got pretty dry a couple weeks ago, I noticed the leaves start curling. At that point I watered it and the leaves uncurled however a few leaves were turning yellow at the bottom. So I watered it again about 5 days later and after that I noticed EVEN MORE leaves turning yellow. So I put it near the window to maybe dry out the soil. Looking at the plant later through the sunlight I noticed webs and tiny little mites on part of the plant. So I sprayed neem oil on the plant for the next three days. The soil still felt moist from the previous watering and the leaves were still yellow so I wasn't sure what to do.... I left the plant near the window and I noticed the leaves beginning to curl again similarly to when I let the pot dry out, however the soil was still feeling pretty moist. So I moved the plant from the direct window and right near a humidifier, I didn't water it. Luckily one day later the leaves look healthy and there are no new yellowing on the plant, and no more bugs right now.

So humidity can play a big part in these plants well-being apparently.

  • I did not manage to save the plant. I suck at plants. Sorry to hear about yours though. Do you have mold at the roots as well? Feb 27, 2021 at 10:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.