Ctenanthe Lubbersiana (Bamburanta): Ultimate Care Guide

The Ctenanthe Lubbersiana, commonly known as Bamburanta, is an evergreen perennial native to the tropical rainforests in southern Brazil. This plant has long branching stems with large oval shaped leaves. The leaves of the Lubbersiana are a beautiful deep green with irregular gold or cream-colored stripes, and pale green undersides. This plant also produces tube shaped flowers that are either gold or white in color, although it rarely blooms when kept as a houseplant.

The Bamburanta is also commonly known as the “Never Never plant”. This Ctenanthe is an air-purifying plant and this quality, combined with its beautiful variegation, make it a wonderful choice for an indoor houseplant.

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana Care

The Ctenanthe Lubbersiana is a high maintenance plant with difficult care requirements, therefore it is not recommended for a beginner.

How to Care for Lubbersiana as an Indoor Plant

The Ctenanthe Lubbersiana is typically kept as an indoor plant, although it can be grown outdoors in the appropriate hardiness zones. As an indoor plant, the Lubbersiana requires bright dappled light, warm temperatures, and high humidity.

Size & Growth Rate

The Ctenanthe Lubbersiana is a fast-growing shrub that typically will reach up to 3 feet high and 4 feet wide, although if grown outdoors as ground cover it can grow as wide as 8 feet.

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana
Ctenanthe Lubbersiana

Lighting Requirement

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana grows under canopies in tropical rainforests and therefore, as a houseplant, requires bright but indirect light. Placing your Lubbersiana by a South or West facing window will provide the ideal lighting this plant needs. Ensure that the plant is not left in direct sunlight, as this may result in burnt leaves. On the other hand, this plant may be able to tolerate low lighting for a short period, but over time the Lubbersiana will begin to pale in color and lose the variegation on its leaves.  

Soil Type & pH Requirement

The Ctenanthe Lubbersiana requires a soil blend that is nutrient rich, well-draining, and has additions to enhance moisture retention.  A general houseplant soil blend with additions of peat moss and perlite will be appropriate for this plant. It is important to keep your Lubbersiana in moist soil, but make sure the soil drains completely to avoid waterlogging the roots. The Ctenanthe Lubbersiana favors neutral to slightly acidic soil, so aim to keep your soil pH levels between 6.1 to 7.5.

Watering Requirement

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana prefers to be kept moist during its growing season in spring and summer. Water your Lubbersiana when the top 25% to 50% of soil is dry, typically 2 or 3 times a week during growing season. Reduce waterings to once a week in wintertime when growth naturally slows. The Lubbersiana is sensitive to chemicals found in tap water; instead opt to use distilled or filtered water for this plant.

Humidity Requirement

The Ctenanthe Lubbersiana is a plant native to tropical climates and requires high humidity in its environment. Maintaining humidity levels of 60% or more is important to provide proper care for this plant. If you notice curling or browning leaves, this may be a result of inadequate moisture. You can correct this issue by misting the plant a few times a week, placing a humidifier next to it, or placing the plant on a humidity tray covered with pebbles.


Ctenanthe Lubbersiana enjoys warmer temperatures that mimic its natural habitat in the rainforest. Keep temperatures for your Lubbersiana between 65°F and 80°F (18°C to 27°C). This plant cannot withstand sudden temperature changes or temperatures lower than 60°F (15°C). If kept as an outdoor plant, bring your Lubbersiana inside during winter to keep it from experiencing poor health due to low temperatures.

Hardiness Zone

The Ctenanthe Lubbersiana thrives in USDA hardiness zones 11a, 11b, 12a, and 12b. If you live within these zones, it may be suitable to grow your Lubbersiana outdoors.


Ctenanthe Lubbersiana may be given fertilizer once a month during its growing season in spring and summer. A general indoor houseplant fertilizer is adequate for your Lubbersiana, however make sure to dilute the fertilizer and add it after watering. In winter, the Lubbersiana growth slows, and fertilization is not required.

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana Plant
Ctenanthe Lubbersiana Plant

How to Repot a Ctenanthe Lubbersiana Plant

The Ctenanthe Lubbersiana will only need to be repotted once every year or two, during the spring or summer. When repotting your Lubbersiana, use a pot that is one size bigger than its current pot and make sure it has plenty of drainage holes. Take this time to prune any dead roots or leaves and use fresh soil in the new pot.  

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana Propagation

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana can be propagated by both root division and plant cuttings.

Propagating a Lubbersiana by root cuttings should be done while repotting the plant. While moving the mother plant into its new pot, take a cutting from the roots and place it in a small pot filled halfway with soil. Cover the cutting with more soil, water thoroughly, and place in a spot that receives bright indirect light. Provide the root cutting with regular care.

Lubbersiana propagation can be done by stem or leaf cuttings any time if your plant is healthy and mature. Choose a stem with 3 or 4 leaves and use a sterile tool to cut 4 to 5 inches of stem, ensuring you cut just below a node. You can place the cutting in water or in soil. If you place the cutting into soil, make sure to water the plant and place it under bright indirect light.

Common Problems with Ctenanthe Lubbersiana

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana can be susceptible to issues such as infestations or diseases, commonly resulting from plant stress or improper care. Here is a breakdown of some of the problems you may experience:

  • Browned leaf tips or edges are typically a result of underwatering. If you notice this on your Lubbersiana, check the soil and provide water if needed.
  • Leaf curling may occur due to either light or temperature that is too intense for the Lubbersiana.
  • Yellowing leaves may be a result of overwatering, or it may occur due to the use of tap water. If you are using tap water, try switching to filtered water or alternatively, leave the tap water sitting out overnight before using it to water you Lubbersiana. If hard water is not the issue, check your plant for other signs of overwatering and allow the soil to dry out more than usual before your next watering.
  • Mealy bugs, spider mites, and aphids are the most common bugs found on the Lubbersiana. Regularly check the stems and leaves for bugs or other signs of infestations, such as discolored or dropping leaves. If you notice any bugs or signs of infestation, isolate your plant, and provide treatment immediately. Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove bugs from the plant, and use a spray made from rubbing alcohol, neem oil, or insecticidal soap to regularly mist the Lubbersiana until the infestation is gone.
  • Root rot is one of the main diseases you may see in your Lubbersiana. Root rot, caused by overwatering, is characterized by soft brown roots and stems. If you notice root rot, treat the plant immediately by removing any damaged parts of the plant, and repotting into a clean pot with new soil.
  • Leaf spot is another disease you may come across with your Lubbersiana. Leaf rot, caused by bacteria that is present in moist soil and humid conditions, is recognizable from the brown or black spots on the leaves of a plant. If you see this on your Lubbersiana, remove affected leaves and use a fungicide or bactericide for treatment.

Is Ctenanthe Lubbersiana Toxic to Cats?

The Ctenanthe Lubbersiana is a non-toxic plant. However, it can still be mildly poisonous to anyone who ingests any parts of the plant, so keeping it out of reach for cats or other pets, as well as children, is suggested. Some people have also reported having mild allergic reactions to this plant.

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana Types

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana has three main varieties, each with distinct leaf variegation. These varieties all originate in Brazil and require the same type of care: partial shade, high humidity, tropical temperatures, and moist but well-draining soil.

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana ‘Variegata’

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana ‘Variegata’ features a large oval, deep green leaf with fine gold variegation. This plant typically grows up to 3 feet in height and 4 feet in width.

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana ‘Golden Mosaic’

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana ‘Golden Mosiac’ also has large, oval shaped leaves on bamboo like stems. The leaf is a bright green with irregular highlights of golden streaks. This plant can grow up to 5 feet in width and height.

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana ‘Brazilian Snow’

Ctenanthe Lubbersiana ‘Brazilian Snow’ plant has large dark green leaves featuring pale green and cream-colored variegations. This variety can reach up to 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall.

Where Can I Find Ctenanthe Lubbersiana for Sale?

It is unlikely to find a Ctenanthe Lubbersiana at any chain gardening store. You can check in with local shops otherwise they can be purchased online from a specialty plant shop, such as plantvine.com or bloomscape.com, as well as on Etsy. The cost of a Lubbersiana will typically range from $10 to $50, although mature plants can be sold for upwards of $80.

Is Ctenanthe Lubbersiana a Calathea?

The Ctenanthe Lubbersiana is not a Calathea, however it is related to Calatheas and other prayer plants. The Lubbersiana is also known for the praying hands movement displayed by the leaves during nighttime. The Ctenanthe and Calatheas both come from the same plant family Marantaceae, more commonly known as the Arrowroot family.

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