Variegated Ginger ‘Triostar’
Stromanthe sanguinea ‘Triostar’
- Type: Perennial
- Zone: 10 – 12
- Height: 3 – 5 Feet
- Spread: 2 – 3 Feet
- Bloom Time: March – April
- Bloom Description: Tiny White Flowers with Cherry Red Bracts
- Sun: Part Shade
- Water: Medium
- Maintenance: Low
- Flower: Showy
- Leaf: Evergreen
- Other: Winter Interest
Variegated Ginger ‘Triostar’ is a stunning selection of a tropical herbaceous plant with dramatic, multicolored leaves. This plant has a variegated clone called ‘Tricolor,’ but that plant is less common, has different leaf shape, markings and venation and thinner, wirier petioles than S. sanguinea and is not as cold tolerant as S. sanguinea. It prefers warm temperatures (above 65°F) and requires adequate humidity – which can be difficult to provide in most homes during the winter – or the leaves with dry out, starting along the edges.
Stromanthe sanguinea has thick, glossy, oblong leaves with entire margins that are a dark green color on top and burgundy below. The leaves of ‘Triostar have irregular variegations in cream, pink, and green on the upper surface and are either a solid pink to burgundy or maroon with pink variegation on the lower surface. The amount of variegation varies considerably, with some plants – or just some leaves on a plant – nearly all cream, while other leaves have green bands of various widths, to nearly completely green with just a few creamy streaks. S. sanguinea has short, creeping stems that can grow up to 5 feet tall under ideal conditions, but this cultivar remains much shorter (18-30 inches), especially when grown in a container. The 6-12 inch long leaves arise on long petioles from the crown of the plant. Each leaf has a mechanism (the pulvinus) for orienting the blade toward or away from the sun. The leaves fold up at night, making the rosy pink undersides more noticeable. By morning they face to the east so they will catch more of the early morning sun, but by midday, they move to a more upright position so less of the blade is exposed to the intense sun. Flowers are rarely produced on ‘Triostar’ grown as a houseplant. Keep the plant in bright light for the best color development, although the plants will grow well in lower light conditions.
The high humidity a Stromanthe plant requires encourages fungal plant diseases. Aphids are a plant pest problem for a Stromanthe and, if the humidity is very low, spider mites move in.
‘Triostar’ can be used as an exotic addition to an annual bed for a tropical effect, or as a dramatic specimen in a container. It makes a stunning houseplant. ‘Triostar’ makes a dramatic container specimen for indoors or outdoors during warmer weather. If moved outdoors for the summer, gradually increase exposure to the elements in the spring, waiting until all danger of frost has passed before leaving outside. In the fall the plant should be moved back indoors before frost.