Plant of the Month – October, 2007
‘Flying Dragon’ (bamburanta)
At a Glance:
Latin Name: Ctenanthe lubbersiana
Common Name: Bamburanta
Flowers: No flowers
Foliage: Large, leathery green leaves splashed with yellow
Hardiness: Summer annual
Height: 3 ft.
Exposure: Full shade
Water Usage: Medium
Sources: Local retailers
I’ve always believed that some of the toughest plants
alive are those that share our homes with us. That’s right —
houseplants! These plants must stand up to low light,
bad watering practices and a host of the worst conditions
we can throw at them.
Ctenanthe lubbesiana ‘Flying Dragon’ is a fairly
common houseplant related to the popular prayer plant.
I think it really shines, though, when used outdoors as
a summer annual. This tropical foliage plant thrives on
shade, hot temperatures and high humidity — a perfect
match for our Texas summers.
This plant quickly grows to 3 feet tall and 2-1/2 feet
wide by mid-summer. The deep-green foliage is liberally
splashed with bright-yellow streaks. The 8-inch-long leaves
are seldom bothered by pests or diseases.
This plant does equally well in containers or planted
in the ground. Native to tropical forest floors, its a
natural for planting under trees in shady areas. One of
my favorite combinations for shade is bamburanta with
white impatiens and lemon lollipop Pachystachys lutea.
The foliage of bamburanta is a perfect backdrop for the
golden flower spikes of lemon lollipop, while the white
of the impatiens brightens up the whole combination. All
three plants share the same water and fertilizer requirements.
I find that frequent watering during periods of high temperature
and at least monthly fertilization keeps them flowering
throughout the summer.
A great thing about foliage plants is they always look
good and never go out of bloom. I know we all wants oodles
of flowers, but have you ever noticed that a bouquet of
flowers always looks better with some greenery or colored
foliage added? The same principle applies to gardens!
To see this plant and many others, visit the Dallas Arboretum
at 8525 Garland Rd., Dallas. For more information visit
or call (214) 515-6500.
About the author: Jimmy Turner is the Director of Horticulture
Research at the Dallas Arboretum. For more plant profiles
by Jimmy, subscribe to Neil Sperry’s GARDENS Magazine.