Maranta leuconeura – Maranta, Prayer Plant

Maranta (or Prayer Plants) are compact plants have large oval leaves and are grown for their ornamental foliage. Var : kerchoreana has midgreen smooth leaves with about ten purple markings on the upper surface which give it the common name Rabbit’s Tracks. (Underneath, the leaves are a muted purple in colour.) Another variety, erythrophylla has bright red veins on leaves which are bright green along the central rib. The common name, Prayer Plant, is derived from the leaves’ habit of folding up together at night.

Maranta leuconeura - Maranta, Prayer Plant

Temperatures:

  • Growing season 15-22 °C (60-72 °F)
  • Minimum winter 7-10 °C (45-50 °F)

Soil: A well-drained soil-less compost.

Where to position: In light shade and out of direct sunlight. It is moderately tolerant but draughts or excessive temperature fluctuations can result in unsightly leaf damage.

Watering requirements: Maintain a moist soil condition with lukewarm soft water. It likes high humidity. Mist-spray daily in hot weather; weekly at other times.

General care: Maintain humidity and spray daily in hot weather. Cut off damaged leaves with brown tips. Give a well-diluted liquid fertilizer weekly in spring, summer and autumn, but not in winter. Re-pot into a shallow pot in spring using fresh compost and ensure good drainage.

Rest: Maintain a moist soil condition in winter. No special routine; the rest period is only a slowing of growth in cold weather.

When it looks sick:

  • Plant seems loose in the soil and looks tired and sick : Root-rot caused by over-watering. Try re-potting; the plant may not survive but will die if left.
  • Leaves drying and going brown and dry : Probably under-watered; use soft, lukewarm water to restore soil condition.
  • Browning tips and edges to leaves : Check the humidity as this is the probable cause. Spray regularly in warm weather.

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