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Maranta

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  • Indoor Plants
Marantha leuconeura 'Fascinator'
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Josée Bouthot)

Onglets

Botany

Origin and description

Maranta grows in the understorey of South American tropical forests. Maranta leuconeura, which grows in Brazilian forests, is the source of most cultivars found on the market. This small herbaceous plant has a spreading habit and colourful foliage. It is known as the prayer plant because of its leaves that fold upward at night. The ‘Erythroneura’ cultivar has striking oval, olive green leaves that are light green along the midrib.  Bright red lateral veins branch off the midrib. The underside of the leaf is purple.

Species, cultivars and related plants

Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoviana has pale green leaves with dark green-purple blotches on either side of the midrib. Maranta leuconeura 'Massangeana' has dark green foliage with silvery patches and midrib and lateral veins.

Toxicity

As a precaution, keep this plant out of the reach of children and pets.

Common name

Maranta / Prayer plant / Herringbone plant

Latin name (genus)

Maranta leuconeura 'Erythroneura'

French common name

Botanical family

  • Marantaceae
Horticulture

Growing conditions

Maranta is a shade plant in its natural environment, and is therefore adapted to low light conditions. Avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight, which will bleach the leaves and cause them to turn brown around the edges. Maranta does best near an east-facing window. Maranta requires warmth and humidity. A temperature of 18 to 21ºC is ideal year round but it easily tolerates temperatures over 30ºC. Do not expose it to temperatures below 15ºC. Keep the humidity high especially when temperatures rise above 21ºC. Set the pot on a saucer filled with pebbles and water, or mist the plant on a regular basis. Avoid cold drafts and heat sources.

Easy to grow?

Maranta is fairly easy to grow if given high humidity.

Watering and fertilizer

During the growing period, water regularly with room-temperature water as soon as the soil dries out but never leave any water standing in the saucer. In winter, allow the soil to dry out more deeply between waterings. Fertilize every month during the growing period (March to October) with a balanced indoor plant food or an all-purpose fertilizer like 20-20-20 at half strength. This plant is sensitive to excess nutrients. The soil should be thoroughly moistened before fertilizer is applied to avoid burning the roots.

Pruning and maintenance

Maranta requires little in the way of special care other than removing yellowed or dried leaves. Shower off dusty plants with lukewarm water or wipe the leaves down with a damp sponge.

Repotting

Repot maranta in a light well-draining potting mix that is rich in organic matter, such as equal parts potting soil and peat moss. Low pots are suitable for maranta because its shallow root system doesn’t need much room. This fast-growing plant will need to be repotted every year in the first few years, then every two to three years thereafter.

Propagation

Pests and diseases
Physiological disorders

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