Maranta leuconeura 

(ma-ran' ta lew-co-new' rah)

Common name: Prayer Plant

Family: Marantaceae, Prayer Plant

Height x width: 12" x 12"

Foliage: crowded clumps of elliptic leaves with blunt ends, intricate patterns, to 5" long; species is dark green with silver lines from midrib to margin; reddish to dark gray underneath

Flowers: small, white tubular pairs in loose racemes, insignificant and often not seen indoors

Light: bright to moderate

Temperature: moderate to warm

Watering: moderate

Fertility: moderate

Humidity: humid

Soil: well-drained

Pests and Problems: root rots if too wet, leaf spots, mosaic virus, spider mites, mealybugs (often common); leaves pale in too much light; leaves curl from intense light, low humidity and drafts

Growth habit, uses: foliage

Other interest: leaves spread by day, and close in evening--hence common name as it resembles hands praying; native to Brazil and tropical Americas; named for 16th century Venetian botanist B. Maranti; related species arundinacea, Arrowroot, is grown for its edible starchy rhizome which is ground into a powder

Other culture: may need a large pot or repotting often as it tends to spread

Propagation: division of rooted offshoots, basal cuttings, seed

Cultivars:

'Erythroneura'--Herringbone Plant, Red-nerve Plant, Red-veined Prayer Plant; olive to black-green with bright red veins, irregular light green markings around the midrib

'Fascinator'--as 'Erythroneura' only more pronounced and regular midrib markings

'Kerchoveana'--Green Maranta, Rabbit's Tracks; light gray-green with roughly square brown marks between veins, pale bluish underneath

'Massangeana'--blackish-green leaves with silvery-gray along midribs and veins, purple underneath


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

Return to  Perry's Perennial Pages | PSS121 course