How to grow and care for Maranta Plant (Maranta leuconeura) Indoors

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Maranta Plant Care, Prayer Plant Care

Botanical name: Maranta leuconeura
Family: Marantaceae
Common name: Prayer Plant

Maranta Plant Description

Maranta Plants are low growing houseplants with long leaves known for their curious habit of folding and raising at night and hence their common name, 'Prayer Plant'.

With their uniquely colored and patterned leaves, Maranta are excellent for addition to any houseplants collection.

Marantas are moderately easy to care for. They require partial shade, moist soil at all times and high humidity. Due to their sensitivity to changes in growing conditions, they are ideal for growing in a terrarium.

Maranta Plant Size

Maranta rarely exceed the height of 8 in. The leaves are about 6 in. long.

Maranta Plant Varieties

Many varieties and cultivars of Maranta are available. Some of the common ones include Maranta tricolor commonly called Herringbone Plant whose leaves bear prominent red veins.

Other common varieties include Maranta leuconeura kerchoveana commonly called Rabbit's Tracks whose leaves bear brown blotches which turn green with age and Maranta leuconeura massangeana whose leaves are blackish green with silvery veins among others.

Maranta Plant Related Plants

Maranta are closely related to the Calathea, Ctenanthe and Stromanthe.

These groups of plants are sometimes commonly called Prayer Plants in reference to their curious characteristic of closing their leaves at night.

Maranta Plant Origin

Maranta are native to tropical Central and South America and the West Indies. Maranta are named for Bartolomeo Maranta, an Italian physician and botanist of the 16th century.

Maranta Plant Buy

Buy beautiful and healthy Maranta Plants (Maranta leuconeura) from Etsy.

Maranta Plant Care, Prayer Plant Care

Photo Credit: Crocus

Maranta Plant (Maranta leuconeura) Care Indoors

Maranta Light requirements

Maranta grow best in partial light as colors fade in bright light. Too little light will cause the leaves to close like they do at night.

Keep your Maranta away from direct sunlight as it can lead to sunburn on leaves. Maranta Plants can also grow under flourescent light. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Maranta

Water Maranta thoroughly and keep the soil moist at all times during the growing season. Reduce watering in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

Being a tropical plant, water your Maranta with water that is at room temperature to avoid shocking the plant which can result in reduced growth.

Maranta Plants are sensitive to chemicals dissolved in water, therefore, water Maranta with water that is free of chlorine and flourides.

Ensure the pot for your Maranta has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot.

Avoid wetting the foliage of your Maranta during watering or water from the bottom instead to prevent fungal infestation. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for Maranta

Maranta prefer average warmth with a minimum of 150C. Protect your plant from cold draughts and sudden changes in temperature as they can cause leaf drop. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Maranta

Maranta require high humidity inorder to thrive. To raise humidity for your Maranta, surround the pot with wet moss or place the pot on a wet pebble tray. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

You can also grow your Maranta in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium. Read more on how to make a closed terrarium for houseplants.

How to clean Maranta

Clean the leaves of Maranta by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to keep them clean and neat. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Maranta

Feed Maranta with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once monthly through out the growing season.

Withhold feeding for your Maranta during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to Repot Maranta

Repot Maranta every 2 years at the beginning of the growing season. Use a pot with a drainage hole and free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.

Marantas do not like to sit in soggy soil, therefore, ensure the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole as soggy soil can lead to root-rot.

The large Maranta plants can be divided at the time of repotting and use the splits to propagate new Maranta plants.

How to Prune Maranta

Pruning Maranta is easy as it involves removal of dead and yellow foliage to maintain the plant neat and attractive.

Cut back the stems at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Maranta Plant (Maranta leuconeura) Propagation

Maranta Plant propagation can be done at the beginning of the growing season by plant division or from stem-tip cuttings.

How to propagate Maranta by plant division

Take out the Maranta plant from its pot and divide it into several sections. Ensure each section has some roots inorder to hasten rooting.

Pot the Maranta sections into individual pots in moist, free-draining soil. Ensure the pots have a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting

Cover the pots with clear polythene to create a greenhouse effect and maintain warm humid conditions which hasten establishment of your Maranta plants.

Place the pots in a warm, shaded place until new growth has emerged in the Maranta sections.

Gradually remove the polythene cover over a period of two weeks to acclimatize the new Maranta plants.

Then move the set up to a cool, shaded place and maintain the soil moist until the new Maranta plants are well established after which routine care can begin.

How to propagate Maranta from stem-tip cuttings in soil

Take a stem-tip cuttings from a healthy Maranta Plant by cutting the stem just below a leaf node.

Dip the cut end of the Maranta cutting in a rooting hormone to hasten rooting and insert the cutting in moist, rooting soil.

Place the set up in warm, semi-shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges.

Allow the new Maranta plants to be well established before transplanting after which routine care can begin.

How to propagate Maranta from stem-tip cuttings in water

Maranta stem-tip cutting can also be rooted in water.

Take a stem-tip cuttings from a healthy Maranta Plant by cutting the stem just below a leaf node.

Dip the cut end of the Maranta cutting in rooting hormone and place the cutting in a glass jar of plain water.

Place the set up in a well-lit spot and change the water at least every 5-7 days.

When the roots are about 2 in. long, gradually add soil into the water to acclimatize the Maranta cutting roots to growing in soil.

When the roots are about 4 in. long, the Maranta cuttings can be potted into individual pots.

Keep the soil moist and mist the plant regularly until new growth emerges.

Allow the new Maranta plants to be well established before transplanting.

Maranta Plant Care, Prayer Plant Care

Photo Credit: Gardeners Dream

Maranta Plant (Maranta leuconeura) Problems Indoors

Maranta dropping leaves

Maranta dropping leaves is due to too dry air (low humidity). Marantas are very sensitive to low air humidity.

To raise humidity for your Maranta, surround the pot with wet moss or place the pot on a wet pebble tray. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

You can also grow your Maranta in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium. Read more on how to make a terrarium for houseplants.

Maranta limp and rotting stems

Maranta limp and rotting stems are due to too cold air and or too wet soil. At this point, the plant may be too far gone to be saved.

To prevent Maranta limp and rotting stems maintain an average warmth with a minimum of 150C. Protect your plant from cold draughts and sudden changes in temperature.

Also, avoid soggy soil by ensuring that the pot for your Maranta has a drainage hole and that the soil is free-draining.

Maranta discolored or scorched leaves

Maranta discolored or scorched leaves are due to exposure to direct sunlight on your plant. Move your Maranta to a shaded spot or protect it from direct sunlight to prevent its death.

Maranta curled, spotted leaves and lower leaves yellowing

Maranta curled, spotted leaves and lower leaves yellowing are due to underwatering.

Water Maranta thoroughly and keep the soil moist at all times during the growing season. Do not let the soil dry out between waterings but reduce watering during the cold season. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Maranta brown and dry leaf tips accompanied by stunted growth

Maranta brown and dry leaf tips accompanied by stunted growth are an indication of spider mite infestation due to the air being too dry.

Remove the dead growth and set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your Maranta. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Maranta Pests

Maranta pests are mealy bugs, aphids, scale insects and spider mites.

Isolate the affected Maranta plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Maranta Diseases

Maranta is prone to leaf spot disease due to the humid conditions that Maranta prefers.

Isolate the affected Maranta plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the disease.

Is Maranta (Maranta leuconeura) toxic?

Maranta Plants (Maranta leuconeura) are non-toxic to both humans and pets. They are safe to grow indoors.

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