Maranta comes with its unique and pretty leaves is a kind of perennial plant. It has a superior feature, an opening, as well as closing foliage, that offers a natural dancing show all the time.
Therefore, this species is synonymous with the prayer plant. It is due to the folded leaves that resemble praying hands during the nights.
This tropical cultivar is suitable for houseplants because of its decorative leaves. Besides, most of the varieties need low light exposure.
Furthermore, if you are curious about what causes the foliage to move alternately during days and nights, read this article to find out the answer.
Also, a top guide to growing Maranta will lead you to start propagating, potting and caring for this charming indoor houseplant.
Identification of Maranta Plant
Maranta is native to the West Indies and America. This plant belongs to the family Marantaceae that is familiar as the arrowroot. Also, it becomes mature about a height of 30 cm.
Interestingly, the plant produces the arrowroot to make the extraction of wax as well as weaved baskets. Thus, many growers cultivate it in the big starchiness of rhizomes.
Moreover, Maranta leuconeura is a rhizoma that dwells in the tropical forests’ understory. Therefore, the plant grows well in a moist area without too much light.
Its stunning leaves bring tricolor combinations of dark green foliage, the yellow blotches that ornate the surface, and also red veins of the edges. Besides, they have wide oval shapes.
Moreover, every leaf has a different pattern that resembles ink spots. Thus, there will not be two leaves that appear the same as each other. In addition, the foliage can spread over 61 centimeters wide.
Lots of draping leaves develop from a center stem. Likewise, the foliage reaches about 15 centimeters long. Also, this plant contains rosmarinic acid that offers a romantic fragrance like rosemary.
Additionally, when it comes to prayer-plants, Maranta and Calathea have a close relationship. Because they both share the same feature of the drooping leaves.
Their foliage movement also functions to protect the plant from sun radiation. Indeed, further study is necessary to reveal the real purpose of this leaf-moving mechanism.
Thus, in the spring season, this perennial starts blooming small white flowers. However, the blossoms rarely appear when you grow it indoors.
Popular Types of Maranta
Many Maranta Varieties come with different colorations and patterns. Each type has unique splotches. Among numerous cultivars, several variants become favorite houseplants.
Red Prayer Maranta
Maranta tricolor becomes the most popular variety among other species. Its striking feature is the red veins alongside the margins.
This red stripe variety comes with dark green foliage. Besides, the purple markings become a dominant pattern on the leaf surface.
Therefore, the red prayer is mostly available in all home gardens. Then, another name of M. leuconeura erithrophylla is the Herringbone plant.
Maranta leuconeura massangeana
Compared to the Calathea cultivars, M. leuconeura massangeana shares the same characteristics as the species. Both plants are confusing.
This type of Maranta has dark green foliage. The white veins embellish the surface as well as the silver splotches. Then, these blotches spread over the central part of the leaves.
M. leuconeura kerchoveana is synonymous with the rabbit’s tracks. This variety does not have red veins as what the Herringbone plant has.
The pretty pattern of this cultivar is a pair of rows from dark-colored blotches. The markings embellish the plain greenish foliage.
Black Variety of Maranta
The stunning pattern from this black cultivar is the bluish-silver spots at the base of the midrib. They combine with purple speckles on the dark green leaves.
Maranta leuconeura ‘Kim’
Kim cultivar offers lots of flairs. Its purple splotches give a pretty ornament. Meanwhile, the creamy-white markings also embellish the green foliage.
With a lighter tone of green foliage, the Marisela cultivar has cream-green blotches along the base of its midrib. Thus, its coloration creates a stunning ornament on the oval leaves.
The rattlesnake cultivar belongs to the Calathea species. Indeed, this variety has similarities to maranta amagris.
Also, Calathea lancifolia has long and narrow leaves. The ruby backsides create a stunning ornament to the green foliage.
Calathea Ornata or pinstripe plant comes with a dark green color. Then, soft greenish spots make a striking pattern to the leaf. However, this cultivar requires more diffused light than other similar species.
Calathea roseopicta becomes one of the most eye-catching prayer-plants. It offers a few color variations like dark purple and medallion. Besides, the large and round foliage is very stunning.
This cultivar features white speckles along with the foliage. Meanwhile, the backsides have a lilac purple hue. However, caring for Calathea leitzei seems to be tricky.
Therefore, this plant should get routine watering, control moisture, and sufficient diffused light. By considering these requirements, it can grow well indoors.
The Stromanthe variety comes with silver striped patterns along the center vein of the leaves. Also, this dark green foliage has purple undersides.
Furthermore, this plant can grow taller than other cultivars. Its diversity of colors that include a white or pink hue will be a great alternative.
Ctenanthe Burle marxii
Ctenanthe Burle marxii or the Fishbone prayer houseplant has a unique dark pattern that resembles a bone. Then, this circular-styled foliage can adapt to bright light rather than other species.
How to Grow Maranta
Maranta plants offer two easy propagation methods. They include the rhizome division and stem cutting. Thus, you may choose your favorite technique before repotting this cultivar.
The first method is by dividing the plants into smaller specimens. Each individual should contain some roots and stems. Move every piece of the rhizome division to a new pot.
Then, keep the soil humid and warm to make the plant grow well. After several weeks, you will notice new growth that establishes from the small division.
Furthermore, the other simple way to propagate Maranta is by cuttings. Cut off a point on a stem with inserted leaves. This part locates under the node.
Apply a rooting hormone to the cuttings and place them in some glasses of water. Change the liquid every 48 hours. After the new roots appear, you can move the specimens into the pots.
Use potting soil with proper humidity. Generally, a fine spray is useful for maintaining the misty medium.
While repotting the plants, you can use soil or mix turf and perlitic matter. Then, apply a plastic cover to protect the top and improve humidity.
Moreover, start propagating by rhizome division in spring, whereas the summer season is the best time for stem cuttings.
Growing Tips of the Prayer Plants
Consider the types of Maranta before you start cultivating this plant. It is because some variants dwell in low light environments, while other species resist bright sunlight.
Besides, it is necessary to prepare the soil with good drainage and rich in moisture. Avoid the planting area from a soggy condition. Thus, potted cultivar can thrive indoors.
Additionally, combine the potted Maranta with some houseplants to improve the moist conditions. It is better to do a daily smooth spray with warm water to create more humidity.
If necessary, put a bowl of water near the plants to establish a moist environment. Remember! Do not directly place them in liquid.
Maranta Plant Care Requirements
General care for Maranta includes sun exposure, watering, moisture, and temperature. This plant can thrive in a planting area that has the same environment as the greenhouse.
The low-growing varieties are perfect for hanging plants near the windows since they prefer indirect light than direct sun exposure.
Besides, displaying some groups of prayer-plants on the windowsill will be great too. This location allows them to get bright but indirect light.
However, the Maranta plant that exposes to direct sun will fade its intensity of colorations, but indirect light can prevent foliage from many patches.
Keep watering your potted Maranta during the planting season. Add more water if the topsoil gets dry.
However, do not pour water directly on the leaves to prevent the plant from fungal infestations. Make sure it receives enough liquid.
Over-watering and lack of liquid will cause the leaves to become yellow and fall. Then, using warm water is preferable.
Moisture and Temperature
Since the humidity level in the home is low, you need to increase the moisture conditions. Apply some techniques to keep the soil humid.
First, you can place a humidifier next to the pot. Another method is misting the foliage. You might use either warm or room temperature water.
The other way is preparing a tray with water and small stones. Then, put your potted plants on it.
Meanwhile, maintaining a temperature of about 16 to 27 degrees Celsius is a must. The lower level will harm the foliage.
The acidic ground is the right planting area for Maranta. Mix it with loamy soil, sphagnum peat moss, coarse sand, and perlite. Ensure that the materials are free from weeds and insects.
Likewise, a well-drained all-purpose potting soil works great, although sometimes this material needs gravels or rocks to increase drainage.
In early spring, start fertilizing the plants by applying a 10-10-10 formula. Do it every two weeks. However, if you give less fertilizer, your Maranta will have slow growth.
On the other hand, over-fertilizing can turn the foliage brown. After that, the plant will die. In winter, apply fertilizer once a month is enough.
Eventually, Maranta becomes a popular houseplant due to its attractive leaf movement. Try to add some at home and enjoy the dancing show of the stunning foliage.