Maranta leuconeura or prayer plant is a tropical plant with beautifully colored leaves.
There are several varieties with different colorings and designs.
Outside the tropics, it can be grown as a houseplant but the air indoors is often too dry, causing the leaf tips to turn brown.
However, it can easily be grown in a terrarium, open or closed.
Maranta leuconeura is an evergreen, rhizomatous, low-growing, clump-forming, tropical perennial of 30-40 cm tall and wide.
The leaves are wide elliptical to oval, up to 13 cm long, mostly green with striking patterns, lines, spots and shadows. White veins radiate from the midrib to the leaf edge. The underside of the leaves is gray-green to purple-green. The leaves close upright at night, hence the name of prayer plant.
White flowers with purple spots usually bloom on thin spikes from late spring to early summer but rarely on houseplants. The flowers are attractive but insignificant.
Prayer plant, ten-commandements
Calathea leuconeura, Calathea massangeana, Maranta kerchoviana, Maranta leuconeura var. erythroneura, Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoveana, Maranta leuconeura var. leuconeura, Maranta leuconeura var. massangeana, Maranta massangeana
Maranta: after Bartollomeo Maranta, 16th-century Italian herbalist
Leuconeura: from the Greek leucos (white, pale) and neuron (nerve)
USDA zone 11-12
Mix of potting soil with sphagnum or coco peat
Light, partial shadow
Keep the substrate moist, less water in winter
Liquid fertilizer diluted by half every 2 weeks during growing season
Requires 50% relative humidity, dry air will cause the leaf tips to turn brown and dry
Prefers a shallow pot, has a shallow root system
- in spring, take 4 cm long stem cuttings with 3-4 leaves
- plant the cuttings in moist potting mixture
- when your plant gets too big, divide by separating the shallow roots