The Maranta plant is named after a botanist from the 16th century, Bartolomeo Maranta. Also known as the prayer plant, a Maranta is known for its rosmarinic acid. This acid is one of the main ingredients of rosemary, providing the famous rosemary scent.
Native to Brazil, this plant is called the prayer plant for a reason. The leaves are like magic. They remain flat throughout the day, but at night, they curl up. It looks like they’re raising their hands for prayers. Botanists have named this pattern the circadian rhythm.
There are a few varieties of prayer-plants such as:
Leuconeura Erythrophylla or M. tricolor
A Maranta plant leaves are oval-shaped with red-colored veins or streaks starting from the stem and moving upwards. Similar to the Calathea genus, a Maranta plant is easy to take care of as a houseplant.
Kindred to other typical houseplants, a Maranta requires bright but indirect sunlight to thrive. This works best as a houseplant, as direct sunlight can cause the leaves to scorch and burn.
You only need to water the plant either once a week or once in two weeks. They don’t have to be watered again until the soil is half dry. During colder seasons, it can survive on less water.
A small tip is to avoid watering the plant directly from tap water as it’s sensitive to hard water. Try using distilled or filtered water if possible.
Temperature and Humidity
Maranta plants can easily survive up to 30 degrees celsius. But they can’t tolerate extremely low temperatures, such as below 15 degrees celsius.
Moreover, the plant thrives in a humid environment. You can create humidity by placing plants together in a cluster in your home, spraying the leaves regularly with a water mist, or plugging a humidifier nearby. If you have space, you can even create a pebble tray to increase humidity.
To create a pebble tray, place some pebbles on a tray and submerge them in water until only the pebbles’ top layer isn’t wet. Place the pot on the pebbles. This will increase the humidity in the area.
During the growing season, use a water-based fertilizer at only half the strength every few weeks. This will provide the plant with a much-required boost, or else the plant will not grow. It’s okay to decrease fertilization during the winter months.
Although Maranta doesn’t require regular repotting, it’s better to change pots every couple of years as the growth decreases. The roots tend to become bound in one place affecting the growth. Always choose a pot only an inch or two bigger than the previous one.
To grow new plants, you can start the process when you repot the plant. When you take the plant out of the pot, you can separate the roots and stems into smaller divisions and put them in shallow pots. During the first few weeks until the plant claims growth, keep the soil moist and warm.
Furthermore, you can use stem cuttings as well. When you cut a stem, you can place it in a glass of water after dipping it into a growth hormone. Make sure to change the water after every few days. Once some roots take form, place the stem into a pot with soil. Regularly mist the plant and keep the soil moist for the first few weeks.
When the plant is lacking in humidity or water, it’ll show its displeasure by leaving brown blotches on the leaves or curling the tips. As long as you know which signs to look out for, you can easily solve the problem.
Since you’ve to be careful about watering the plant, make sure you don’t overwater it as the roots and stems tend to rot.
Since the leaves drape downwards, leaving a trail, this plant looks best in hanging baskets inside the house or office space, giving an aesthetically pleasing look. They don’t grow beyond 12 inches indoors; therefore, they can also be clustered in one area near a window or the patio. Although the plant isn’t toxic to pets, it’s still advisable to keep the plant out of range for them and children.
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