Maranta leuconeura (Prayer plant) is an ornamental, evergreen perennial indoor houseplant. growing up to 12 inches tall and broad, with crowded clumps of evergreen, strikingly-marked oval leaves, each up to 5 inches long. Leaves of this plant are dark or light green colored and red colored shade or line in green color. Blossoms are white with purple spots and not showy, blooming in summer. The leaves have a habit of lying flat during the day, and folding in an erect position at night as if in prayer for evening vespers, hence the common name prayer plant. A Prayer plant is a non-toxic houseplant.
Scientific Name: Maranta leuconeura
Synonyms: Calathea leuconeura, Maranta massangean, Calathea kerchoveana, Maranta kerchoveana, Maranta kerchovei, Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoveana, Maranta leuconeura var. massangeana, Calathea massangeana, Maranta leuconeura var. erythroneura.
Common Name: Prayer plant.
How to grow and maintain Maranta leuconeura:
Prayer plant prefers bright to moderate light, but no direct sun. When a Prayer Plant gets too much light, the color in the leaves starts to fade.
Prayer plant thrives best in a well-aerated, peat based, indoor potting soil that retains water yet still drains quickly. It prefers the soil pH range from 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic).
A Prayer Plant prefers normal temperatures between 60 degrees Fahrenheit – 80 degrees Fahrenheit, avoid temperatures below 12 degrees Celsius / 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures can damage the leaves of a Prayer Plant.
Water your prayer plant regularly during the growing season and always keep the soil moist but never allow your plant to sit in water. During the winter season, reduce watering and you can allow the topsoil to become slightly dry between each watering.
Fertilize your prayer plant every two weeks with a half-diluted liquid fertilizer during the active growth period (spring and summer). It’s not necessary to fertilize a Prayer plant in the winter and fall.
It can be easily propagated by division of rooted offshoots or by seed or by cuttings are taken during the warmer months. Take cuttings 4 – 5 inches long with three or four leaves and trim off any leaf-stalk sheaths that would be below the soil surface when planted.
Repotting: Repot during spring season once every 2 years, just in a somewhat bigger pot if the roots have consumed all the space with the present pot.
Pests and Diseases:
There is no serious pest and disease issues. Watch for Mealy Bugs, Spider mites, and Aphids. Treat spider mites with insecticidal soap.