Last Updated on September 17, 2021
Named after Bartolomeo Maranta, the Maranta, or the Prayer Plant, is a stunning and decorative plant that is native to Brazil. Its eclectic mix of green, yellow, and red make it a fan favorites, and it is great for indoor and outdoor use. While a lovely decorative plant, the Maranta is great for the outdoors because of its ability to sprawl. It also blooms around springtime. This article looks to revise the best ways to care for a Maranta plant if you are to own one. It will also answer the most frequently asked questions concerning the plant.
Table of Contents
The prayer plant grows best in warmer conditions, which explains why it thrives in South America. It needs plenty of fertilizer and a little airflow too. In terms of light, one of the best things to do is to set your plant near a window at the start so that it can receive indirect sunlight. As with many plants, indirect sunlight is key because direct sunlight will cause damage to the leaves. They grow best in low light, so even during winter when the plant is dormant, try to have a light source of some kind nearby.
When it comes to soil, the Maranta performs best with slightly acidic or neutral soil, so 5.5-6. It works well in a variety of soil types and a traditional potting mix works fine, so there is no need for anything organic. Ensure that there are drainage holes in the bottom of the pot to ensure that the soil can drain and dry properly when it is fertilized. It is vital to keep an eye on your Marantas soil because if it gets too dry, you are into a world of problems.
The Maranta can dry up very quickly, so be sure to water it regularly. However, look to keep your watering or feeding to 2 times a week maximum. If you underwater or overwater your plant, it will damage your leaves and will discolor them. Similarly, look to use tepid water as opposed to cold water to avoid shocking the plant. I find that misting the leaves with a spray bottle works best for keeping the plant wet and not overwatering them.
Speaking of temperature, the prayer plant works best in temperatures of 60-80 degrees F. Try to keep the temperature in and around this level to avoid damaging the plant. If you have a humidifier, then using one on the Maranta plant will greatly benefit its growth as it thrives in humid conditions. When fertilizing the plants, try to do it twice a month with the Prayer Plant between Spring and Fall. When it gets to winter, look to fertilize once a month with a diluted fertilizer mix because the plant will likely be dormant. If pruning your plant, use sterilized garden scissors and look to clip the stems just above the leaf node. This will lead to the Maranta showing a bushier appearance.
Propagating is the best way to get more from your plant without needing to buy more of them. There are two types of propagation, sexual and asexual. Sexual propagation involves the male and female plants creating offspring. There tend to be a couple of stages when it comes to sexual propagation:
- Seed Formation
Sexual propagation is the easiest method and is also the most straightforward as it relies on basic functions. Certain plant and tree types can only reproduce via sexual propagation.
Asexual propagation, as the name might suggest, does not involve any male or female contact. Instead, it is known as vegetable propagation and involves the growth and birth of plants through more vegetative parts like the stem or the leaves or tubes. Instead of two parents forming one plant, a single parent cell is used to form a plant. Asexual propagation tends to be a faster process than sexual propagation and as a result, it is used for rapid crop generation by farmers.
The Quick Guide to Plant Propagation
You would usually perform tip cutting on a multi-stemmed plant. A 12-15cm tip in length is cut from the main stem or a side branch just below the node, where the leaf and stem meet. The lower leaves and flowers are removed and the cut end is dipped in rooting hormone powder and planted in a rooting medium, making sure the leaves are well above the soil.
Where some of the stem is cut off and placed in the rooting area until newer roots have begun to form, typically, the user would then transfer the growing plant to a plant pot.
This is closely linked with the asexual method of propagation seen above and involves cutting off a vegetative part of the plant and placing it in the ground to help form new plants. Usually, one would use the stem, the leaf, or the tip as a means to help grow new Marantas.
Budding is often seen as one of the most difficult propagation methods and involves taking a bud from one plant and having it grown on another plant. Usually, botany experts or experienced plant nurseries would carry out such a method.
The layering method allows a stem to form its own roots while still attached to the parent plant. There are many layering forms, including tip layering, simple layering, compound layering, mound and air layering; however, each one follows the same general process.
How did the Maranta plant get its name? – The Maranta plant gets its name from the Italian Physician Bartolomeo Maranta, who lived in the 16th Century and was a famed botanist.
How is the Maranta similar to the Calathea plant? – Although they are closely related, the Maranta is a little different when compared to the Calathea. For one, the Maranta has more of a sprawling growth habit and are great for hanging up because of this sprawl.
Why are the leaves on a Maranta Plant Purple? Typically, the under part of the leaves on a Maranta plant are purple, which is down to a few things. Primarily, it is due to changes to humidity, temperature, and moisture.
Are there different types of Maranta? Yes, Erythroneura” and “Kerchoviana.” Erythroneura, also called red nerve plant, has greenish-black foliage marked with brilliant red midrib and lateral veins and feathered with a light greenish-yellow center. In contrast to this is the Kerchoviana which is referred to as rabbit’s foot. It is a sprawling herbaceous plant with a vining habit.
How large can a Prayer plant Grow? Typically, a prayer plant (Maranta) can grow 7-12 inches tall and can be 7-12 inches wide.