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The Prayer Plant - Maranta leucoreura

Prayer Plant

 

Many householders are familiar with the prayer plant, and they are not difficult to grow. Given the right light, moisture and temperature they will thrive.

Grown widely as a house plant, however also suited to outdoors in the right climate the botanical name is Maranta leucoreura and it is commonly called the “prayer plant”.

A number of named cultivars with different leaf patterns are sold. However all have the same trait of folding their leaves together at night, hence the common name.
It is also know as the rabbit-track plant, after the pattern on the foliage.


Varieties

  • Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoveana
  • Maranta leuconeura var. erythroneura". has a stronger pattern on the foliage with red veins, a most desirable form.
  • Maranta leuconeura var 'Beauty Kim' has distinctly different makings, pictured seond from top.

Potting and Propagation

If you need to repot, do this in early spring as the weather warms. Any good quality commercial potting soil will do. We suggest adding some additional perlite to the mix to improve the drainage.

  • Water the plants well the weeks before repotting.
  • You can then tip the plant out and divide the clump.
  • Stem cuttings can also be taken at this time.
  • Repot the divisions in a clean pot with new potting soil
  • Water well with a liquid seaweed fertiliser

Stem cuttings are best placed into a propagating mix which is free draining, yet water retentive. They will need extra humidity in order to survive.

 

 

Problems

  • Leaves turning brown
    Usually due to low humidity, however also caused by over watering.

  • Leaves not folding at night.
    This ia an indicator that the plant is not getting enough light. It could also indicate very wet, or very dry soil. This is also an indicator of salt build up in the potting soil. A good flush out with clean rain water can help, or repot in a new potting mix.

  • Fungal Problems
    Usually caused by wet foliage, avoid watering the foliage, and ensure it is dry at night.

  • Root nematodes
    Use a commercial nematicide.