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Complete Maranta Prayer Plant Care Guide

Maranta houseplants, also known as prayer plants, are popular tropical foliage plants known for their stunning variegated leaves and unique circadian rhythm. These plants are native to the rainforests of South America and thrive in warm, humid environments. As such, maranta care may be a bit trickier than some until the right balance of humidity and water is found.

Maranta Plant Ultimate Care Guide
Maranta Leuconeura Lemon Lime

Their name, “prayer plant,” stems from the fascinating behavior of their leaves, which fold upwards at night and unfurl again at dawn, resembling praying hands. This is the same group as Calatheas and Stromanthe, though marantas have slightly different care.

Characteristics of Maranta Plants

Some common characteristics of maranta plants include:

Maranta red
  • Variegated Foliage: Maranta plants are known for their striking variegated foliage, which features a range of colors and patterns. The most common variety, the Maranta leuconeura, has dark green leaves with oval patterns of light green, yellow, and cream.
  • Prayer Plant Movement: At night, the leaves of a maranta plant fold upwards, resembling praying hands. This unique movement is thought to help conserve moisture and protect the leaves from predators.
  • Relatively Easy Care: Maranta plants can be relatively easy to care for with the right conditions. They require bright indirect light, moist but not soggy soil, and high humidity. They prefer warm temperatures and should be protected from drafts and vents.

Related Article: How to Care for Calatheas

Popular Maranta Varieties

The genus Maranta encompasses over 40 species, each with its own distinct leaf patterns and colors. Some of the most common and popular varieties include:

Maranta Plant Ultimate Care Guide
Maranta Leuconeura Kerchoveana
  • Maranta leuconeura: Known for its dark green leaves with oval patterns of light green, yellow, and cream.
  • Maranta lemon lime: Features bright green leaves with lime green and yellow variegation.
  • Maranta fascinator: Has dark green leaves with striking red veins and a silvery sheen.
  • Maranta red prayer plant: Features dark green leaves with a deep red underside.
Maranta Plant Ultimate Care Guide
Difference between red maranta and lemon lime maranta

Maranta Care Requirements

These plants are relatively easy to care for, with the right conditions. Here are a few things you need to know to keep them healthy and happy:

Light

Maranta plants prefer bright, indirect light. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight, as this can scorch their leaves. If you don’t have a window that receives bright, indirect light, you can use a grow light to supplement the natural light.

Water

Maranta plants like to be kept moist but not soggy. Water them thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Allow the excess water to drain away completely, and then do not water again until the top inch of soil is dry.

Humidity

High humidity is crucial for maranta plants to flourish. Misting the leaves regularly, placing the pot on a pebble tray filled with water, grouping the plant with other humidity-loving plants, or adding a humidifier can help maintain adequate moisture levels.

Maranta fascinator
Temperature

Maranta plants prefer warm temperatures. Keep them in a room that is between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fertilizer

Fertilize your maranta plant every two weeks during the spring and summer. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength.

Repotting

Maranta plants grow slowly, so you will only need to repot them every two to three years. When you repot, choose a pot that is one size larger than the current pot. Use a fresh potting mix that is well-draining.

Maranta Plant Ultimate Care Guide
Maranta Leuconeura Kerchoveana
Common Pests

Maranta plants are susceptible to spider mites, scale, and mealybugs. Spider mites, especially, thrive in dry conditions, so it is important to keep your maranta plant humid. If you see any of these pests on your plant, treat it immediately with an insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.

Increasing Humidity

Maranta plants are native to the tropical rainforests of South America and thrive in warm, humid environments. They prefer humidity levels above 50% and can become stressed or develop problems if the air is too dry.

Maranta Plant Ultimate Care Guide
Maranta Cristata Bicolor
How to Increase Humidity for Your Maranta Plant

There are a few things you can do to increase the humidity around your maranta plant:

  • Mist the leaves regularly: Misting the leaves of your maranta plant with a spray bottle will help to increase the humidity around the plant.
  • Place the plant on a pebble tray: Fill a pebble tray with water and place the pot of your maranta plant on top. As the water evaporates, it will increase the humidity around the plant.
  • Group plants together: Grouping plants together will create a microclimate with higher humidity.
  • Use a humidifier: If you live in a dry climate, you may want to consider using a humidifier to increase the humidity in your home.

Caring for Maranta Plant Flowers

Maranta plants do produce flowers, but they are not very showy. The flowers are small and white or cream-colored, and they are often hidden among the leaves. If you want to encourage your maranta plant to flower, you can give it slightly more light and fertilizer than usual. However, don’t get too discouraged if your maranta plant doesn’t flower, as it is not essential for the plant’s health.

Maranta Plant Ultimate Care Guide
Maranta flower

Common Issues with Marantas

These are a few problems that could come up while caring for Marantas, mostly as a result of low humidity:

Maranta with Browning Leaves
  • Brown leaf tips: This is usually caused by low humidity or dry air. Mist the leaves daily or place the plant on a pebble tray filled with water. Brown leaf tips could also occur by watering with tap water. Marantas are sensitive to the chemicals in tap water.
  • Crispy leaves: This is also caused by low humidity or dry air. Mist the leaves daily or place the plant on a pebble tray filled with water.
  • Drooping leaves: This is usually caused by overwatering or underwatering. Check the soil moisture and water accordingly.
  • Curling leaves: Curling leaves on maranta plants are a common problem most often caused by underwatering or low humidity.

Related Article: Humidity and Houseplants

Once you have identified the cause of the problem, you can take steps to correct it. If the problem is caused by underwatering or overwatering, adjust your watering schedule accordingly. If the problem is caused by low humidity, raise the humidity around the plant. Then, give your maranta time to see if there’s any signs of improvement.

Complete Maranta Prayer Plant Care Guide
Maranta fascinator

Additional Maranta Care Tips

Here are a few additional tips for caring for maranta plants:

  • Use filtered or distilled water to water your maranta plant, as tap water can contain chemicals that can harm the plant.
  • Wipe the leaves of your maranta plant with a damp cloth every few weeks to remove dust and dirt.
  • Avoid placing your maranta plant near drafts or vents.
Maranta Plant Ultimate Care Guide
Maranta Leuconeura Fascinator

Maranta houseplants bring a touch of elegance and tropical charm to any indoor space. Their captivating foliage, unique circadian rhythm, and relatively easy care requirements make them a popular choice among plant enthusiasts. With proper care and attention to their environmental needs, maranta plants can thrive for many years, adding a touch of nature’s artistry to your home.

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