The Maranta plant is named for Bartolomeo Maranta, who was an Italian botanist and physician during the sixteenth century. 

This genus includes low-growing plants that are native to the American tropics.  It makes a beautiful house plant.  This guide will help you know how to take care of it.

What it Looks Like

This plant is also known by its common name, which is The Prayer Plant. It gets its name because during the days the leaves stay flat and at night they fold up like praying hands.  The leaves are deep green and velvety feeling with yellow splotches down the midrib.  The red arching veins travel to the leaf margin.

Maranta Care & Growing Guide

1. Light Requirement

The Maranta requires bright, indirect sunlight.  You can set or hang the plant near a window where it can receive the light it needs.  It is tolerant of lower light areas.  When it goes into dormancy in the winter, make sure that they have bright light so they can maintain their growth.  If they do not have enough light, the leaves will not open completely.

2. Water

When it is growing season, you should water your Maranta plant frequently and do not let the soil dry out.  When the top of the potting soil is starting to feel dry, you should water it.  They are very susceptible to drought but in order to prevent fungal problems, do not let the plant get soggy or let water sit directly on the leaves.  When you water the plant, make sure that the water is room temperature.  Reduce watering in the winter.  They are sensitive to fluoride so make sure that you are not using hard water.

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3. Climate

They do better in the hardiness zones of 11 and 12.  They do best if they have green-house conditions with a moist, warm, gentle airflow.  

4. Soil

The soil they need is well-draining and rich with a pH of 5.5 to 6.0.  They do need plenty of fertilizer.  The soil should be acidic.  The potting soil you use should be a peat-based potting mix or you can mix one part loamy soil, two parts sphagnum peat moss, and one part coarse sand or perlite.  As long as it is well-draining, you can use a general-purpose house plant potting soil.  To help improve drainage, you can add gravel or rocks to the bottom of the pot.  Fertilize your plant every two weeks from early spring through the fall with 10-10-10 fertilizer at half strength.  In the winter, fertilize once a month.

Maranta plant

5. Temperature

The household temperatures should be between 60 and 80 degrees because a lower temperature can cause damage to the leaves.  It is a plant that is from the rain forest. They also like a humid environment.  Most houses are not humid enough so to get enough humidity in the room, fill a tray with small stones, add enough water to be level with the top of the stones, and then put the pot on top of the stones.  You can also mist the leaves with room temperature water.

6. Repotting

You do not need to repot that often but if it becomes pot or roto bound, it will slow down in growth.  When you repot, chose a pot that is only an inch or two wider than the pot it is in.  Take the plant gently from the container, shake the root cleans, and put in a new pot with fresh soil.  Water it well.  The best time to do this is in the spring before it starts to grow again.  Because their roots do not need a lot of room, you can use shallow, wide pots.  Keep the soil loose around the roots and it should be well-aerated. 

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7. Trimming/Pruning

The Maranta should have the stems trimmed twice a year to help improve the shape to keep it compact and bushy.  You should do this in the fall.

8. Propagation

This should be done in the spring.  Make sure that the cutting has three leaves attachéd and 10cm in length.  You can either root them in moist fresh soil or put them in a glass of water.  The pot you should use is a two to three-inch pot for each cutting.  Use a mixture of peat moss and sand.  Place it in a plastic bag and keep it in a shady place.  It will take about a month for rooting to happen and then you can plant in a pot with standard soil. 

9. Height and Spread

At maturity, this plant will reach 12 inches with six-inch-long leaves.  Because they are low-growing, they make an excellent display for plants on a window sill.  

Is the Maranta Poisonous?

This is a non-toxic plant for pets and children

Flowers

The flowers are white with full six-inch-long leaves that rise from a short center stem.  They drape down.  The flowers bloom in the spring

Common Maranta Diseases

Too dry or too cool:  They could suffer from fungal infections or lose their leaves that in time will cause it to collapse or die from root rot. 

Too much sun:  They may develop brown blotches on the leaves or become washed out.

Over or under watering:  Either can cause the leaves to turn yellow and drop off.

Too hot or too cold:  If it is too hot, the leaves will become dark because of burning but if it is too cold, the leaves will turn a brownish color and shrink.

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Not enough humidity:  The leaves will curl and have brown tips.

Conclusion

The Maranta is a common houseplant but they are not really easy to keep growing long term.  They are considered an evergreen perennial.  They are native to South and Central America and the West Indies.  This plant has only three pests that you need to watch for; mealy bugs, spider mites, and apids.  It is often potted in hanging baskets because it is a low spreading plant.  To ensure that your Maranta plant stays healthy, make sure the pot is well-draining, kept moist, has the right temperature, with indirect sunlight

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