Known as the Prayer Plant because it folds its leaves in the evening (in a fashion similar to one praying), M. leuconeura is a slow-growing, rhizomatous perennial that grows well in homes. Like African Violets, they prefer high humidity, partial shade, and well-drained soils.
Maranta leuconeura (Prayer Plant)
Hardiness Zones: 11-12
Height: 15-30 centimeters (6-12 inches) tall
Diameter: 15-30 centimeters (6-12 inches) across
Growth Rate: slow
Root System: rhizomatous
Subspecies: ‘Erythroneura’, ‘Fascinator’, ‘Kerchoveana’, ‘Massangeana’
Problems (major): nematodes, spider mites, slugs
Problems (minor): mealybugs, root rot (poorly drained soils), leaf spot, leaf scald (too much sun)
Soil requirements: requires moist, fairly nutrient-rich, well-drained soils, tolerates medium/loamy, heavy/clay, acidic soils
Air requirements: prefers high humidity
Watering requirement: moderate
Sun requirement: part-shade
Leaf shape: ovular, green with red veins/stripes, alternate
Leaf size: up to 13 centimeters (5 inches) long
Stem: thick, green
Flowering structure: flower spikes with two-lipped, white flowers
Flowering frequency: infrequent indoors
Fruits: inconspicuous, hard, brown
The leaves close or fold up in the evening, which somewhat resembles praying.
These are sometimes used as house plants, as they need partial shade and grow slowly.
Foliage and flowers
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