Maranta is one of the most decorative house-plant with beautiful marked leaves. The common name Prayer Plant comes from the way that during the night, the leaves curl up and look like fingers clasped together.
Keep moist and water 2-3 times a week in Summer, once a week in Winter. Allow to dry between waterings. Over-watering causes stem rot.
Feed every 14 days in Spring and Summer with liquid house-plant food at half strength.
Re-pot once a year in Spring, but do not firm compost down too hard.
Propagate by root division from large plants in early Spring. Prepare 2 clean pots with drainage and compost, using a stick to tease old compost from roots. Pull apart the rootball with roots and stems. Re-pot both separately keeping pots on gravel tray, cover with polythene bag. Leave without water for 2 days in shady position and move back into indirect light and start watering as usual.
Maranta grows best in warm, humid environment with partial shade. It prefers draught free, and grouped with other plants. Trim off brown leaf tips as necessary and pick off yellowed leaves.
If leaves get dusty, wipe them carefully with damp cloth. Do not use leafshine.
Red spider mite may cause leaves to fade. Remove webs underneath the leaves with damp cloth or sponge. When leaves loose colour and look lifeless, these are two signs that the plant is in dark and needs plant-food. Overwatering cause leaves to get limp, brown and patchy; allow the surface to dry out completely.
Maranta looks beautiful in bottle gardens, terrariums, in hanging baskets, as a table top plant and mixed with other plants.
Improve humidity by standing pot on saucer of wet pebbles or keep the plant in double pot with absorbent material packed between the inner and outer pots which can be moistened with warm water.
The first potatoes were cultivated in Peru about 7,000 years ago.