are small and fairly easy to grow plants. Their common name is Prayer Plant because their leaves roll up at night and resemble a pair of
hands in prayer. Not only do the leaves move at dusk and dawn, but
the leaves also move around throughout the day to follow the sun. Native to Brazil’s rain forest, Prayer Plants like indirect light and will tolerate some shade. They like moist but well-draining soil and tend to prefer high humidity
Prayer plants are named for Bartolomeo Maranta, an Italian physician and botanist from the 16th century. About 40 species of Marantas exist, with the main ones native to the rainforests of Brazil. In addition to Marantas from South America, other species of Marantas are native to Asia and Africa.
Marantas are typically grown commercially in small 4-6″ pots. Due to their small and compact size, Prayer plants make good hanging baskets. According to the ASPCA, Prayer plants are popular houseplants which are non-toxic to both humans and pets.
Marantas prefer sheltered shaded areas in their native habitat. Prayer plants typically grow in areas in nature that are protected from the wind and cold temperatures. Since they don’t have tendrils, they aren’t climbers and only grow about 12″ tall. As indoor plants, prayer plants like an indirect light and will tolerate some shade. They like moist but well-draining soil. They tend to like high humidity to thrive and do well when placed on a dish filled with pebbles and water. Usually Marantas are moderate growers that do well repotted every two years in the Spring.
There are three common varieties readily available – the red Maranta, the green Maranta and the Lemon Lime Maranta. The red Maranta has red veins with a greenish yellow center portion and green to blackish green background. See photos below:
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