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What is this plant? (Maranta leuconeura)

Question:

Can somebody help me identify this houseplant? It was in anarrangement that had about 5 plants grouped together in one largedecorative basket. I'm not sure what kind of plant this is. Thanksfor any thoughts!

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Michele from East Bethel, MN

Answer:

Michele,

This plant is a type of Maranta (Maranta leuconeura), also commonly called a Prayer Plant. Its common name is derived from the fact that its leaves fold inward in the evening as though in prayer. There are three common varieties of Maranta, all with beautiful, intricate leaf patterns. The most common has green leaves with prominent red veins, a second with dark green leaves and silvery veins (M. leuconeura massangeana), and the type you have shown here, M. leuconeura kerchoveana, common name Rabbit Tracks. When your plant was younger, the dark green/brown color inside the silver border probably looked more like little brown splotches-hence the name Rabbit Tracks. As the plant ages, these splotches turn green. All three types of Marantas usually show a purple underside to their leaves.

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Care for these plants are as follows: average minimum warmth of 60 F-80 F. Keep them warm in winter and protect them from drafts (sudden temperature swings can spell disaster for delicate leaves). Give them partial shade in summer (colors fade in bright light) and move them to a sunless spot in winter. As for water, keep the compost moist at all times (reduce frequency of watering in winter). Plan on misting the leaves regularly and covering exposed soil with peat or placing a pebble tray filled with a bit of water underneath the pot to help maintain humidity. Leaf tips will brown if the plant doesn't get enough humidity. Feed them every two weeks throughout the summer with an acidic organic houseplant fertilizer (7-3-2), like one derived from cottonseed meal. Plants can be divided when you repot them-roughly every 2 years.

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Ellen

Maranta leunconeura plant.
 

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Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 66 Requests
January 23, 20080 found this helpful

I think it's called a "marantha". There is a version of it that has red markings instead of silver. I used to have one, 30 years ago. If I remember correctly, it was rather difficult to grow.

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January 23, 20080 found this helpful

Hello! This is a type of Prayer Plant..I have several different ones..they like lot's of light, but no direct sun. You can tell if they are getting enough light if the leaves lift up or close at night and lay flater or open during the day. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. They like humidity or the leaves will brown on the edges. Just put pot on a tray with some grave or small rocks with water in the tray to supply humidity :0)

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Maggie O in Bloomington, MN

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By Karin (Guest Post)
January 24, 20080 found this helpful

Your plant looks like a prayer plant. Type "prayer plant" in the search line of the internet and you'll find a picture of it. The leaves fold upwards at the end of the day, that's why it's called prayer plant.

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