Herringbone Plant Maranta leuconeura
Previously known as:
- Maranta kerchoveana
- Maranta leuconeura var. erythroneura
- Phonetic Spelling
- muh-RAN-tuh loo-koh-NUR-uh
An evergreen tropical plant commonly grown as a houseplant in temperate climates. The Prayer Plant has variegated ovate leaves with entire margins that fold at night to resemble praying hands. The undersides of the leaves are gray-green to purple-green. New leaves appear as a rolled tube. Place in bright, indirect light, as too much sun will bleach out the attractive leave colors. Keep potting soil evenly moist throughout growing season but hold back to allow the soil to dry out in the winter months. Place this plant in a humidified room or standing pot in a tray of wet pebbles as it requires high humidity. Propagate by rhizomatous division.
This plant blooms under ideal conditions, but flowers are small and not very effective. This plant is desired for its interesting, patterned foliage. The prominent red fishbone-patterned veins, pale central variegation, and pale underside is characteristic of this plant. By day, leaves are held parallel to ground and move to perpendicular 'prayer' position at night. Leaf upper and undersides lose color in low light and fertility situations. This plant is commonly used in interiors as hanging baskets and as ground-cover in interiorscapes. This plant tolerates low to medium light. It is intolerant of direct sunlight or of low humidity. It is also intolerant of low temperatures or cold drafts. Leaf burns with high fluorides and with overfertilization. This plant has no serious pest or disease problems.
Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems but occasional spider mites and mealybugs. Root rot may occur with poorly drained soils.
Quick ID Hints:
- Rabbit track-like dark spots on each side midrib
- Leaves raise to 'prayer' position at night
- Leaf underside is light grey-green
- Low-growing with oblong leaves and truncate apex
- Leaf is oblong-elliptic with red fishbone-pattern veins
- Leaf underside is usually red/purple
- Variegation down midrib is light green to yellow
- See this plant in the following landscape:
- Cultivars / Varieties:
- Cultivars / Varieties:
- Recommended Propagation Strategy:
- Root Cutting
- Country Or Region Of Origin:
- Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
- Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
Whole Plant Traits:
- Plant Type:
- Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
- Available Space To Plant:
- Less than 12 inches
- 12 inches-3 feet
- USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
- 11a, 11b
- Flower Color:
- Flower Inflorescence:
- Flower Shape:
- Flower Petals:
- 2-3 rays/petals
- 4-5 petals/rays
- Flower Size:
- < 1 inch
- Flower Description:
- Rarely flowers indoors but flowers are small, have 2-5 petals, are white to purple or spotted purple, zygomorphic, two-lipped and appear on slender stalks. The corolla tube is green, sepals are thing, bracts are persistent and papery, and staminodes are petaloid. Inflorescence is a stalked panicle on axillary.
- Leaf Color:
- Leaf Value To Gardener:
- Leaf Arrangement:
- Leaf Shape:
- Leaf Margin:
- Hairs Present:
- Leaf Description:
- Leaves are alternate, crowded, simple, oblong-elliptic, have an apex truncate with a short sharp acumen, have a rotund base, are entire, have an upperside that is medium to dark green and variegated with pale green to yellow markings at the midrib, have central and main veins that are prominent in a fishbone pattern and are colored red, have pale green margins, and have an underside that is reddish to burgundy in color. Leaves exhibit sleep movement and are erect at night. They also have a long, sheathing petiole.
- Stem Is Aromatic:
- Stem Description:
- Stems are short and rhizomatous.
- Landscape Location:
- Resistance To Challenges: