Red Maranta (Prayer Plant)

2021 Plant of the Year “Red Maranta” also known as “Prayer Plant”.
A tropical plant native to Brazil, Red Prayer plant is a popular and attractive houseplant. In warm climates, it forms a ground cover while in cooler regions it is used as a hanging indoor plant.

Courtesy of midwest tropicals

The best thing about the plant is its ability to “pray.” This is called a nastic movement and is the plant’s response to light. During the day the leaves are flat, but at night they move upward as if praying to the heavens. This also allows the plant to conserve moisture at night.

Caring for a Red Prayer Plant

Maranta species are tropical and live in understory areas of the forest. They need moist soil and dappled light to shade. They thrive in temperatures of 70-80 F. (21-27 C.). In cooler temperatures, the plant will refuse to pray, the colors will not be vibrant, and some leaves may even wither, brown, or fall off. Very bright light will also affect the colors of the foliage. A northern window or in the middle of a semi-bright room will provide enough light without reducing leaf color. The plant’s water needs are very specific. The soil must be consistently wet but never soggy. A moisture meter is an essential part of red prayer plant care. Fertilize with a diluted houseplant food in spring.

Author: Dennis Hickey

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