Can You Name That Plant?

Talking about plants is almost as much fun as growing them. I thought it would be interesting to occasionally feature a plant, see if you can identify it, and then discuss its care. And no fair peeking.

Here’s today’s specimen.plant 1 It’s a houseplant which was domesticated from its native habitat of Brazil. It grows nicely indoors and several varieties have been developed. Its botanical name is Maranta leuconeura.

Leaves fold upward slightly at night, which gave rise to its common name. Although it’s grown for its interesting foliage, it does produce small, white tube-shaped flowers on long stems.

Pretty, isn’t it? Here are tips for keeping this particular plant healthy:

  • Don’t overwater in winter. Let it dry between thorough watering.
  • If it gets too sprawling, cut it back to encourage branching.
  • Needs loose potting soil high in peat moss.
  • Resents hard-packed soil that stays wet and mushy.
  • Tolerates low light, but grows best in bright light. Give a little sunlight in winter and filtered sunlight in summer. Grows well under fluorescent lights.
  • Requires moist, humid air, especially in winter.
  • Can develop brown leaf tips in dry air, or if water and soil are salty.
  • Cuttings root easily in moist potting soil or even in water.

plant 4plant 3

Do I hear a drumroll in the background? The plant is … prayer plant! How did you do? Maybe you’re already enjoying the plant. My wife, Mary and I have two different types, one with larger leaves that sprawls a bit, and another with smaller leaves and a more compact rosette-shaped plant.

Until next time, “Happy Gardening!”