Maranta leuconeura
Common Name: prayer plant
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Marantaceae
Native Range: Brazil
Zone: 11 to 12
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers indoors
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 11-12. In St. Louis, it is grown as a houseplant. Best grown with a soil-based potting mix and with bright indoor light with no strong direct sun. Too much sun will bleach out the attractive leaf colors. Keep soils consistently moist in the growing season, but reduce moisture from fall to late winter. Consider placing this plant in a humidified room or standing pot in a tray of wet pebbles to increase humidity.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Maranta leuconeura, commonly called prayer plant, is native to Brazil. It is an evergreen, low-growing, rhizomatous, tropical perennial that is noted for its beautiful foliage that closes at night in a manner resembling praying hands. It typically grows to 12” tall and as wide. Features oval, predominately green leaves (to 5” long) with striking lines, blotches and shading. Leaf undersides are grayish-green to purplish-green. White, two-lipped flowers on slender spikes infrequently appear on houseplants.

Genus name honors Bartolomeo Maranti (1500-1571), Venetian physician and botanist.

Specific epithet means white-veined.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for spider mites and mealybugs. Root rot may occur in poorly drained soil conditions. Leaf spot may occur.

Garden Uses

Excellent indoor foliage plant for pots or hanging baskets. In tropical areas, it forms an attractive ground cover for shady areas.