Maranta leuconeura var. erythroneura
Common Name: prayer plant 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Marantaceae
Native Range: Brazil
Zone: 11 to 12
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 11-12 where it may be grown outdoors in sheltered locations in moist, humusy, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers temperatures that do not dip below 60°F. Intolerant of frost. In St. Louis, it is grown as a houseplant. It performs well in a soil-based potting mix and with bright indoor light but no strong direct sun. Too much sun will bleach out the attractive leaf colors. Keep soils consistently moist and fertilize monthly during the growing season, but reduce soil moisture and substantially reduce fertilizer applications from autumn to late winter. Consider placing this plant in a humidified room and/or in standing pot in a tray of wet pebbles to increase humidity. Propagate by cuttings or division.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Maranta leuconeura, commonly called prayer plant, is an evergreen, rhizomatous, low-growing, clump-forming, tropical perennial that is noted for its beautiful foliage. It typically grows to 12-15” tall and as wide, featuring broad-elliptic to oval, predominately green leaves (to 5” long) with striking patterns, lines, blotches and shading. White veins radiate from the midrib to the margins. Leaf undersides are grayish-green to purplish-green. It is native to Brazil. Leaves close upward at night in a manner resembling praying hands, hence the common name of prayer plant. White, two-lipped flowers with purple spots typically bloom on slender spikes in late spring to early summer, but infrequently appear on houseplants. Small flowers are somewhat attractive but ornamentally insignificant.

Varieties and cultivars of this species are distinguished from the species by leaf patterns and leaf coloration.

Var. erythoneura features boldly patterned olive-green leaves, with each leaf sporting (a) a herringbone design consisting of a showy red midrib with parallel red veins which arch from the midrib to the leaf margins, (b) irregularly-defined yellowish-green markings along the pronounced red midrib, and (c) reddish-purple leaf undersides. Prominent red veins give rise to the common name of herringbone plant for this variety in reference to the herringbone pattern of the veined leaves.

Varietal name from Latin means having red veins.

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

Specific epithet from Greek leuko meaning white and neura meaning string in reference to its white leaf veins.


Watch for spider mites, mealybugs, and thrips. Root rot may occur in poorly drained soil conditions. Leaf spot and tip browning may occur. Cucumber mosaic virus has been reported on marantas.


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