Maranta leuconeura ‘Tricolor’

10 Feb

Maranta leuconeura 'Tricolor' (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Maranta leuconeura ‘Tricolor’ (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Indirect bright to low light

Flowering period: All year round

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 30cm

Eventual Spread: 40cm

Hardiness: 10b, 11, 12, 13

Family: Marantaceae

Maranta leuconeura ‘Tricolor’ is an evergreen tropical perennial with a clump forming habit. Its dark and light green leaves have pink veins are ovate with entire margins, up to 12cm long and 6cm across. Its leaves tend to lay flat during the day and roll up into an erect position during the night. Its white tubular flowers are insignificant and appear on long stems. It should be noted this plant rarely flowers when grown as a houseplant. Its roots contain rhizomes.

The species, Maranta leuconeura, commonly known as Prayer Plant or Rabbit Tracks, is native to the Brazilian rainforest. In its native habitat it grows as a tropical woodland understory plant.

The etymological root of the binomial name Maranta is named after Bartolomea Maranti ( ? – 1571), a Venetian botanist. Leuconeura is derived from the Greek Leuko meaning ‘white’ and  neura meaning ‘string’, in reference to its leaves.

Maranta leuconeura 'Tricolor' Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Maranta leuconeura ‘Tricolor’ Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

The landscape architect may find Maranta leuconeura ‘Tricolor’ useful as an attractive foliage houseplant suitable for indirect bright and low light conditions.

Ecologically, Maranta leuconeura ‘Tricolor’ is of little value in to UK wildlife.

Maranta leuconeura ‘Tricolor’ prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

When maintaining Maranta leuconeura ‘Tricolor’ as a houseplant its soil should be watered regularly. Watering should be reduced during the winter months. Its preferred active growing temperature rages from between 18ºc to 27ºc, it will tolerate a temperature as low as 15ºc. Feeding with weak fertiliser solution should be carried out every two weeks during the growing season. Regular spraying with water will help to improve the humidity for this plant. Red Spider Mite may attack this plant. Regular pruning of old growth will encourage a more attractive plant.

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