Maranta leuconera: discover its care

It is one of the most spectacular ornamental plants that exist. The Maranta leuconera or Maranta tricolor captivates, fundamentally, for the uniqueness of its leaves. Beyond its different shades of green, its most characteristic sign is its marked ribs of a color that ranges between red and fuchsia. A true display of nature for a plant that also has another extra attraction: it is not complicated to care for, although it does have specific requirements.

Coming from the tropical forests of Brazil, the Maranta leuconera is cultivated in our latitudes as part of the indoor plants. A detail that forces us to recreate certain qualities of its natural environment at home, starting with a range of warm temperatures. Little compared to seeing the incredible exuberance of its perennial leaves, which, in addition to being beautiful, contain a secret: the Maranta leuconera is on NASA’s list of air-purifying plants.

Whatever the reason that makes us fall in love with this tropical beauty, there is nothing like knowing what it requires to display all its beauty. The best way to enjoy its uniqueness.


Before seeing in detail what this natural beauty needs to be healthy, it is interesting to know one of its peculiarities. The Maranta leuconera is not only called Maranta tricolor: it is also called the «prayer plant». A surprising qualifier that responds to one of its peculiarities. As happens when we discover the care of the Calathea, it is surprising to know that the Maranta also closes its leaves with the arrival of the night. A natural mechanism that responds, fundamentally, to the need to save the humidity of the environment and preserve the hydration of its leaves.

In addition to this uniqueness, it is worth knowing that we are talking about a hanging and slow-growing plant. A detail that should be known to avoid getting frustrated if we see that our plant takes its time to develop new leaves or even to make them have a good size.

Find your Maranta leuconera in our Green Plants section

Taking these aspects into account, let’s see what this beauty needs to be in perfect condition.

1. Environmental humidity, the most important thing to correctly cultivate the Maranta leconera

It is, without a doubt, the key to the good health of a Maranta leuconera. Taking into account its origin, we can imagine that our plant demands a good degree of environmental humidity in order to keep its leaves hydrated. Something that is synonymous with maintaining your good health.

Since we grow it indoors, we will have to be extremely vigilant at two very specific times of the year: the winter months, due to the heating; and the summer ones. At both times, the environment tends to dry out so we will have to counteract it by creating a humid atmosphere for our plant, using a fogger or humidifier that hydrates the air; or frequently spraying its leaves without soaking them.

2. Abundant lighting, another crucial detail for your well-being

Another fundamental care for the Maranta leconera. Again and alluding to its natural origins, it demands a good amount of luminosity but never of a direct nature. What’s more: the brightness and intensity of the color of its leaves will largely depend on the amount of light it receives. If our plant does not have the brightness it demands, it will lose both details.

For these reasons, its ideal place is near a window where it receives filtered light through a curtain.

3. Moderate risks, fundamental

It is advisable not to confuse terms. And it is that, although the Maranta leuconera appreciates a humid environment, the same does not happen with regard to the substrate. It does not tolerate waterlogging and excess water can rot its roots, so we must water carefully to avoid the appearance of fungal-related diseases. In addition, it is essential to create a good drainage to avoid unpleasantness.

Use perlite to improve the drainage of your plant. get it here

When to water it then? When the substrate is almost dry. Because that is another aspect that we have to know: it does not tolerate drought. For this reason, the ideal is to water abundantly during the months of heat and growth; and space the irrigations in winter months.

4. Warm temperatures, another aspect to watch

Knowing that it is a tropical plant, we can imagine that it is a cold plant, and it is! To take care of your well-being, the ideal is to be in an environment between 19 and 28 degrees in hot months. If in hot months the temperature rises above 30 degrees, we will have to increase the ambient humidity.

And no: we cannot expose it to less than 10 degrees or subject it to drafts or sudden changes in temperature. You can bill him.

5. Regular fertilization, care for the months of growth

And essential to give a little push to their development! From April to October, the Maranta leuconera appreciates a regular supply of specific fertilizer diluted in the irrigation water.

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The ideal is to apply it every 15 days and in the amount indicated. In case our plant is newly transplanted, we will wait four weeks from the transplant before fertilizing.

6. Pests at bay, another care to watch closely

Usually, a healthy Maranta leuconera is highly resistant to pests. However, if care is not strictly adhered to, it can be attacked by spider mites and cochineal.

In addition, and only in those plants with inadequate irrigation, fungus can appear on the leaves.

7. Transplant in spring, only if necessary

It is the last of the Maranta leuconera care that we must contemplate, and one that we will only have to carry out when our plant tells us that it needs a change of pot. Apart from knowing how to transplant a plant correctly, we will change our Maranta tricolor container and substrate only when the roots appear through the drainage holes. Something that usually occurs in adult plants once a year.

Enjoy the advantages of using our substrate for green plants

The ideal is to carry out this work at the end of winter, always facing the plant’s growth season. In addition to choosing a slightly larger pot than the one you had, it is essential to make a good mix of substrate for green plants with a small percentage of universal substrate and perlite, as well as placing gravel in the bottom to improve drainage.

And ready! You don’t need anything else to enjoy Maranta leconera. A plant designed by nature to decorate any space with its mere presence.

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