The Marantaceae are a family of plants often referred to as ‘prayer-plants’. Interestingly, these plants move throughout a 24-hour period, with the leaves rising in the evening and lowering during the day. Resembling prayer hands, they were so aptly named for their expression of foliage folding together at night.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska
By Kathy Valentine
One of the prayer plants may be just what is needed for a special display. Three groups of related plants are often called prayer plants. Calathea species, often Ornata or Roseopicta , are popular feature plants with ovoid leaves and ridges, suited to bright cool light and moderate humidity.
Stromanthe , especially Triostar , are Calathea relatives with long brightly variegated leaves and the ability to fold at night if the room is sufficiently dark. Sunlight opens the leaves of these plants fully, but they may not fully fold at night if streetlights or room lights interfere with total darkness.
Marantas are the classic prayer plants, especially leucomeura varieties . These also sport small blooms in season. Marantas are well adapted to larger pots or even hanging planters, as they will spread and fill the space, hanging daintily over the edges while still moving to respond to light and darkness.
Kathy Valentine enjoys gardening and her family at her Watertown Township home. Her Michigan State University Horticulture degree was a beginning for a life of learning about and working with plants. Kathy is senior partner at The Plant Professionals located at 16886 Turner St, Lansing, MI 48906.
It is an interior and exterior landscape design , installation and service firm also offering green walls and plants and flowers for events. She may be reached at 517-327-1059.