Tammy takes us through the spectacular but sometimes difficult plants in the Marantaceae family. Subscribe http://ab.co/GA-subscribe
Known to many plant people as calatheas (many now in Goeppertia genus), marantas (prayer plants), ctenanthes, and stromanthes; they are grown for their stunning foliage patterns, colours and shapes. Unfortunately, they are also notoriously tricky to keep happy and healthy. Tammy suggests paying attention to their leaves for clues as to what they may need, to help you grow these fabulous foliage plants.
Common problems & solutions:
– Lost variegation—if leaf colour is fading it is likely there is not enough light
– Curled leaves—usually a sign that air is too dry or hot, and is a response to prevent moisture loss
– Crispy brown leaves—sunburn from direct light, or if the crisp is just around the tips and edges of leaves, it is likely a water and humidity issue.
– Check the soil and only water when the top few centimetres are dry. If you can, invest a humidifier to recreate the conditions of the tropics.
– Rotting stems and roots—this is a symptom of too much water. When in doubt keep them on the dry side, and make sure they are potted in a free-draining mix.
– Mealy bugs—can form large colonies under leaves and stems of plants that like high humidity. If you see them, treat them with a suitable insecticide
– Spider mites—the bane of many gardeners’ existence! They are tough to treat and can kill healthy plants. Because they love dry air, you can try changing the humidity to keep them at bay. Also, give your plants a shower to knock them off and quarantine affected plants.
Marantaceae are easy to propagate. Taking healthy cuttings from unhealthy plants can ensure you can keep admiring their beautiful foliage if the parent plant succumbs to pest or disease. Make sure the cuttings are bug free, with unburnt leaves and strong steams. Cut below a node, place in water, and watch the roots grow!
PRAYER PLANT – Maranta leuconeura ‘Red Veined’
ROSE-PAINTED CALATHEA – Goeppertia roseopicta ‘Medallion’
– Goeppertia kegeljanii syn. Calathea musaica
MEALY BUG – Family Pseudococcidae
SPIDER MITE – Family Tetranychidae
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