Gardening Magazine

Maranta Leuconeura Var. Kerchoveana

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoveana (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoveana (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 var. kerchoveana is an evergreen tropical perennial with a clump forming habit. Its light green leaves have dark green blotches along their length, 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.

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

Ecologically, Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoveana is of little value in to UK wildlife.

Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoveana Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoveana Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

The Royal Horticultural Society have given Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoveana their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoveana prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

When maintaining Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoveana 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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