We are putting the spotlight on a wonderful member of the prayer plant family from the Maranta genus, the Maranta leuconeura var. erythrophylla. This plant goes by many different names, such as Maranta Tricolor, Maranta Fascinator, or the Herringbone plant.
It is known for its velvety green, oblong-shaped leaves decorated with yellow-green splashes down its midrib and its striking red venation reaching towards the leaf blade. It’s from the same group as the Maranta Leuconeura var. Kerchoveana, however, these two look pretty different.
Prayer plants are known for their eye-catchy patterns, and the Herringbone plant lives up to this. This plant is native to the Amazon’s rainforests, moves its leaves upward during the night, and flaunts its flashy leaves in the morning, or a movement called nyctinasty.
Maranta Tricolors are relatively slow growers when compared to other prayer plants. It also has a slightly different growth pattern as it somehow branches out from its old leaves and can become a bit leggy compared to other prayer plants that grow upward.
Plant name: Maranta leuconeura var. erythrophylla, Herringbone plant, maranta tricolor, maranta fascinator
Native to: Amazon rainforests, South Americas, tropical countries
Lighting: Bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight. Can tolerate shade, unlike other prayer plants.
Care: Soil should be moist at all times, water when the first inch or two of soil is dry. Soil should be fast-draining but be able to retain moisture. High humidity is best, although it tolerates lower humidity too. Keep away from drafts. Avoid using water with high mineral content.
Common problems: Scorching leaves, crispy tips, root rot.
Toxicity: Considered non-toxic to both humans and pets.
How To Care For Marantha Fascinator Prayer Plant
- Bringing the plant home
- Light conditions
- Toxicity Information
- Pests and other common issues
Marantha Herringbone Plant care
As far as prayer plants go, this one is fairly easy to take care of. It won’t go all dramatic like their relative calathea can if you don’t adhere to a strict watering regime and is, in general, a more forgiving plant.
Unlike most other prayer plants, the Tricolor can be put in a hanging basket to allow the leaves to drape down.
Members of the genus Maranta grow curiously different as they branch out from the older stems and tend to be longer than other prayer plants. Decide whether you want your plant to dangle or stand upright when planning its location inside your home.
Bringing the Herringbone Plant Home
Inspect the plant for the presence of any insects or diseases which can be transmitted to your other plants. Even if everything looks alright, it’s best to separate your new plant from others just if it has any hidden pests (or pests in larval stages).
It is important to find the most suitable spot for your plant. While it is generally low maintenance, it requires bright indirect sunlight (or grow lights) or won’t thrive. Keep this in mind as you think of a perfect spot.
Light requirements for Maranta tricolor.
The Tricolor will grow best under bright, indirect sunlight. Giving it enough light will help it flaunt its vibrant colors and speed up growth. Putting it in a corner, either hanging or in an upright pot near a window, will give this plant the right growing conditions.
Despite this, Maranta Tricolor is a prayer plant that can tolerate some level of shade.
Do not expose your plants get direct sunlight, especially in the afternoon. Tricolor leaves quickly develop burnt edges when given too much sun. Too much light will also cause the colors on the leaves to fade.
If you have no other choice but to place this plant near a window that receives too much sun, try to soften the light using sheer curtains to filter the light.
One of the best things about the Tricolor is that it will tell you if it is happy in its position. The plants should react to sunlight as they should open up their leaves in the morning and point upwards at night. If the plants fail to do so, this means that something is probably amiss.
Watering your Herringbone Plant
As with light requirement, the amount of water Maranta Fascinator need should be well-balanced.
Your plant might come with a label that states it should be watered one time per week. However, that isn’t necessarily the case.
Observation and balance are key when watering your Tricolor. Observe your plants’ soil if it is still damp to touch; you don’t need to water it yet.
As a rule of thumb, Tricolors’ soil must always stay moist but never retain too much water. The roots of this plant are thin and dense and are highly susceptible to root rot. Allow the first inch of the soil to dry before watering but never let the soil dry out completely.
Ensure that the soil you are using is well-draining yet can retain enough moisture.
Since Maranta’s require a lot of watering, they are very susceptible to fungal diseases. Make sure that the plant is receiving enough airflow to dry the leaves out.
When watering, Maranta Tricolor never use fresh tap water. Either let it sit for at least 24 hours before watering use filtered or distilled water. Chemicals such as fluoride, chlorine, and high mineral content can negatively affect this plant. Your Tricolor will react by getting crispy tips or yellow leaves.
What humidity level is ideal for Maranta Fascinator plant?
Proper airflow and a high level of humidity are ideal for keeping this plant happy. As natives to rainforests, Tricolors need relatively high humidity levels.
Allowing the humidity to drop below 40% will give you brown, crispy leaves, and they will eventually fall off. It will love living in a well-lit bathroom or your kitchen area.
If you are from a tropical country, this may not be too much of a problem, but for those who want to keep the plant happy throughout the year, especially in winter, you might need to increase the air humidity to keep the plant happy.
It might not be enough to water your plant and mist the leaves to keep the humidity high. Although misting can help, leaves may become prone to fungal infection and melt the leaves on your bright plants. Opt to use a fine misting sprayer when doing this.
You can increase local humidity by using a humidity tray, investing in an air humidifier, or adding many other plants around it.
Cleaning and Maintaining the Plant
You can clean the leaves with a soft, damp cloth if they are collecting dust. Rinsing your plant carefully with lukewarm water will do the trick too. Misting the leaves can help with keeping the leaves clean.
Removing dead leaves allows the plant to focus its energy in to producing new growth.
Do not be afraid to snip the dead leaves away. But remember to use clean tools for pruning the plant. Besides, the stems of Tricolor, although fleshy, are fibrous. Pulling the stems may run the risk of pulling the whole plant out of the soil.
Does Maranta Tricolor Need Fertilizer?
We’ve mentioned the Tricolor plant can react to high mineral and salt contents in the soil and water. This also means you should be careful with fertilizing the plant.
If you want to be on the safe side, give it half the recommended dosage’s strength. You can fertilize during the growing season (once a month should be sufficient). Avoid feeding your plant during winter.
If you are cautious about giving your plant readily available fertilizer, use slow-release ones.
Members of the prayer plant family can quickly become rootbound, which can be a good indication it is time to repot. You will know when to repot your plant when roots are sticking out of your original pot. This is roughly every 2 years.
When repotting, always choose a mixture of well-draining soil that will allow excess water to flow but retain enough moisture for the plant.
Many stores sell soil that is mixed specifically for tropical plants such as this one.
Propagating Your Plant
There are many ways you can propagte this plant.
- water propagation
- soil propagation
- root division
- from seed
You can see our handy maranta prayer plant propagation tutorial to see how easy it is.
Is maranta tricolor toxic to cats, dogs or humans?
Maranta leuconeura erythrophylla is considered non-toxic to humans, cats, and dogs. (ASPCA lists prayer plants as non-toxic)
Be advised, though, trailing varieties of peperomia are magnets for cats to play with. Ingesting any plant in larger quantities, even if non-toxic, can cause problems.
* There have been no negative health issues reported with prayer plants. Keep in mind toxicity information on plants can change. This is something that is best talked about with your veterinarian. Even with non-toxic plants, nibbling plants should be avoided, and keeping plants away from pets, especially if they like to eat them, is best.
Herringbone Plant Pests and Problems
Although Maranta Tricolor can be susceptible to common pests, the plant will tolerate pest treatments well. Also, if you keep it in ideal conditions, those are usually not pest friendly, so they can keep them at bay.
Being cautious will never be too dangerous. Inspect the underside of your plants for the presence of webs and white, powdery substances. Since spider mites are hard to see with the naked eye, you might only notice their presence by spotting webs.
Mealybugs are often seen as white insects that seem to have powder coating all over them. They may be small, but they will most definitely be troublesome for your plants.
More often than these two is the presence of leaf scales. As their name suggests, they are insects that look like scales that form clusters on the leaf of your plant. They are most visible on the petiole of the plant just below the base.
Treat mealybugs and other pests with your preferred insecticide and use preventive measures such as Neem oil. If infestation is not adverse, you can use diluted alcohol to spray on these bugs to dehydrate them.
The more problematic condition for Tricolors is fungal infections. Tricolor’s need for relatively high humidity and consistently moist soil is an open invitation for fungal diseases. This can be prevented by watering your plants early in the morning instead of at night to allow the water to dissipate throughout the day. As we have mentioned, provide your plants with proper air circulation to promote even evaporation of water.
Once signs of fungal infections such as leaf spot, carefully isolate your plant before treating. Since most antifungal solutions are applied through spraying, there is the risk of scattering the spores to your other plants.
Once isolated, prune your plants to remove the infected leaves, especially if the infection has spread substantially. Ensure that you cover the stems and underside of the leaves to treat your plant properly.
Dry leaf tips or brown leaf tips on herringbone plant?
If you start noticing dry or brown leaf tips on your maranta fascinator plant, the most likely cause is the air humidity being too low.
Why are the leaves on herringbone plant curled?
If you notice the leaves are curling, your plant is not getting enough water. Adjust your watering routine.
Stems rotting or feeling limp?
This can be caused by overwatering your plant. Temperatures being too low is another possible cause.