Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoveana got its nickname “Rabbit’s Foot” or “Rabbit’s Tracks” because of its leaves’ pattern. Learn all there is to know about this easy to take care plant.
This houseplant has spectacular foliage – rounded, light grey-green leaves with darker green patches on each side of the central vein – resembling a rabbit’s paw. Its white central vein is where the name leuconeura is attributed. A uniform silvery-green color can be seen on the leaf’s underside.
The rabbit’s foot can become quite bushy because of its general horizontal growth. Maranta plants are also referred to as prayer-plants due to the movement of their leaves.
During the day, the leaves are flat-lying, and they gradually close upwards at night. This behavior is called nyctinasty – a behavior triggered by changes in sunlight or rhythm with the sun.
This plant has a quirky nickname, but do not let it fool you. If you want an elegant, profound plant with brilliant green foliage and unique but highly adaptable behavior, this one is for you.
You will easily manage Maranta leuconeura whether you are a beginner or already an expert in plant care. It can grow like crazy.
Plant name: Maranta leuconora var Kerchoveana, Rabbit’s Foot, Rabbit’s Tracks
Common species and cultivars: Kerchoveana Minima, Kerchoveana “Variegata” or Beauty Kim
Native to: the Brazilian Rainforest
Lighting: Prefers bright indirect light but will tolerate a little bit of shade. Keep away from direct sunlight.
Care: Gentle. Keep soil moist using soft, lukewarm water. Can be sensitive to hard, tap water. Water depending on lighting (more often in bright, less in lower light). Better in higher humidity, but normal room humidity is fine. Thrives at 65°F – 90°F (18°C – 30°C).
Common problems: Yellow or brown discoloration in leaves, stem rotting, dry tips
Toxicity: Generally considered non-toxic to both humans and pets, but preferably out of reach of children and pets.
How To Care For Marantha leuconeura var. kerchoveana Prayer Plant
- Bringing the plant home
- Light conditions
- Toxicity Information
- Pests and other common issues
Marantha Leuconeura var. kerchoveana care
Maranta, like other prayer-plants, has beautiful foliage. If the rabbit’s foot resemblance is not enough for you, you should see its leaves cascading during the day.
For someone with a more scientific background, this tropical plant has elliptic alternating leaves. The leaves are adorned with dark green to almost black patches in squares along the midrib of this plant’s oval leaves.
Thriving Maranta leuconeura var kerchovenea in the Brazilian rainforests can grow six-inch-long leaves and produce small white flowers. However, this green prayer plant is often not cultivated outdoors since it can be sensitive to colder temperatures.
If you take good care of your plant, you might be in for a treat during the summer. In some cases, white flowers with purple spots can be seen blooming from the kerchovenea.
Bringing the Rabbit’s foot home
You might have purchased your Rabbit’s Foot at around 10cm in size, and now you are wondering if this elegant prayer plant will fit the tiny space in your room – already full of other attractive plants for sure. Well, Marantha leuconeura var. Kerchoveana is considered a small plant. It takes its sweet time to grow – which is about five years to mature – plus, its growth is highly dependent on your TLC.
Most varieties grow 30cm in height and width but 50cm is its maximum. We are sure you can squeeze in the Rabbit’s foot in your green space, probably along the corners of your furniture.
Alternatively, this plant can make quite an impression when placed in a hanging basket. During the day, when it lays its leaves flat, it flaunts a great cascading effect. It is the opposite at night when the leaves close upwards, just like other prayer-plants.
Remember to inspect and treat your Maranta accordingly before bringing it inside the house. Check if the soil has been recently watered or if there are any dead leaves.
If you have any other plants in your home, keep the new plant separated from them for a week or two.
Marantha leuconeura var. kerchoveana light requirements
Now that you have secured space for your new plant, you might be thinking: “Can I place it here? Is it too bright or too shady?”
Although Kerchoveana prefers bright light, it can scorch easily with direct light. Place it in a spot that gets a decent amount of indirect light. If you cannot find a spot with no direct sunlight, you can opt to use a sheer curtain that can offer a bit of protection to your plant and prevent it from fading.
Ideally, this green prayer plant should be placed in an east-facing room, which will allow light in but will not expose it to direct sunlight. Some plant owners place them next to north-facing windows or a few steps away from other windows. As mentioned, the growth of your Rabbit’s foot will depend on your TLC. If your plant does not have access to relatively bright light, it will still grow but not as fast as when under its preferred light requirements.
If you place your Kerchoveana in a spot where it cannot “see” the sky, you can expect it to grow more horizontally as they reach for more light. The cascade effect might also be affected if there is little sunlight – they cannot spread out their leaves and will probably stay closer to the “praying” position even during the day.
You can use fluorescent lights to augment the insufficient lighting that your plant receives from time to time. However, nothing beats natural lighting.
Watering your Leuconeura
Kerchoveana likes its soil moist, so you might want to water it plentifully and frequently, especially during its growing season. It would be best if you did not let it sit in the water, though. Check the soil – make sure that the first inch is dry – before your water again.
Your green prayer plant can be sensitive to hard tap water, especially to the fluoride content (not near to the extent a calathea can be). This can cause browning of the leaf tips. If possible, use soft, lukewarm water for this plant.
Use well-draining soil. Always empty your plant saucers to prevent stagnant water from causing damage to the roots.
You will know you have overwatered your rabbit’s foot if you see limp stems – probably became heavy with water – during the winter. On the other hand, yellow or brown discolorations, either on the leaves or on the tips, are tell-tale signs of underwatering.
What humidity level is ideal for this maranta plant?
Kerchoveana prefers higher humidity. However, it will do OK with average humidity as well. When temperatures reach 18°C (64°F), the humidity level should also be increased to keep your plant happy – not cold, not dry.
Some plant owners place them in bathrooms to improve the surrounding humidity. Shower steam increases humidity.
Misting the surroundings frequently or using pebble trays will make this plant happy too.
Cleaning and Maintaining the Plant
You can keep the leaves clean by regularly misting them. If dust collects on them, you can also gently wipe them with a damp soft cloth. Rinsing them with lukewarm water is also an option (carefully).
You can also style it by pruning the leaves to get the desired look. You can also prune leaves that aren’t looking the best, promoting new leaf growth. When pruning, use sterilized garden scissors.
For styling, clip the stems right above the leaf nodes. This way, you will get new shoots below the cut area for a bushier appearance. If you clip under the leaf nodes, you might end up providing resources to the dead or dying parts of the plant, which could lead to the overall degradation of your plant’s health.
Give the plant a half-diluted, balanced (general houseplant) fertilizer once or twice during its growing season.
Using neem oil is also a good option for feeding this plant.
Repotting is unnecessary until the plant outgrows its pot in two or three years. Make sure to follow the proper repotting procedure, use the appropriately sized pots (only a size or two larger), and provide the right soil mixture when repotting.
It’s best to repot in spring.
Best soil for the this plant
Generally, the planting medium for most prayer-plants is a mixture of two parts peat moss, one part sand, and one part loam.
You can make your own mixture by combining equal parts of peat, garden soil, and coarse sand. If you do make your own, make sure you are using clean materials so you don’t unintentionally sabotage your plant’s growth by introducing insects and weed seeds.
Propagating your Maranta Leuconeura Kerchovenea like a rabbit
If you keep this plant happy you will be able to propagate it in no time.
There are a few ways you can propage it;
- in water
- in soil
- from seed
- by division
We have a handy how to propagate maranta plants tutorial with pictures ready for you.
Is it Toxic?
Maranta leuconeura var kerchoveana is considered non-toxic to humans, cats, and dogs. (ASPCA lists prayer plants as non-toxic)
* There have been no negative health issues reported with Peperomia rotundifolia. 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.
Kerchoveana pests and problems
Spider mites top the list of pests you should be wary of for the sake of your Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoveana. Watch out for tiny black, brown, or red dots on your plant – usually spotted by a magnifying glass. Other telltale signs of this pest infestation are leaves with white webbing and yellow or brown dry spots.
Another common pest you can see is mealybugs.
Now, aside from yellow or brown spots, or white webbings, the presence of water-soaked spots also suggest plant problems. This is called the helminthosporium leaf spot, which is caused by fungi and possible overwatering of your plant. If you encounter this, it is recommended that you apply neem oil and avoid getting the leaves too went to discourage fungal growth.
Maranta leuconeura leaves turining yellow?
If this is happening occasionally and only with one leaf at a time – don’t worry about it. Leaves grow old and die. If your plant is otherwise healthy (moving leaves during the day/night, developing new leaves), this is not a cause for concern.
If that is not the case, then it probably has to do with care. The leaves’ yellowing is the first sign of the leaf dying – if many leaves are yellowing, that is a sign of trouble. The issue is improper care – most likely because of overwatering. Trim away the leaves that turned yellow.
Maranta leuconeura leaves curling?
Curling leaves are usually a sign of under-watering. Leaves can also start curling if the room temperature is too low.