Q: What is a prayer plant?
A: Maranta or Prayer Plant is a clump-forming herb indigenous to tropical Americas, primarily South America. It is a small tropical plant with broad oval leaves, up to 8 inches long by half as wide. The leaves fold upwards at night, hence the common name of prayer plant. Our weather here is too cold, so it can only be used as an indoor plant. Plant in regular, well-drained potting mix and keep the soil evenly moist, but not wet. Grow in diffused sun, bright, indirect light, warm temperatures (usually between 60 and 85 degrees) and high humidity. Do not allow water to stand on the crowns; the stems rot easily. It should be watered at the root area only. Since the plant has a shallow root system it should be planted in shallow pots. Re-potting can be done in February or March but only if the plant out-grows its container. During the winter, when our indoor air is dry, the plant may be lightly misted. The plant responds to being trimmed at least twice a year unless you want it as a hanging plant. Trimming helps to keep the plant growing vigorously in a clumping fashion. Propagation is by division of root system. Some Marantas have the red veins as you described, but other plants are totally green. Marentas are versatile indoor plants because they can be used as small specimen plants, hanging plants, ground covers in interiorscapes and in dish gardens and combination planters.