The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
A. R. Chase, R. W. Henley and L. S. Osbornel
University of Florida, IFAS
Agricultural Research and Education Center Apopka
AREC-A Foliage Plant Research Note RH-85-B
The genus Maranta, a member of the family Marantaceae, consists of
approximately 14 to 20 species, depending upon the publication consulted. Two
cultivars of Maranta are grown extensively by commercial foliage plant
nurseries. In 1975, maranta was estimated to represent three percent of the
foliage plant product mix value in Florida and this remains true today. Most
maranta grown in Florida is produced in Central Florida greenhouses.
Two cultivars represent over 95 percent of the maranta produced in
nurseries for use as foliage plants. The balance is grown by firms which
supply the needs of collectors and customers who want something different. The
dominant cultivars are Maranta leuconeura 'Kerchoviana' and M. leuconeura
'Erythroneura'. All cultivars of Maranta mentioned in this paper are indige-
nous to Brazil.
Maranta leuconeura 'Kerchoviana', the Prayer plant, Rabbit's-foot,
Rabbit's-track or Green Maranta, is a herbaceous, sprawling plant which grows
to form a clump as it becomes older. Individual stems are nearly vine-like and
tend to grow along the soil or cascade. The stems lack tendrils or holdfasts so
they do not climb on verticle surfaces. Leaves are nearly oval shaped,
approximately 6 inches long, including the petiole, and 3 inches wide. The
petiole is about one third as long as the leaf blade (lamina). The upper
surface of the lamina is variegated and satin-like with usually two rows of
five dark green patches. The patches are initially dark brown and turn dark
green as the leaves mature. The plant occasionally produces conspicuous,
mostly white, modest flowers supported by slender stalks emerging from the
Maranta leuconeura 'Erythroneura', the Red-vein Maranta, or Red Nerve
Plant, is a colorful cultivar with bright red midrib and lateral veins, a
feathered, light greenish yellow central zone and a greenish black outer back-
ground. The flowers of this cultivar are purple with a pattern. Other growth
characteristics are essentially the same as indicated for 'Kerchoviana'.
1Associate Professor, Plant Pathology; Professor, Foliage Extension Specialist;
and Assistant Professor, Entomology, Agricultural Research and Education
Center, 2807 Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703.
JU IN (2 1985
'''. of F orid i
Maranata leuconeura 'Leuconeura', the Silver Feather Maranta, has a light
grayish blue green central zone and radiating lateral veins which extend
through a greenish black outer background. This cultivar is rather rare in
the trade, but very attractive.
Maranta are best grown under a light level range of 1000 to 2500 foot-
candles in greenhouses where moisture and temperature can be controlled.
Temperatures of 70 to 800F are ideal for maranta rooting and growth. Growth
occurs well up to 900F but is poor above that temperature.
Maranta grow well in potting media with good aeration, high water holding
capacity and a pH of 5.5 to 6.0. Peat base mixes generally require addition of
dolomite to raise the initial pH and addition of a micronutrient blend product,
such as MicroMax (1 pound per cubic yard), is recommended. Fertilization of
maranta at the rate of 2.3 pounds of nitrogen from a 3-1-2 or similar ratio
fertilizer per 1000 square feet per month will provide adequate nitrogen,
phosphorus and potassium.
Maranta are primarily grown from cuttings selected from stock beds. Due
to the shade tolerance of the plant, stock is frequently located under hanging
baskets or under benches if sufficient light penetrates. Use of some under-
bench areas which are too dark will result in reduced stock vigor and very
spindly cuttings. Stems cut from the stock are sometimes cut down to single-
node and double-node cuttings which are stuck primarily in hanging baskets.
New leaves have the best color and least amount of spray residue or other
blemishes commonly found on stock plants. Generally two tip cuttings are stuck
per 3 to 3 1/2-inch pot and three cuttings used in a 4-inch pot. Size and
degree of branching will influence the number of cuttings used per container.
1) Marginal or tip leaf scorch
Symptoms Leaves turn brown at or near the tip and margin. There is
usually a transition zone of yellow between necrotic and healthy tissue.
Control Avoid excessive soluble salts in root zone and excessively high
light intensities and temperatures. Avoid use of superphosphate
fertilizers in stock or finishing plants since it supplies fluoride in
Symptoms Plants grown at elevated pH-above 6.0, or mostly nitrate
nitrogen often have chlorotic younger leaves. This is usually due to
insufficient iron (Fe).
Control Use iron chelate, reduce soil pH or use ammonium sources for
DISEASES OF MARANTA
Maranta are susceptible to several diseases. Only one virus disease and
one fungal disease have been adequately described. Both diseases occur common-
ly on green and red maranta grown in either groundbeds or pots. In addition,
root knot nematode can cause serious losses in production of maranta in ground-
beds and containers.
1) Helminthosporium leaf spot (Drechslera setariae)
Symptoms Helminthosporium leaf spot is frequently a problem for maranta
producers using groundbeds where plants stay very moist for long periods
of time. The lesions first appear as tiny water-soaked areas which turn
chlorotic and finally necrotic. Lesions are normally very small (1/16
inch wide or less) and give the affected leaves a speckled appearance.
In severe cases, lesions coalesce and form large (up to 1/2 inch)
irregularly shaped areas which are tan with a chlorotic halo. High levels
of water on leaves are needed for spore germination with at least 6 hours
of continuous moisture needed for infection to occur. Both red and green
maranta are highly susceptible to this pathogen, as are many species of
Control Minimizing the period of time leaves are wet can dramatically
reduce disease severity. This can best be accomplished by eliminating
overhead watering or at least applying water early in the day to allow
rapid drying of foliage. Plants which are watered in the late afternoon
may remain wet for the entire night, allowing germination and infection
of many fungal spores. Both formulations of Daconil (chlorothalonil) are
registered for use on maranta to control this disease.
1) Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV)
Symptoms CMV causes dramatic symptoms on both red and green maranta.
Leaves may be slightly distorted and reduced in size, but the most
obvious symptom of CMV infection is the bright yellow patterns formed on
the leaves. These patterns are generally jagged and alternate with the
normal coloration of the affected leaf. Although Calatheas are also
susceptible, the symptoms are generally less apparent and confined to a
Control Although the symptoms of CMV are so striking, there is no evidence
that the damage caused is other than aesthetic. The only recommended
control is removal of plant material showing these symptoms. Propagation
of material with CMV will simply lead to maintenance of the virus since
it is spread along with the plant.
1) Root knot nematode (Meloidogyne javanica)
Symptoms Severely affected plants are stunted, with small leaves and
yields are very low from stock beds. Examination of roots of nematode
infected plants reveals "knots" on the roots giving them the appearance of
a string of beads.
Control Several nematicides have been tested for control of root knot
nematodes on maranta. Safe chemicals which are effective include Mocap
6EC (ethoprop), Vydate 2L (oxamyl) and Temik 10G (aldicarb). Although
effective, Furadan 10G caused flecking and marginal chlorosis of leaves.
Effective treatment of groundbeds was not as easily achieved as that of
containers on raised benches.
PHYTOTOXICITY OF FUNGICIDES AND NEMATICIDES ON MARANTA LEUCONEURA
Banrot 40WP Mocap 6EC Benlate 50WP (causes chlorosis
Chipco 26019 50WP Ornalin 50WP of new leaves on red maranta
Copper compounds Temik 1OG only safe on green maranta)
Daconil 4.17F Truban 25EC
Daconil 75WP Vydate 2L Furadan 1OG (causes flecking
Maneb compounds and marginal chlorosis of
Pesticides were tested at recommended rates and intervals.
INSECT AND MITE PESTS
The major arthropod pests of these plants include caterpillars, root
mealybugs, mites, and scales. Mealybug, mite, and scale infestations are
typically the result of bringing infested plant material into the greenhouse.
Adult forms of caterpillars have the ability to fly and thus invade the green-
house from weeds and other infested plants outside. In the control section
for each pest, a few of the many registered and effective pesticides will be
listed. For a complete listing please consult the references at the end of
this report. Because the potential for phytotoxicity exists, a small group of
plants should be tested for phytotoxicity prior to treating the entire crop
(See Chase et al. 1981).. The list given in this section should be used only
as a guide to the sensitivity to pesticides.
1) Caterpillars (worms)
Symptoms Infestations are easy to detect because worms, their excrement
and the damage they cause, are usually quite visible to the unaided eye.
Damage appears as holes in center or along the edges of leaves. If leaves
have been fed upon while in the rolled stage the damage appears as a line
of equally spaced holes once the leaf opens. Old damage can be distin-
guished from new by the calloused appearance of the older damaged areas
(worms are usually gone by this time). Damage by worms is often confused
with slug or snail damage. The only way to determine which pest is
involved is to find a specimen.
Control Lannate, Orthene, Dursban, and Dipel are effective in the control
of various worm species.
Symptoms Mealybugs appear as white, cottony masses in leaf axils, on the
lower surfaces of leaves and on the roots. Honeydew and sooty mold are
often present and infested plants become stunted, and with severe infesta-
tions, plant parts begin to die.
Control Systemic materials are preferred. Examples of chemicals which
have systemic activity are Metasystox-R and Orthene. Bendiocarb, Dursban
and Enstar 5E appear to be as effective as some of the systemic materials.
Symptoms Mites are very small and go unnoticed until plants become
severely damaged. The mite Steneotarsonemus furcatus can be a serious
problem. The early signs of damage appear as water-soaked lesions or a
necrotic line that parallels the margin of the leaf. Severe infections
will kill the plant (See Denmark and Nickerson 1981). These plants are
also subject to damage by the twospotted spider mite. Affected plants
turn yellow or speckled due to the feeding of this. pest. Webbing, loss of
leaves and plant death can occur when mite populations reach high levels.
Control S. furcatus can only be controlled with regular applications of
thiodan TEndosulfan). Spider mites can be controlled with Kelthane,
Pentac or Vendex. The critical point in any control program is thorough
coverage with the pesticide. The best control program is to minimize the
possibility of introducing mites into the growing area on infested plant
Symptoms Infested plants become weakened or stunted and begin to die.
Scales can be found feeding on leaves, petioles, or stems. Their shape,
size, and color are variable and many are hard to distinguish from the
plant material on which they are feeding.
Control See Mealybugs
5) Slugs and Snails
Symptoms Snails and slugs are omnivorous and voracious feeders, with small
stages feeding on surface tissue and larger ones eating irregular holes
in foliage. The damage caused by these pests is similar to that caused by
caterpillars. Feeding occurs at night which also leads to some confusion
as to what is causing the damage.
Control Sprays or baits of Zectran, Metaldehyde or Mesurol applied to
moistened soil around plants are effective in controlling these pests.
Repetitive applications are necessary. Good sanitation and removal of
debris aids in control.
PHYTOTOXICITY OF INSECTICIDES AND MITICIDES TO MARANTA LEUCONEURA
Diazinon EC Orthene SP Dimethoate EC
Dursban EC Pentac WP Permethrin EC
Enstar 5E Plictran WP
Kelthane Resmethrin EC
Mavrik Sevin WP
Metasystox-R EC Temik G
Omite WP Vydate L
Pesticides were tested at recommended rates and intervals.
1. Anonymous. 1984-1985 Florida Foliage Locator. Florida Foliage Association.
2. Chase, A. R. 1983. Phytotoxicity of some fungicides used on tropical
foliage plants. ARC-Apopka Research Report, RH-83-2.
3. Chase, A. R., T. J. Armstrong, and L. S. Osborne. 1981. Why should you
test pesticides on your plants? ARC-Apopka Research Report, RH-81-6.
4. Denmark, H. A. and J. C. Hickerson. 1981. A tarsonemid mite, Steneotarso-
nemus furcatus DeLeon, a serious pest on Maranta sp. and Calathea sp.
(Acarina: Tarsonemidae). Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 94:70-72.
5. Short, D. E. 1978. Phytotoxicity of insecticides and miticides to foliage
and woody ornamental plants. Extension Entomology Report #57.
6. Short, D. E., L. S. Osborne, and R. W. Henley. 1983. 1983-84 Insect and
related arthropod management guide for commercial foliage and woody plants
7. Simone, G. W. 1983. Fungicides for use on ornamentals 1983-84. Extension
Plant Pathology Circular 484-B.
Mention of a commercial or proprietary product or of a pesticide in this paper
does not constitute a recommendation by the authors, nor does it imply regis-
tration under FIFRA as amended. Pesticides should be applied according to
label directions. Those pesticides listed in the control sections for each
disorder, but not listed in the phytotoxicity charts HAVE NOT been tested for
plant safety at the University of Florida.