Maranta is a genus of plants belonging to the family Maranta. Its name is derived from the name of the Italian doctor and botanist - Bartolomeo Maranta, who lived in the first half of the XVI century. 19th century American politician Samuel Houston introduced Europeans to this plant, as he was a planter and brought new seeds to Europe. Arrowroot are monocotyledonous flowering plants. In this family today there are about 30 genera and 400 species of plants.
Where is it found in nature?
In the wild, arrowroot lives in moist swampy rainforests. Most often, it can be found in Central and South America. Most of the species of this amazing flower grow here. In a favorable tropical climate, some species of arrowroot grow up to one and a half meters in height.
Popular views for home gardening
Most often, the following types of arrowroot are on sale:
- white-winged arrowroot (Maranta leuconeura);
- two-tone (Maranta bicolor);
- tricolor (Maranta tricolor);
- Maranta Kerchoveana;
- Maranta Gibba;
- Maranta Massangeana (Maranta Massangeana).
All these species are characterized by a spectacular color of foliage, where against a plain background there are many brightly colored veins or spots.
The general color of the leaves varies from whitish to dark green, one might even say black. The reverse side of the leaves has a reddish or bluish-green color.
In England, arrowroots are called the Prayer Plant, a prayer plant. This name was given to them for a characteristic feature of folding their leaves inward when it is dark. If you look closely, they resemble the folded palms of a praying person. In addition, these plants are called the "10 Commandments", as the color of their foliage is similar to the color of the tablets of the prophet Moses. 5 spots on each side of the sheet add up to 10, which coincides with the number of biblical commandments.
The two-tone arrowroot (or bicolor) received this name for the presence in the color scheme of oval leaves of two tones: dark green with brownish spots and light green, which, starting from the central vein, changes color to dark green. On the back, the leaves have a reddish color and a coating of small hairs. Maranta bicolor does not form tubers characteristic of these plants. Its bush is neat and low (about 20 cm), basal leaves grow up to 15 centimeters in length. The flowers are small, paniculate, white with a purple tint.
How to care?
Two-color arrowroot at home requires more thorough care than other species. In order for the plant to please you with its charming leaves for as long as possible, you must follow the rules for caring for it.
In no case do not allow direct sunlight to hit the arrowroot. From this, the leaves quickly lose their decorative effect and dry out. Too shady place is also not suitable for arrowroot bicolor. The golden mean is a large amount of diffused light near the window.
The plant loves earthy moisture and abundant watering, but try not to fill it and avoid stagnation of water flows in the pan, otherwise the roots will rot. Water droplets on the foliage are also undesirable. If the arrowroot is low in moisture, the leaves curl and turn yellow, yellowish spots appear on them. Watering with exceptionally warm water (slightly above room temperature) is recommended; it should be settled and soft.
As a plant of the tropics, the arrowroot is very fond of heat +22.26 degrees Celsius in the summer and +17.20 degrees in the winter. Drafts and too sharp temperature fluctuations negatively affect the plant, up to its death.
High humidity is a must, otherwise the leaves will dry out and fall off. In addition, in dry air, arrowroot grows extremely slowly. Frequent irrigation with settled non-hard water is recommended. Another solution is a wet pebble tray.
Transplantation of a 2-color adult arrowroot once every 2 years is quite enough. Choose a pot slightly larger than the previous one, preferably made of plastic. You can buy a ready-made mixture for arrowroot or make up earthen soil yourself, given that it should be loose and let air and water through. For example, take one part of peat, coniferous land and sand, add 3 parts of leaf turf and 0.4 parts of charcoal. Pebbles or expanded clay are ideal as drainage.
Carefully inspect the plant after removing from the old pot. You should remove the yellow leaves, any rot, you can cut the shoots, leaving them with one internode in order to form many new shoots after the arrowroot and look more attractive.
Regularly every 2 weeks from early spring to autumn days when the plant is actively growing, special mineral and organic fertilizers must be applied after the irrigation process.
How to propagate?
In indoor conditions of growing arrowroot, bicolor is most often preferred to propagate by cuttings or dividing the bush .
In the first method, on any days from May to September, you need to trim the tops of the shoots so that they are at least 10 centimeters long, have two internodes (cut 3 cm below the knot) and a few leaves (2-3 pieces). Place the cuts should be sprinkled with charcoal. After this, the cuttings are placed in water and wait 5-6 weeks for the appearance of roots. Then the bushes are planted in the ground, sprinkled with peat on top, and covered with a film for more effective rooting, periodically airing.
The second way is simpler. After you remove the arrowroot from the landing container, you must carefully, without violating the roots, divide it into several parts. Each part must have a growth point and its roots. After that, the bushes are planted separately in an earthen mixture, moistened with warm water and covered with a film to recreate the conditions of the greenhouse. Plants should be opened for ventilation and watering, until new stems grow, then the film should be removed and the flower should be looked after in the usual way.
Diseases and pests
Despite the fact that the arrowroot is an indoor plant that is quite resistant to various kinds of diseases, various problems can arise during its cultivation.
Lowered leafy leaves
The reason may be any adverse conditions: waterlogging, low temperatures, drafts. Carefully read the information given earlier on how to properly care for a two-color arrowroot, and eliminate the adverse factor.
It occurs with strong moisture and low temperatures. Affected areas of the plant must be removed, and the soil surface treated with antifungal agents.
This disease is caused by a fungus that affects the leaves. They become brown in color with a gray border, with red-orange spores of the fungus in the center. The reasons may be an increase in the acidity of the soil and too high humidity.
All diseased parts of the plant should be removed immediately and treated with fungicides.
As soon as you notice a raid of a dark gray color on the plant, wipe it with a sponge dipped in soapy water, rinse and treat with Fitosporin. This fungus is dangerous because it closes the stomata on the leaves and disrupts breathing. A nutrient medium for the development of this fungus is formed by such pests as aphids, mealybugs.
This pest is small and not visible to the eyes. The traces of his presence is a thin cobweb on the underside of the leaves. The tick sucks the juice from the plant, damaging the leaves. The reason for its appearance may be very dry air in the house.
You should remove the affected leaves, rinse the rest with running water and sprinkle the arrowroot with a special remedy for this pest (Fitoverm, Actellik).
A small insect (4-7 mm) can be identified by a whitish, sticky coating on the leaves and their sharp yellowing. The pest eats the juice of the plant and produces a poisonous plaque. Appears at high (above +26 degrees Celsius) temperature and with an excess of fertilizer. First, you can try to treat the arrowroot with a soap solution (dilute 20 grams of simple soap in a liter of water at room temperature).
If the disease continues to progress, then special means are needed (for example, “Aktara”, “Biotlin”).
Two-colored arrowroot is a very decorative plant that can decorate any interior. You only need to create comfortable conditions for her to grow, and this is not so difficult.
About how to properly care for the arrowroot, see below.