The plant Maranta is a representative of the Marantovye family of the same name. The genus includes more than 40 different species. In the natural environment, such plants live in the swampy forest corners of the South American continent, as well as in Central America. These herbaceous perennials got their name in honor of the botanist and physician, Venetian B. Maranta.
The arrowroot also has a popular name – “prayer flower”. This is due to one of the features of the plant – to raise foliage under insufficiently good conditions, for example, due to a lack of light. In the evening, seeing off the departing sun, the leaves rise up, and by morning they return to their place. A number of signs are also associated with the flower. It is assumed that arrowroot can save the house from poor energy, reduce internal tension and reduce the number of quarrels and disagreements.
Several varieties of the plant are used in cooking. From the rhizomes of such arrowroots, flour is prepared, which is useful for dieting, as well as a number of thickeners. The strong foliage of the bushes in their homeland is used for weaving baskets.
Description of arrowroot
Most of the species are relatively low bushes with a spectacular color of leaf plates. Arrowroot is common in floriculture precisely because of its beautiful foliage. It is radical or is located on the stems in 2 rows. Foliage can have a different (rounded-oval or elongated) shape and a variety of colors. In this case, the general background of the leaf blade is green, and its seamy side is painted in a reddish or bluish color. When grown in a pot, arrowroot rarely blooms. At this time, small light flowers in inflorescences-spikelets appear on the bush.
Brief rules for growing arrowroot
The table shows brief rules for caring for arrowroot at home.
|Lighting level||The plant requires abundant but diffused lighting. Supplementary lighting (about 16 hours) can also be used.|
|Content temperature||In summer, about 23-25 degrees, provided that the earth in the pot is warmed up at least 18 degrees. From late autumn to the very end of spring – about 18-20 degrees.|
|Watering mode||During the period of active development, abundant watering as the top layer of the soil dries out. Moderate in autumn and winter.|
|Air humidity||An increased level of humidity is required. All year-round, the air next to the plant is slightly humidified by spraying with lukewarm water or a tray with damp pebbles.|
|The soil||The optimal soil is a mixture of 6 parts garden soil, 3 parts peat and 2 parts sand.|
|Topdressing||Topdressing is carried out during the year every couple of weeks. You can alternate between organic and mineral formulations, using half the recommended dose.|
|Transfer||Transplants are carried out every couple of years in early spring.|
|Bloom||Flowering is unremarkable, the flower is grown for the sake of beautiful foliage.|
|Dormant period||The rest period is weak.|
|Reproduction||At home – grafting and dividing the bush.|
|Pests||Spider mites and mealybugs.|
|Diseases||Loss of decorative leaves due to violation of the rules of care.|
Arrowroot care at home
Arrowroot needs bright, but diffused light. The plant should be protected from scorching rays. Usually, a pot with it is kept on the eastern or western windowsills. Constant exposure to direct rays leads to shrinkage of fresh foliage. At the same time, the old one begins to lose its beautiful color.
You can grow arrowroot bushes in semi-shady places. If the windows face the dark north side, it is recommended to use additional lighting. In this case, the flower should be illuminated for about 16 hours a day. By the way, the arrowroot got the name “praying grass” due to the fact that if the plant is not sufficiently illuminated, then the leaves are stretched into an upright position – folded like the hands of a praying person.
Arrowroot does not like significant temperature fluctuations; the plant will be uncomfortable both in a room that is too hot or in an overly cold room. In summer, the indoor temperature can be around 23-25 degrees. The temperature of the earth in the tank is also important. It should be at least 18 degrees. From about mid-autumn to early next summer, the arrowroot bush can be kept in cooler conditions – about 18-20 degrees. Plants usually overwinter well on windowsills.
A critical threshold for growing is considered to be a temperature drop of up to 10 degrees. Colder weather can kill a flower. You should also protect it from drafts and sudden changes in conditions of detention.
Arrowroot needs moderate watering. In spring and summer, when the bush develops most actively, it is watered abundantly – as the top layer of the soil dries up. You should not overdry the soil in a pot, but stagnant water can also adversely affect the health of the flower. In the autumn-winter period, arrowroot is watered a little less often. The frequency of watering at this time is significantly influenced by the air temperature in the room.
For irrigation, use slightly soft and settled heated water – its temperature should slightly exceed room temperature. The bush can react negatively to hypothermia.
For the full growth and beauty of the arrowroot foliage, high humidity is needed. Throughout the year, its leaf blades are sprayed with soft water. During periods of low humidity, a similar procedure is carried out twice a day – in the morning and in the evening. Instead of spraying, you can use other methods of humidifying the air next to the flower. The pot with it is placed on a pallet, in which wet pebbles are laid out. The bottom of the container must not come into contact with water. In summer, you can bathe arrowroot under a warm shower, after wrapping the ground in a pot with a film. But even in such conditions, the tips of the leaves of the flower often dry out.
The substrate for growing arrowroot should have a slightly acidic reaction. For its preparation, use a mixture of peat, leafy earth and humus in equal proportions, or a mixture of sand and peat with garden soil (2: 3: 6). In any of these substrates, a little coniferous earth and charcoal should be added.
For better growth, arrowroot must be fed with both organic and mineral fertilizers. Topdressing is carried out during the period of active growth of the flower 2 times a month. Mineral and organic fertilizers should be used alternately, while organic fertilizers are diluted several times less than the norm. It is undesirable to use mineral fertilizers with a strong concentration. An excess of nutrients is bad for the health of the bush.
Arrowroot has an average growth rate, it is transplanted about once every couple of years at the very beginning of spring. Low plastic pots are suitable for planting. The new container should be slightly larger than the old one. A drainage layer (expanded clay, sand, brick debris) is laid on its bottom.
The bush is moved to a new location along with the old soil clod. Before transplanting, a sanitary inspection of the bush must be carried out, removing all dry or withered foliage. This will allow the fresh growth to develop at a faster rate. Some growers, before transplanting, carry out pruning, removing all shoots above one internode. It is believed that such measures will contribute to more tillering.
Another effective way to grow arrowroot is hydroponics. Hydroponics is the cultivation of plants in an artificial environment, without the use of soil. Thanks to this method, arrowroot can be transplanted, watered, fed quite rarely, and the effect will surpass all expectations – the plant will acquire a healthier and more beautiful appearance.
Breeding methods of arrowroot
Reproduction by dividing the bush
It is almost impossible to get arrowroot seeds at home, so the bushes are propagated vegetatively. The rhizome of an overgrown arrowroot bush can be divided. This procedure is combined with a transplant. The bush is pulled out of the pot and divided into 2-3 parts, trying to injure the roots as little as possible. The resulting cuttings are placed in pots with a peat substrate.
Such seedlings need regular watering, as well as greenhouse conditions. Until the appearance of fresh shoots, they are kept in closed transparent bags.
Arrowroot cuttings are cut from the very end of spring to early autumn – it is during this period that seedlings take root best. For reproduction, parts of fresh shoots up to 10 cm long with 2-3 leaves are used. The tops of the stems removed during the pruning period will do. The lower cut is made under the knot, stepping back 2 cm. The resulting segments are placed in a container with water. Roots on cuttings are formed in about 1-1.5 months. After their appearance, the cuttings are planted in pots with a peat mixture. At first, care for such seedlings should be especially careful.
Diseases and pests
The main pests of arrowroot are spider mites. They usually attack shrubs during hot and dry periods, so regular spraying will help protect the plants. A sign of a tick is the presence of a cobweb on the seamy side of the foliage, as well as its fall. Acaricide will help to defeat the pest, as well as the timely removal of the affected leaf plates.
Sometimes mealybugs settle on arrowroot. They live on leaf petioles. You can get rid of the pest by applying a soap solution to the foliage. After some time, the medicinal composition is washed off with clean water. If the folk method does not help, use a systemic insecticide.
Possible growing difficulties
The causes of problems with arrowroot can be judged by the signals given by the plant:
- Drying of the tips of the leaves – associated with dry indoor air. In some cases, whole leaves may dry out and fall off. In addition, low humidity often causes a slowdown in the growth rate of the bush.
- Fading of the color of the leaves is a consequence of direct rays hitting the bush. In addition to the loss of brightness due to it, the leaves can turn yellow and dry.
- Yellowing of foliage – can be caused by various factors. These include too cold air in the room, frequent drafts, dry soil, too bright sun or low humidity.
- Spots on the leaves – may indicate a lack of moisture in the soil. At the same time, the leaf blades roll up, and the lower foliage turns yellow.
- Drying of foliage – may be associated with a lack of nutrients, as well as with an excess of lime in the soil.
- Twisting of leaf blades is considered normal for arrowroot. The plant lifts and slightly curls them every evening, and by morning returns them to their usual horizontal position. But if dried plates begin to curl up, it is likely that the flower is uncomfortable due to overdrying of the soil or low temperatures.
- Rot development – usually due to overflows during the cold season. In combination with the coolness in the room, overflow is especially dangerous. At the same time, the shoots of the plant become lethargic, and rot appears on them.
Types of arrowroot with photos and names
Brazilian look. Maranta leuconeura has a tuber-shaped rhizome. The size of its shoots reaches 30 cm. The petioles of the foliage are only 2 cm long. The leaves are 9 cm wide and 15 cm long. Their shape is oval, with a heart-shaped base. On the outside, the leaf blades are colored dark green and complemented by a light green pattern and white veins. From the inside, the foliage is bluish or reddish in color.
The most popular subspecies of such arrowroot are the following:
Form small bushes up to 25 cm tall. Maranta kerchoveana has leaf blades with small petioles. The length of each is about 15 cm. The oval-shaped leaves are painted in a bright green hue and are complemented by darker spots. The area near the central vein is lighter in color. From the inside, the sheet can be painted in a shade of red or blue. White flowers form small inflorescences.
This subspecies is very similar to the previous one. The main difference between Maranta massangeana is the darker (greenish-brown) color of the specks on the foliage.
Arrowroot tricolor (Maranta tricolor), or tricolor
The subspecies has oval foliage up to 13 cm long. At the same time, its width reaches 6 cm. Maranta tricolor (erythrophylla) has a bright color of velvety plates. On a green background, there are streaks of a contrasting red color, and near the central vein there are noticeable light green spots. Feather-like specks of dark green color are present near lateral veins. From the inside, the foliage is painted in a deep crimson color and has pink veins. The flowers are soft lilac.
Plants of this species do not form tubers. Maranta bicolor has oval leaf blades with short petioles and a slightly wavy border. The length of the leaf reaches 15 cm. On its outer side, along the main vein, there are brownish specks. The seamy side has pubescence and is painted in a pale red color.
Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea)
This type of arrowroot is larger than the rest. Maranta arundinacea forms shrubs just over a meter high. Its roots are similar to large tubers. The foliage is ovoid, up to 25 cm long. There is sharpening at the top of the leaf plates. From the inside, each leaf is slightly pubescent and painted in rich green color. During the flowering period, white flowers appear on the bush.