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- Raise Your Hands
Prayer plants are liked, at least in part, because their leaves always point up toward the sky when the sun goes down.
But these houseplants are also loved for the way their beautiful leaves look. And because there are so many species and varieties, you can choose from a wide range of leaf patterns and color combinations.
I made a list of some of the most beautiful prayer-plants and then chose 21 species and cultivars that are also easy to find as houseplants.
After all, what’s the point of falling in love with something you can’t find to add to your collection?
On our tour of prayer-plants, we will look at both wild and grown plants. We’ll meet some interesting creatures, such as calatheas, which are now called goeppertias in terms of taxonomy, marantas, stromanthes, and ctenanthes.
From what I’ve learned, most of these species and cultivars (if not all) raise their leaves at night.
If you don’t already have a favorite type of prayer plant, I bet you’ll find one or more on this list that will catch your eye and maybe even your heart.
Before we start, I want to say again what I said briefly above: if you’re looking for calatheas and are disappointed to not see them in the table of contents, don’t worry—they’re here.
These arrowroot family members have been moved to the Goeppertia genus. You can find them below under their new genus name.
Are you ready for a preview? What’s coming up:
The Marantaceae family of prayer plants includes the genus Ctenanthe, which is pronounced: “t:e-NANTH-ee.”
There are a number of Ctenanthes endemic to Brazil, but they can also be found in Costa Rica and Panama.
They raise their leaves at night and lower them again when the sun comes out in the morning, just like the other plants on this list.
The following are some of the most beautiful Ctenanthe species you can grow indoors:
1. Burle Marxii
Roberto Burle Marx, a Brazilian landscape architect, is the inspiration behind the species’ name.
The common name “fishbone prayer plant” comes from the paddle-shaped leaves of Ctenanthe Burle marxii, which are either bright green or pale silvery grey with a deeper green fishbone pattern.
This plant has beautiful maroon-colored undersides to its leaves, which are visible when new leaves emerge and when the foliage rises at night.
Maranta amabilis, a genus we’ll be discussing later in the essay, was historically referred to as C. Burle marxii and is still used in some contexts.
When grown as a houseplant, this species rarely produces flowers. At first, their appearance is unnoticeable due to their small size and white tint.
When it comes to hanging baskets, fishbone prayer plants have a greater spread than height. It is eight to twelve inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide.
There are four-inch pots of California Tropicals’ C. Burle marxii available for purchase on Amazon.
C. Burle marxii ‘Amagris,’ a cultivated variation, may be available for purchase to add to your personal collection.
Leaf veins and midribs are narrow and medium green on ‘Amagris’, with purple undersides. Leaf tips are spike-like on otherwise circular leaves.
The flowers of ‘Amagris’, like those of the species plant, are small and white, but only occur on houseplants infrequently.
Known as ‘Marantha Amagris,’ this cultivar can reach a height of 16 inches and a width of 12 inches at full maturity.
Ctenanthe lubbersiana, on the other hand, has marbled yellow and cream variegation on its medium green leaf, in contrast to the perfectly symmetrical patterns found on most prayer-plants. This plant’s leaves are elongated and convex.
Common names for this native Brazilian plant include “bamburanta” and “never never plant,” and it was previously known by the scientific name Stromanthe lubbersiana.
Prayer plant bamburanta, one of the taller and wider varieties, can reach a height and width of 2 to 4 feet. In their earliest stages, flowers are a tiny, snow-white color.
RHS’ Garden Merit Award for Ornamentals went to Bamburanta in 1993.
You may buy a six-inch pot of bamburanta from California Tropicals, which is available on Amazon, and enjoy its random splashes of yellow in your own home.
A cultivated form of Ctetanthe setosa known as “Grey Star” is certain to please. The tall, elliptical leaves of this type have a reddish-purple underside and a silvery sheen with darker leaf veins.
When this variety’s small, white blossoms first appear, they set an understated tone.
In terms of prayer-plants, the ‘Grey Star’ kind can grow to a height of five feet and a width of three feet on the bigger side.
You may buy six-inch pots of ‘Grey Star’ plants at Walmart’s House Plant Shop.
Here is the Goeppertia genus (pronounced “go-PER-shuh”), which I would like to introduce you to. Reclassifications of the Calathea genus have been made for all of the species in this section.
What makes this shift necessary?
According to a DNA study done in 2012, there are several distinct genetic differences between this species and others in the calathea family. This study’s participants came to the conclusion that these species deserved their own genus.
This led to the majority of Calathea’s species being renamed Goeppertia. Calathea reclassification 2012 is the informal moniker I’ve given it.
However, calatheas are still widely referred to as houseplants by vendors, purchasers, and gardeners, so if you’re looking for one to buy, searching for calatheas may be useful.
All of the species in this genus originate from Mexico, Central, and South America.
A cultivar of Goeppertia concinna known as ‘Freddie’ has oval, pointed leaves that are pale silvery green with a darker green herringbone pattern.
With an upright growth habit and a 20-inch spread, ‘Freddie’ can grow to be as tall as 20 inches tall.
The terrain is where you’ll encounter ‘Freddie,’ a friendly vegetal companion.
Goeppertia crocata has big, dark green leaves with purple undersides that are found on the underside of the plant. The leaves have a waved appearance to them.
Crocata, which means “saffron coloured,” refers to the vivid, golden-orange flowers of this plant that originated in Brazil.
Calathea crocata is another name for it, as is “saffron-colored calathea,” which is a colloquial term for it.
Its second popular name, “eternal flame plant,” is derived from the species’ brilliant, one- to two-inch-wide blooms.
In terms of height and spread, G. crocata can reach a maximum height of 18 inches and a maximum spread of 12 inches.
Soil that is somewhat acidic to slightly alkaline is ideal for this showy species, with its vivid flowers.
Long, pointy, oval-shaped leaves of the Goeppertia elliptica have a medium green tint and faint white lines on them. There is a pale green coloration on the leaves’ undersides.
It is native to northern South America and is also known as G. vittata and Calathea elliptica or C. vittata.
G. elliptica, which has an upright growth habit, can reach heights of eight to 12 inches and spreads six to eight inches wide.
When they do appear, the flowers are a pale cream color.
Wekiva Foliage, an online retailer, sells a four-inch pot of this beautiful houseplant in a variety of colors.
Big spherical leaves of Goeppertia fasciata have dark green stripes and midribs with contrasting pale green to grey stripes. Its leaves have a dark red to the purple underside.
Calathea fasciata and Maranta Borussia are both common names for this plant, which is native to northeast Brazil.
The white blossoms of G. fasciata are mainly only visible when cultivated outdoors.
Three to four feet in height and one and a half to two feet in the spread are typical for this species.
When repotting, keep in mind that G. fasciata favors a more acidic soil.
My bet is that you’ll want to expand your Goeppertia kegeljanii collection with ‘Network,’ a cultivated variety.
Intricate green-and-yellow mosaics decorate its leaves. Even up close, you can only really make out the pattern’s subtleties.
This species, which is native to Brazil, has gone by a variety of names over the years to represent the various classifications it has undergone.
Calathea names include C. Bella, C. musaica, and C. cardiophylla when it was a Calathea. M. kegeljanii, M. tessellate var. kegeljanii, and M. bella were all names given to this species, which was classified as a Maranta.
Phyllodes Bella is another of its aliases and prior monikers.
“Network calathea” is the best place to look if you want to buy a specimen.
‘Network’s’ oval, pointy leaves have slightly wavy borders, giving them a holly leaf appearance in their large.
Variegation and a bushier shape distinguish the cultivar, which was trademarked in 2008 and given the official name ‘PP0005,’ from the species plant.
‘Network’ has an upright growth habit and can reach heights of 18 to 24 inches and a width of 12 to 18 inches.
A 6-inch pot of Costa Farms’ ‘Network’ is available at Walmart if you want to bring this live mosaic into your home.
Long, narrow, pointed leaves give Goeppertia insignis its popular names: “rattlesnake plant” or “rattlesnake calathea.” It’s native to Brazil.
It has light green to yellowish-green leaves with dark green spots that alternate between large and small.
G. lancifolia, Calathea lancifolia, and C. insignis are all botanical names for rattlesnake calathea.
The undersides of the leaves of this species are either purple or maroon in color, and the leaves themselves are highly wavy.
Rattlesnake calatheas spread out like a fountain and can reach a height and width of up to 30 inches.
You can buy a six-inch pot of rattlesnake calathea from Hirt’s Gardens via Walmart to add this stunning specimen to your prayer plant collection.
In contrast to most of the plants included here, ‘Fusion White’ has a design on its foliage that appears to have been painted by an impressionist rather than a symmetrical one.
White with green variegation and lilac-hued undersides characterise the oval-shaped leaves.
Similar to all of the other Goeppertias on this list, ‘Fusion White’ has been categorised as a patent cultivar.
Calathea lietzei ‘Fusion White,’ or simply ‘Fusion White’ calathea, is still often referred to.
In addition to being known as “White Fusion,” this cultivar is semi-upright and compact in growth, reaching a height of 6-8 inches and a spread of 8–12 inches.
Wekiva Foliage sells ‘Fusion White’ in a 4-inch pot on Amazon.
Goeppertia louisae, also known as Calathea louisae, is the species by which the cultivar ‘Maui Queen’ is derived.
The undersides of the pointy, oval-shaped green leaves of this cultivar are purple and have a creamy feathery pattern along the midrib.
‘Maui Queen’ has an upright growth habit and can reach 18 to 24 inches in height and 12 to 18 inches in spread.
Keep ‘Maui Queen’ in a potting soil that is neutral to slightly acid13.ic.
Goeppertia makoyana, often known as the “peacock plant,” is a species of plant native to eastern Brazil. According to legend, a peacock discovered its leaves to resemble the bright feathers of the bird.
The glossy, oval leaves of this species look as though they were handcrafted by a master craftsman. The tops are creamy, with medium green leaf edges and darker green splotches radiating from the midveins.
The term “cathedral windows” is also commonly used, but I find it more persuasive.
In honor of the leaves’ semi-transparent appearance, which allows light to shine through the foliage, this vibrant name is based on the pattern that appears on the leaf bottoms in purple instead of green.
This species was previously known as C. makoyana and is still commonly referred to as such by merchants.
This type of window can grow up to two feet tall and one foot wide and has a habit of being more erect than spreading.
The Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for Ornamentals was given to this plant in 1993.
C. makoyana is available in a six-inch pot from American Plant Exchange, via Amazon, if you’d want to bring the cathedral light into your own home.
Learn how to cultivate a peacock plant at home with the help of our comprehensive how-to guide. It’ll be here soon!
In addition to its silver and green stripes, Goeppertia orbifolia’s leaves are also pale green on the bottom.
Calathea orbifolia, a gorgeous plant native to eastern Brazil, was previously known as this species.
Three feet tall with a three-foot spread, G. orbifolia is one of the list’s bigger examples.
Acidic to alkaline soils work well for this plant.
Terrain sells G. orbifolia plants, so you can grow your own at home.
Known as the “pinstripe plant,” Goeppertia ornata, or “pinstripe plant,” has dark green elliptical, pointed leaves with thin, pinkish-white stripes that appear to have been painted on by a small brush.
Calathea ornata and G. ornata majestica are two other names for pinstripe plants. To the south of Colombia and to the west of Venezuela, it is found.
The Pinstripe Plant grows in an erect position. There is an estimated range of 2 to 3 feet in height and a 2 to 3-foot spread for this species.
Make sure to use slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil when you repot G. ornata.
It is a cultivar of G. ornata known as ‘Beauty Star’ that has pointed, elliptical, light green leaves with darker edges, darker centers, and thin creamy pink stripes “painted” on the leaves.
‘Beauty Star’ differs from the species plant in that it has lighter green areas behind its creamy pink stripes.
If you’re having trouble finding this specimen, it’s now known as ‘Beauty Star’ calathea due to the reclassification of the species.
“Beauty Star” can grow to a height of twelve to eighteen inches, with an equal spread, if it is grown uprightly.
A cultivar can grow under slightly acidic and slightly alkaline conditions, just as species.
You may buy ‘Beauty Star’ from Hirt’s Gardens via Walmart in a 4-inch container.
G. roseopicta’s scientific name translates to “rose-painted,” but that description, along with the colloquial term “rose-painted calathea,” doesn’t do credit to the pattern on this tropical specimen’s foliage.
With a pinkish-purple midrib and emerald-green margins surrounding an oval-shaped leaf, the oval-shaped leaf has a feathery cream or pink edge. In addition, as new leaves are formed, their undersides turn a vibrant shade of purple.
Calathea roseopicta and Calathea illustrious are the common names for this species, which can be found in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
G. roseopicta can reach a height of 12 to 18 inches and a spread of up to one foot.
As of 2002, the Royal Horticultural Society had awarded this species its Award of Garden Merit.
The Hirt’s Garden Store sells a 4-inch potted rose-painted prayer plant if you’re interested in getting one for yourself.
It is a cultivar of G. roseopicta with dark green, oval leaves appearing almost black in hue, with fine, feathery pink borders and pink midribs and undersides that range from crimson to dark purple. ‘Dottie’
This cultivar’s name has changed as a result of the renaming of the species. Even today, it’s known as Calathea roseopicta ‘Dottie’ and Calathea roseopicta ‘Dottie’ because of its rose-painted appearance.
‘Dottie’ is expected to grow to a height of 12 to 18 inches and a spread of 12 to 18 inches.
Terrain carries the black and pink ‘Dottie,’ which can be purchased.
Rosa has big, rounded leaves with blackish green borders that cover silvery mauve to brilliant fuchsia interiors with pink undersides, and is a cultivated variation of G. roseopicta.
In addition to C. roseopicta ‘Rosy,’ this cultivar is also known by the name rose-painted calathea ‘Rosy,’
This grown cultivar can reach a height of one to two feet and a spread of one to two feet.
To brighten up your home, consider a “Rosy” plant.
She’s available on Amazon in a 4-inch pot from California Tropicals.
Goeppertia rufibarba has long, feather-shaped leaves that are all about texture.
The two common names for G. rufibarba, “furry feather calathea” and “velvet calathea,” refer to the soft, fuzzy appearance of the leaves of this species.
Since the genus name changed, this species is now known as Calathea rufibarba, which is native to northeast Brazil.
An upright growth habit, this prayer plant can reach three feet in height and 18 to 20 inches broad. Bright yellow blossoms adorn this plant.
In 2012, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for Ornamentals went to the furry feather calathea.
California Tropicals’ furry feather calathea is offered on Amazon in a four-inch containe17. r.
Goeppertia veitchiana ‘Flamestar,’ a cultivated cultivar, resembles a jungle in its foliage.
Oval leaves with a feathery edge and wide green margins have yellow accents and a variety of green hues in this cultivar. A similar design is imprinted on the underside of the leaves, but the green is replaced with purple.
Calathea veitchiana ‘Flamestar,’ or simply ‘Flamestar,’ is another name for this cultivar. On this list, this particular variety may be more difficult to come by.
An upright growth habit, Flamestar’s height can reach up to 24 inches.
Another cultivated variety of G. veitchiana, ‘Medallion’ has large, rounded leaves with a feathery pattern.
An elongated, feather-shaped outline of creamy white rests in the middle of the leaf, which is encircled by darker green. Depending on the kind, the undersides of the leaves might be maroon or purple.
Despite the fact that this plant is sometimes referred to as a rose-painted calathea or Calathea roseopicta, this plant is in fact an entirely different species.
However, there is a striking resemblance between these two, and it’s simple to see why they’re commonly mistaken.
‘Medallion,’ on the other hand, lacks the stripes of G. roseopicta and has a more striking feathery design.
Depending on the kind, it could reach a height of 12 to 24 inches and have a similar spread.
You may buy ‘Medallion’ from Hirt’s Gardens via Walmart in a 4-inch container.
The huge, velvety leaves of Goeppertia warszewiczii, a stunning species, have earned it the widespread name “jungle velvet.”
The leaves of jungle velvet have an oblong form that ends in a point. With burgundy undersides, the leaves are dark-green with an Emerald blaze around the midrib.
It is still commonly known as Calathea warszewiczii, C. warscewiczii, or simply “jungle velvet calathea” despite the fact that it is native to Central America.
Jungle velvet features huge, spectacular flowers when it blooms, unlike other members of the arrowroot family that are typically grown as houseplants. The color of these flowers changes from cream to yellow to pink.
Largest of the prayer-plants, Jungle Velvet may grow to a height of 40 inches tall and a width of 40 inches.
This plant has broad, elliptical-shaped leaves that taper toward the tip; they are light green in color with wide, dark green lines forked at the leaf borders. The leaves’ undersides are a brilliant shade of lime green.
G. zebrina is a native of Brazil and is commonly referred to as “the zebra plant” because of its distinctive stripes. One of the original names for this species was “zebra calathea,” and it’s still widely used today.
Two to three feet tall and two to three feet wide, the Zebra Calathea resembles a fountain.
A Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit was given to this plant in 1993 for its attractive qualities.
California Tropical sells G. zebrina in a six-inch container on Amazon.
Learn how to grow zebra calathea in our in-depth guide to plant care.
Marantas may be among the most commonly enjoyed prayer-plants – though that certainly does not make them boring.
The species in the genus Maranta – pronounced “ma-RAN-tah” – originate in Central and tropical South America.
Like other prayer-plants, marantas raise their leaves as the sun goes down in the evening, and lower them again when the sun rises in the morning.
Cultivated form of the red-veined prayer plant, Meconeura leuconeura (often known as “Lemon Lime”).
The foliage of ‘Lemon Lime’ is multi-colored and boldly patterned. This plant’s midrib is highlighted in pale green, and the leaves have dark green or lime green veins.
‘Lemon Lime”s’ leaf veins are elevated, adding visual appeal to the foliage. This variety’s leaves have pale green undersides.
The oval-shaped leaves of ‘Lemon Lime’ measure between five and six inches long. This kind is great for hanging baskets because of its spreading growth behavior.
When fully grown, it will be between 12 and 15 inches tall, with a similarly wide base.
Small purple blooms bloom throughout the summer for this cultivar’s benefit.
Terrain sells this variety if you’re interested in adding it to your home garden.
M. leuconeura ‘Fascinator,’ often known as the “black prayer plant,” is another cultivar that you could love.
A pale green midrib blaze and strong reddish-purple veins distinguish it from other plants.
“Fascinator,” with its spreading growth habit and maximum height and width of 15 inches, is another wonderful hanging basket option.
Additionally, M. leuconeura var. kerchoveana, a naturally occurring variation, is closely related to ‘Fascinator’ as well as the more common ‘Lemon Lime.’
It’s also known as “rabbit’s foot” or “rabbit footprints” because of the patterns of dark green blotches on the pale green leaves of this variety, which is frequently called the “green prayer plant.
It can reach a height of 20 inches and a spread of 20 inches. Rabbit footprints, along with the other M. leuconeura kinds discussed here, will look lovely in a hanging basket.
In 1993, rabbit tracks received an award from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Hirt’s Gardens sells four-inch pots of rabbit footprints prayer-plants through Walmart.
Another genus in the arrowroot family, Stromanthe – pronounced “stro-MANTH-ee” – has some beautiful specimens that can be grown as houseplants.
These plants are endemic to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central, and South America, and are less abundant than Goeppertia or Maranta.
Stromanthes, like the other plants in this family, raise and lower their leaves at night and in the morning.
Dark green lance-shaped and pointed leaves with pale midribs and reddish-purple undersides adorn Stromanthe thalia (Stromanthe thalia).
S. sanguinea is a common name for this species. The common name “bloody prayer plant” comes from the ruddy undersides of the leaves, hence the scientific name “sanguinea.”
That would be the scientific name for it: the thalia of S.
This plant, which is native to Brazil, grows in an erect position. When grown outdoors, it can reach five feet tall and three feet wide, but as a houseplant, it tends to remain at a height of three feet or less.
During the flowering season, this variety provides a stunning display of red and white flowers.
Garden Merit Award from the Royal Horticultural Society was given to S. thalia in 2012.
S. thalia ‘Triostar’ is a cultivated variety that you might want to consider adding to your indoor garden.
‘Triostar,’ like the previously mentioned C. lubbersiana, is also known as the “never plant,” and has leaves that are a vibrant mix of white, pink, and green with a reddish-pink underside.
“Triostar,” like “Fusion White,” deviates from symmetrical patterns by showing a marbled pattern that is specific to each leaf.
sanguinea tricolour stroma is another name for this vibrant patented cultivar, which also goes by the names S. sanguinea tricolour and S. sanguinea tricolour.
‘Triostar’ can grow to a height of three feet and a width of two feet.
Terrain carries potted plants ranging from eight to sixteen inches tall if this type interests you.
Raise Your Hands
I hope you’ve had as much fun admiring these beautiful prayer-plants as I have. If so, raise your hands in the air!
Please read our comprehensive guide on growing prayer-plants if you need some advice on how to grow these beautiful but demanding houseplants.
Although they require some level of moderate maintenance, I feel that the gorgeous patterns and textures they produce are well worth it.
Are there any that you particularly like? Do you prefer ‘Fascinator’ or ‘Jungle Velvet’, or something in between?
Marbled leaves, or symmetrical patterns, which are your favorite types of plants?
Comment below with your thoughts, and if you have some of your own, post a picture of your prayer plant babies!