This young Maranta leuc. Amabilis Mint has the most charming foliage. It is commonly known as a prayer plant because the leaves have an unusual habit: they are able to close up at night! The process is called nyctinasty and the purpose is to catch as much light as possible, then close for protection as the light fades.
Maranta are named after an Italian botanist, Bartolomeo Maranta.
They are related to Calathea house plants, which also have attractive foliage.
Relatively easy to look after.
Can survive in near-freezing temperatures, although the foliage will die off, ready to re-sprout during spring.
Prefer to be kept at a minimum temperature of around 13 degrees C or higher.
Keep in fairly bright light, but not in direct sunlight.
Do not allow the compost to completely dry out.
Likes high humidity. Can be mounted on a tray of damp gravel in order to raise humidity levels.
Grows to a maximum height of 35cms.
One plant, growing in a 6cm diameter pot.