Lemon Lime Maranta (#1 Care & Propagation HACKS!)

lemon lime maranta, a popular houseplant

Calentheas and Marantas sometimes get a bad rap for being difficult to care for. But our experience with the Lemon Lime Maranta has been smooth sailing. 🙂

While they have some quirks, we’ll show you how to attend to them!

In terms of care, the Lemon Lime Maranta thrives in greenhouse-like conditions, preferring a warm and very humid environment, frequent fertilization, and a peat-based potting mix.

Don’t let this plant dry out; they like to stay evenly moist but not waterlogged. Happily, this plant is pet-safe.

Let’s get into the details!

What exactly is the Lemon Lime Maranta?

The Lemon Lime Maranta (scientific name: Maranta Leuconeura var. Erythroneura ‘Lemon Lime’) is a variegated plant from the Marantaceae (Arrowroot) family.

It is sometimes referred to as a Prayer Plant, as its leaves stand vertically like praying hands at night, but fan out during the day. But of course, the most eye-catching thing about the Maranta is its colorful leaves.

These low-growing and spreading plants stay relatively compact, making them perfect for indoor spaces.

Caring for your Lemon Lime Maranta

Light

For best growth, choose a location with plenty of bright but indirect light.

This is one plant that has a low tolerance for direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to harsh light scorches its leaves, causing them to turn pale and appear washed-out. Eventually, they turn brown and die away.

If you start noticing these symptoms, use a shade cloth to reduce the intensity of sunlight.

On the other hand, the Lemon Lime Maranta endures low light conditions well.

potted lemon lime maranta
Copyright © 2022 hmflowers (Hallmark Flowers & Gifts). All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

Water

Your Lemon Lime Maranta enjoys evenly moist soil, but avoid letting it sit in waterlogged roots. They have shallow roots which are susceptible to root rot.

Balancing between the two extremes can take a little learning. Don’t worry, we’ll guide you.

Here are the two aspects of watering you need to nail:

When to water

Water your plant frequently during the spring and summer months, whenever its topsoil feels dry, usually every 7-10 days as a rule of thumb.

Don’t let your plant dry out completely! 

If you see your plant staring curling towards the center of its leaves, this is a sign it needs to be watered.

Water requirements naturally reduce in winter, when your plant grows less quickly and may go dormant.

Type of Water

Your plant cannot tolerate chlorine and mineral salts in normal tap water.

Use rainwaterdistilled water, or tap water that has been left out overnight to water your plant.

Always use room temperature water or water that is slightly warm.

the lemon lime maranta, a popular houseplant, in a small pot
Copyright © 2022 hmflowers (Hallmark Flowers & Gifts). All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

Humidity

Hailing from the Brazilian rainforests, the Lemon Lime Maranta thrives in very high humidity. Levels >65% are ideal.

At these levels, they grow vigorously. They are not as forgiving of dry air as most other houseplants.

If you live in a dry climate, a humidifier is a quick and easy option to remedy this.

You can also check out our other suggestions on how to increase humidity levels. Do not mist your Lemon Lime Maranta – this encourages bacterial growth, which your Maranta is susceptible to!

Temperature

One of the reasons why we love to keep this plant indoors is because indoor temperatures are ideal for your Lemon Lime Maranta.

Keep warm, stable temperatures between 60-80 degrees F (16-27 degrees C).

Growth

This is a relatively compact but fast-growing plant.

Your Prayer Plant reaches a height of just 12 inches (30cm) and spread of 14 inches (36cm) when mature.

Its broad leaves fan out to 6 inches (15 cm) long when fully developed.

While a small plant, we think the elegant Lemon Lime Maranta is larger than life 🙂

Flowers

If you take care of your Lemon Lime Maranta, you’ll soon spot small purple flowers growing.

Unfortunately, these flowers only last a day or two, and we are left picking up crispy brown petals from the floor!

This got old pretty quickly.

Nowadays, we prefer to cut flowers off and let the plant focus on its foliage, which we find much more stunning.

Soil or Growing Medium

well-draining potting mix is essential for your plant. As we explained, this Lemon Lime Maranta is susceptible to root rot. But you’ll also need to balance this with soil that holds enough moisture for your thirsty plant.

Our solution?

We like using a peat-based, high-quality potting mix as a base, then mixing perlite and coconut coir.

This is the mix we use:

The peat-based potting mix provides a rich soil that retains some water and is slightly acidic (they love pH 5.5 – 6).

Perlite and coconut coir lighten the mix and improve drainage qualities.

If you’re new to soil pH and want to experiment, use a pH kit.

Choice of Container

For your Prayer Plant, a small container will do as they have shallow roots.

But always use a container with drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. Stagnant water pooling at the roots is an invitation for root rot!

Fertilizer

Okay, this bit is important. One of the particularities of the Lemon Lime Maranta is that this rapid grower is VERY hungry for nutrients.

If you don’t fertilize this Maranta, it just won’t thrive.

We feed it every two weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) with high-quality, liquid fertilizer at half-strength.

A urea-free fertilizer is essential as Lemon Lime Maranta roots are sensitive to harsh chemicals. We like using Dyna-Gro Grow, which is gentle and specifically formulated to encourage lush and healthy foliage growth.

Hold off fertilizing in the autumn and winter months.

Dyna-Gro Grow, 8 oz Dyna-Gro Grow, 8 oz
$12.44 ($1.56 / Fl Oz)
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Repotting

Repot your Lemon Lime Maranta only when your see signs of it being root-bound. These include roots peeking out from the bottom of the drainage holes, or circling above the soil’s surface.

When repotting,

  • Water your plant the day before. This reduces transplant shock and makes it easier for you to get the plant out of the pot.
  • Try not to damage the roots, working gently with your fingers to dislodge your plant from its pot.
  • Use fresh soil, a pot that has drainage holes, and one that is just 2 inches (8cm) larger than the original.

Toxicity

According to ASPCA, your plant is non-toxic to animals and humans. This includes cats and dogs. Hooray!

Propagation

Propagation is easy for this Lemon Lime Maranta.

There are two main ways – root division or stem cuttings.

Propagation through Root Division

Instead of repotting your plant, you can always choose to divide the roots into individual sections and separate your plant into two.

We find this a fun and easy way to propagate your Prayer Plant, but there are two things you’ll need to note.

  1. Firstly, be very careful not to damage the roots.
  2. Secondly, you’ll need to wait until your plant is well-established in its pot. It’s not a good idea to divide a young plant or a plant that has just been relocated, which causes additional stress. Look for a time when your plant is healthy and well-established and when you can see that roots have formed into different sections.

To propagate,

  1. Water your plant the day before dividing. This reduces transplant shock for your plant.
  2. Place your plant on its side, and gently use your fingers to work through any compacted soil.
  3. Wriggle your plant free from its pot and examine its roots.
  4. If you see any brown or damaged roots, first trim this off with sterilized garden shears. Healthy roots are firm and white.
  5. Now that you’ve trimmed off any unhealthy roots, it’s time to divide your plant!
  6. In a healthy and established plant, you should be able to identify roots that naturally form in different sections.
  7. Divide your plant into two individual sections, each with its own root systems. Each section should have a few leaves and stems.
  8. Repot each individual section into its own pot. Depending on how large each rootball is, you may have to downsize the pot you used.
  9. Hold off fertilizing for two weeks as your plant settles into its new home.
  10. You can expect some transplant shock for your plant; it may appear a little unhappy but should bounce back in a few weeks. Be patient!
small potted lemon lime maranta, prayer plant

Propagation through Stem Cuttings

Stem cuttings takes a little more time than root division to produce a fully grown plant. But this method has a high success rate and is relatively easy.

Before we dive in, remember to sterilize your garden shears. We use 70% isopropyl solution.

This is to prevent cross-contamination between plants; particularly important for Lemon Limes as they are susceptible to bacterial diseases like Leaf Spot.

  1. Identify a healthy portion of stem about 4 inches (10 cm) long, with at least one node. The node is the knobby part on the stem where new growth forms.
  2. Using clean garden shears, cut the stem off just below the node.
  3. Dip the cut end of the stem cutting into a rooting hormone. This encourages strong and fast-growing roots.
  4. Place the stem cutting in a jar filled with room temperature distilled water.
  5. Place the water jar in a warm spot that has bright indirect light. If you have a humidifier, set this next to the jar and set it at 70% humidity.
  6. In a few weeks, you should see roots grow.
  7. Once the roots reach about an inch (2.5 cm) long, plant your stem, cutting into its permanent home.
  8. Use an airy and well-draining potting mix (see Soil Section for details).
  9. Treat as you would any other Lemon Lime Maranta.

Pruning

Pruning is easy for your Prayer Plant:

  • Cut above the node, using sterilized shears.
  • Trim off any dead, wilted, or damaged foliage. These damaged parts don’t heal and allow your plant to focus on new growth. It also encourages a bushy look.
  • Spring is the best time for pruning, as this lessens the stress on your plant.

Common Pests and Diseases

Helminthosporium Leaf Spot

According to PennState University, Helminthosporium Leaf Spot disease is one of the most common problems for Maranta plants.

  • If your plant has Leaf Spot, you will observe water-soaked legions on your plant’s leaves.
  • To avoid Leaf Spot, avoid getting your plant’s leaves wet. This encourages bacteria growth.
  • Use sterilized shears and gardening tools to prevent contamination.
  • Don’t overwater your plant. Water only when the topsoil is dry, and use a well-draining soil mix.

If your plant is suffering from Leaf Spot,

  1. Quarantine your plant away from all other plants.
  2. Using sterilized garden shears, trim off infected foliage.
  3. Apply a fungicide (choose one with chlorothalonil as the active ingredient, effective against Helminthosporium) to stop the spread. This will not heal damaged parts but prevent further spread.
  4. If you’re a beginner, take note of these watering tips to ensure you don’t overwater your plant!

Spider Mites and Mealybugs

Unfortunately, your plant is not immune from the occasional pest attack. The two most common are mealybugs and spider mites.

Both insects pierce your plant’s tissue and draw out its sap, wounding your poor plant and depriving it of nutrients!

  • Mealybugs look like bits of cotton swabs. They are white insects with clearly segmented bodies that like to cluster together in hard-to-reach places.
  • Spider mites are much smaller and hard to see without a microscope. However, fine webbing under the leaves and stems indicates the presence of spider mites.

It’s essential to detect these pests early, as they reproduce very quickly.

Check out our guide on using neem oil to eradicate these pests. If caught early, it is a very effective way to stop these bugs from killing your plant.

Troubleshooting

Brown leaves

Another common problem issue is brown leaves. This typically indicates too much sunlight, or underwatering.

If the soil is dry, compacted, and cakey, underwatering may be your problem. Adjust your watering practices and make sure your potting mix has a good balance between draining and retention elements.

If sunlight is the issue, relocate your plant to a shadier spot.

A less common reason for brown leaves is too little humidity. Use a humidifier or check out our humidity guide for suggestions on giving this a boost.

Yellow leaves and mushy stem

Yellow leaves alongside a mushy stem indicate overwatering. Check the soil moisture to confirm.

If the problem is severe, your plant may also suffer from root rot. The only way to confirm is to remove your plant from its pot and examine its roots.

Brown, black and foul-smelling roots mean its roots are rotting from the lack of air. An overwatered plant literally cannot breathe.

In this case, check out our step-by-step guide on saving your plant suffering from root rot.

Frequently Asked Questions

maranta leuconeura lemon lime

Is the Lemon Lime Maranta rare?

Yes, they are rare in that they are hard to find at local nurseries. However, with some luck, you can find them available online.

Do note that you shouldn’t have to pay a large premium for the Lemon Lime; expect to spend around ~US$20 for a starter plant.

Why is my Lemon Lime Maranta closing its leaves?

 There are several reasons that your Prayer Plant has stopped praying! The most common reasons are too much or too little sunlight. In other cases, your plant is either over or underwatered.

Lastly, transplant shock can also play a role in temporarily stopping leaves from following the light.

Is the Lemon Lime Maranta a climbing plant?

No, they don’t have a climbing habit.

They are low-growers and spread horizontally. When left in a hanging basket, they will trail down.

Is the Lemon Lime Maranta an indoor plant?

Yes, they are. They grow compact and are well-suited to indoor temperatures.

Similar Plants and Varieties

Check out our Round Up of 14 Calatheas (w/Photos!), from the same Prayer Plant family.

We love the Calathea Ornata from the same family. Though tricky to care for, its pinstriped foliage may entice you to give them a try 🙂

small potted calathea ornata
The Peacock plant, also known as Calathea ornata with pinstriped pink variegation.

Wrapping Up

The striking Lemon Lime Maranta is a beautiful plant with elegant, painterly foliage. It bring a pop of color to indoor spaces.

While not exactly beginner-friendly, if you follow these tips you’ll do fine:

  • While it can tolerate low light, bright but indirect sunlight is best.
  • Avoid misting the leaves; this encourages bacteria growth that your plant is susceptible to.
  • Use room temperature distilled water.
  • Choose a small container; your plant has shallow roots. You can also let it trail from a hanging basket.
  • Never let your Maranta plant to dry out completely between waterings.
  • Fertilize frequently: every 2 weeks during the growing season.
  • Humidity >65% helps your plant thrive.
  • Be wary of spider mites and mealybugs. Leaf spot, resulting in water-soaked spot, is the most common disease.

Ready for another plant from the Marantaceae family? Check out the Calathea Ornata next.

Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.

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