21 Captivating Varieties of Prayer Plants to Cultivate Indoors

Are you ready for a botanical adventure? Brace yourself as we uncover the diverse and stunning world of prayer plants. These fascinating plants, known for their mesmerizing leaf movements, come in a multitude of varieties that will leave you in awe.

Ctenanthe: A Marvelous Genus in the Marantaceae Family

Let’s begin our journey with Ctenanthe, a genus within the prayer plant family, Marantaceae. Pronounced as “te-NANTH-ee,” Ctenanthe encompasses around thirty different genera. While primarily native to Brazil, these plants can also be found in other South American countries such as Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Venezuela. Just like their relatives, Ctenanthe plants raise their leaves at night and lower them in the morning when the sun rises.

1. Burle Marxii

Our first stop is Ctenanthe burle marxii, a species native to Brazil. This plant is named in honor of Roberto Burle Marx, a renowned Brazilian landscape architect. Its paddle-shaped leaves display either a vibrant green or pale silvery gray color with a darker green fishbone pattern, earning it the common name “fishbone prayer plant.” The undersides of the leaves reveal a lovely maroon hue, visible during leaf unfurling and at night when the foliage raises. While flowers are rare, they are small, inconspicuous, and white in color when they do appear. C. burle marxii is an excellent choice for a hanging basket, reaching heights of 8 to 12 inches with a spread of 18 to 24 inches.

C. burle marxii

If you’d like to add a C. burle marxii to your collection, you can find them available in four-inch pots at California Tropicals via Amazon.

Another cultivated variety of C. burle marxii is the ‘Amagris.’ This variety has silver paddle-shaped leaves with thin, medium green leaf veins and midribs, along with purple undersides. The leaves also feature a distinct spike-like leaf point. ‘Amagris’ can grow up to 16 inches tall and wide at full maturity, and its flowers, although infrequent, are small and white.

C. burle marxii 'Amagris'

2. Lubbersiana

Unlike the symmetrical patterns found on most prayer plants, Ctenanthe lubbersiana breaks the mold with marbled yellow and cream variegation on its medium green foliage. Its leaves are oblong and rounded, and the plant is commonly known as “bamburanta” or “never never plant.” Bamburanta can reach heights of 2 to 4 feet with a two to three-foot width, and its tiny white flowers appear sporadically. This species was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for ornamentals in 1993.

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C. lubbersiana

You can find the striking bamburanta plant available in six-inch pots from California Tropicals via Amazon.

3. Setosa

Next up is Ctetanthe setosa ‘Grey Star,’ an enchanting cultivated variety. This exquisite plant features long elliptical leaves with a pale silver hue, darker leaf veins, and reddish-purple undersides. Offering a subtle beauty, this species produces small, white flowers. ‘Grey Star’ can grow up to 5 feet in height and up to 3 feet in width.

C. setosa 'Grey Star'

For those looking to add ‘Grey Star’ to their collection, you can find it in six-inch pots from the House Plant Shop via Walmart.

Goeppertia: A Genus Transformed

Now, let’s explore the Goeppertia genus (pronounced “go-PER-shuh”), previously known as Calathea. The plants belonging to this section were reclassified following a DNA analysis in 2012. Although officially renamed, they are still commonly referred to as “calatheas” by vendors, buyers, and gardeners.

4. Concinna

Let’s delve into Goeppertia concinna ‘Freddie,’ a cultivated variety with ovate, pointed leaves. These leaves boast a pale silvery green color with a dark green herringbone pattern. ‘Freddie’ grows upright, reaching heights of up to 20 inches with a matching spread.

G. concinna 'Freddie'

If ‘Freddie’ catches your eye, you can find it at Terrain.

5. Crocata

Goeppertia crocata features large, dark green leaves with purple undersides and a wavy texture. Its scientific name is also synonymous with Calathea crocata and “saffron-colored calathea.” This species originates from Brazil and produces striking golden orange flowers. With an upright growth habit, G. crocata can reach heights of 18 inches and spread up to 12 inches.

G. crocata

6. Elliptica

Goeppertia elliptica, previously known as Calathea elliptica or C. vittata, showcases long, pointed, oval-shaped leaves with medium green color adorned with thin white stripes. Its undersides are light green. This species belongs to northern South America and grows between 8 and 12 inches in height, with a spread of 6 to 8 inches. Cream-colored flowers, although infrequent, may appear.

G. elliptica

For those interested in acquiring G. elliptica, it is available in four-inch pots from Wekiva Foliage via Amazon.

7. Fasciata

Goeppertia fasciata, also known as Maranta borussica or Calathea fasciata, is a species native to northeast Brazil. Its large, rounded leaves feature broad, dark green stripes and midribs, contrasted by light green to gray stripes. The undersides of its leaves display dark red to purple shades. While the flowers are inconspicuous and rarely bloom indoors, G. fasciata can grow to be 3 to 4 feet tall with a 1.5 to 2-foot spread. This species favors strongly to moderately acidic soil.

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G. fasciata

8. Kegeljanii

Goeppertia kegeljanii ‘Network’ is a cultivated variety that captivates with its fine green and yellow mosaic-like foliage. Native to Brazil, this species has gone through several nomenclatural changes, previously known as Calathea bella, C. musaica, C. cardiophylla, M. kegeljanii, M. tessellate var. kegeljanii, and M. bella. It features oval, pointed leaves with slightly wavy margins, appearing like oversized holly leaves. This cultivar presents more prominent variegation and a bushier shape compared to the species plant. ‘Network’ grows upright, reaching heights of 18 to 24 inches with a spread of 12 to 18 inches.

G. kegeljanii 'Network'

If you wish to add the living mosaic of ‘Network’ to your living space, you can find it in a six-inch pot from Costa Farms via Walmart.

9. Insignis

Goeppertia insignis, also known as Calathea lancifolia or “rattlesnake plant,” boasts long, narrow, pointed leaves with a pattern reminiscent of a rattlesnake’s skin. Its foliage exhibits a light green to yellowish-green color with alternating dark and light green blotches. This species hails from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

G. insignis

With a fountain-like spreading growth habit, rattlesnake calathea can grow to be 20 to 30 inches tall and wide. For those who’d like to cultivate this beauty at home, it is available in six-inch pots from Hirt’s Gardens via Walmart.

Maranta: The Classic Prayer Plants

Maranta plants, renowned members of the prayer plant family, are widely cherished for their captivating leaf movements. Originating from Central and tropical South America, these plants raise their leaves at night and lower them when the sun rises.

10. Leuconeura

Our first Maranta stop is Maranta leuconeura ‘Lemon Lime,’ a captivating cultivated variety closely related to the red-veined prayer plant. ‘Lemon Lime’ features leaves in various shades of green, boasting a striking color combination. Pale green midribs are surrounded by medium to dark green hues, with vibrant lime green veins. This variety spreads its leaves horizontally, making it an excellent choice for hanging baskets. ‘Lemon Lime’ grows to heights of 12 to 15 inches, with a matching spread. Although rarely seen, it produces small purple flowers.

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M. leuconeura 'Lemon Lime'

To acquire ‘Lemon Lime’ for your collection, you can find it at Terrain.

11. Thalia

Maranta thalia, also known as Stromanthe thalia or “bloody prayer plant,” showcases long, lance-shaped leaves with dark green color and pale midribs, along with reddish-purple undersides. This species produces vibrant red and white inflorescences. When grown outdoors, M. thalia can reach heights of 5 feet and widths of 3 feet. As a houseplant, it generally stays under 3 feet in height.

M. thalia

For those enticed by the stunning M. thalia, you can find potted plants between 8 and 16 inches tall at Terrain.

Stromanthe: Where Elegance Meets Texture

Stromanthe plants, belonging to the arrowroot family, are known for their striking leaves. Native to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, these plants raise their leaves at night and lower them at sunrise.

12. Thalia

Stromanthe thalia, commonly referred to as Calathea warszewiczii or “jungle velvet,” boasts large, velvety leaves in an ovoid shape that tapers to a point. The leaves exhibit a dark green color with an emerald blaze along the midrib and burgundy undersides. This species grows upright and can reach heights of 3 to 4 feet with a 3-foot spread. During flowering, it produces eye-catching red and white blooms. S. thalia received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award for Garden Merit in 2012.

S. thalia

13. Triostar

Stromanthe thalia ‘Triostar’ is a delightful cultivated variety, also known as “never never plant” or “variegated stromanthe.” Its leaves showcase a colorful mix of white, pink, and green variegation, complemented by reddish-pink undersides. Each leaf possesses a marbled pattern that is unique. ‘Triostar’ has a spreading growth habit, making it a stunning choice for hanging baskets. It reaches heights of 12 to 18 inches, with a similar spread.

S. thalia 'Triostar'

If ‘Triostar’ catches your attention, you can find potted plants between 8 and 16 inches tall at Terrain.

Embrace the Beauty of Prayer Plants

Embark on a journey into the captivating world of prayer plants and discover the striking beauty they possess. With their mesmerizing leaf movements and an array of stunning varieties, these plants will effortlessly add charm to any indoor space. Which of these breathtaking specimens resonates with you the most? Share your favorites in the comments and feel free to showcase your prayer plant babies too!

If you’re eager to learn more about the art of cultivating prayer plants, check out our comprehensive guide on growing these enchanting plants.