Maranta vs. Calathea: What Is The Difference Between The Two

Maranta and Calathea are in the same plant family but have different subspecies. So, they are not the same plant.

Difference Between Maranta and CalatheaPin

Comparing Maranta And Calathea

Maranta and Calathea are in the same plant family, Marantaceae. However, they are in different genera.

They require similar amounts of water and light. As a result, they make great companion plants, and both purify the air.

Maranta is in the genus Maranta, while Calathea is in the genus Calathea.

Maranta

Maranta plants are native to tropical regions of Central and South America. There are about 40 species of Maranta.

Marantas are also known as prayer plants. This is because they perform nyctinasty or curling their leaves at night as if praying.

The most common Maranta is the Red Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura).

The leaves of Maranta plants have distinctive veins that look like they’re praying hands. In addition, the leaves fold up at night, which is why they’re called prayer-plants.

The leaves of the Maranta are primarily oval. They also grow in a different shape than Calathea and can perform well in a hanging pot.

Additionally, Maranta is slightly more tolerant of the cold than Calathea. 

Calathea

Calathea plants are native to South America and Africa. They tend to be a bit larger than Marantas.

The most common Calathea is the Zebra Plant (Calathea zebrina).

There are about 300 species of Calathea. They’re native to tropical Central and South America, Africa, and the West Indies.

The leaves of Calathea plants have beautiful, intricate patterns.

Some popular Calathea varieties include the following:

  • Zebra plant (Calathea zebrina)
  • Rattlesnake plant (Calathea Lancifolia)
  • Peacock plant (Calathea makoyana)

The leaves of the Calathea have varying shapes. These are lance-shaped, oval, or rounded. 

Differences Between Maranta And Calathea

So, what’s the difference between these two popular houseplants?

While both plants are from the same family and have similar care requirements, the main difference is in their appearance.

Prayer plants have leaves that are usually green with white or light-colored stripes, while Calatheas have leaves that are brightly colored with patterns like stripes or spots.

  • Maranta plants are in the Maranta, while Calathea plants are in the Calathea.
  • Marantas are called Prayer Plants, while Calatheas are not given a specific common name.
  • Marantas curl their leaves at night, while Calatheas do not.
  • Marantas are native to Central and South America, while Calatheas are native to Africa and South America.
  • Marantas tend to be smaller than Calatheas.

What Is A Prayer Plant?

Prayer plants get their name from how their leaves fold together at night as if they’re praying.

The scientific name for prayer plants is maranta leuconeura, and they’re native to the tropical rainforests of Brazil.

Prayer plants are known for their striking patterns and colors on their leaves, which can be anything from green and white to red and black.

Prayer plants are low-maintenance houseplants that are relatively easy to care for. They prefer indirect sunlight and moist soil but can tolerate lower light conditions.

Prayer plants are also excellent air purifiers, as they can remove harmful toxins from the air, like formaldehyde and benzene.

What Is A Calathea Plant?

Calatheas, sometimes called “peacock plants” or “zebra plants,” are native to the tropical regions of South America.

Like prayer plants, calatheas are known for their beautiful and colorful leaves.

Calatheas come in various colors and patterns, including green, pink, purple, red, and yellow.

Calatheas are also low-maintenance houseplants that are relatively easy to care for.

They prefer indirect sunlight and moist soil but can tolerate lower light conditions. Calatheas also purify the air like prayer plants.

Maranta Genus

The Maranta genus includes a few dozen species of neotropical rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plants, including the prayer plants.

They are native to the American tropics, from southern Mexico to northern Argentina and Uruguay.

The best-known species is Maranta leuconeura, commonly grown as a houseplant in temperate regions.

Calatheae Genus

Calathea is a large genus of tropical flowering plants belonging to the Marantaceae, native to the Americas. There are several dozen species in this genus.

They are easily distinguished from other family members by their zebra-stripe or pinstripe patterns on the leaves, which are caused by conspicuous venation.

In addition, Calathea plants are known for being finicky. Many species fold their leaves together at night or when exposed to bright light.

JOIN Our FREE Plant Care Newsletter 

By entering your email address you agree to receive a daily email newsletter from Plant Care Today. We'll respect your privacy and unsubscribe at any time.