A decorative leaf plant called arrowroot found its way from the tropical rain forests to the windowsills of ambitious hobby gardeners and is a hit with everyone. Emerald green leaves, artfully decorated with light green, olive green or reddish ornaments, delicately shiny and up to 12 cm long, compose an enchanting houseplant. Depending on the species, the undersides change to crimson or bluish-green. In May and June, delicate blossoms tower over the elegant arrangement of leaves. However, the cultivation of a Maranta should not be taken lightly, because in some respects it is a bit tricky. The following care instructions explain all relevant aspects.


  • Plant family of the arrowroot family (Marantaceae).
  • Genus name: Arrowroot (Maranta).
  • Natural occurrence in tropical rain forests.
  • Growth height between 10 cm and 30 cm.
  • Depending on the species, upright or creeping habit.
  • Small flowers from May to June in white to soft pink.
  • Simple ovary with only one seed.
  • Use as an ornamental and useful plant.
  • Trivialnamen: Korbmarante.

The arrowroot owes its German name to the fact that Brazilian natives extracted starch from the rhizome, which they used to treat injuries from poisoned arrows. Nowadays, the Maranta arundinacea variety is known to vegans and allergy sufferers, processed into purely plant-based arrowroot flour for healthy cooking.


The placement in the living room needs to be chosen with care. On the one hand, the arrowroot needs plenty of light to develop the beautiful leaf markings, on the other hand, blazing sunshine destroys the whole magic.

  • Bright location without direct sunlight.
  • A place by the north window is ideal.
  • The optimum temperature is between 20° and 25° Celsius.

Under no circumstances should the mercury drop below 13° Celsius – not even for a short time. The Maranta reacts to this by shedding leaves immediately, from which it never recovers.

Note: If the arrowroot rolls up its leaves during the day or folds them up, it signals in this way that the spot is too sunny or the root ball is drying out. Curling up in the evening, on the other hand, is a completely natural process.


The more intensively the room climate corresponds to the tropical climate of the rain forests, the higher the chances of success in cultivation. In addition to light and temperature conditions, humidity is the third mainstay. Since in the rarest of cases a damp and warm environment arises all by itself in living rooms, a hobby gardener is required to create this through targeted measures.

  • Place the flower pot on a saucer filled with water and pebbles.
  • On warm days, spray with lime-free water and a fine jet.
  • Alternatively, dip upside down in soft water once a week.

During the heating season, the air in the room is particularly dry. It is therefore advisable to place small bowls of water on the radiators. If the sight bothers you, you can create beautifully shaped evaporators made of porcelain or plastic for little money, which are simply hung on the radiator. An indoor fountain brings a touch of luxury into the home to create the desired humidity for a vital Maranta with gentle water features.


The Korbmarante does not have particularly high expectations of the potting soil. She is already satisfied with commercially available compost-based potting soil. Leisure gardeners with their own garden put together the substrate themselves from loose leaf soil and some compost and sand. The permeability is optimized by adding fillers such as wood or coconut fibers, perlite and expanded clay. Thus, the addition of peat can be safely dispensed with, in the spirit of environmental protection.

watering and fertilizing

Maintaining the humidity at a high level is only one aspect of the water balance of an arrowroot. Needs-based watering is not inferior in importance.

  • Water copiously during the growing season.
  • The root ball is constantly moist, but the surface must not dry out.
  • Only use rainwater at room temperature or decalcified tap water.

No matter how high the need for water may be, waterlogging must not occur. If the saucer is not filled with stones, excess water will be emptied after 20 minutes at the latest.

The nutrient requirement can rightly be described as low to moderate. From this it follows that in the period from April to August/September the 14-day administration of a liquid fertilizer for green plants is completely sufficient. Optionally, fertilizer sticks, which are pressed into the substrate in spring and summer, serve as a time-saving long-term fertilizer. The appropriate dosage is according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Tip: An arrowroot that was recently purchased or transplanted into fresh substrate only receives additional fertilizer in the following growth period.


If the planter seems to be constricting the maranta, it’s time to repot the tropical houseplant. The new pot is not significantly larger, because otherwise the plant will first try to root through the entire volume of soil. There would then hardly be any energy left for the budding of new leaves. A floor opening that serves as a water drain is essential to prevent any waterlogging.

  • Arrowroot is potted in early spring.
  • Disused earth is removed as far as possible.
  • Create a drainage at the bottom of the pot made of perlite, grit or potsherds.

It makes sense to cover the drainage with a piece of garden fleece that is permeable to water and air so that the small cavities do not become blocked with wet substrate. After the fresh soil has been filled in and the basket marante has been planted, all that is missing is a well-measured dose of irrigation water.

To cut

With loving care, an arrowroot can take on impressive proportions, exceeding its average size of 30 cm. The smaller the room, the less desirable an oversized ornamental plant should be. In this case, the informed hobby gardener knows how to help and gives his Maranta a shape cut. Selected shoots are cut off with a sharp knife or scissors just above a sleeping eye. This can be recognized by a slight bulge on the bark. The deeper the pruning, the more careful it is to ensure that at least one leaf node remains on the shoot, otherwise it will die.

Tip: A little charcoal powder stops the sap from flowing out.


The successful cultivation of an arrowroot is the best motivation to grow more specimens through propagation. Two approaches are available for hobby gardeners.


In the course of the summer, side cuttings develop, which can be taken from the mother plant without affecting the habit. The cut is made about 3 mm below a leaf node. Each cutting has at least 3 leaves, which corresponds to a length of 7 cm to 10 cm.

  • Defoliate the shoot completely except for the top leaf.
  • Fill suitable growing pots with a peat-sand mixture.
  • Place each cutting so deep that the nodes are in the substrate.

Ideally, a greenhouse is available in which the offshoots are placed. As an alternative solution, plastic bags have proven themselves, which can be placed over every pot and simulate a warm, humid tropical climate underneath. With regard to the water supply, a little tact is required. The cuttings should only be kept slightly moist, as at this stage rot often becomes a problem. Experience has shown that it takes about 5 weeks for a strong root system to develop. They are then repotted in order to care for the young plants like adult arrowroot.


In connection with the repotting, the experienced gardener takes the opportunity to get more specimens of his Maranta by dividing them.

  • Clean the potted root ball from the substrate.
  • Cut into two pieces with a sharp knife.
  • Plant each section in a separate pot.

Right from the start it is a question of full-fledged basket marantes, which experience just as full-fledged care.


Who can get enough of the beautiful ornamental leaves of an arrowroot? With a simple gardening trick, the branching can be animated, which automatically leads to even denser foliage. This measure can be carried out during the entire main growing season.

A gardener breaks out short shoot tips that are a maximum of 1 cm to 3 cm long. The breaking point is just above a vegetation point from which the foliage springs. No tools are required. The tip is simply gripped between the thumb and forefinger and snapped off. De-sharpening of cuttings is extremely effective.


After the Maranta has invested all its strength in unfolding its foliage throughout spring and summer, it allows itself a break during the cold season. From October, the ornamental plant stops growing until spring. The plant lover adjusts the care to this.

  • Reduce the amount of irrigation water from October to March.
  • Fertilizer is not applied during this period.

In terms of the ambient temperature, however, the requirements hardly change. The arrowroot does not want to be cooler than 15° Celsius. The humidity must not drop significantly either. In general, extreme temperature fluctuations are not an option for a basket marante; not to mention the cold drafts that can unexpectedly appear in winter.

Mother Nature must have been in a good mood when she created arrowroot. With the tropical plant, she has succeeded in creating a beautiful ornamental leaf plant with drawings that only a gifted artist could design. At the same time, the Maranta serves as a supplier of a purely plant-based ingredient for vegan cuisine in the form of arrowroot flour. As if she were aware of the high ornamental value she has to offer, the basket marante expects careful care. The focus is on an adequate supply of moisture and nutrients in connection with continuously warm temperatures of around 20° Celsius.

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