How to get more leaves on your Maranta with Keiki Paste
June 10, 20222 min read
Maranta (Maranta leuconeura) is a delightful plant with fine red veins threaded across patterned pale and dark green oval leaves. If you want it to produce more fetching foliage, you can use Keiki Paste to speed up its growth.
Keiki paste is a versatile gardening tool. It contains plant hormones called cytokinin that encourages cell division. Applying it to the right parts of your plant can encourage it to grow new shoots, stems, and leaves more quickly than it would otherwise. More shoots mean a bigger plant and more parts to snip off for propagation.
The best time to apply Keiki paste to your Maranta is during the spring and summer season. With maximum sunlight and warmth, it is more likely to respond to the paste as it is already primed for new growth.
Step 1: Find nodes
First, select ‘nodes’ to apply the Keiki paste to - the parts of the plant where new leaves emerge from.
Different plant species have different kinds of nodes. On the Maranta, they show up as knobbly joints every couple of inches along the stem. The photo below highlights just two nodes on this Maranta plant, although there will be plenty more.
Keiki paste will work much more effectively on nodes that are closer to soil level. However, you can still try higher up the stem too.
Step 2: Apply Keiki paste to nodes
Score the nodes slightly with a needle, pin, or knife, making sure not to sever the plant or damage it. This will make a slight wound. Scoring the stem will expose the plant better to the hormones contained in the Keiki paste.
Next, dip a cotton bud in the Keiki paste and dab the paste onto the wounds you have made. You only need a tiny amount. You can apply it to as many nodes as you feel like, wherever you feel the plant would benefit from new growth.
Step 3: Wait
The Keiki paste can take up to a month or two to work. Eventually, you’ll start to see fresh growth at the nodes where you applied the paste. While you wait for your new shoots to appear, make sure you give the plant optimal conditions for growth.
Maranta needs medium to bright indirect light in a temperature range between 65°F to 85°F. Never place the Maranta in direct sunlight as this will scorch its leaves and eventually kill it. Although it prefers higher air humidity (above 65 percent), it will be fine in normal indoor humidity.
The Maranta is generally easy to take care of but it does not tolerate tap water due to its chemical content. You must only use distilled water or rainwater on the plant. Keep watering to a minimum, about every one to two weeks. Only water when the top half of the soil is completely dry.
During spring and summer, you need to give you plant the extra nutrients it needs to grow. Add a balanced fertilizer to the soil every two weeks, diluting the fertilizer to half the strength indicated on the manufacturer's instructions.