Prayer Plant care is not complicated. The Prayer Plant is native to Brazil. The plant is scientifically known as Maranta leuconeura. It is a great houseplant and can be used in different pots and hanging baskets. This post looks at Prayer Plant watering, fertilizing, propagating, lighting requirements, and more.
Prayer Plant Facts
The Prayer Plant leaves are oval-shaped and wide. They also have a dark green color with light-green or white patterns running down the leaf’s spine. The veins can also be different colors or different shades.
The plant gets the name ‘Prayer Plant’ because it has a unique habit of raising the leaves to an upright position at night. The plant’s leaves also fold together resembling praying hands.
The plant is slow-growing especially when growing indoors. It can take several years to reach between 2 to 3 feet.
Prayer Plant Varieties and Types
The Prayer Plant is available in over 40 species. The most common species is the Maranta leuconeura that can be found in different varieties. The plants can be found in different leaf colors, shapes, and sizes. The Red Prayer Plant is the classic variety. The black variety is also common and has deep green leaves with bluish-silver color and purple spots.
Kim is also another variety that has purple spots on the leaves and cream streaks giving the plant an extra flair. The Marisela variety has leaves with a light green shade and the markings on the leaves are even lighter. The Erythroneura variety has dark green leaves with beautiful purple patterned markings.
|Light||Bright, indirect sun|
|Height||Up to 3 feet|
|Propagation||Stems and Cutting|
Prayer Plant Watering
The watering requirements of the Prayer Plant can be tricky especially for people who are used to dealing with succulents. However, the requirements are minimal compared to other high maintenance house plants.
Unlike succulents that like to be watered when they are completely dry, the Prayer Plant doesn’t like to get completely dry. The plant likes it when the soil is evenly moist but not too dry or too soggy.
When you water, do so with room temperature water or slightly warm. The watering should also be thorough and not a misting kind of watering for good Prayer Plant care.
The foliage will start talking to you and telling you are not watering on time when the tips of the leaves start turning brown. However, it’s important to note that not all browning of the leaves’ edges is caused by water.
The Prayer Plant undergoes a dormant period during winter. Reduce watering during these months because the plant is not growing as much.
Prayer Plant Soil
The Prayer Plant can do well in an all-purpose potting mix. Watering through is also important because it will tell you a lot about the soil. If your soil is too porous that means that the water is just pouring right through when watering and your plant is probably not going retain enough moisture in the soil.
If you find that you’re watering your Prayer Plant a lot like every couple of days you should think about changing your soil out. You could also add some peat moss or coco coir to help absorb and keep the water near the roots.
You can also decide to make your own soil mixture as part of the Prayer Plant care:
1part garden soil, 1part coarse sand or perlite, 1part coconut coir or peat moss, 1pinch of lime dust.
As with many other plants add a layer of rocks or gravel at the base of the pot. The layer will protect the plant from sitting in water.
Leaching and Fertilizing Prayer Plant
Leaching the soil which means getting rid of salt buildup and mineral build-up is also part of Prayer Plant care. Mineral buildup happens when you use water that has high salts and minerals. You can test your tap water and if you discover you have these minerals in your water you should consider using distilled water or filtered water.
If you notice that your plants are starting to get yellow spots and brown tips too often and too prolific it is time to leach them. You can do so by taking your plant and placing it under the sink or outside and using a hosepipe. Slowly run water through the soil to flush out any of the salt build-up and the mineral build-up.
Let the plant rest a day or two and then fertilize it again. The Prayer Plant doesn’t love to be fertilized a lot. I just put like a worm casting or some sort of organic fertilizer at the top. I only top dress it like twice a year once in the spring and again in the summer.
Overfertilization is a bad thing for the Prayer Plant. You can also use a complete liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season and then slow-down in the fall and then stop in the winter.
Basically, watch your plants for signals, if they are still growing and producing new growth, you need to feed them. The growing season depends on where you live. If you live in the tropics or anything higher than zone 8, your plants are probably going to continue growing and not go dormant.
Prayer Plant Temperature
The Prayer Plant care also includes ensuring the plant gets the right temperature levels. It does well in temperatures of between 600-800F. They can also tolerate lower temperatures but I wouldn’t go lower than 550F. The hotter it is for the plant the more frequent the watering.
Prayer Plant Humidity
The Prayer Plant is a little sensitive to dry air. Although they definitely tolerate it more than other plants. The plants love high levels of humidity. If you’re concerned about the level of humidity, you should consider investing in a humidifier.
You can also mist the leaves in the morning. I like misting my plants in the morning because they are able to dry out throughout the day so they don’t sit at night with wet leaves and get bacteria.
Prayer Plant Pests
Prayer Plant care also includes dealing with pests. The plant can be attacked by most common houseplant pests including spider mites, mealybugs, and Thrips. If you notice any changes in your plant you should take a closer look and inspect the leaves.
Thrips are very hard to see but the mealybugs are easy because they’re white. To treat the plant, you need to kind of run it under cold water as part of manual removal. Then you need to spray the plant with neem oil or horticultural oil or insecticidal soap.
Controlling the pests is important because if you don’t the bugs will decimate your plant. It’s also worth noting that leaves can also begin falling from the top because of overwatering and root rot.
The most common pest that attacks Prayer Plants is spider mites. However, spider mites don’t like high levels of humidity which the prayer plant loves. So, if you keep the humidity levels high, not only are you benefiting the plant but you are also helping keep away the pests.
One of the common diseases with Prayer Plant is helminthosporium leaf spot. The disease appears as water-soaked spots on the leaves. The disease should not be taken lightly as it can kill the plant completely.
It is fixed by stopping all forms of over-watering. Avoiding getting the leaves too wet. As noted above, avoid misting because the water is left on the leaves for long. You can also use neem oil as mentioned above for dealing with the outbreak.
Prayer Plant Leaf Cleaning
I suggest that you guys do clean the leaves. The plants need to produce energy using their leaves and keeping the leaves clean makes the process efficient. All you really have to do is take some room-temperature water and just clean them with a rag.
I would definitely not use leaf shine on any of your plants because it just clogs the leaves’ pores. Clean the leaves as often as you can, the plant will thank you and not only look pretty but also grow faster.
Prayer Plant Yellow Leaves
Leaves are also indicators of problems that the plant might be experiencing. If the plant’s leaves are turning brown or curling up it is an indication that the plant is receiving too much light.
Brown tips can also result from too much chlorine in the water. If you notice this problem, your water could very likely have chlorine levels that are higher than recommended. It’s advisable to use distilled water.
Light Requirements for Prayer Plant
The light requirements for a Prayer Plant are bright indirect light. The brighter the indirect light you can give them, the better they’re going to grow. They will become healthier, bushier and lose fewer leaves. But you might need to be watering them more often if you’re putting them in a brighter light area and especially if it’s warm.
The plants don’t like direct sunlight because it scorches and damages their leaves. Exposing the plant to direct light can quickly kill the plant.
Prayer Plant Soil and Water Propagation
Propagating the Prayer Plant is easy. Choose and make cuttings that are a couple of inches long below a leaf node. You can apply the rooting hormone but its optional and establish the cuttings in moist soil.
Keep the soil moist for a couple of weeks and just watch it and let those roots grow. Give it a lot of light and also give it a lot of warmth which helps when propagating.
Prayer Plants can also be propagated using water. Follow the steps mentioned above, but instead of putting the cutting in the soil you put it in a glass of water. Remember to change the water every few days and wait for the roots to emerge.
Prayer Plant Re-potting
Prayer Plant care also includes re-potting. Although the plant is a slow-grower, re-potting is necessary when it becomes root-bound. You can use all-purpose soil mix when re-potting. Re-potting should be done during Spring.
Prayer Plant Pruning
Pruning the Prayer Plant encourages vigorous growth. When pruning be sure to use sterilized tools at all times. Cut the stems right above the leaf node on stems that you want to prune.
The plant responds by producing new shoots at the node below the cut giving it a bushier and fuller appearance.
Prayer Plant Cats and Dogs
The Prayer Plant is not poisonous to cats and dogs. The plants don’t contain any toxins that can affect dogs or cats. It is a great choice for a houseplant for people who are concerned about the safety of their pets. Another non-toxic houseplant is the Kangaroo Paw Fern.
Prayer Plant For Sale
Prayer Plants are available for sale from nurseries or online shops. Check the latest prices for beautiful Prayer Plants on Bloomscape here.
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