Prayer Plant Care: How to Keep Yours Vibrant and Thriving

In this guide, I’ll share my essential prayer plant car tips for healthy, vibrant, and colorful plants. What’s great is they’re generally low maintenance and will happily thrive in most home living environments with a little due care and attention. Let’s go!

Ultimate Guide to Prayer Plants

Prayer Plant Care – Key Takeaways:

  1. Prayer plants thrive in indirect, bright light. Too much direct sunlight can scorch their leaves, while too little light can cause them to wilt. East-facing windows are ideal.
  2. Prayer plants prefer moist soil, but it’s important not to overwater them. Overwatering can lead to root rot. Instead, keep the soil moist, watering when the top inch has dried.
  3. These plants love humidity, making them ideal for bathrooms or kitchens. If the air is too dry, it can lead to brown leaf tips.
  4. Prayer plants benefit from regular feeding during the growing season. Use a balanced houseplant fertilizer, diluted to half strength, once a month.
  5. To keep your prayer plant looking its best, regular pruning is essential. This will help to maintain the plant’s size and shape, as well as stimulate new growth.

How to Grow Prayer Plants

Neon Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura 'Marisela')

Prayer Plants are generally easy to grow successfully at home. There are a few essential pointers to follow that we’ll cover here. Prayer plants thrive best when provided with conditions like a temperate greenhouse – think mild to warm throughout the day and moisture-rich whenever possible.

What is the best soil mix?

Generally, prayer plants prefer acidic soil that drains really well. A good peat-based moss mixed with sand and a handful of perlite would be great. Ensure you buy a pre-packaged and clean material that has been processed commercially and is free of weed seeds and insects.

Suitable Pots and Planters

As with most plants, aim for a planter proportionate to the size of the plant you’re potting. This will make it much easier to ensure you water the plant effectively and provide sufficient space for the plant’s roots to develop and aerate as necessary.

I’d recommend a relatively shallow glass, ceramic, or plastic container with a sound drainage system (simply add a tray underneath).

How big do Prayer Plants grow?

Generally, the size of the prayer plant can grow up to 12 to 15 inches tall. The plant will have oval-shaped leaves with striking patterns, blotches, lines, and shading that trails over and down alongside the pot.

Prayer Plant Light Preferences

Though the prayer plants can tolerate low light conditions, plenty of indirect and bright light is best. Also, please note if your prayer plant doesn’t get sufficient light, the leaves won’t open properly.


Essential Prayer Plant Care Tips

Vibrant green prayer plants

Prayer Plant Watering Preferences

During the growing season from early spring through fall, the prayer plant needs to be frequently watered. However, care needs to be taken while watering the prayer plant. You should water it only when the potting soil’s top starts drying. Never allow the potting soil to dry out completely.

Make sure you put in little water. Too much water can cause fungal problems in the plant’s roots. Also, the water should not sit directly over the leaves or make the soil pot soggy.

It’s best to use water at room temperature. During winters, the watering needs to be reduced, as the prayer plants go dormant and don’t need much water to grow.

Feeding Preferences

Prayer plant cascading over a shelf

During the spring through fall growing season, the prayer plant needs to be fertilized every month or so.  Aim for a water-soluble all-purpose feed and aim for a relatively weak mixture (dilute to approximately 50% strength). Always feed prayer plants when the soil is relatively moist.

Pruning Prayer Plants

Pruning is done to encourage or stimulate more vigorous growth. This can be done twice every year during the spring and summer months to improve the shape of the plant and to keep the plant compact and bushy. The process of pruning requires sharp garden scissors.

The stems need to be cut above the leaf nodes. After this, the plant will respond by growing a few new shoots just below the cutting area, making it appear bushier.

Propagation

Propagating prayer plants is straightforward, given how fickle they can be.  There are two possible ways of propagating the prayer plant.

  • Stem cutting: The stem cut should be at least 10cm in length with 2-4 leaves attached. The stem needs to be cut below a leaf node. Now dip that cut stem in a rooting hormone and keep it in a container filled with water, preferably distilled. The water needs to be changed every day.
  • The second method is through cutting the stem and directly placing the stem into the potting soil. The best mix is of sand and peat moss. Rooting will take about a month of time and then should be placed in a regular pot with standard soil.

Re-potting Prayer Plants

Prayer plants may need to be repotted when their roots become root-bound in their pots. In that case, the plant will grow much slower. To check whether the prayer plant is root-bound, place two fingers around the base, turn it over and gently, and pull it out of the pot. If repotting is needed, the root ball will be nearly solid.

To repot the plant, choose a pot that is 1-2″ wider than the existing pot. Remove the prayer plant, place it in the new wider pot, and fill it with potting mix soil.


Prayer Plant Pest and Disease Considerations

Pest and disease considerations are a must for indoor prayer plants. The plants can be quite susceptible to spider mites and mealybugs in particular.  

The prayer plants like humidity, whereas pests like spider mites hate it. If you find white webs or fungi over the leaves, it’s time to get the humidity around the prayer plant under check and control to the right amount. A good warm water spray will also help, damp cloth to wipe away the webs, and good organic horticultural oil will also help boost your plant’s general tolerance to invaders.

Common Problems

Common Prayer Plant Problems, Pests & Diseases
  • If the leaves of the prayer plants are curling up or turning brownish, it’s a sign that it’s getting more sunlight than it requires. Prayer plants’ leaves are much greener in the shade. Much sunlight makes the leaves bleach. Another cause of brown tips could be the chlorine content in the tap water. To resolve these problems, use filtered water or let the water sit for 24 hours before watering it again.
  • If you see water spots over the leaves, it’s conclusive to say that the prayer plant is certainly dealing helimthosporium leaf spot. If it is not controlled, this can destroy the plant. This is caused due to overwatering and can be stopped by stop over-watering the plant. Another remedy to fix it is to use neem oil over the leaves.

About the Prayer Plant

About Prayer Plants

The official name for Prayer Plants is Maranta leuconeura – it’s named after famed Italian botanist and physician Bartolomeo Maranta.

An evergreen, low-ground tropical plant, the prayer plant is distinctly famous for its fascinating and adorning 6-12 inches long leaves. These leaves spread themselves out during the day and fold inwards in the evening, resembling the plant in contemplative prayer.

In addition to looking stunning, Prayer Plants are also highly regarded for their ability to filter and purify the air we breathe.

Prayer Plant Origins, Family, and Species

Prayer Plant Origins, Family, and Species

The Maranta plant is a genus of the flowering plant from the family of Marantaceae and has around 50 species.

The prayer plant’s botanical name is Maranta leuconeura. It belongs to the family of Marantaceae and includes ‘arrowroot.’  It is one of the low-growing plants native to Central and South America, primarily in the rainforests of Brazil.

Prayer Plant Care FAQs:

Why are the leaves on my prayer plant turning yellow?

In my experience, yellow leaves most commonly indicate overwatering, inadequate drainage, or a nutrient deficiency. Check the plant’s watering schedule and the condition of the soil. If the soil is too wet, allow it to dry out before watering again. You may need to apply a balanced houseplant fertilizer if the plant lacks nutrients.

Why are the tips of my prayer plant’s leaves turning brown?

I find that brown leaf tips are often a result of low humidity or dry soil. Prayer plants thrive in humid conditions, so you may need to increase the humidity levels. Overwatering can also cause this issue, so ensure you’re not watering too much.

Why are the leaves on my prayer plant curling?

Curling leaves can indicate various issues, such as temperature stress, under-watering, or a lack of humidity. Check the plant’s environment to ensure it’s not too cold or hot and the soil and humidity levels are adequate.

Can prayer plants tolerate low light?

While prayer plants can tolerate low light conditions, they prefer bright, indirect light. Low light conditions may slow their growth and cause the leaves to lose their vibrant color.

How often should I water my prayer plant?

Prayer plants prefer their soil to be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged. My favorite technique is watering when the top inch of soil has dried out. However, the frequency can depend on the conditions in your home, such as light and humidity levels. Always check the soil before watering.

Should I mist my prayer plant?

Prayer plants love high humidity. Regular misting with lukewarm water can help maintain the humidity levels around the plant. Alternatively, place a tray with pebbles and water underneath the pot or use a humidifier.

Do prayer plants need to be fertilized?

During the growing season (spring and summer), you should fertilize your prayer plant about once a month with a balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength. Reduce feeding during the fall and winter when growth slows down.

Prayer Plant Care – Wrapping Up

I find that caring for a vibrant and thriving prayer plant requires a balance of the right conditions. Aim to provide your plant with lots of bright, indirect light, consistent watering, and the proper humidity for optimal health. Regular feeding during the growing season will also ensure a happy and healthy plant.

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