Prayer Plant Care and Essential Growing Tips

In this guide, I’ll share my essential prayer plant care tips for healthy, vibrant, and colorful plants. Prayer plants thrive best, in my experience, when provided with conditions like a temperate greenhouse – think mild to warm throughout the day and moisture-rich whenever possible. In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about planting, soil, light, temperature fertilizing, and repotting for optimal prayer plant care at home.

Colorful Prayer Plant Leaves

Prayer Plant Care Essentials:

  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. They 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.

Best Soil Types for Prayer Plants

Prayer Plant Leaves

In my experience, prayer plants prefer slightly acidic soil (around pH 5.5 to 6.0 is ideal) that drains really well. A good peat-based moss mixed with sand and a handful of perlite works 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).

Light Preferences

Though the prayer plants can tolerate low light conditions, plenty of indirect and bright light is best. I find some of the best locations in my home for these plants to thrive is near an east or west-facing window. South-facing windows can also work as long as you can protect the plant behind sheer curtains or a partially drawn blind to diffuse some of the direct sunlight.

Watering

Colorful prayer plant growing indoors

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 a prayer plant. I find the best method is to only water when the potting soil’s top starts drying. Never allow the potting soil to dry out completely, though. Typically, I need to water my prayer plants every 5 to 7 days in spring and summer and every 7 to 14 days in winter.

I find that it’s best to use water at room temperature. Filtered or distilled water is ideal (simply let tap water stand out overnight which allows the excess fluoride to settle).

Fertilizing

During the spring through fall growing season, my prayer plants benefit from being fertilized every month or so.  Aim for a water-soluble all-purpose feed and use a relatively weak mixture (dilute to approximately 50% strength). Always feed prayer plants when the soil is relatively moist (I fertilize a day or so after watering).

Pruning

Pruning can be a great plant care trick to encourage or stimulate more vigorous growth. I usually do this 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, clean 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. Here are two of my favorite ways of propagating a 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

I find that prayer plants may need to be repotted when their roots become root-bound in their pots. 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.

Pest and Disease Considerations

Prayer plant pest and disease considerations are a must. I find that these 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, a simple warm water spray will help, and a damp cloth to wipe away the webs. In my experience, suitable organic horticultural oils will also help boost your plant’s general tolerance to invaders.

Other Common Problems

  • 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. The leaves of prayer plants are much greener in the shade. Too 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 it sit for 24 hours before watering it again.
  • If you see water spots over the leaves, you may potentially be dealing with helimthosporium leaf spot. If it is not controlled, this can destroy the plant. I find this is usually caused by overwatering the plant. Another remedy to fix it is to use neem oil.

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.

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.

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.

Editorial Director | andrew@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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