Prayer plant – Planting, Grow and Care Tips

The leuconeura maranta is also known as a prayer plant. When night falls, this low-growing Brazilian has a habit of lifting the leaves and folding them as if he were praying. It can thrive outdoors only in hardiness zones 11 and 12 of the United States Department of Agriculture plants, which is why it is generally grown indoors.

Caring for prayer-plants is not difficult, as long as you meet your specific needs. Because it is a tropical plant, it has different requirements for humidity, temperature, and water.

Prayer plant
Prayer plant

Gardeners appreciate the incredibly beautiful leaves of the maranta plant. It has broad, oval leaves with a variety of variations, depending on the variety. In the tropical forests where it originates, the maranta plant blooms in spring with small white flowers. When properly cared for, the maranta plant is one of the most beautiful indoor plants you can grow. 

The prayer factory is named after Bartolomeo Maranta, a 16th-century Italian doctor and botanist. The striking beauty of the leuconeura maranta species makes it a common and much-appreciated houseplant. It is a perennial plant that is usually grown in hanging baskets. As a slow producer, you don’t have to worry about whether this will get out of hand.

A well-developed prayer plant should have whole leaves six inches long that rise from a small central stem and fall downward. It also grows horizontally on flat surfaces, so it can be used as a ground cover if you live in a suitably hot and humid climate.

It is not demanding, but it requires special care to thrive. Although it may not be the best for those who prefer low maintenance plants, the prayer plant is a reference piece that rewards your care with strong and beautiful colors.

Types of Prayer Plants

There are at least forty different species of praying plants, the most common being Maranta leuconeur. This plant usually has a variegated green color with dark and irregular spots on the leaves. When you hear people talk about prayer-plants, it is usually the variety they refer to. It also grows under the name “Green prayer plant”. This is probably the type of prayer plant your grandmother used to grow, as it is the most classic variety of this species.   

There are numerous subcultures of Maranta leuconeura, including the Kerchoveana variety (also known as rabbit’s foot) and Erythroneura (also known as herringbone plant or red prayer plant). The spine plant has purplish spots and deep blood-red veins.

The cultivar “Kim” is a prayer plant with purple spots whose leaves have an interesting pattern with white stripes. It may also have purple spots, which gives it a different appearance. “Marisela” is another popular cultivar. This plant has lighter green leaves, with opaque hues of light green instead of white. Marisela is a difficult variety of prayer plant.

The black prayer plant is another common variety. Also known as Fascinator, this plant produces silvery or blue leaves (or a combination of the two), with dark green edges and deep purple spots.

Interestingly, prayer plants are often confused with striped Calathea. Although these plants are different from one another, the plants Calathea are also perennial which is the part of Maranta family. Both are from South America, these close relatives have different requirements for growing them, so it is important that you know the exact plant you brought home.

Benefits of the Prayer Plant

  • Used as a kind of interior landscaping
  • Air purification
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiviral
  • Air Purifier
  • Used for its medicinal properties
  • Showy purpose

How to Grow Prayer Plants

prayer plant benefits
prayer plant benefits
  • Prayer plants are beautiful indoor plants and require relatively little maintenance. They can be grown in hanging baskets or in larger containers. They spread low and wide, allowing their lush green foliage to adorn your home and purify the air as they grow.
  • Prayer plants prefer moist conditions and well-drained soils. Despite their preference for a tropical environment, prayer-plants are rewarding to grow and do not need much attention to grow.  
  • Prayer plants have attractive foliage. They are resistant domestic plants that do not tend to grow much for the spaces in which they are planted, unlike similar domestic plants that need to be constantly transplanted or moved. Prayer plants have varied foliage but do not produce showy flowers, which makes them good choices as modest ornamental pieces.
  • Grow a prayer plant in low, medium, or bright light. In bright light, it is best to protect the leaves from direct sunlight using a transparent curtain or another filter.
  • Water the prayer plant just before the soil surface dries up. This sturdy houseplant likes to stay relatively moist (but not soaked all the time). Its leaves may start to turn brown if they dry too much or too often.
  • The prayer plant does not need much fertilizer; just once or twice a year (preferably in the spring or summer) is enough to keep you healthy. You can certainly fertilize it more often if you want. Use any fertilizer formulated for houseplants and follow the instructions on the package.
  • The prayer plant prefers above-average humidity levels but generally grows well in most homes. If the air in your home is especially dry in winter, increasing the humidity around your prayer plant will make you happier.

How do you Care for a Prayer Plant

Now, let us see how do you care for a prayer plant.

#1- Temperature requirements for prayer plants   

Prayer plants, due to their tropical origins, do not like to be kept in extremely cold or extremely hot temperatures. They thrive when temperatures are around 65-75°F. Colder temperatures (particularly those below 50°F) can harm the plant and cause the leaves to wrinkle and turn brown.   

Generally, the room temperature in a room is perfect for a prayer plant. You don’t want your prayer plant to get too cold or too hot. When your room is very hot (above 27 ° C), your prayer plant will produce few leaves, but instead, it will generate long, thin stems. This growth is a response to the lack of humidity in the air, common when temperatures are very high.

As a result, you should avoid placing your prayer plant near a heater or cooling. While they can provide the necessary ventilation for your prayer plant, they can also dry it out. Drafts and temperature fluctuations can kill your plant, causing its leaves to turn yellow and die.

#2- Soil for prayer plants   

Prayer plants should be grown in a planting medium made up of two parts of peat, one part of sand and one part of clay. This combination is ideal as it ensures optimal drainage, although you can often survive with mixed potting soil as well. Prayer plants can tolerate acid, clay, or clay soils, although a well-drained mixture is best.

If you have soil that doesn’t drain very well, you can add perlite or coarse sand to the mix. Potted soil may not be readily available, so if you want to create your own mix with good drainage, you can combine equal parts of peat, garden soil, and coarse sand. A pinch of lime powder will help to balance the pH of this mixture.

Adding rocks or gravel to the bottom of the tank can help improve drainage. If you make your own potting mix, be sure to use only clean materials that do not contain insects and weed seeds. You do not need to buy soil or substrate, but you want to make sure that your substrate does not contain anything undesirable that could cause more stress on your plant in the future.

Grow Prayer Plants

#3- Watering your prayer plant

What is more important than soil for your prayer plant is ensuring that it has optimal drainage. Prayer plants have exceptionally thin roots that grow to a shallow (but dense) extent. They are susceptible to root rot, so you need to make sure that the planting medium and the container have good drainage.

If your plant container does not have a well-draining bottom, consider making additional holes or using an even lighter planting medium.

Check your plant every day, hitting the top of the potting soil to determine its moisture. Your plant needs to be watered when the soil surface for potting starts to dry. You should never allow the soil to dry out completely, as this can cause your plant to die. Its leaves will turn yellow and fall off the plant.

If you are absent or for any reason forget to water your plant, do not try to compensate for mixed watering by providing more water. Instead, go back to your regular watering schedule and try to keep track of your watering in the future.

#4- Humidity for a prayer plant   

As a tropical plant, the prayer plant requires a very humid environment. If their leaves are too dry, they will turn brown and start to fall. Be aware that your plant can be deprived of moisture even if you water it regularly.

If you live in a place with very cold winters, the cold will drain even the air inside your home of much of its moisture. The same applies to people who grow their plants in drafts or congested places.

Providing adequate humidity for your prayer plant, especially in winter, can be challenging because you do not necessarily need to provide more water for your plant during the colder months. In fact, prayer plants tend to over-water during the coldest months of the year. So, what can a gardener do?   

#5- Fertilizing your prayer plant

In early spring, you should start a regular fertilization program for your prayer plant. The best frequency is once every two weeks. You can fertilize during all the summer months and go into the fall, but you must stop during the winter months when your plant will enter a period of natural dormancy.     

When fertilizing, use a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer and dilute it in half. This is usually about half a teaspoon of fertilizer per gallon of water, but it can be larger or smaller, depending on the specific fertilizer manufacturer. Whatever the list of instructions for the recommended dilution rate, cut that amount in half.

Try to find a balanced fertilizer for indoor plants. Note that organic fertilizers, such as earthworm tea or compost, can be used, but you need to take care to ensure that all levels of nutrients are balanced and undistorted in favor of a nutrient such as nitrogen, which tends to be present. Higher levels in things like aged compost or manure.

#6- Pruning your prayer plant

Pruning a prayer plant can help ensure more vigorous growth. This is easy to do. All you need to do is cut the stems just above the leaf nodes with sterile garden shears. Your plant will send new shoots below the cut area, allowing it to develop a more bushy appearance instead of sending cultivation resources to dead or dying parts of the plant.

You can prune several times a year (two or three times is better). Using sharp, clean scissors, you will reduce the likelihood of damaging your plant and spreading disease. If your plant produces flowers, you can leave them to enjoy or prune.

These flowers tend to bloom for only a few days at a time before falling, at which point the plant will start producing new ones. The flowers do not hinder the growth of the plant in any way and can give a pleasant decorative touch to your environment.

#7- Propagation

Prayer plants are easier to propagate in the spring when you are in the process of transplanting the plant. You can take stem seedlings or simply divide your plant.   

The cuttings should be removed just below the nodes that are closest to the bottom of the stem and then placed in a mixture of peat and pearlite.

Make sure that the cuts are kept properly moist after the transplant. Place them in a sunny place and cover them with plastic wrap to help retain moisture. Once they are in place, you need to drill some holes in the plastic cover. This will help the air inlet at the same time it promotes new growth.               

#8- Transplant your prayer plant

Prayer plants do not need to be transplanted often, but when attached to the roots, they will grow much more slowly. This will indicate that it is time to change the containers. If you decide to transplant your prayer plant, this should be done only in the spring or summer months.

This will help prevent the impact of cold weather during the dormancy period of the plant. When the container is full of roots, you will notice that the potting mix dries quickly and the prayer plant grows slowly.

Where do you place a Prayer Plant?

Prayer plants can be grown in hanging baskets or in pots. They are not picky about where they are placed but remember that they should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Although prayer plants like to be warm, too much sun can burn and dry the leaves of the plant. Bright but indirect light is best, and when in doubt, remember that prayer plants can survive very well in areas with low light.

If you need to grow prayer plant in bright light, try to protect its leaves by hanging a transparent curtain or some other type of screen against the sun. Ideally, they should be located in a room facing south or west. This will allow light to reach the plant without exposing it to direct sunlight. Your plants will grow rich and green, without becoming thin or as long as they reach more light.

If the leaves of your prayer plant are discolored, it is a clear sign that they are receiving a lot of sunlight. If there is not enough light, the leaves will close at night and will not open fully during the day. This is a protective response that will slow your plant’s overall growth and may eventually kill it.

Balance here is the key. Place your prayer plant in a corner of the room that receives plenty of indirect sunlight (not on the windowsill) and keep an eye on it to make sure it fits well in your location.

Do Prayer Plants close at night

The plant keeps its leaves open downward or straight during the day, and at night the leaves close vertically and resemble hands in prayer, hence the name Prayer Plant. This behavior is called nictinastia and occurs in response to changes in sunlight.

The most common theory for this behavior in prayer plants is that the leaves take the closed-form at night because it allows raindrops to fall from the leaves to the roots. Prevents rain from accumulating on the leaves, which prevents the growth of bacteria and prevents the plant from freezing.

It also helps to retain moisture at night. Due to this interesting phenomenon of leaves, you can easily see this plant in cemeteries, as it symbolizes prayers for the dead.

How do I make my Prayer Plant bushy

If you want to stimulate more vigorous growth in your plant or if you want it to be bushy, you can prune it. Use garden scissors and cut the stems just above the leaf’s knot. The plant will send new shoots directly below the cutting area.

If you are familiar with the spread of pothos, it would be very similar. Therefore, propagate stiffer woody stem plants with rooting hormone in the soil and softer stem plants.

How often do you water a Prayer Plant

You want to make sure you water well enough so that the soil doesn’t dry out, but not so often that it gets soaked. When you touch the soil on your prayer plant, it should be slightly moist to the touch. Use room temperature water to hydrate your plant, allowing it to adjust to the water.

Very cold water cools the roots of the plant and causes stress, which can affect your system and lead to leaf fall behavior.

Try to water the plant in the morning. Many people already know this watering tip if they have outdoor plants or a lawn that needs to be watered regularly. However, the same rule applies to indoor plants. Watering in the morning will give your plant a full day to absorb moisture and allow excess water in the leaves to evaporate.

If you notice that your plant has started to develop dark spots on the leaves, cut the damaged leaves at the base and throw them away. This is a symptom of leaf spot, caused by the growth of fungi as a result of night watering.

The exact amount of water your plant will need will depend on many circumstances, so a regular schedule is something that only you can determine when to take your plant home. Just because your plant is thirsty in one week does not mean you will need the exact amount of water the following week.

While the plant will need a lot of water in the (growth spurts and heat) spring and summer can reduce the irrigation in the winter months.

Whenever possible, use filtered water to water your plants. This will help prevent contamination by chemicals like chlorine or fluorine, which can negatively affect your plant and affect its overall growth. If you don’t have access to a water filter, letting the water sit for a day or two before using it can also help to dissipate some of the chemicals.

Hard water can also damage a prayer plant. It contains chemicals that, in extremely unbalanced waters, can harm your plant or, at least, slow its growth. It is important that you also empty irrigation containers or dishes regularly. Stagnant water can contain harmful microbes that can affect the growth of your plant.

How long do Prayer Plants live

How long a prayer plant lasts depends on how you care for it. If you are unable to care for your prayer plant and provide it with the necessary conditions to grow, it will only last a few months or maybe a year.

However, if you can grow it in the right environment, there is no reason why you cannot keep your plant for forty or even seventy years.

When should I repot my Prayer Plant

You should not need to transplant your prayer plant frequently. But if it is attached to the root or the pot, it will grow much more slowly. If you are going to have a transplant, choose a vase that is only 2.5 to 5 centimeters wider than the existing vase.

During the transplant, carefully remove the plant from the old container, shake out the roots to clean them, and place them in a new container with soil for fresh potting. Water well. The best time to transplant is in the spring, before the start of the growing season.

Why is my Prayer Plant leaves turning brown

  • Prayer plants with brown tips can be caused by low humidity, inadequate irrigation, excessive fertilizer, or even too much sun.
  • Use rainwater or distilled water to water the container. Excessive minerals and common tap water additives may be stressing the plant.
  • Feed your houseplant from spring to autumn with soluble plant food diluted every two weeks. However, improper dilution or frequent feeding can lead to the accumulation of salts found in fertilizers. This can be removed from the soil or, in extreme cases, transplanted with high-quality houseplant soil.

Should I cut the brown tips off my plant

Yes. Remove the brown, dead leaves from your house plants as quickly as possible, but only if they are more than 50% damaged. Cutting these leaves allows the remaining healthy foliage to receive more nutrients and improves the appearance of the plant.

While it may seem simple enough, there is more to it than just cutting these leaves. You will need to consider how many leaves are dying and then remove the damaged parts properly to maintain the health of your plant.

Do Prayer Plants like coffee grounds

Coffee powder is commonly used to increase the nitrogen content of the soil for potting and to add a texture similar to mulch. However, adding too much coffee to the soil in which the plants are found can retain moisture inside the house and be an invitation to fungal diseases.

Use no more than half an inch of coffee powder on the soil surface and cover that layer with ten centimeters of mulch. Alternatively, use coffee powder as part of the compost that is incorporated into the potting soil to obtain the same nutrients without worrying about fungi.

Do prayer plant like to get crowded?

Not much, because competition between plants increases and plants do not perform well in this situation. The roots can also become clustered. If the roots appear brown and clumped, you should transplant them.

Although prayer plants usually require new potting once a year, you can check the root if the plant shows certain symptoms, such as more frequent water requirements, withered foliage, stunted growth or if the plant is simply not growing correctly.

To check the root system, turn the pot upside down, holding the plant between your fingers. Tap the bottom of the pot to get the roots out of the pot.

How do you keep a Prayer Plant healthy

To keep your prayer plants healthy, you need a well-drained but constantly moist potting mix, bright indirect light, high humidity and temperatures from 65 to 75°F. Fertilize every 2 weeks during the growing season and prune until three times a year as wished.

Getting these factors right is the key to producing healthy, long-lasting plants. In many cases, prayer plants can live for more than thirty years.

Can I put my Prayer Plant outside

Yes, but you can live in zones 11 and 12 because the prayer plant can thrive outdoors only in the US Department of Agriculture resistance zones 11 and 12. The care of the plants Prayer outdoors is not difficult, provided they meet your specific needs.

Because it is a tropical plant, it has different requirements for humidity, temperature, and water. Outdoors, plant your prayer plant in a warm, shady place. Water your prayer plant so that the soil is evenly moist, but never soaked.

During the winter, let the soil dry slightly before watering. Keep the humidity around the plant throughout the year.

Where do you cut a Prayer Plant to propagate

Now, let us see where do you cut a Prayer Plant to propagate.

#1- Propagation Prayer Plant through Cutting

  • In general, the prayer plant that is propagated from stem cuttings is the most popular. This is due in large part to the fact that it is the easiest method to increase your plant’s supply. So, let’s talk about technique!
  • Start by examining your plant, especially the stem. Locate the points where the stem leaves will form. These are the leaf nodes and are usually quite visible along the surface of the stem.
  • Select a healthy and vigorous cut and remove it just below one of these leaf nodes. Be sure to leave the entire knot intact, as this is where the roots will grow. Use scissors to sterile pruning to make a clean cut.
  • Dip about 2.5 cm of your seedling in water and then in rooting hormone powder. You can then place your seedling in the potting medium of your choice.

#2- Prayer Plant Slip propagation

  • The spread of landslides is also quite common. But what is a slip and how does this process work?   
  • To prepare the leaves, you must check that your plant is healthy. If there are many different stems and they all look vigorous, you can divide them into leaves.   
  • Prepare a new potting medium and clean the pots. Then, remove your plant from the existing pot. Gently brush off excess soil to expose the root system.   
  • You should be able to separate different groups of stems and roots with your fingertips. These are called landslides. You can then replant the seedlings in new pots to the depth at which they were planted before. Each slide will form a new plant over time.

#3- Prayer Plant seed propagation

  • It is possible to grow maranta plants from seeds. It is extremely difficult to locate seeds of prayer plants.
  • While not impossible, the biggest drawback is that the plants maranta rarely bloom indoors. Without blooming, they don’t produce the seed you would need to propagate.
  • If you are lucky enough to live in your natural environment, you can collect the seeds from the flowers when they wither. Sow your seed in a moist growing medium that has a temperature between 55 and 65 degrees.
  • Keep the humidity around your plants as they germinate by placing a cover over them. If you are planting directly in your pots, you can use a plastic bag as a lid. Starting in seedling trays? Use the seedling tray cover to maintain moisture.

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As with seedlings, you will need to harden the plants for less humid conditions. As they develop, you can increase exposure to normal air over time. This allows plants to adapt at their own pace.