Prayer Plant Care – How to Grow the Maranta Plant

Prayer Plant Care and Growing Guide

If you’re looking for a beautiful foliage plant to add more life into your living room or bedroom, look no further than the prayer plant.

It’s large, lovely green leaves are known for their stunning patterns that will make your guests notice. Better yet, they’re easy to care for as long as you know what to look for.

Here’s a complete guide to growing and caring for prayer plants.

About the Prayer Plant

prayer plant

Prayer plants are evergreen perennials that trace their origins to Central and South America. As such, like most houseplants, they’re tropical in nature.

More interestingly, its name stems from the fact that its leave transition from their flat position during daytime and fold up to resemble hands praying come nighttime.

But, the main reason that they’re one of the most popular houseplants around is their stunningly beautiful foliage.

The decorations on their leaves will vary depending on the species you get. Some being more elaborate than others.

This is why despite they’re small stature (reaching only 8 to 12 inches tall), they’re eye-catching.

 

Prayer Plant Care

Prayer Plant Care and Growing Guide

Prayer Plant Light Requirements

Providing your prayer plant with enough sunlight is important if you want it to maintain its vibrant, colorful foliage.

But, it’s key that you don’t put it in the direct path of the sun’s rays. Too much sun exposure can scorch its leaves, leaving them with brown blotches.

Instead, keep them where they’re able to receive bright, indirect light. This means placing them in the south or west-facing windows where there’s at least some kind of sheer curtain that blocks out some of the sun’s rays.

Alternatively, you can also place them a few feet away from the window. This allows them to soak in the light, but not in a direct fashion.

Also, it’s worth noting that these lovely houseplants can tolerate low light conditions provided that they get good air circulation.

 

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Prayer Plant Temperature & Humidity

When it comes to temperature, your prayer plant enjoys a fairly wide range. As long as the thermostat stays between 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it will be happy. This is why it does well indoors.

Outdoors, it can stay in your garden, patio, or deck all year round if you live in zones 11 or12. But, if you reside in cooler climate regions, you’ll need to bring it inside once the cold weather comes around.

That’s because as the temperature drops under 60 degrees, these plants start to struggle. Leaving it in this environment for prolonged periods will result in foliage damage.

The one thing you need to watch out for indoors is humidity. If your home is dry, as most homes are, then you may need to make a few adjustments to help your prayer plant feel more comfortable.

This includes placing it over stones on a water tray or grouping it with other plants. You can likewise mist it or set up a humidifier.

All of these strategies will help increase humidity at least in the area where your plant is.

 

Watering Prayer Plants

Prayer plants enjoy frequent watering during the growing season. It does best when the soil is kept moist.

In fact, it’s quite a bit picky when it comes to watering. If you allow the soil to get too dry or leave it too wet, you’ll likely see its leaves turn yellow. Then, later on start dropping if the problem isn’t fixed.

Too much water also increases the risk of root rot and fungal problems.

As such, it’s a good idea to water once the potting mix starts to dry out.

Additionally, only use room temperature or slightly warm water on your prayer plant. Once again, it’s fussy about this.

This is especially important during wintertime when the water comes out cold from the faucet. Thus, it’s a good idea to let the water rest until it comes down to room temperature before watering your prayer plant.

 

Soil

Prayer plants enjoy soil that’s rich and slightly acidic (pH between 5.5 to 6.0).

But, most of all, it should be well-draining.

This allows excess moisture to drain off so that the plant doesn’t sit in water, which harmful to it.

You can use a general houseplant potting mix with this feature. Or, if it isn’t, you can add coarse sand or perlite to the soil you have to improve it’s water draining ability.

Similarly, you can place rocks at the bottom of the pot which makes for extra space for the moisture to drop into. This way, the soil doesn’t sit in the water.

As always, make sure that the pot your use comes with a drainage hole.

How to Grow & Care for Prayer Plant

source: Flickr

Fertilizing

To keep your prayer plant growing properly and healthy, it’s important to know when and how to feed it.

That’s because too much fertilizer can burn its roots and cause its leaves to turn brown. If it’s way overdone, over-fertilizing can likewise kill your plant.

However, too little plant food results in slower growth because it doesn’t get enough nutrients to fuel its development.

So, from spring to fall, it’s key to give your prayer plant regular feedings every two weeks. Use a good balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength.

Then scale back when winter comes at its growth slows down.

 

Pruning

Pruning is a good way to encourage your prayer plant to grow. So, it’s a good idea if you want to make it get bushier and lusher. Every time you prune it, you’ll notice that it will produce new shoots in the areas you trimmed it.

And, since you’re wounding the plant, whenever you make any cut, make sure to use a sterile pair of scissors or pruning shears. This way there’s no risk of disease or any kind of contamination.

 

Prayer Plant Propagation

If you want to grow more prayer plants to display at home, you can propagate them yourself. The good news is, it’s fairly easy to do so.

The easiest way is to divide them. But, you can likewise propagate them through stem cuttings.

Here’s how.

To divide your prayer plant:

  • The best time to do this is when you are repotting it.
  • Remove the root ball from the pot.
  • Dust off any excess soil from the roots and gently separate the roots
  • Then, divide them into smaller plants. Make sure that each of them has a good amount of root mass with it.
  • Place each of the smaller plants into its own container.
  • Water thoroughly and keep them somewhere warm.

For stem cuttings:

  • Cut a stem just below a leaf node
  • Dip the end of the stem cutting into rooting hormone. This will help speed up its initial development.
  • Put the stem cutting into a glass of water and change the water every couple of days or so.
  • Soon, you’ll see roots start to form.
  • You can then move it into a container with potting soil.
  • Water the soil and keep it moist

 

Repotting Prayer Plant

Your prayer plant doesn’t need repotting too often. It will only do so when it gets root-bound or pot bound. Once this happens, its growth will slow down.

The best time to repot will be during springtime right before its growing season begins.

And, when you do, switch it to a pot that’s a couple of inches wider than the current one.

You also want to gently take it out of its container and avoid any jarring movements. Then, make sure to add new potting soil before watering.

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