Why is my Prayer Plant Drooping? (Causes and Solutions)

Prayer plants are also known as Maranta. Although many people refer to a few different varieties of plant as prayer plants more for the routine movement of their leaves that make the plant look like it is praying.

In case you notice your prayer plant drooping, it may be a sign of a problem. Thus, it is important to investigate further.

Why is your Prayer Plant drooping? A drooping Prayer Plant may look droopy because it is “praying”. If this is the case, then there is no problem as its folds its leaves in a prayer-like position at night.

However, if it is not praying, then the most likely cause of a droopy prayer plant is underwatering.

Other reasons can include low humidity, excess sunlight, extreme temperatures, over fertilizing, pests and diseases.

Don’t Mistake Its Praying Position for Droopy Leaves

Prayer Plants are unique in that their leaves move depending on the time day.

Once nighttime falls, its leaves will curl up into a prayer-like position, which is where the plant gets its name. Come early morning, once the sun comes out again, its leaves will uncurl once again.

The movement in its leaves allow it conserve energy during the night. Meanwhile, it opens them back up during daytime to absorb as much light as it can.

Just as importantly, some people mistaken this circadian movement of curling and uncurling of its foliage as drooping leaves.

If you notice this rhythmic cycle, don’t worry as it is part of the plant’s natural behavior.

On the other hand, if you notice your Prayer Plant not moving around much, are drooping and look limp, then it is time to investigate further to see what is causing the problem.

 

Common Causes of Prayer Plant Drooping

A droopy Prayer Plant can be caused by a few things. Once you’ve made sure that it is not the plant’s regular cyclic movement, then the issue may be more concerning.

Drooping is your plant’s way of telling you that something is not right. More importantly, the cause many be a minor problem or it may be something more serious.

As such, you cannot take it for granted.

Below, I’ll go through the different reasons that can cause Prayer Plant drooping. I’ll explain why each of them happens and what you can do to fix it.

Chart of Why is My Prayer Plant Dropping Causes
Chart of Why is My Prayer Plant Dropping Causes

 

Lack of Water Will Cause Prayer Plant Drooping

A drooping Prayer Plant that looks sad and weak is usually caused by underwatering. Lack of water is the most common reason for this plant drooping.

Prayer Plants can generally tolerate a few missed watering sessions. But if you allow the soil to go dry or stay dry for long periods of time, the plant will eventually droop and wilt.

Additionally, you’ll see yellow or brown leaves that will later drop as well.

Drooping is an early sign of an underwatered plant. Therefore, if you catch it during this stage, it will quickly recover and you’ll be able to fix the issue fast.

In order to confirm whether your Prayer Plant is underwatered or not, you can check by doing any of the following:

  • Feel the surface of the soil – a dry soil surface usually means lack of watering.
  • Stick your finger into the soil – to make sure stick your finger into the soil. Often, the soil will be very dry. In fact, it will likely be bone dry. You can likewise use a chopstick to check by dipping it into the soil to see where the water line is on the wood.
  • Use a moisture meter – if you prefer using a device, you can use a moisture meter to test how much water the soil has.
  • Lift the pot – this requires some experience. But over time, you’ll be able to tell when the soil is dry or wet by lifting the pot. Wet soil is heavier than dry soil. So, a heavy pot means it has moisture while a very light pot means the soil is dry.

Once you’ve confirmed that your Prayer Plant is underwatered, you can fix the issue by adding water.

Water it thoroughly so that the root ball gets saturated. Then allow the soil to drain any excess moisture completely before returning the plant to its place.

It won’t take long for an underwatered Prayer Plant to perk up after you’ve watered it. It should do so in about 1-2 days.

 

Inadequate Humidity Leads to a Droopy Prayer Plant

Prayer Plants like humid environments. They are native to the tropical forests of Brazil in South America.

As such, they are used to warm, humid and damp environments. In fact, their ideal humidity is between 50% to 70%.

More importantly, if they do not get the humidity they need, the plant will droopy and look limp.

This can be a problem if you live somewhere with dry air like the desert. Two examples of this are Nevada and Arizona. Both of which rank among the lowest humidity states in the U.S.

And if you’ve been there, humidity often hovers in the low 30s or even goes down into the 20s.

On the other hand, if you live somewhere with tropical weather or near a large body of water like a lake or beach, humidity won’t be an issue.

Another thing to consider about humidity is the changing of the seasons.

Hot, dry summers and cold winters are notorious for dry air. So if you live somewhere with four seasons, it is a good idea to monitor how low humidity gets during different times of a year. You can easily do so with a hygrometer.

If you notice that humidity is what’s causing your Prayer Plant to droop, you can do any of the following.

  • Move the plant to the bathroom
  • Get a humidifier
  • Mist the plant a few times a week
  • Give the plant a shower every 1-2 weeks
  • Place it on a pebble tray
  • Group it with your other houseplants

 

Too Much Water

Overwatering is another reason for a drooping Prayer Plant. However, this is a more serious issue.

The reason is that drooping due to overwatering often means that the root system has been damaged.

Normally, overwatering will not cause a Prayer Plant to droop. However, root rot can do this. And root rot is a result of overwatering.

Why?

When you water your plant too much, the roots end up swimming in water. When this happens, they are unable to get oxygen. So, if this lasts too long or happens too often, the roots suffocate.

As a result, the roots get damaged or rot.

Once they do, they fail to function. This means that the damaged parts of the root system won’t be able to absorb water or nutrients from the soil no matter how much you water the plant or apply fertilizer.

More importantly, they cannot recover.

So, when too many roots are damaged, the plant is unable to provide itself sustenance since it cannot get water or nutrients from the soil.

What you end up is a dehydrated plant that is nutrient deficient. This leaves you with a drooping, weak, wilting plant that looks sick.

Therefore, if you suspect overwatering, always assume the worst. That is check for possible root rot.

If there is root rot, you’ll need to prune the rotted roots and repot the plant in freshy, dry soil in hopes it can recover.

If there is not root rot, allow the soil to dry before watering again. Then adjust your watering routine.

To make sure that you don’t overwater your Prayer Plant, allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry before adding more water.

 

Excess Bright Light

Too much light can also cause your Prayer Plant to droop.

This can be caused by a few things, including:

  • Too much direct sunlight exposure
  • Exposure to the sun’s rays during the hottest times of the day (11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) or year (peak of summer)
  • Keeping it too near grow lights

Prayer Plants cannot tolerate very strong or intense light for more than 2 or 3 hours a day. Therefore, if you leave them under direct sunlight, their leaves will droop. You’ll also see their foliage lose their colorful patterns.

In extreme cases, the leaves will scorch and you’ll see burn marks or browning at the tips and edges.

Fortunately, it is very easy to fix this problem. All you need to do is move the plant to a less bright location.

Ideally, keep it somewhere with bright indirect light indoors. Outdoors, place it somewhere with partical shade.

A north or east facing window are often the best spots for the plant. But of you want to keep it facing the south or west make sure to filter the mid-day sun by using curtains or shades.

 

Extreme Temperatures

Prayer Plants have an ideal temperature of between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Because they are tropical in nature, they can tolerate warmer weather as well.

However, it hotter environments, make sure to keep the plant well-hydrated.

That’s because lots of sun and warm temperature tend to dry the soil much faster. This means that the plant will lose water much faster as well.

When it gets dry or dehydrated, it will droop.

Thus, the best thing to do is just to move the plant is a cooler location.

However, always be aware of how cold that spot can get. That’s because Prayer Plants cannot tolerate temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit well.

The colder the weather gets, the more at risk it becomes for injury and damage.

 

Pests

Pests are a part of all houseplant care, including Maranta or Prayer Plants. Unfortunately, pests that are attracted to this plant tend to be sap suckers.

As such, when these insects suck on the sap of your Prayer plant, they essentially rob it of moisture and nutrients.

As the pest population grows quickly into an infestation, they will get more fluids causing your plant to droop, get weak, be dehydrated and experience nutrient deficiencies.

Therefore, it is very important to always be on the lookout for pests. And once you spot any signs of them, immediately isolate the plant and quickly start treatment.

You want to avoid letting it grow into an infestation because that’s when the bugs cause the most damage. It will also take at least several weeks to eradicate them once their numbers grow.

 

Related

 

Over Fertilizing

A drooping Prayer Plant caused by too much fertilizer is another serious issue. That’s because this is often a later stage symptom that occurs after there has been damage to the roots.

Drooping results from the roots not being able to absorb water or nutrients because they have sustained significant damage. As such, the remaining roots struggle to get enough sustenance for the entire plant.

Therefore, avoid overfeeding your plant.

Prayer Plants need fertilizer to grow optimally, But too much fertilizer causes more harm that it helps.

So, only apply the suggested amount during the appropriate times of the year. The plant does not need fertilizer during the winter.

 

How to Fix a Prayer Plant’s Drooping Leaves?

Now that you know all the possible cause of your Prayer Plant’s drooping leaves, it is time to focus on how to fix the problem. In most cases, watering will be the main problem, so I will focus on that.

How to Fix Drooping Prayer Plant Checklist
How to Fix Drooping Prayer Plant Checklist

 

Add More Water… But Check the Soil First

Since majority of drooping Prayer Plants is due to lack of water, adding more water is the best thing you can do.

However, make sure to check the soil before adding any moisture.

The reason is that if in case overwatering happens to be the cause, adding more water will worsen the problem instead of solving it.

If your Prayer Plant is underwatered, the soil will be very dry. Therefore, stick your finger into the soil and feel for moisture or wetness.

If the soil is wet, don’t add more water. In add likelihood, it is overwatering that’s the root cause of the drooping.

On the other hand, if the soil is very dry, add moisture.

 

Use the Proper Potting Mix

Another thing to make sure of is to check that you are using the right kind of potting mix.

The kind of soil you use has a large effect on how fast or slow water drains.

Prayer Plants need well-draining potting soil. This means the soil holds enough moisture to keep the plant hydrated. But will quickly drain any excess moisture.

Therefore, if you’re using a heavy soil that retains too much water, it will increase the risk of overwatering.

On the other hand, if the soil drains too quickly, you’ll end up with an underwatered plant. So, unless you water it often enough, the roots will eventually get dehydrated.

 

Repot an Overwatered Prayer Plant

If underwatering is not the issue and instead it is overwatering, the best way to help save the plant is to repot it in fresh, dry, well-draining soil.

This will give it a fresh start where it can start recovering from overwatering.

Also, make sure to adjust your watering schedule to avoid overwatering the plant again.

 

Propagate Your Prayer Plant

This is your last resort. And it is something you should seriously consider if you’ve tried everything and cannot revived the plant.

Propagating your Prayer Plant is essentially waving the white flag and giving up on the mother plant.

Because nothing seems to be working and the problem of drooping keeps persisting or continues to worsen, you need to have a backup plan.

You can easily propagate your prayer plant by taking healthy stem cuttings and rooting them in water or soil. These cuttings will eventually grow and develop into mature prayer plants, typically clones of their parent.

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