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Prayer Plant Breakdown
Botanical Name: Maranta leuconeura
Other Names: Praying plant, pray plant
Place of Origin: Brazil
Watering Requirements: Regular watering
Soil Requirements: Well draining
Lighting Requirements: Bright indirect light
Humidity Requirements: High humidity
Temperature Requirements: Around 70 F/ 20 °C
When people refer to prayer plants there are several different species that can fall into this category. However for the majority of time, prayer plant refers to a Maranta leuconeura which is what we will talk about here.
The Maranta Leuconeura is a beautiful houseplants with delicate pink lines that decorate the large green leaves. It’s a popular houseplant with a calming presence and an attractive foliage.
The Prayer Plant originates from the tropical regions of Brazil, which means for the majority of people this plant will need to be kept indoors as a houseplant unless you’re lucky enough to live in a tropical region.
As it is a tropical plant, for the best chance of growth and to help your plant thrive you want to recreate the natural growing conditions in your home, which means keeping it warm, giving the plant access to bright indirect light and high humidity. Let’s take a look at these sections in more detail to learn all about prayer plant care.
Prayer Plant Watering Requirements
Prayer plants like to be moist so make sure you water them regularly but allow the soil to dry out partially before watering again. Never allow the soil to become bone dry as this could severely damage the plant but also make sure that the soil isn’t completely sodden.
When you do water your prayer plant make sure you water thoroughly and evenly. If you’re not sure when to water your plant try sticking your fingers into the soil. If the top two inches feels dry then give your plant a drink. But remember, don’t wait until the soil has dried out completely or your plant will not be receiving enough water.
Prayer Plant lighting Requirements
Tropical regions are usually pretty dense which means that although they live in sunny climates, these smaller plants don’t normally receive direct sunlight as they are sheltered by other plants. So when finding a place for your prayer plant you want a place in your home that receives bright but indirect sunlight.
A south facing windowsill may be too direct unless you can buy a sheer curtain through which the plant will be able to receive light but won’t be damaged by the sun’s rays. If you have a brightly lit room try placing it there away from the window, or you can place your plant in a bright place in your home and use the foliage of other plants to protect the leaves of your prayer plant.
Prayer Plant Humidity Requirements
The most important thing to remember is that the Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura) is a tropical plant so in its natural habitat it would have have exposure to high levels of humidity. If the air around your plant is too dry then you may experience crispy tips which although won’t kill your plant will certainly make it look a lot less attractive.
If you live in a drier more arid area and you want to keep this type of houseplants then you might need to consider buying a humidifier. Humidifiers come in a variety of models with differing prices so you don’t have to buy the most expensive model. If you want to spend money you can buy machines that only need to be refilled once a week. If you want to spend a bit less there are more economical models but they’ll need refilling every eight or so hours.
If you don’t want to spend your money on a humidifier then don’t worry, there are other options available. One option is to place your pots on top of pebble trays that are filled with water. As the water evaporates it will add moisture to the air around your plants.
Soil Type For Prayer Plants
For a prayer plants requirements you will need a loose well draining soil. As you will need to water your prayer plant often you don’t want the roots to be sitting in water so a well-draining mix will allow the water to run through and for your plant to receive enough moisture without drowning.
Adding perlite can be a great way to prevent soil from becoming too moist when watering. We recommend the Espoma Organic Perlite that you can find on Amazon
Repotting Your Prayer Plant
Maranta leuconeura do not need to be repotted as often as other plants and can do relatively well in a slightly smaller pots. However, if you see the roots coming through the bottom of the pot then it is definitely time to do some repotting. If you notice the growth of your plant begins to slow this could be a sign of your plant becoming root bound which means it could be time to repot.
If you can, try and time your repotting for the beginning of spring so your plant can fill its new pot throughout the growing season. You should only need to repot your plant into a pot about two inches larger in diameter than the pot it is currently in.
Misting Your Prayer Plant
As your plant likes to be in humid conditions, misting can definitely help your Prayer Plant to grow and thrive, especially if you don’t have a humidifier.
Misters cost very little and can be a great solution if you don’t want a humidifier in your home. The only downside is that misting requires manual care compared to a humidifier. If this is the option you want to take then try misting your plants once a day or once every couple of days.
If you live in a humid area then you may not need to do this.
In conclusion, the needs of a Prayer Plant are:
- Humid environment or regular misting
- Loose well draining soil
- Bright indirect light
- Regular watering
You can propagate prayer plants by taking a cutting. When taking a cutting make sure to leave a section of the stem or the plant will not be able to root. Place the cutting either into soil or directly into water.
Prayer Plant FAQ
Now you’ve read all about prayer plant care take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions about this species of plant. If you have any other botanical questions make sure you leave them in the comments below.
What Other Names Does A Prayer Plant Have?
A prayer plant will also go by praying plant, pray plant and Maranta Leuconeura.
What Does A Prayer Plant Do?
A prayer plant will grow in your home and provides a calming attractive influence. It moves with the light and water and in very bright light can even produce flowers.
Does A Prayer Plant Flower?
A prayer plant can flower but will require a lot of light in order to do so.
Why Do They Call It A Prayer Plant?
Prayer plants get their name from the unusual amount of movement they do. If you filmed a prayer plant over the course of a day and watched the footage sped up you would see that the leaves rise and fall as if they were praying.
Can You Hang A Prayer Plant?
Yes, you can hang a prayer plant and as the leaves grow they will trail over the sides of the pot.
How Tall Do Prayer Plants Grow?
A prayer plant will grow to be approximately one foot tall. However they can spread quite wide if not cut back.
very nice post thanks
This is a great post, thank you. I have a question: only one side of my prayer plant seems to be growing (the side furthest from the light) … could turning it be enough to encourage even growth? Thanks.
Yes 100%. Many of my plants will grow towards the window and when that happens I just spin them round so the other side is facing the light and this really helps them even out.
My prayers plants ate not doing well at all! Do you think I can trim the brown parts of the leaves off?
You can trim the brown tips off but if you don’t find the cause then it’s very likely more will start to appear.
susan weston says
Your post is so clear. Thank you. I live in 70% humidity on the coast of San Diego. But, my prayer plant still has crisp leaves. Any ideas to what’s going on? I mist my plant everyday to every other. Thank you.