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How To Care For A Prayer Plant Indoors

The prayer plant is one of the most beautiful houseplants you will find among various types of plants native to the tropical forest of Brazil. When your prayer plants are spreading wide and low, it’s ideal to hang them in baskets as decoration indoors. Let’s learn how to care for a prayer plant indoors with these instructions. 

How to care for a prayer plant indoors
How to care for a prayer plant indoors. Image: Unsplash

Prayer Plant Overview

Prayer plants usually have broad, oval, dark green leaves with light green white running along the leaf’s spine. Sometimes, you can see the veins running on the leaves have a red color. For those who don’t know, prayer plants are named for their unique habit of lifting their leaves upright at night. Besides, their leaves often fold together like your hands while praying.

Before delving into how to care for a prayer plant, let’s take a look at the overview of prayer plants.

Common namePrayer plant
Botanical nameMaranta leuconeura
FamilyMarantaceae
Plant type Herbaceous perennial
Native areaCentral America, South America, West Indies
Mature size6–12 in. tall, 6–12 in. wide
LightBright, indirect sun
WaterAverage
Temperature60-85°F
HumidityHigh
SoilMoist but well-drained
FertilizerAverage
PropagationStems or cutting
PestsSpider mites, mealy bugs, aphids
Hardiness zones11, 12 (USDA)
Companion planting Begonia, orchid, monstera, pilea, sansevieria, philodendron, spider plant.
Overview of prayer plant.

How To Care For A Prayer Plant

You can refer to these instructions to understand the process of how to care for a prayer plant. Here you will learn how to water a prayer plant, what light, humidity, and temperature is considered good for prayer plants.

Water & Humidity

To ensure your prayer plants grow well, be aware that they don’t like to dry out. So, always maintain the soil evenly moist, but do not allow the roots to stagnate. When you water your prayer plants, it’s best to use room-temperature water, if not relatively warm.

During the cold days, you should decrease the frequency of watering because the dry and cold weather will make prayer plants inactive. Hence, they will need less water to thrive.  

Light and Temperature

Image: Unsplash

Prayer plants tend to thrive better with indirect sunlight. In general, they can grow even when in poorly light areas as long as there is good airflow there. What’s more, they can die if you expose them to direct sunlight. 

Soil

You can use all-purpose indoor potting soil to grow prayer plants, as long as it has good drainage. In case your soil doesn’t provide good drainage, you can add coarse sand or perlite to the soil mix. 

Here are some things you’ll need to mix the soil for your prayer plants:

  • Garden soil
  • Coarse sand or perlite
  • Coir or peat moss
  • A little bit of lime dust

You can add gravel or rocks to the container’s bottom to enhance drainage. And, of course, make sure it has drainage holes to avoid waterlogging.

Fertilizer

You will need to feed your prayer plants every two weeks during the growing seasons from spring to fall. It is recommended to use high-quality water-soluble eggplant feed. Furthermore, during cold weather, less fertilizer should be applied because conditions are not conducive to the growth of prayer plants.

Repotting

There is no need to frequently repot or replant your prayer plants. Nevertheless, once they take root in a pot, they will grow very slowly.

If you choose to repot your prayer plants, it’s recommended to go for the one that’s around 1-2 inches wider than the current pot. All you need to do is take it off from the existing pot and place it in a new pot with a slightly added soil mixture. What’s more, remember to water well so that your prayer plants will grow fast. 

Pruning​

In case you want your prayer plants to grow more strongly, you can prune them. You just need to use your garden scissors and cut the prayer plant stems just above a leaf node. Make sure you sterilize your scissors before clipping. 

Your prayer plants will then react by producing new buds just below the cut region, creating denser and bushier prayer plants. 

Propagation

Once you care for your prayer plants, they will become really easy to propagate. Simply dip the cut in a rooting stimulant solution and put it in a cup of water. In addition, don’t forget to change the cut around every two days or twice a week.

Besides, you can put the cut directly into the potting soil. But the important thing to keep in mind is to maintain the soil moist and spray them once in a while.

You might also love: How To Grow Basil From Seed Indoors: Easy Steps for Beginners

Common Problems For Prayer Plants

so, now you know how to care for a prayer plant indoors. However, during the growth of a prayer plant, it can encounter some diseases, and here are some common issues for prayer plants and how to solve them. 

Growing Issues

When you notice the tip of your prayer plants’ leaves start to curl up or turn brown, that might be the sign of excess light. In addition, chlorine in tap water can also be a common cause of brown leaves. If yes, you should use filtered water instead of tap water. Or you can also leave tap water for around 24 hours before watering your prayer plants.

Diseases

If you see water spots on your prayer plant’s leaves, it might be a sign of leaf spot disease. Your prayer plants might be destroyed by this disease if you don’t control it. And the simplest way to deal with it is to avoid over-watering your prayer plant, and stop getting the leaves too damp. In case you notice an outbreak, neem oil can be an effective way to solve it.

Pests

In fact, almost all popular indoor pests can cause unhealthy prayer plants, but the most common ones might be spider mites. Moreover, you should note that prayer plants love high moisture, while spiders hate it! So you can prevent them from infesting your plants by keeping them highly humid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find several commonly asked questions about how to care for a prayer plant indoors. 

Why are the leaves on my prayer plant turning brown?

There are different reasons for the brown leaves of prayer plants, such as too much sun, wrong watering, low moisture, or excess fertilizer. Rememebr to check if you do anything wrong and fix it.  

How often should I water my prayer plant?

Since prayer plants don’t grow well if they are dry, you will need to water them when you notice there are just one or two inches of the soil dries out. During hot weather or summer, they should be watered every 3-5days, depending on different factors, such as moisture, temperature, and light in your area. 

How to make my prayer plant bushier?

If you want to make your prayer plants thrive more, pruning is a great way to encourage their growth. Cut branches just above a leaf node using sterilized garden shears. Your prayer plants will produce new sprouts just under the cut region, making them look bushier.

Why do my prayer plants’ leaves curl up?

That might be a sign of excess light during the day. You can try to put them in another spot with less light, and check the root area for moderate moisture in the soil.

When should I repot my prayer plants?

If you see your prayer plants’ roots growing out of the drainage holes, that’s when you should repot them. When the plants are inactive in cold weather, you should let the soil dry a little bit between waterings. 

Why aren’t my prayer plants closing?

If you put your prayer plants near a lamp or other light sources during the nighttime, it might not be dark enough for them to close. So, you can consider moving them into a new place away from the light.

Conclusion 

While prayer plants may not be the most carefree houseplants, with their wonderful leaf patterns and daily lifting and lowering of leaves, they are among the most interesting plants to grow indoors. Some important things to remember are to provide them with well-draining soil, added moisture but not waterlogged, and under indirect light. That’s all you need to know about how to care for a prayer plant indoors. 

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