In general marantas a.k.a. prayer plants can survive most light ranges and are good houseplants as long as you can keep them relatively humid. Read on for our prayer plant care guide…
Prayer Plant Care Summary
|Light needs:||Plenty of indirect sunlight is ideal, low-medium light is ok too.|
|Watering needs:||Water when the top layer of soil (half a finger depth) is dry.|
|Fertilizer:||Feed them a well diluted feed in the summer months every 2 weeks.|
|Soil:||A standard well draining potting compost.|
|Temperature:||Don’t let your prayer plant get below 12°C (55°F) for long periods of time.|
|Where to buy:||Try our list of Rare Plant Shops.|
|Common issues:||Underwatering and a lack of humidity.|
Prayer plants a.k.a. marantas are impressive-looking tropical houseplants, originally from Brazil. Briefly speaking to take care of a prayer plant you need a little humidity and to keep it wet and warm they will do well. We’ll go into more detail in the following prayer plant care guide…
Tip: we recommend Etsy for buying plants. Look for the best rated seller you can, and try to buy as close to your home as possible so the plant does not travel too far.
Prayer Plant Light Needs
Prayer plants like a good amount of indirect sunlight. It will do ok in low-medium light though, they are not especially fussy when it comes to light. They’ll be fine a back from the window in a bright room.
How Often to Water Your Maranta
Prayer plants love water in the warmer months when they are growing, during this time keep them wet or damp. The rest of the year they can be let to dry out a little more, but not totally, you can water it when the top layer of soil (half a finger depth) is dry.
Tip: they are fussy about ‘hard’ water and humidity: use filtered tap water and keep them humid.
Prayer Plant Fertilizer
You can feed prayer plants with a balanced fertilizer, but water it down about twice as much as it says in the packet as prayer plants are sensitive and can burn from too much feeding. Feed them in the summer months every 2 weeks.
Prayer Plant Soil
Prayer plants will do well with a standard well draining potting compost.
When To Repot A Prayer Plant
Prayer plants root structure doesn’t grow especially quickly, but if it gets root bound you can pot it up one or two sizes. Prayer plants should not be allowed to get root bound as they will not grow as well.
Prayer Plant Humidity
Prayer plants need good humidity levels, this is key to their care. Lack of humidity can make their leaves curl and ultimately kill them. My first one suffered badly from a lack of humidity when the weather got hot, so mist it regularly. I keep mine in a pot inside a bigger outer pot. The outer pot has some leca (clay pebbles) in the bottom and I keep water a centimeter deep (deep enough to cover the pebbles but not so much that the plant is standing in water), this keeps the plant humid. I would at least keep them with other plants which gives the humidity a bit of a lift.
Don’t let your prayer plant get too cold, 55°F lowest (12°C). Other than this they like the warmer end of household temperatures.
Prayer Plant Yellow Leaves
Prayer plants get yellow leaves when they are undrwatered. Be arful as it can also be fom overwatering. Make sure you are watering the plants properly. Check the soil before watering and make sure it is mostly dry, and also be sure that the soil is not waterlogged and has dequate drainage.
Why Is My Prayer Plant Drooping?
Prayer plants droop slightly overnight when they don’t get light, but if they are floppy is due to under or over watering, you can tell my touching the leaves and seeing if they are crispy or soft. Also you should be able to tell from how often you are watering it and the soil moisture. If it is dry give it a good soak. If it is too wet, then take a cutting if you can incase it turns to rot and the plant dies. Then take the main plant out of its soil and let it dry out for a day or so until it is dry around the roots. You can then pot it back up into dry soil and hope for the best. Don’t water it for a week, and then always check the soil is almost dry before watering again. You want to make sure the medium is well draining with plenty of perlite in it, and that after watering tip out any water left in the saucer or tray under the plant, as the soil can become waterlogged from sitting in excess water.
Can Prayer Plant Grow In Water?
They can live in water, they do best growing in water when started there as a cutting rather than transferring them from soil. So take a cutting with a couple of leaves and one node (the wide knuckle in the stem where branches grow from). And then put it in water to root. You can leave it there on going to grow.
Can Prayer Plants Live Outside?
They can live out doors as long as the temperatures do not get too low, 10°C (50°F) is the minimum really or you get cold damage. This means that you can grow them outdoors in USDA zones 11-12. If they do get to cold, they can bounce back, the bigger the plant the better they can cope with the temperatures.
Where To Cut Prayer Plant For Propagation?
The cuttings need a node as this is where the roots will grow from. The node is the part of the stems where the plant branches out, it is like a knuckle in the branch. You need to cut below this as the cutting will put out root from the node. It will not root without it.
You can see in the image below I’ve cut each cutting just below a node.
How Does Prayer Plant Pray?
The plant’s leaves open up in the daytime to get more light and they curl up sightly at night which can look like hands closing up in prayer.
Prayer Plant Vs Calathea
The are fairly similar looking plants, but the calatheas do not have nodes, all leaves grow out of a branch that grows out from the soil. With marantas, they have nodes and branches, so each branch can split into 2 or more branches, which calatheas do not do. Calatheas cannot be grown from cuttings for this reason.
Prayer Plant USDA Zone
Where To Buy A Prayer Plant
Red prayer plants pop up in various online stores and all over the place, but for lemon lime marantas check Etsy, or your local rare plant dealer.
Other Names for Prayer Plant
Maranta Water Propagation
The easiest way to propagate maranta is to take a cutting and root it in a jar of water. for more on maranta propagation see our guide: Prayer Plant Propagation.
Prayer Plant FAQs and Common Issues
The most common issues with prayer plants are a lack of water and a lack of humidity. Make sure they are well watered (but not water logged) and misted regularly. Keep them humid with a pebble tray nd you’ll do well!
Why Are My Prayer Plant Leaves Curling?
Leaf curling is a common issue with prayer plants, this happens when the plant is lacking in moisture – make sure it is wet and humid and consider reducing it’s light. Most commonly this is just due to a lack of humidity and it can be remedied with misting or a pebble tray. For more on this see Prayer Plant Leaf Curling.
Do Prayer Plant Leaves Move?
Prayer plants and maranta move in a 24 cycle with the sun. They will lower and curl up slightly when there is no light and raise and open up when the sun rises.
Can Prayer Plant Leaves Uncurl?
Prayer plant leaves that have curled up doe to a lack of moisture will uncurl once the humidity is rasied and the plant is healthy again.
Prayer Plant Vs Peacock Plant?
They are both quite similar, but marantas and calatheas are not the same. Marantas are ‘true’ prayer plants – thy open and close with sunlight. But are both closely related.
Is Prayer Plant Toxic To Cats?
Marantas are not toxic to cats (source).
How Do You Make A Prayer Plant Bushier?
You can water propagate prayer plant cuttings and once they have established roots you can pot them up in the original pot to make it much more bushier. Its a great idea to do this
Why Is My Prayer Plant Flowering?
It is totally normal for a maranta to flower sometimes for weeks at a time. I normally trim them off to promote leaf growth instead of the energy being used for flowers.
How Often Do Prayer Plants Flower?
Prayer plants can flower all year round, but it is most probable to occur in the warmer months in spring and summer when the plant is growing.
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Photo credits for this article (where not stated as mine) are from pixy.org