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How to Care for Prayer Plant?

How to Care for Prayer Plant?

Prayer plant has one of the most beautiful leaves among plants. These tricolor leaves have a green and velvety background with yellow dots on them and red lines on all of them. If you are interested in gardening and you like to bring a colorful and beautiful creature home, then this plant is very suitable for you. Continue reading this article in TooPlant in order to learn more about how to grow and care for prayer plant.

Introduction of Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

Before addressing how to care for prayer plant, please allow us to give you a brief introduction about this houseplant.

Name Prayer Plant
Family Marantaceae
Botanical Name Maranta leuconeura
Toxicity Non-toxic to cats and dogs[1]American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Prayer Plant. ASPCA.org., non-toxic to humans
Native South America, Brazilian tropical forests
Common Name(s) Prayer Plant

Maranta leuconeura is native to the tropics of the United States and takes its name from the 16th century physicist and botanist Bartolomeo Maranta. About 40 to 50 different species of this plant have been identified, all of which grow on rhizomes, and is a perennial, evergreen plant.

This houseplant is also known as the prayer plant because the leaves of this plant are flat during the day but gather at night and become like arms raised for prayer.

The mature type of leaves of this plant grows up to about 15 cm, which is protruded from the short stem of this plant. Although this plant is known as a houseplant, it is not easy to maintain in the long run.

Prayer plant can live with you for a long time. If you provide good water and food for this plant and give it its favorite environment, you can be sure that Maranta leuconeura will not disappoint you.

In this article, we want to provide you with information about how to care for prayer plant, so stay tuned with Tooplant.

Types of Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

There are many types of prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura), but the most popular is the three-color variety found in most stores. Prayer plant and Calathea are very similar and it is not surprising that these two plants are confused with each other.

How many varieties of Maranta leuconeura are there?

Some of the most popular types of prayer plant are:

Maranta leuconeura erythrophylla

This tri-colored prayer plant, also known as herringbone plant, is the most famous type of this houseplant that has red veins on its leaves.

Maranta leuconeura kerchoveana

This type of prayer plant, also known as Rabbit’s Tracks, has plain green leaves with two rows of darker spots.

Maranta leuconeura massangeana

This variety of prayer plant has a darker leaf background with silvery blotches along the midrib and white leaf veins.

Care for Prayer Plant

In short, about the maintenance and care of the prayer plant, we must say that prayer plant is a very slow growing plant and is very suitable for maintenance in small spaces. This plant likes a greenhouse environment. An environment that is warm, humid, well-ventilated and well-fertilized.

A houseplant that is exposed to too dry or cold environment will lose its leaves and will suffer from fungal diseases that will eventually lead to the death of the plant.

On the other hand, a plant that is exposed to too much sunlight will burn its leaves and brown spots will spread on the leaves.

In this part, we will focus on the most important aspects which you need to take into consideration while treating this houseplant. The best methods of how to take care of a prayer plant include as follows:

Prayer Plant Light Requirements: What light is best for prayer plants?

Light is among the first important issues to care for prayer plant. Maranta leuconeura needs a lot of light, but indirectly. This plant should never be exposed to direct sunlight as it will burn its leaves or it may stain and the leaves may lose their color.

Prayer plant can tolerate low light conditions, but in winter this houseplant goes to rest and should be in a skylight environment.

So, as shown above, light plays a significant role to care for prayer plants.

Prayer Plant Watering: How often should you water a prayer plant?

In the rest, concerning the tips of caring for a prayer plant, it is better to know that during the growing season, i.e., from spring to early autumn, it is better to water the prayer plant regularly and do not allow the plant soil to dry out. Whenever the soil surface is drying, it is time to water it and you should not let even the soil surface dry completely.

This plant gets thirsty quickly and needs water, but on the other hand, you should also be careful about diseases and fungi, so you should not allow the leaves to get wet or the soil to be too wet. Therefore, watering is another important aspect in order to care for prayer plant.

Dehydration and overwatering can both damage the plant and cause the leaves to turn yellow or drop.

It is better to use water that has room temperature and is not cold. Also, reduce the amount of water in winter.

In this way, to care for prayer plant, watering is considered to be of great significance.

Prayer Plant Soil: What is the best soil for a Maranta leuconeura?

Intending to care for prayer plant, the other crucial matter is soil. Prayer plant likes acidic soil. An excellent soil composition for this plant includes pudding with a pH between 5.5 and 6.0 or a combination of two parts peat moss, one part clay and one part perlite or coarse sand.

Ordinary potting soil can also be used as long as it is well drained. If you feel your soil is not well drained, you can improve it by adding perlite or coarse sand to the soil. Make sure the pot has drainage holes.

Thus, it can be said that, soil is another basic and important issue so as to care for prayer plant.

Prayer Plant Temperature Tolerance

Now, we come to temperature which is assumed to be principal to care for prayer plant in addition to light, watering and soil that are mentioned above.

Prayer plant prefers to live in temperatures between 15 and 18 degrees, and temperatures below this can damage the leaves.

Prayer Plant Humidity: Does prayer plant like humidity?

Moisture is another thing which we need to inevitably pay attention to when talking about how to take care of a prayer plant. This houseplant likes a very humid environment that is usually not provided indoors.

You can provide this moisture to the plant with some measures. Using a vaporizer or kettle near the plant or pouring rocks and water into the tray under the pot so that water does not come in contact with the plant provides good moisture. You can also moisten the leaves with room temperature water.

Therefore, please do not forget to take humidity into consideration in order to care for prayer plant in the best way.

Prayer Plant Fertilizer: What is the best fertilizer for a prayer plant?

When you want to care for prayer plant, one of the important questions that may come to your mind is “what is the best fertilizer?” In what follows, we will address how to fertilize this plant:

You can fertilize Maranta leuconeura every two weeks from early spring to mid-autumn. It is better to dilute a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 fertilizer twice the product recipe.

If the amount of fertilizer is very low, the plant growth will be very slow or hard. Excessive fertilization can burn the roots, turn the leaves brown, and even kill the plant. During the winter it is better to reduce the amount of fertilizer once a month.

As a result, we could say that fertilizer is regarded as one of the fundamental issues when someone wants to care for prayer plant.

Prayer Plant Toxicity: Are prayer plants poisonous to humans and pets?

In order to care for prayer plant, toxicity is considered to be a major issue because it directly relates to your health especially children and pets.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, prayer plant is not toxic to cats, dogs and humans. So, you can safely keep this plant at home because no danger threatens you and your pets.

Prayer Plant Repotting: How to repot prayer plant?

Prayer plant does not need to repot much, but over time, its roots may occupy the entire pot and run out of space, and the plant will grow more slowly.

To repot Maranta leuconeura, you must choose a pot that is eventually 4 to 5 inches larger than the previous pot. To repot, gently remove the plant from the old pot, wipe the roots off the old soil, and place the plant in a new pot with new soil.

The best time to repot this houseplant is in early spring and before the growing season begins.

Propagating Prayer Plant: How to propagate prayer plant?

When you want to care for prayer plant, another important question that may come to your mind is “how to propagate it.”

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, the prayer plant is easy to propagate. Some varieties of Maranta leuconeura can be propagated by stem cuttings or dividing the rhizomes (root division). But one of the most common and easiest ways to propagate this houseplant is to divide it when repotting.

Prayer plant propagation by root division

To do this, it is enough to clean the roots when repotting so that they are fully visible, then divide the plant from the roots into smaller pieces. Each of these new small plants must have sufficient roots and stems on its own.

Then you have to plant them separately in smaller pots and provide a very warm and humid environment for them to start the first signs of growth.

Prayer plant propagation by stem cuttings

Choose a stem and cut it from under the leaf knot to get new cuttings. Place the cuttings in growth hormone and then place them in a glass container in water.

Be aware that you should change the water in this container every two days to prevent the formation of harmful algae or bacteria. As soon as you see the first signs of root growth, transfer the plant to an earthen pot, keeping the soil and the plant moist.

Common Pests and Diseases

Prayer plant, like any other plant, can be exposed to disease or pests.

Diseases

Some of the most important diseases that affect the prayer plant are as follows:

Chlorosis

Chlorosis is one of the reasons why the leaves of the prayer plant turn yellow and this usually happens in young leaves. The reason for this is the lack of iron in the plant and failure to treat it in time will cause the death of the plant.

Chlorosis occurs if the soil of the plant has a very high pH or a structure that is too clayey. Soil that is too dense and wet retains more phosphorus, resulting in less iron. You can solve this problem by adding iron supplements.

Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV)

Cucumber mosaic virus is another disease that causes Maranta leuconeura leaves to turn yellow. If yellow spots appear on the leaves while the green areas are perfectly healthy, your plant may be infected with the virus.

You may notice that the new leaves are smaller and weaker and the old leaves have yellow lines on them. Unfortunately, there is no cure for cucumber mosaic virus, and it is best to destroy the infected plant so that the disease does not spread to other plants.

Pests

Prayer plant, like any other plant, is prone to pests.

Spider mite

The most common pest that attacks this plant is spider mite. These insects live among the foliage of the plant but fortunately do not like high humidity.

Since the prayer plant grows well in moisture, you can prevent the entry of these insects by increasing the amount of moisture.

It is not easy to see spider mites, and you may only be able to see the white dust they leave behind, but these small insects can stop the plant from growing. You can use insects such as ladybugs or half oil to fight these insects.

Mealybug

Mealybug is another pest that the prayer plant is affected by. These insects leave something white that looks like a piece of cloth.

These insects are usually found between the stems and leaves, drink the sap of the plant and have a high rate of reproduction.

When you notice these intense insects, you should quarantine the plant so that it does not spread to other plants. Then make a mixture of three-quarters of water and one-fourth of alcohol and a few drops of dishwashing liquid and wipe the contaminated areas with a clean cloth. Repeat this after a few days. You can also use industrial pesticides or semi-greasy oils.

Caring for Prayer Plant: Common Problems With Prayer Plant

After a description of taking care of a prayer plant, we will explain the problems and their solutions:

Why Are Paryer Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?

As “leaves turning yellow” is one of the common problems that you may face when you want to care for prayer plant, we will try to describe the reasons and the ways to solve it in details.

In addition to the points that we mention in the “Diseases” section, this problem is usually caused by poor maintenance conditions, fungal diseases or viruses. Often, the cause of “leaves turning yellow” is something that can be controlled, such as the location of the plant or the amount of fertilizer. But sometimes more serious action may be needed.

The first step when the leaves turn yellow is to check the amount of light and if the light reaches the plant too much, move it to a place with indirect and filtered light.

Why are Maranta leuconeura leaves turning brown?

Leaf spots, also known as brown spots, are one of the most common diseases affecting prayer plants. If left untreated, the disease can kill the plant. Overwatering is the reason for this and you can control this problem by correcting the amount of water. Another reason why prayer plant leaves turn brown is because of the chlorine in the water. Therefore, it is better to use filtered water or water that has rested for at least 24 hours.

Too much sunlight is another reason for the “leaves turning brown.” It is better to move the plant to a new location.

Since “leaves turning brown” is another common problem that you may face when you want to care for prayer plant, we tried to describe the reasons and the ways to solve it in details.

Why are my prayer plant leaves burning?

High levels of phosphate and fluoride in the water given to the plant can also cause the edges of the leaves to burn. It is best to use filtered water or let the water rest for a while to allow the solutes to settle.

Infographic Of How To Care For Prayer Plant

In this article, we tried to explain to you in an infographic the essential tips on how to take care of a prayer plant, so that you can briefly and usefully learn the methods of caring for this plant.

In The End

In this article, we tried to provide you with the necessary information about the methods of caring for a prayer plant.

However, if you have any questions regarding this indoor plant or you need to get advice from our houseplant experts, please share your questions with us through the comments section below.

Sources[+]

Sources
1 American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Prayer Plant. ASPCA.org.
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