Categories: Gardening

How to Care for and Grow a Prayer Plant

How to Care for and Grow a Prayer Plant

Prayer Plant: The Maranta genus is named after Bartolomeo Maranta (an Italian botanist and physician of the sixteenth century). It includes several low-growing Brazilian plants, including the Maranta leuconeura prayer plant. Its common name derives from its flat leaves that fold in the night like prayer hands.

Because of its unique decorative leaves, the prayer plant is one of the most distinctive tropicals. Tricolour leaves are deep green and velvety with yellow spots down the middle rib. The leaf margins have arching red veins. The prayer plant is slow to grow and can reach up to one foot indoors. Although they are quite common indoors, they can be grown and maintained indoors at any time of year. However, it is not easy to maintain their growth over time.

Common Name Prayer plant
Botanical Name Maranta leuconeura
Family Marantaceae
Plant Type Herbaceous perennial
Mature Size 6–12 in. tall, 6–12 in. wide
Sun Exposure Partial shade, full shade
Soil Type Moist but well-drained
Soil pH Neutral to acidic
Bloom Time Spring (rarely flowers indoors)
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 11, 12 (USDA)
Native Area South America

Prayer Plant Care

Prayer plants are low-growing plants that spread easily and thrive in greenhouse conditions. They need warm, moist, gentle, fertile airflow. If plants are kept too cold or dry, they can lose their leaves and become infected with fungal diseases that lead to root rot or even death. Plants that have been exposed to too much sunlight can also develop brown spots on their leaves.

Prayer Plant


Your prayer-plant should be placed near a window that receives indirect sunlight. Avoid placing your prayer plant in direct sunlight. The sun can scorch its leaves or cause them to develop blotches and patches. Lower light levels are usually okay for prayer-plants. Provide bright light for your plants during winter when they go into dormancy and sometimes die back completely.


As long as the soil is well-drained, prayer-plants can thrive in many different soils. A traditional potting mixture is fine for most prayer-plants. However, you can make your own by combining two parts of sphagnum peat moss, one portion of loamy soil and one part of perlite, or coarse sand. The soil should have a pH between 5.5 and 6.0. You can improve drainage by adding gravel or rocks to the bottom of the pot. Also, make sure the pot has plenty of drainage holes.


Your prayer-plants should be watered frequently during their growing season (whenever the top layer is dry), and the potting soil should never dry completely. These plants are extremely susceptible to drought and won’t survive long without water. To avoid fungal problems, don’t let water sit on the leaves. Overwatering or insufficient water can cause leaves to be yellow and fall off.

Humidity and Temperature

Prayer plants like normal household temperatures between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures for too long can cause damage to the leaves, and they may become discoloured. Prayer plants thrive in humid environments. You can increase the humidity by placing a humidifier near your plant or placing the plant on a tray filled with water and small stones. The leaves can be misted with warm or room temperature water.


Your prayer-plant should be fertilized every two weeks, from spring through fall. In winter, it should be fertilized once per month with a water-soluble fertilizer that has been diluted to half strength. Your plant will not grow as fast or as well if you apply too much fertilizer. Too much fertilizer can cause the plant to die. It can also burn its roots. The plant’s leaves can turn brown and eventually become dead.

Different types of prayer-plants

There are many types of prayer-plants. The most common is the tricolour variety, which one can find at many garden centers. It is not unusual for prayer plants and calatheas to be mistakenly labelled. A few species are the most popular in the Maranta genus:

M. leuconeura, also known as the herringbone, is the most popular variety. It has bold red veins and tri-coloured prayer-plants.

M. leuconeura Kerchoveana: This type, also known by Rabbit’s Tracks, has plain green leaves with two rows containing darker splotches.

M. leuconeura Massangeana: This variety features a darker background and silvery blotches at the midrib. It also has white leaf veins.

Propagating Prayer Plants

It is easy to propagate prayer-plants and increase your collection. Repotting prayer-plants is the easiest and most popular way to propagate them. Here’s how it works:

Repot your prayer plant by dividing it into smaller plants.

Each new plant should have a sufficient number of roots and stems.

One can cultivate these new plants in separate pots.

Keep new divisions warm and moist for the first few weeks to ensure new growth.

Common Pests

Prayer plants, like many other houseplants, are susceptible to mealybugs and spider mites.

Is it easy to care for prayer-plants?

Prayer plants can be quite easy to maintain, but they require greenhouse conditions.

How fast do prayer-plants grow?

Prayer plants are slow-growing and usually grow to 12 inches in height.

Are prayer-plants possible to grow indoors?

Yes, they can grow well indoors. They need very tropical conditions, which can be difficult to find outdoors in many country areas.

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