If you’re looking for a low-maintenance indoor plant with a bit of personality, look no further than the prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura). This plant is named for its unique habit of folding its leaves upwards at night, as if in prayer.
With its striking foliage and easy care requirements, it’s no wonder that the prayer plant is a popular choice for plant parents everywhere. But what exactly does prayer plant care entail? Here’s everything you need to know to keep your plant thriving.
Prayer plants prefer bright, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can scorch their leaves, so it’s best to keep them out of direct sunlight. If your plant’s leaves begin to curl or turn yellow, it may be receiving too much light. Conversely, if the leaves begin to droop or become leggy, it may not be receiving enough light. You may need to adjust your plant’s location to find the right balance of light.
One of the most important aspects of prayer plant care is watering. These plants like to be kept consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Overwatering can cause the roots to rot and lead to a number of problems, including wilting, yellowing leaves, and an unpleasant smell. On the other hand, if the soil is allowed to dry out completely, the leaves may droop and turn brown.
To keep your prayer plant happy and healthy, water it when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Use room-temperature water and avoid letting the plant sit in standing water, as this can cause root rot. It’s also a good idea to mist the leaves occasionally, especially if the air in your home is dry.
Speaking of dry air, prayer plants love high humidity. In fact, they’re native to the tropical rainforests of South America, where humidity is high year-round. If the air in your home is too dry, the leaves of your prayer plant may become brown and crispy around the edges. To prevent this, place a humidifier near your plant, or place a tray of water near the plant to increase the humidity in the surrounding area.
Prayer plants prefer warm temperatures, ideally between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid placing your plant in a drafty area or near a heating or cooling vent, as sudden temperature changes can stress the plant and lead to leaf drop.
Like most plants, prayer plants benefit from regular fertilization. During the growing season (spring and summer), feed your plant every two to three weeks with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. During the dormant season (fall and winter), you can reduce the frequency of fertilization to once a month.
Prayer plants don’t require much pruning, but you may want to trim back any yellow or brown leaves to keep your plant looking its best. You can also pinch back the tips of the stems to encourage fuller growth.
Despite their reputation as easy-care plants, prayer plants can still develop a few problems. Here are a few common issues to watch out for:
- Spider mites: These tiny pests can infest prayer plants and cause yellowing, stippling, and webbing on the leaves. To prevent spider mites, mist your plant regularly and keep the surrounding area clean.
- Leaf drop: If your prayer plant is dropping leaves, it may be due to overwatering, underwatering, or sudden changes in temperature or lighting. Check the soil moisture level and adjust your care routine accordingly.
- Curling leaves: Curling leaves on a prayer plant may be a sign of too much light, too little humidity, or pests. Check the plant’s location and adjust as needed.
With a little bit of attention and care, your prayer plant can thrive and bring a touch of tropical beauty to your home. So go ahead and add one (or a few) to your plant collection – your green thumb (and your plant) will thank you!