Prayer plants are the most beautiful houseplants you can grow at home without any special care. Prayer plant care is simple and easy. This guide will help you to learn everything about the prayer plant and its care.
Maranta leuconeura is the scientific name of the prayer plant. They named the prayer plant because in the night time the plant folds its leaves together in an upward direction like we humans fold our hands while praying.
How to grow prayer plants fast and easily at home?
Follow the prayer plant care tips and you will have a healthy plant within a few days. All the below-written methods are tested on the prayer plant by ourselves in our indoor garden. Without wasting any time let’s start
Choose a healthy plant from the local nursery. Take it immediately to your house because plants get stressed when they are traveling. Moreover, while traveling they are not in a comfortable state. So, bring the plant home fast and place it on its location which has already decided by you.
Now read carefully and make notes of what your plant requires to grow.
PRAYER PLANT SOIL
The soil has to be well-drained and airy; one should add some peat moss into the regular potting soil to make it perfect for the plant. you need soil with good draining properties because the plant will die in soggy soil condition. As this is a topical plant-like Anthurium plant it needs moist soil.
If you do not have peat moss you can add sand into the growing medium to make it the well-draining mixture. Prayer plants can tolerate the acidic nature of soil so there will be no problem in adding sand into the mixture.
If you are not experienced grow, we suggest you choose the pre-packed growing material for the plant because they are processed and do not have insects and weed seeds. You can easily find such a high quality growing medium in the garden store. This mixture has peat moss, loamy soil, and perlite with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 which is perfect for your plant.
Note: You can put small rocks to the bottom, this will lift the pot from the bottom which increases the draining properties.
Best Pots for the Prayer plants
Here material of the pots plays an important role. Most people use plastic pots and plastic containers which are good as well. But the roots cannot get enough of the oxygen in plastic made flower pots.
Terra cotta pots are best to use for all types of indoor plants. They are made with good draining material and the small air pockets allow the roots to absorb the fresh air to grow healthy.
Terra cotta pots are not costly at all but you need to handle them with care. They can break easily as compared to the plastic pots. Plastic also releases harmful material and increase the indoor pollution. Whereas terra cotta pots are made with natural material and do not release any harmful material.
This clears that terra cotta is the best choice for indoor planting.
Ideal Temperature requirement
We cannot give them ideal conditions to grow because we are not living in a tropical forest. They get the best growing conditions there. The good news is they can live happily between the temperature range of 15 to 25 degrees Celsius.
Temperature above the 25 degrees and below the 15 degrees Celsius is very bad for your prayer plant. Try to maintain the temperature in the recommended range.
Never put your plant near doors or heat and AC vents. This can kill your plant because the temperature fluctuates continuously and prayer plants required constant temperature (slight ups and down is ok).
What is the best place for your prayer plant?
Any place where your plant can get bright light is best for them. You can grow them in hanging baskets or pots, plastic containers, etc. All you need to do is find such a place in your house where the plant can receive enough bright light but not direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can damage the plant leaves permanently. Moreover, the continuous emissions of sunlight evaporate the water from the pot and make the soil dry in a few hours.
Remember sunlight comes with heat and prayer plants cannot tolerate that much of heat. Coming sun rays increase the plant temperature in a few minutes and at night plant became cooler. There is a huge difference in both the night and day temperatures. So, it is best to grow it inside where you can control the growing conditions.
The best part is it can survive in the low light environment but will do not produce flowers and get limited to a few inches of height. Give it a bright light if you want a beautiful prayer plant in your home garden.
Put it in the window facing south directions where it can get enough light. If the prayer plant leaves are fading this indicates it is receiving too much bright light (change its place).
Humidity for Maranta Leuconeura
If you understand this part carefully you will be able to take care of prayer plants in all weather conditions. Prayer plant is a member of tropical forests where humidity levels are 100% throughout the year. But in our home, it is hard to maintain the perfect humidity levels for the plant, especially in winters. In winters when the temperature drops below 15 degrees and the cold wind starts blowing this will make the inside air out of the moisture. Once the leaves of the plant get dry, they will turn into brown color and start falling off.
Another problem is in winter we cannot give extra water to the plant this can kill the plant.
The solution to the above problem is installing a humidifier. They are made to increase the humidity of the place where they are using. If you do not have a humidifier and do not want to buy it then there is one more option. Put your plant in the bathroom, but make sure the plant will get enough bright light there. If there are no arrangements of bright light you can use artificial grow lights but this will not the best idea.
Prayer plant care techniques are easy to understand do not do any nonsense to your plant by hearing it from an unverified source.
Another way is to take a spray bottle, add some water into it and spray over the leaves in limited quantity. Do not wet just give a mist twice a day. If you give more water from the top then you are inviting the root rot and fungus infections.
If you have more plants at home group them together in low humid days (another best prayer plant care tip). Or in extremely hot weather put a bucket of water near them. Do not install a fan near them this can dry the leaves more quickly and you will have brown leaves at the end of the day.
Whereas little airflow is highly recommended this will prevent the pest and insect attack.
Watering your prayer plant
Before giving water to your plant make sure the pot has the drainage hole, if not present make it by using a drill or change it if you can afford it. This will save your plant from excess watering. New growers water their plants daily and in the end, their plant dies due to excess of water. Pots that have good draining holes can save your plant if you accidentally give extra water.
Drainage holes in pots are necessary because the excess water drains through them quickly. If the excess water will not drain out this will result in root rot and many other fungus diseases.
A perfect way of water your plant is to check the soil before giving water. Touch it if you feel the soil is dry to touch, add some water and if the soil is moist enough no need to water it. Prayer plants like moist soil, not soggy soil.
Another important thing is always giving room temperature water to your plants this will make easy for the root systems to absorb the desired amount of moisture. Cold and hot water can damage the water-absorbing system of roots and your plant will die sooner.
When to water the plant?
The best time for the watering is in the morning before 10 am. This way your plants can get moisture all day long. Do not give water to your plants at night time this will result in fungal growth. At night the temperature is lower than the day this makes hard for the plant to absorb it. Moreover, plants also need rest and night time is best for their rest because they do not get disturbed by anything.
Do not give filter water to your plants because in forests they will not get filtered water. They like to have tap water. Just make sure the water you are giving your plants is clean and drinkable. Remember summer season plants need more water and in winter their water needs became way less than summer.
In short check your plant daily and whenever you feel the soil is going out of the moisture add some water into it.
How to Fertilizing the plant?
Always prefer water-soluble houseplant fertilizer for the plant. Do not use as it comes in the pack, dilute it first and then use it on your plant. You need to fertilize your plant for 12 months per year. Feed your plant after every 20 days period. In winters your plant needs more fertilizers (do not stop fertilization in cold weather.)
Little fertilization results in improper growth whereas excess fertilization leads to brown leaves.
Why is my prayer plant turning brown?
The very first reason for brown leaves is excess of light. Whether it is natural sunlight or light emitted by grow lights. If your plant receives an excess of light it will show the burn marks (brown leaves or brown leaf tips).
Reduce the amount of direct light and your plant will show healthy signs in 48 hours.
A high amount of Chlorine in tap also causes brown leaves. Test your tap water for the high percentage of chlorine in it. It is best to use filtered water until the problem gets solved.
Why my prayer plant leaves are pointing down?
Not enough light is the cause of leaves pointing down all the time. Change its location and then observe it closely. If still leaves are pointing in the same direction than definitely light is not the problem.
Check humidity level and your fertilization style and frequency.
Prayer plant not unfolding
If your plant is not opening up the leaves than the issue is light energy. Prayer plant needs a good amount of light energy to unfold the leaves. Place it somewhere it can get enough light but remember do not put it under the sharp sunlight. This will damage your plant and it will have brown leaves in a single day.
Light energy is everything for plants they thrive in proper light conditions. In winters we do not have enough sunlight so you need to put it under the grow light. Choose LED grow lights over others, they are more energy-efficient and required no maintenance.
Pests problems and their solutions
Prayer plant is a house plant so it gets attacked by the common house plant pests. Spider mites are the no.1 enemy of houseplants. You cannot see them with just one look. To check whether your plant is under mite attack, closely inspect the leaves you will see spider mites if your plant is affected.
The good news is these mites do not like high humidity environment. When you increase the humidity level of your plant spider mites will get killed automatically.
Or you can use need oil to get rid of them.
Mealybugs are another common stress to your prayer plant. Whenever you see white color cotton-like substance on the stems of your plant. Place your plant away from the other house plants. This problem can affect your other plants quickly. Use neem oil with water and dishwater and spread over the entire plant to save it from mealybugs.
If you are mixing alcohol with the solution remember it is drying agent and you need to take care of your plant seriously. We suggest you avoid alcohol just use water and dish soap.
Prevention is better than cure. So, it is important to check the plant carefully before bringing it home. Do not rush while inspecting the new houseplant.
Practice all above-mentioned prayer plant care tips and methods and have a healthy prayer plant at home for years.