Prayer plant yellow leaves

Houseplants forum: trimming a prayer plants foliage & roots that’s died back.

I am hoping it will bounce back and look good by the end of the summer this year.Now that i know for sure it likes to be pot bound, i am wondering if i should repot into a smaller pot since so much of it died back.I don’t know though maybe i should wait to see if any of comes back this summer.
In the 1st. pictures i posted at the beginning of this thread you can see how well it does outside,it blooms every summer,it is even blooming now.I have heard stressing a plant can cause it to bloom?? Here’s pictures of the differences in the plant from being inside and then going outside.
This is in March when it’s starts to warm up & i put it out now & then on warm days that the sun is out.

This photo was taken to show the different types,mine is ‘beauty kim’ it has the other types of leaves in 1 plant.The red,green & leaves with white in them.A really cool looking prayer plant.
Here you can see by August it’s grown and blooms constantly.If you look these plants up it will say the flowers are insignificant,but when the whole plant is cover with these little white blooms, with one on top of the other i think they are anything but insignificant.

Here’s a photo by November and you can see it’s no longer as full etc… Even though it was November we still have warm weather with spurts of cold weather and the plant out been out in the warm sun part of that day,if you look close you can see it’s raining outside the window and the plants wet.

In january is when it was accidently left in an unheated room during a cold spell.

If you ever decide to try putting your plant(s) outside i just put mine under trees and water almost everyday.It’s planted in almost straight peat(sphagnum) moss and with our high temps it dries quickly but it loves the humidity.I hang it where i also put my Hoya’s & Rhipsalis’. Their under trees in a place that has leaves & pine straw on the ground so i get the ground good & wet hoping to raise the humidity coming from under the plants ( if that even makes sense or is possible)
P.S. sorry it has taken me so long to get back to this thread!!

A green thumb comes only as a result of the mistakes you make while learning to see things from the plants point of view!!(1) | Quote | Post #564040 (6)

How to Care for a Prayer Plant

The prayer plant boasts stunning foliage that is perfect for a floor container or hanging planter. The prayer plant has only a few particular care concerns and is therefore ideal for use in many indoor plantscapes.

The Arrowroot Family

The prayer plant is native to Brazil and is part of the family of plants known as the arrowroot family. According to Wikipedia, there are several different genera of plants within the arrowroot family. The arrowroots most often grown as houseplants are found within the Calathea and Maranta genera. The common name prayer plant may be used to refer to several different species within the Calathea genus, but usually the name is associated with the Maranta leuconeura. These plants are called prayer plants because their foliage folds up at night resembling praying hands.

Amazing Foliage

The prayer plant has unique, large, oval shaped foliage with smooth margins. The leaves are usually bright green with dark green to red markings towards the center of the leaf. The veins have red coloring as well. The plant also has small white or purple flowers that grow on a stalk. However, it rarely flowers when grown indoors. Guide to Houseplants indicates that the prayer plant can grow up to 12 inches tall with leaves as large as 5 inches long.

Light

Like many houseplants, the prayer plant will thrive in bright, indirect sunlight, but it will also tolerate low levels of light. The growing season is during spring and summer. Guide to Houseplants recommends fertilizing the plant with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength every 2 weeks during spring and summer. The soil should be kept moist during the spring and summer. During the dormant season the soil may be allowed to dry some between waterings.

Challenges

One challenge to growing prayer plants is providing sufficient humidity. They require humidity year round to thrive. If a plant develops brown tips on the leaves it is a signal that there is not enough moisture in the air. Place the plants near a humidifier, next to a shallow tray with water in it or near other plants to increase the moisture in the air.

HowStuffWorks suggests that brown leaf tips can also be caused by mineral build up in the soil. To avoid mineral build up leach the soil regularly or water the plant with distilled water.

It is important to repot prayer plants in the spring. The roots prefer to have plenty of air circulation. Repotting annually will prevent the soil from becoming too compact and interfering with circulation. Their root system is shallow so they can be grown in a shallow container.

Propagation and Pruning

Cuttings can be taken in the spring to propagate new plants. Simply cut a four inch segment of stem with a few leaves. Then, dip the leaves in a root growth hormone and place them in a small container of potting soil. Guide to Houseplants also recommends dividing the plant when it becomes too large. Fall is the best time to prune the plant. Cutting the plant back will help it remain shapely and attractive. Pruning will also encourage new growth.

Share Your Experience

Prayer plants are easy to care for and will reward a grower with amazing foliage. How have you incorporated the prayer plant into plantscapes? Have you faced any challenges while caring for a prayer plant?

Photo “Maramte (Maranta leuconeura Kerchoveana)” courtesy of Maja Dumat

A colourful perennial the Prayer Plant is known for its distinctive patterned leaves that are splashed with patches of red, green or cream. These colours become more vibrant as the plant ages. Happy on a table or in a hanging basket this South American native is a striking plant.

The Maranta or Prayer Plant is grown for its striking foliage.

The unusual name comes from the plants habit of folding it’s leaves into an upright position at night, as if it is praying. In the morning, as light hits the leaves they unfold again, sometimes making a pleasing rustling noise as they do so.

The flower of the Prayer Plant is a small, white tubular bloom which sits at the end of a long stem. If you are looking specifically for a flowering house plant be aware that the Prayer Plant rarely flowers indoors. To its devotees however this does not matter, the flower is an afterthought. The main feature of the Prayer Plant is it’s striking foliage.

In the right conditions the plant produces vibrant foliage.

It is also a surprisingly easy plant to care for. This makes it an ideal plant for nervous gardeners or people who have never cared for a plant before but are looking for a place to start. If you aren’t sure that caring for plants is for you, remember even a houseplant can be beneficial to your mental and physical well being as well as adding a colourful spark to your home. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what your experience level or gardening ability is, if you follow the advice in this easy to understand guide you will soon have a stunning Prayer Plant flourishing in your home.

Different Types of Prayer Plant

The Prayer Plant, or Maranta Leuconeura, is part of the Marantaceae family which originates primarily in South America. A large family, a close relative of the Maranta Leuconeura is the Maranta Arundinacea, otherwise known as Arrowroot. This is commonly grown as a perennial herb used in both cooking and herbal medicine.

There are many different species of Prayer Plant available. It is this depth of variety that makes the Prayer Plant such an attractive addition to your home, either sitting in a pot on a windowsill or draping attractively from a hanging basket. It also means that there is an option for every colour scheme and living arrangement, so it is worth taking your time to look at some of the different varieties before investing in your plant.

While there are far too many options for us to discuss them all, we will look at some of the more common and interesting varieties. Hopefully this will give you some ideas if you don’t know where to start.


Maranta Leuconeura is the most common type of Prayer Plant.

While there may be many varieties of plant the basic care instructions, which I will outline later in the article, remain largely the same. If you are concerned, any particular information for your specific Prayer Plant will be written on the label that comes with it so don’t discard this.

The most common type of Maranta Leuconeura has wide oval shaped leaves. These are dark green with white or light green stripes which run along the spine of the leaf. The veins which line the underside of the leaf are a distinctive shade of red.


The leaf of the Maranta Tricolor boasts a red and yellow herringbone pattern.

The variety “Kim” is known for it’s purple spots and cream white leaves. The “Erythroneura” variety has dark green leaves with yellow markings and red herringbone patterned veins. This patternation has led to it becoming known as either the “herringbone plant” or “Tricolor”. Finally, the “Massangeana” Prayer Plant is similarly aesthetically pleasing with its black green leaves and silvery veins.

Common Name(s) Prayer Plant, Rabbit Tracks
Family Marantaceae
Scientific Name Maranta Leuconeura
Origin Central and South America, West Indies
Plant Type Perennial, Herbaceous
Water Requirements Soil must be kept moist.
Light Bright, indirect sunlight.
Temperature 65-80°F/18-27°C
Height 30-45 cm/ 12-18 inches
Spread 30-90 cm/ 12-36 inches
Propagation By cuttings or division

How To Care For Your Prayer Plant.

Prayer Plants can tolerate low light conditions but they do best in bright, indirect sunlight. They like well drained soil and to be kept moist but not too wet. Also the higher the humidity levels the better. While this may all sound very complicated it really isn’t.

Once you know what to do you will be able to give your plants what they need to thrive. To make it as easy as possible we will now look at the various aspects and elements that can affect your Prayer Plant and discuss how to create the best possible environment for it.

Don’t put your Prayer Plant in direct sunlight. This can scorch the leaves and, in extreme circumstances, even kill the plant. While they prefer bright, indirect sunlight these plants can tolerate slightly darker spots. Ideally they are best placed in rooms on the eastern or the northern side of the house, as these rooms generally receive less light.

You will know if your plant is not getting enough light because the leaves will curl up during the day, or not fully open after closing at night. Too little light will also cause the plant to become leggy. This means that the stems will grow long and spindly as they strive to reach the light.

The most obvious sign that your plant is getting too much light is that the leaves will start to turn brown or burn.

If your Prayer Plant is getting the correct amount of light it will boast rich, green stems and colorful leaves.


Placing your plant in the right conditions will encourage vivid colours to develop.

Water

Prayer Plants like to be in soil that is evenly moist. This means that they don’t like it too soggy or if the soil is allowed to completely dry out. If the soil is too dry or too wet the leaves of the plant may turn yellow and fall from the plant.

This may seem like a difficult balance to achieve so if you are unsure when to water, wait until the top 1/2 inch of soil is dry before giving it a good watering. If you want something more scientific, a soil moisture gauge or plant watering gauge can help in determining when to water.

How much water a plant requires depends on a great many things, and just because it is thirsty one week doesn’t mean that it will require that much water again next week. If you are unsure how much water to give your plant simply water it until the water begins to drip from the bottom of the pot. This is a reliable indication that the soil is moist.

Don’t allow the plant to sit in water for a prolonged period. This can make the soil overly damp and lead to root rot amongst other problems.

When you water the plant use water that is at room temperature as opposed to cold water. This is because cold water can cool your plant’s roots causing it stress and resulting in it dropping its leaves.

You should also aim to water your Prayer Plant in the morning. This means that any water which you accidentally splash onto the leaves will be able to dry during the day. Wet leaves and cooler nighttime temperatures are a perfect combination for the emergence of leaf spot.

During the winter months when the plant enters its dormant phase and ceases to grow it will require less water.

Temperature

Despite being tropical plants, Prayer Plants will do fine at household temperatures. Anywhere between 65-80°F/ 18-27°C will be fine.

If your Prayer Plant is too warm then it will produce fewer leaves and spindly stems. If it is too cold growth will slow. Colder temperatures can also damage the leaves of the plant, causing them to turn brown or shrivel.

If you are worried about the temperature dropping you can always place your plant in a small terrarium or cloche. An added bonus of this is that placing the plant in a cloche or terrarium will help you maintain humidity levels.

Humidity

As we have already noted Prayer Plants originated in tropical climates, therefore the higher the humidity levels the better.

The levels of humidity in our homes can become too low for a Prayer Plant. Keeping a high level of humidity can be an especially difficult task during the winter months as our centrally heated homes can become very dry. An indoor humidity monitor or air quality monitor will help you to monitor the humidity levels around your plant.

If you don’t want to run a humidifier then place your plant on a tray of pebbles and water, just be careful not to put the pot directly into the water. Alternatively placing the plant in a terrarium, cloche or mini indoor greenhouse can help to keep humidity levels high and regular.


Terrariums are just one way to increase humidity and drama to your plant

Also, it may sound obvious but, keep your plant away from anywhere where it will be exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations or drafts. Basically don’t put your Prayer Plant near any heaters, vents or doorways.

Feeding

During the spring and summer months you should feed your Prayer Plants every two weeks. A standard, good quality houseplant feed will be fine and they are easily available. If you have the choice use an organic fertilizer because chemical ones can sometimes harm the plant. Organic products are increasingly available and affordable.

To make feeding easier use a water soluble feed. This means that you will only need to dilute it with water (usually to 50% strength, but check the instructions first) and then water it into the soil. You will need to feed your plant fortnightly during the spring and summer.

Soil

A good quality, general purpose potting soil will be fine, just make sure that it drains well. Adding perlite or coarse sand to the mixture will help to improve drainage while spreading vermiculite along the top of the soil will help the plant retain moisture. Placing rocks or gravel at the bottom of the plant pot, and obviously making sure that it has a drainage hole, will also help with drainage.

Repotting

You will not need to repot your Prayer Plant very often however some people like to repot them every year. If you notice that your plant has unexpectedly stopped growing, or slowed dramatically, this is a sign that it has become pot bound- too big for it’s pot. When this happens it is time to repot. The ideal time for repotting is early in the spring just as the plant starts to grow again.

You may also want to repot your Prayer Plant soon after purchasing it.

Repotting plants is a vital part of keeping them healthy.

Repotting is a relatively simple process. First select a clean pot that is either a similar size or slightly larger, no more than 1” or 2”, than the current pot.

As Prayer Plants are shallow rooted plants they do well in shallow pots. You may encounter problems if the plant is placed in a deep pot because too much soil below the roots, particularly if it remains soggy for a long period, will encourage root rot to develop.

Also make sure that the pot you select has drainage holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain from the soil. If your chosen pot has no holes it is an easy enough task to put a few in.

Remove the plant from it’s old pot. If the roots are tightly bound together, in a “root ball”, gently tease them free. You don’t have to release them all just allow for some movement so that they are not all densely packed together.

This is also a great opportunity to make divisions if you want to. We will discuss divisions and propagation later in the article.

Next put some fresh potting mix or all purpose compost into the new pot. You should aim to put enough in there so that the top of the plants roots sit just below the lip of the new pot when it is placed inside.

Position your Prayer Plant in the centre of the pot add more compost or potting mix. While you want to fill the pot try not to pack in so much that it becomes compacted. Also try to leave some space between the compost and the top of the pot to allow for watering and growth. After you have planted your plant water in well and return it to its usual spot.

If you want to learn more about repotting houseplants this is a useful article.

Pruning

Pruning your Prayer Plant will encourage new and more vigorous growth. If you have never pruned a plant before and are nervous about starting then this is a helpful guide. However there is really nothing to worry about. If you cut too much off it will grow back, eventually.


A small clippers or garden scissors will help to keep your Prayer Plant in shape.

Use a pair of garden scissors or pruning shears to prune the plant. Just make sure that they are clean before you begin so as not to spread any diseases or pests.

Simply clip the stems right above the leaf nodes. This will encourage the plant to send out shoots directly below the cut point. This allows for a bushier plant.

Care During the Winter Months

As with much of the natural world Winter is when the Prayer Plant enters it’s dormant period. Growth will slow or cease, this may seem worrying but it is perfectly natural. Reduce watering during this period and stop feeding. Humidity levels should be maintained.

As spring begins the plant will awaken from it’s dormancy and you will begin to notice signs of growth. This is the sign that you should resume feeding.

Keeping the Plant Clean

The leaves of the Prayer Plant, and any other plant, should be kept dust free. Gently wipe the leaves with a soft dry cloth occasionally.

Propagation and Divisions

While all plants have a natural life span by propagation and division you will be able to produce a long line of healthy Prayer Plants that you can enjoy for many years or give as gifts to your friends and family.

Propagation is easily done from stem cuttings. While I will now explain how to take successful cuttings the RHS has a good in depth guide to propagation here.

The ideal time to take cuttings is in early spring when you repot your Prayer Plant. This is also the ideal time to do “division”. We will look at how to do that in a moment.

Despite spring being the ideal time successful cuttings can be taken at any time from spring into early summer.

Take a cutting that is a good few inches long and has a couple of leaves. Ideally you should make the cutting just below the nodes closest to the bottom of the stem.

Place the cutting in a small pot with moist fresh potting soil. Some people like to dip the cut end into a rooting hormone before planting but this is not necessary.

After potting place the cuttings in a propagator to help retain moisture levels. This will help to minimise shock and is worth a try if you have struggled to take successful cuttings in the past. If you don’t want to invest in a propagator a homemade version is just as good and can be made from a plastic food container like these. Just make sure that there are air holes to allow for adequate ventilation.

Put the pot in a warm and bright area. Keep the soil moist and mist the cuttings occasionally so that the soil doesn’t dry out and that the humidity levels are maintained. You should see new shoots in a month to six weeks.

An alternative method sees the cutting dipped in rooting hormone and then placed in a clear, water filled vase. A clear vase will allow you to watch the roots grow. When they are about an inch long plant your cutting in some fresh soil. If you opt for this method be sure to change the water every day. You will also need to be careful when you transplant the cutting to soil because the plant may go into shock.

You can use either of these methods to propagate any piece of Prayer Plant that accidentally breaks off.

Divisions

The easiest way to create a new Prayer Plant is by the method known as divisions. This is best done early in spring when you are repotting the plant.

Remove the Prayer Plant from the pot. Shake loose any earth that is clinging to the roots. Carefully divide the plant and its roots into two or more sections. The number of divisions you make will depend on the size of the plant.

You should be able to divide the plant with your hands. If you are unable to do so use either a sharp, small knife like a pocket knife or an old knife sharpened by a knife sharpener.

Making divisions is an easy way to create more plants and help pot bound plants thrive.

Once you have made the division remove any excess soil and dead growth. Cutting the plants back at this point, before you repot it, will help to reduce shock. When this is done replant your plant divisions in a fresh pot. This should be done as quickly as possible, before the roots are able to dry out.

If you want to read more about making divisions the RHS has a good guide which can be found here.

Common Prayer Plant Problems And How To Solve Them.

While Prayer Plants are easy to care for there are a couple of potential issues and problems you need to be aware of. We will now look at some of the most common problems and how best to solve or avoid them.

Infestations

Like many houseplants the Prayer Plant can suffer from infestations of spider mites, mealybugs and aphids. The easiest way to prevent infestations is to maintain the humidity and moisture levels of the plant. While small changes are okay huge fluctuations in humidity or moisture levels can lead to problems. So keep you levels high and you should be fine.

Spider mites are more common during the winter months. Your first warning that they are present will be cobwebs appearing on or beneath the leafs. Maintaining humidity will deter these pests.

A white sticky substance on the stem is a reliable sign that the plant is infested with mealybugs. A general purpose pesticide or a bit of washing up liquid mixed with warm water and sprayed onto the plant will cure this. This method will also help to rid your plant of aphids.

Inspect your plants on a regular basis. Make sure that it is clean and pest free. This goes for all your houseplants not just the Prayer Plants. Regular inspections helps to prevent problems spreading throughout all your plants.

Leaf Damage

The leaves of the Prayer Plant will naturally change shape and appearance throughout the day depending on what light it is exposed to, and where the light is coming from. However if the shaping doesn’t look natural or if the leaves start to turn brown it may be a sign that you have a problem.

Usually brown leaves are a sign that the plant is getting too much light. If the light levels seem fine the plant may be sensitive to the chlorine in the water. If you don’t want to go to the expense of using bottled water to hydrate your houseplant let the tap water sit for a day or so before watering your plant. Alternatively water with filtered water.

Water soaked spots on you leaves are a sign that the plant has contracted helminthosporium leaf spot. Basically you are over watering the plant and the leaves are too wet. While this is an easy fix if you ignore the signs it can ruin your plant completely. Applying neem oil to the leaves is a natural, chemical free way to help negate the effects of an outbreak.

Watering in the morning allows the leaves, if they become wet, the chance to dry out before the temperature drops. Wet leaves and cooler nighttime temperatures can make a fertile breeding ground for leaf spot. If your plant develops brown or black spots on its leaves, snip the damaged leaves off at the base and throw them away.

If the colours of the leaves are not as deep or as rich as you would like move the plant to a shadier spot. Too much light can bleach or fade the colour of your Prayer Plant.

Uneven Growth

If you notice that the plant is growing on one side more than the others this is a sign that is is possible not happy or getting enough light in its current position. Before finding a new place for it try turning the plant every few days so that all sides get an even amount of light.

Alternatively, if you can’t provide your plant with enough natural light, then try placing a regular light or lamp, or a special light lamp, near it. This will allow the shadier parts of the part to soak up artificial light.

Given the right conditions your Prayer Plant will produce striking colours.

And that is pretty much all you will ever need to know about growing and caring for Prayer Plants. With regular watering, in a light and humid position this plant will provide a dramatic addition to your home as well as benefiting your mental wellbeing.

Yellowing Leaves On Prayer Plant: How To Fix Yellow Maranta Foliage

The oval-shaped, beautifully patterned foliage of the prayer plant has earned it a favored spot among houseplants. Indoor gardeners love these plants, sometimes too much. When prayer plants turn yellow, it’s often because of environmental problems, but a few diseases and pests could also be responsible. If your prayer plant is turning yellow, read on to find out the possible causes and their treatments.

What Causes Yellow Leaves on Prayer Plants

Environmental Stress

By far the most common Maranta prayer plant problems are caused by incorrect care. Bright lighting or excessive phosphate or fluoride can cause leaf tips and margins to burn, leaving a band of yellow tissue between the healthy and dead tissues. Chlorosis causes yellow prayer plant foliage, especially on younger leaves.

Move your plant to a location with indirect light and begin watering with purified water. A dose of liquid iron fertilizer mixed per package directions can help correct chlorosis, provided the pH of your medium is around 6.0. A soil test may be in order, or it could be time to repot.

Fungal Disease

Helminthosporium leaf spot is a fungal disease that causes small, water-soaked spots to appear on prayer plant leaves. These spots soon yellow and spread, eventually becoming tan areas with yellow halos. This fungus takes hold when plants are chronically over-irrigated and leaves frequently are covered in standing water.

Correct the irrigation problem to eliminate future risk of disease and water only at the base of the plant in the morning, so that water evaporates from splashed surfaces quickly. An application of neem oil or the fungicide chlorothalonil can kill active disease, but prevention of future outbreaks is vital.

Cucumber Mosaic Virus

The cucumber mosaic virus may be responsible for yellowing leaves on Maranta, especially if the yellowing alternates with otherwise healthy green tissue. New leaves may emerge small and distorted, older leaves develop yellow line patterns across their surfaces. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do for plant viruses. It’s best to destroy your plant to prevent other houseplants from contracting the virus.

Maranta leuconeura is an evergreen, low ground tropical plant famous for its distinctly beautiful and decorative 6-inch long leaves. The colorful marks on the leaves become more vivid as the plant matures. The plant has been noted to have small, white and non-fragrant flowers during the spring, but this usually does not occur indoors, rather only in rainforests where it originates. This should not be an issue, though, because the plant’s striking appearance comes with its stunning oval-shaped leaves.

The plant holds its leaves open downwards or straight during the day, and at night the leaves close vertically and resemble praying hands, thus the name Prayer Plant. This behavior is called nyctinasty, and it happens as a response to changes in the sunlight.

The most common theory about this behavior in prayer plants is that the leaves take the closed shape during the night because it allows rain drops to fall through the leaves to the roots. It stops the rain from collecting on the leaves, which prevents bacterial growth and keeps the plant from freezing. It also helps it to retain moisture at night.

Because of this interesting leaf phenomenon, you could easily spot this plant at graveyards, as it symbolizes the prayers for the deceased.

Prayer Plant is not one of the species that can be neglected for weeks and still thrive. It is not too demanding, but it requires a lot of persistence and discipline. It needs specific conditions and special care to grow and reach its full capacity, so we don’t recommend it for people who prefer low-maintenance plants.

Prayer Plant Overview

Prayer Plant Quick Facts

Scientific name Maranta leuconeura
Family name Marantaceae
Origin South America, mostly Brazil rainforests
Height About 12 inches
Light Bright and indirect sunlight
Water Average
Fertilizer Average
Temperature 60-85°F
Soil/growing medium Peat-based potting mix
Humidity High
Propagation Divison at repotting or stem cutting
Poisonous for Non-toxic
Pests Spider mites, aphids, mealy bugs

Maranta leuconeura is a low but spreading plant most often potted in hanging baskets. It can also be seen growing horizontally over flat surfaces. Its growth is fairly slow, so you don’t have to worry about it growing more than you’d want. Furthermore, if you live in a suitably warm and humid climate, you can also grow this plant outside.

The plant is not poisonous, and according to ASPCA, is non-toxic for dogs and cats. During the winter, expect it to take a rest in its growth, and lower the fertilization and watering. The plant will send out fresh, colorful leaves in the spring.

Clean the leaves occasionally with a dry cloth to make sure they are dust-free.

Plant Varieties

Prayer Plant belongs to the Marantacea family, mostly concentrated in South America. There are about 40 various species of the Prayer Plant, but the Maranta leuconeura is the most common one.

There are a few varieties of the Maranta leuconeura, distinguishable by leaf patterns and coloration. They all require the same care. These are the most notable.

Maranta leuconeura ‘Kerchoveana’ (Green Prayer Plant)

Maranta leuconeura ‘Kerchoveana’ (Credit: cerrados)

If you have ever heard of the Maranta species, you must have seen this. The classic variety, most common as a houseplant, the leaves are green and have purple markings between the veins

Maranta leuconeura ‘erythroneura’ (Red Prayer Plant)

Maranta leuconeura var. erythroneura (Credit: nasserhalaweh)

The Erythroneura prayer plant has dark-green leaves with purple spots, and veins of a deep red color.. This plant tends to raise and fold up its leaves in the evening, then close in the morning.

Maranta leuconeura var. leuconeura (Black Prayer Plant)

Maranta leuconeura var. leuconeura ‘Fascinator’ (Credit: Leonora (Ellie) Enking)

Silvery-blue leaves with dark green edges and purple spots

Prayer Plant Care instructions

As the Prayer Plant originates from the rainforest, it can bear neither extremely hot nor very cold temperatures. These plants grow best in warm temperatures, between 65 and 70 °F. Avoid temperature below 55 °F because it could damage the leaves.

If the temperature is too cold, the leaves will shrink and turn a brownish color, and if its too hot, they will turn dark as a result of burning.

Watering

Prayer plants need to be watered generously, especially in spring and summer. The soil, however, should not be soggy. It requires slightly less water in fall and winter, so in these months, water it after the surface of the soil is a bit dry, but never let the soil completely dry out.

These plants are sensitive to fluoride, so don’t use hard water. Stagnant water could harm the roots, so be sure empty the pot saucers regularly. The water for these plants should be warm, or at least at room temperature.

Yellow-pigmented, spotted, and curled leaves usually indicate under-watering, while limp stems are usually a sign of over-watering, which is most common in winter.

Prayer plant requires medium to high light. When there isn’t enough light, the leaves won’t open entirely during the day, and if the light is too strong, it will fade the leaves and in some cases could kill the plant. So, make sure it is always under bright but indirect sunlight. You could also use a sheer curtain or something similar to protect it from the sun.

Light shade is best for summer, and a bit brighter light is best in winter, yet it should still be indirect.

If you have no other option, this plant could also grow under fluorescent light.

Soil and Repotting

You can use a usual house soil-based planting mix, which should retain the water but also drain fairly quickly. If you notice your soil isn’t draining well, add some coarse sand to it. You could also add some gravel to the bottom of the pot to allow for better drainage. Make sure you use a pot with bottom holes so that the soil can drain freely.

You can use wide, shallow pots because its roots don’t need much room. But you can move it to a pot one size larger during the spring if you want it to grow more. Bear in mind, though, that too much soil takes more time to dry, so it could result in rotten roots.

Keep the soil loose around the roots, and make sure it is well-aerated. Don’t repot it too often, but to make sure it has enough air, re-pot it at least once every other year. This is best done in spring before the growing season. As you re-pot, remove the plant from its old container, shake the roots gently, and place into a new pot with fresh soil. You can divide the plant upon repotting if you want to expand your stock. You could also trim the roots for more vigorous growth.

Fertilizer:

This plant doesn’t need much fertilizer; twice per year could be enough. But if you want to boost its growth, feed it with light, half-diluted liquid fertilizer once every two weeks through the growing season. Reduce fertilization in the winter.

Prayer Plant is a tropical plant and thus requires a very humid environment. If the air is too dry, the leaf tips turn brown. Increase the humidity when the temperature is above 65°F, or in winter when the air is usually drier indoors. If you have a bright bathroom, it would be a great spot to place your Prayer Plant because the steam from the shower will add humidity to the air.

Propagation of the Prayer Plant is fairly easy. You should do it in the spring. The cuttings should be 10 cm in length and have 3-4 leaves attached. Place the cuttings in a glass of water, or root them directly into fresh, moist soil. Add each cutting to a 2-3 inch pot. It’s best to make a mix of sand and peat moss. Then, place it in a plastic bag and keep in a shady place.

Rooting will usually happen in about a month, and then you should place it in a regular pot with standard soil, and treat it as an adult Prayer Plant. You can heat the bottom of the cutting to promote faster growth.

Propagating by seed is also possible, but very rare. The best temperature for the seed germination is between 55 and 64°F.

Trim the stems twice per year to improve the shape of the plant; it will keep it bushy and compact. Pruning will also help the plant to grow more quickly. The best time for pruning is in the fall. Use sharp, sterilized garden scissors and cut the stems above the leaf nodes. As you do this, the plant will grow a few new leaves just below the cutting area, resulting in a more bushy appearance.

Common problems and pests

These plants are common targets of pests, including mites, mealybugs or aphids. Mealybugs are visible, soft insects covered with a white powdery-like substance, and usually curl the leavesAphids are light green pear-shaped insects. The best way to treat these two pests is by washing them away with water or insecticidal soap.

Spider mites, however, are the most common pests to attack Prayer Plant, especially in dry winter months. The infestation will be noticeable by the tiny black spots and in the webbing around the stems and at the bottom of the leaves. It’s better to prevent them than treat them, and if you keep the humidity high enough, you should not have a problem.

Root rot can sometimes occur, and it means that the soil is not draining properly.

There is also a possibility of leaf spot due to high humidity. You will notice this disease by watermarks on the leaves. Don’t ignore this disease because it could be fatal for the plant in a matter of days. Reduce the watering and make especially sure that the leaves aren’t too wet. You can treat this disease further with neem oil.

FAQs

1. How to keep the humidity high enough?

If you don’t live in a naturally humid area, you should provide humidity through daily misting. You could also place a bowl of water near your plant. It will provide your plant with some extra humidity as it evaporates. Grouping more plants together could also help.

Furthermore, you can make a DIY humidity tray or purchase a room humidifier instead if you want the least amount of work.

2. The soil for my Prayer Plant doesn’t seem to work. What should I do?

It’s possible that your soil doesn’t drain well, so add some rocks, gravel, or coarse sand to improve it. Make sure your pot has a drainage hole and that you are neither over nor under-watering the plant.

3. Why do the leaves of my plant curl during the daytime too?

This is most commonly due to too much light, so make sure you place your plant under indirect sunlight. It could also be that you should place it in a smaller pot or raise the humidity in the room.

4. Why are the leaves of my Prayer Plant turning brown?

There are various reasons the leaves could turn brown. Low humidity, excess fertilization or the fact that the leaves are touching a window could all affect the leaves of your plant this way.

Brown leaf tips could also indicate that there is mineral build-up in the soil. You can prevent this by watering only with distilled water.

5. Should I cut the flowers off of my Prayer Plant?

It depends on what you prefer. If you like the flowers, then keep them, but note that they reduce the growth of the leaves. So, if you want the leaves to grow to their full capacity, cut the flowers accordingly.

6. Why are the leaves of my Prayer Plant fading?

This is most commonly due to too much light, so move your plant to a shadier spot. Also check for spider mites, since they sometimes cause fading of the leaves.

Conclusion

Prayer plants can seem to be a high-maintenance choice at first because they need the perfect amount of water, light, and humidity to grow into healthy, longlasting plants. But when you set up the best conditions from the start and understand how to care for this plant, it will fairly easy to maintain it. When you put some time and effort into growing a Prayer plant, its striking appearance will make all your hard work pay off.

Prayer Plant Yellowing

I have a prayer plant that has recently showed signs of progressive yellowing. Several of my houseplants were recently infested with spider mites, and all houseplants were sprayed every five days for six applications, alternating insecticidal soap and diluted neem oil. The prayer plant in question never showed signs of spider mites, but as it was in the same room as infested plants, was treated as a precaution. Mites have not been seen on the plant following treatment, and the incident may not be related but is provided for context. Recently (after the spider mite treatments had ceased) the plant has begun showing signs of leaf yellowing. This begins in leaf centers as small white spots surrounded by yellow and slightly translucent leaf tissue, as well as edge burn and crumpling along leaf edges. This progresses to whole leaf yellowing, or in some cases orange spots, and leaf death. I have been trimming off affected leaves and parts of leaves, but the symptoms keep appearing. Unaffected leaves seem vigorous, and the plant is still budding new leaves, but at the rate of dieoff, is losing leaves faster than they are growing. I also have several spider plants that are exhibiting similar symptoms, with one leaf at a time turning yellow, then brown and mushy, and falling off. The spider plants are exhibiting much more rapid dieoff than the prayer plant, and are almost completely lost; symptoms in spider and prayer plant started around the same time. I have a ti plant, several pothos, and a zz plant in the same room that have not yet exhibited any similar symptoms. What does this appear to be, and is there anything that can be done? I have attached three photos of prayer plant leaves, one healthy, one with the very first stages of white points with slight chlorosis, and one advanced leaf after being trimmed.

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