Image by Rusty Clark
By Heather Rhoades
How to Grow a Prayer Plant
Most people are familiar with how to grow prayer plants. The prayer plant (Maranta leucoreura) is easy to grow but has specific needs. Although prayer plant houseplants is somewhat tolerant of low light conditions, it usually does best in bright indirect sunlight. The prayer plant prefers well-drained soil and requires high humidity to thrive. Prayer plant houseplants should be kept moist, but not soggy. Use warm water and feed prayer plant houseplants every two weeks, from spring through fall, with fertilizer.
During winter dormancy, the soil should be kept drier. Keep in mind, however, that dry air can also be a problem in winter; therefore, placing the prayer plant among several houseplants can help create more humid conditions, misting daily with warm water. Placing a bowl of water near the plant or setting its container on top of a shallow dish of pebbles and water is also helpful. However, do not allow the prayer plant to sit directly in water. Ideal temperatures for the prayer plant are between 60 and 80 degrees F.
Prayer Plant Propagation
Repot in early spring, at which time, prayer plant propagation can be accomplished by division. Use ordinary potting soil when repotting the prayer plant. Stem cuttings can also be taken from spring to early summer. Take cuttings just below the nodes closest to the bottom of the stem. Cuttings can be placed in a mixture of moist peat and perlite and covered with plastic to retain moisture levels. You may want to poke a few air holes in the plastic to allow for adequate ventilation as well. Place the cuttings in a sunny location.
If a piece of prayer plant has broken off, dip the broken end into rooting hormone and place it in distilled water. Change the water every other day. Wait until the roots are about an inch long before taking it out to place in soil. Keep in mind with prayer plant propagation that there needs to be a least a small portion of stem on the leaves in order for the piece to take root. Alternatively, the piece can be rooted directly in soil, as with cuttings.
Prayer Plant Pest Problems
Since prayer plant houseplants may be prone to pests such as spider mites, mealybugs and aphids, it is a good idea to inspect new plants thoroughly before bringing them indoors. You may also want to occasionally check prayer plant houseplants as an added precaution during watering or feeding intervals for any problems that may arise.
Learning how to grow a prayer plant is easy and its rewards well worth any issues you may come across along the way.