Prayer PlantScientific name: Maranta
Synonym: Prayer Plant
The Prayer Plant is so named because of the way it folds its leaves together at night, like hands closed in prayer. In the morning, it unfolds its leaves, sometimes making a rustling sound. There are many species of Prayer Plant, but the most common is the Maranta leuconeura, the beautiful tri-coloured variety.
Prayer Plants are often grown for their showy leaves. They are oval, kind of velvety and have a stunning light and dark green feathered pattern with red veins on the top side of the leaf with the underside often being red. Prayer Plants may produce flowers indoor, but they are very small and not particularly showy. The foliage is everything!
Prayer Plants are low spreading plant that is often grown in hanging baskets, where its trailing leaves create a shower of color.It can however also be placed on a table top where it will grow horizontally.
Please note: Maranta are not considered toxic.
- Brown, dry leaf tips are a sign of inadequate humidity levels. Increase frequency of plant misting or place the plant in a more humid environment. The plant can also be placed among other houseplants to encourage a humid environment.
- Brown leaves are a result of the plant drying out too much or too often and is caused by under-watering. Increase your watering frequency or amount of water you give the plant. Always make sure the soil is kept moist.
- Faded or scorched leaves; leaves curling up; brown blotches: This occurs when the plant has been exposed to direct, bright sunlight for too long. Prolonged exposure may even cause the plant to die.
- Spider mites are the most common pests that can infest Prayer Plants, though mealybugs and aphids are also common pests. High humidity will keep these pests away but if you do find your plant has become infested, treat it with an organic pesticide, such as Neem Oil.
- Leaf loss; root rot: too dry or too cool – these conditions will cause leaf loss or fungal infections that cause the plant to die from root rot. Ensure the plant is sufficiently watered and humid.
- Origin: Brazil
- Height: up to 30cm
- Light: Place your plant in bright, indirect light and take care to keep it out of direct sun as strong sun can cause the leaves to fade. The Prayer Plant also grows well under fluorescent lighting. It is also somewhat tolerant of low light conditions.
- Water: The Prayer Plant does not like to be dry. Keep soil evenly moistthroughout spring and summer and slightly drier during the colder months. Do not let the water become too soggy or let it sit in water.
- Humidity: The Prayer Plant likes high humidity. You can place your Prayer Plant among several houseplants to help create more humid conditions or mist daily with water.
- Temperature: Average to warm temperatures of 16-27°Cis ideal for the Prayer Plant.
- Soil: Use a potting soil that drains well.
- Fertilizer: Feed with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half every two weeks in spring through to autumn.
- Repotting: You should not need to re-pot your plant too often. Root bound plants grow much slower than a plant that has more room for its roots. Re-pot in early spring, at which time propagation by division can also be done. Re-pot your plant into a pot that is 2-4cm bigger than its previous pot.
- Pruning: If you want to encourage more vigorous growth in your plant or want your plant to be more ‘bushy’, you can prune your plant. Use a pair of garden scissors and clip the stems right above the leaf node. The plant will send out new shoots directly below the cut area.
- Propagation: Cutting: In spring to early summer, 10cm stem cuttings with 3-4 leaves attached can be made. Take these cuttings just below the nodes closest to the bottom of the stem. Root these cuttings in moist potting soil. Division: if your plant gets too big, divide it by pulling apart its shallow roots and repotting.
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