Care for the Prayer ~Maranta leuconeura~

Common name: Prayer Plant

Scientific Name: Maranta leuconeura

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Family: Marantaceae

Native Range: Brazil

Zone: 11 to 12

Height: 6”-12”

Spread: 6”-12”

Bloom Time: Produces white flowers, though rarely blooms indoors

Sun: Part shade

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Low

Your Prayer Plant prefers:

  • Temperatures that do not dip below 60 degrees F. Zero tolerance for frost.

  • A soil-based potting mix.

  • Bright indirect light but not strong direct sun. 

→Too much sun will bleach out the attractive leaf colors. 

  • Consistently moist but not soggy, well-drained soil but, drier soil during winter dormancy. 

→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. 

  • A humidified room and/or standing in a tray of wet pebbles to increase humidity. 

→However, do not allow the prayer plant to sit directly in water.

  • To be fertilized monthly during the growing season, but a reduction in soil moisture and substantially reduced fertilizer applications from autumn to late winter.

→Use warm water and feed prayer plant houseplants every two weeks, from spring through fall, with an all-purpose fertilizer.

  • To be propagated by cuttings or division of the rhizomatous root structure

What’s wrong with my plant?!?

  • Exposure to bright, direct sunlight will cause browning at the tips of leaves. Move plants to a shady spot where the suns rays cannot come into direct contact with leaves. 

  • Over watering is a VERY COMMON problem for houseplants and the Prayer Plant is no exception. Over watering can cause older, lower leaves to turn brown and die off. Try letting the plant dry down over a few weeks then begin watering regularly with minimal applications every two weeks. If the leaves begin to wilt, water moderately. Make sure there is good drainage in your pot or planter. If not, consider switching to a pot with better drainage OR come in and take advantage of our POT DRILLING SERVICE at Urban Earth Nursery!

  • Chlorosis: Iron chlorosis affects many kinds of plants and causes unsightly yellow leaves and eventually death. So it is important to correct iron chlorosis in plants. The most obvious symptom of iron deficiency in plants is commonly called leaf chlorosis. This is where the leaves of the plant turn yellow, but the veins of the leaves stay green. Typically, leaf chlorosis will start at the tips of new growth in the plant and will eventually work its way to older leaves on the plant as the deficiency gets worse.

    What Does Iron Do for Plants? Iron is a nutrient that all plants need to function. Many of the vital functions of the plant, like enzyme and chlorophyll production, nitrogen fixing, and development and metabolism are all dependent on iron. Without iron, the plant simply cannot function as well as it should. Rarely is an iron deficiency in plants caused by a lack of iron in the soil. Iron is typically abundant in the soil, but a variety of soil conditions can limit how well a plant can get to the iron in the soil. Iron chlorosis in plants is normally caused by one of four reasons: Soil pH is too high; soil has too much clay; compacted or overly wet soil; too much phosphorus in the soil

  • Bring your plant in to Urban Earth Nursery if you suspect over exposure, over watering or chlorosis, we have a team of plant people ready to help identify problems and discuss solutions!

  • Spider mites, mealybugs and aphids are all pests that enjoy munching on your prayer plant so keep and eye out for insect activity and send us pictures of the damage if you need advice on how to exterminate these little critters!

Sources and Resources:

Missouri Botanical Gardens:

Read more at Gardening Know How: How To Grow Prayer Plants & Prayer Plant Propagation