Prayer Plant Care Guide (Maranta Leuconeura)

Difficulty Level: Modest

What is the Prayer Plant?

The Prayer Plant is a beautiful member of the Maranta genus that is popular for its velvety green leaves with yellow notes and red veins. It gets its name from the fact that its leaves lay flat during the day and curl upward at night, as a pair of praying hands would. Its decorative foliage and unique nighttime movements have made it a must-have houseplant.

For the best results possible, provide your Prayer Plant with conditions that are similar to those found in a greenhouse. This includes a warm environment with a consistent source of humidity and a steady flow of fertilizer. While it might feel tedious, the results are more than worth it, and your plant will look amazing!

Light CareLight Care

For best results, provide your Prayer Plant with a source of bright, indirect light. This is a very general requirement for a large portion of houseplants, as indirect light allows them to enjoy sunlight without the threat of burning or facing even more severe effects. It also ensures that your plant does not lose out on sunlight, which is vital for the plant’s growth.

Ideally, place your plant near a window, where it can experience sunlight without fear of being scorched. You can set it even closer to the window if necessary, so long as there is a curtain or piece of fabric acting as a buffer between your plant and the sunlight.

Water CareWater Care

Water your Prayer Plant on a weekly basis, as soon as you can feel that the top layer of soil has dried out. Never allow its soil to completely dry out, as the Prayer Plant is particularly susceptible to drought conditions. On the other hand, make sure not to overwater your plant, which could cause it to wither and die. Use water that is at least room temperature.

To check the water levels of your plant’s soil, place a water meter into the soil, where it will give you an accurate indication. If you do not own a water meter, stick one finger knuckle-deep into the soil. At this depth, you will be able to accurately account for the soil’s level of moistness.

Food GuideFood Guide

The only real soil requirement for the Prayer Plant is that the mixture is well-draining. This prevents water from pooling in the soil and damaging the roots of your plant. Combine regular potting soil with peat moss, loamy soil or perlite to increase its draining capabilities. Also, make sure that the soil mixture is acidic, with a pH of 5.5 - 6.

Fertilizer is crucial for the success of your Prayer Plant. Provide a half-strength, diluted fertilizer for your plant every two weeks, starting in spring and heading all the way through to the end of fall. In the winter, reduce the feeding schedule to once per month. Make sure not to give your plant too little or too much fertilizer, as this could lead to a list of complications, such as stunted growth and the burning of the plant’s roots.

Staff Holy Grail Tip:

While taking care of your Prayer Plant, you might notice that its leaves begin to curl upward at night. If you see this, don’t panic! It’s a very natural process for this type of plant, and is actually the reason that it’s called a “prayer plant” in the first place. During the nighttime, the plant doesn’t need to absorb any light and reduces its surface area. Then, in the morning and throughout the day, its leaves will stretch out and take in as much sunlight as possible. If you find that your plant’s foliage isn’t leaving its prayer position during the day, check on its water and light levels.