Beginner Guide to Prayer Plant Care: Tips for a Lush and Healthy Plant

The Prayer Plant, also known as Maranta leuconeura, is a popular houseplant known for its vibrant foliage and unique ability to move its leaves. However, caring for this plant can be a challenge for many beginners.

From proper lighting and watering to humidity requirements, there are several factors to consider when it comes to maintaining a lush and healthy Prayer Plant.

In this guide, we will provide you with valuable tips and advice on prayer plant care, ensuring its longevity and beauty in your home.

Let's get started.

Understanding the Prayer Plant: An Overview

The Maranta leuconeura, commonly known as the prayer plant, is a tropical plant easily recognizable due to its stunning decorative leaves. The name "prayer plant" comes from its unique behavior of keeping leaves flat during the day and folding them up like praying hands at night.

Understanding the Prayer Plant

The tricolor variety, in particular, showcases deep green, velvety leaves spotted with yellow splotches along the midrib and striking red veins that extend toward the leaf margins.

The prayer plant is slow-growing, but when grown indoors, it can eventually reach a height of about a foot, which is not too bad for a plant that grows slowly. This makes it a popular choice among houseplant enthusiasts.

The plant can be successfully cultivated and cared for indoors throughout the year, making it a versatile addition to any home. Indoor gardening requires a certain level of attention and dedication, and the prayer plant is no exception.

Providing the right conditions for the prayer plant is crucial for its overall well-being.

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How to Care for Prayer Plants (Maranta)

The prayer plant, scientifically known as Maranta leuconeura, is a popular houseplant loved for its vibrant foliage and unique characteristics.

However, prayer plants require proper care and attention to thrive and flourish like any other plant. In this part, we will guide you on caring for a prayer plant and keeping it happy and healthy.

Here are some key tips for prayer plant care instructions   

Light Requirements of Prayer Plant

Maranta leuconeura is an incredibly beautiful and captivating houseplant that has gained popularity among plant enthusiasts for its unique leaf patterns and vibrant colors.

How to Care for Prayer Plants

But to keep these beautiful plants thriving and looking their best, it's crucial to understand their light requirements. In this part, we will delve into the light needs of prayer plants, helping you create the perfect environment for these green companions to flourish.

Prayer plants are native to the tropical rainforests of Brazil, which means they thrive in bright, indirect light conditions. While they can tolerate lower light levels, providing them with enough light will encourage healthy growth and promote the vibrant colors and patterns on their leaves.

Ideally, prayer plants should be placed in a location where they receive bright, filtered light. Direct sunlight can scorch their delicate leaves, leading to unsightly burns or discoloration.

If you notice that the leaves are turning yellow or brown, it may be a sign that your plant is receiving too much direct sunlight. Moving your prayer plant to an area with more shade or using curtains or blinds can help filter the sunlight in such cases.

Indoor spaces with east or west-facing windows are perfect for accommodating the light needs of prayer plants. These windows typically provide bright, indirect light throughout most of the day, allowing your plant to thrive.

If you don't have access to east or west-facing windows, you can also place your prayer plant a few feet away from a north-facing window. Although north-facing windows provide lower light levels, they can still meet the minimum light requirements of most prayer plants.

If you're unsure whether your prayer plant is receiving adequate light, observe its leaves. Prayer plants respond to light by folding their leaves at night, resembling hands clasped in prayer - hence their common name.

Leaves fully spread during the day are a good indicator that your plant is receiving enough light. However, if the leaves are constantly folded or drooping, it might be a sign that your prayer plant needs more light.

In addition to finding the right location, it's essential to maintain a consistent light routine for your prayer plant. Avoid moving the plant around frequently or exposing it to sudden changes in light conditions, as this can cause stress and leaf damage.

Consistency is key when it comes to providing the ideal light environment for your prayer plant. If you find that your home doesn't offer sufficient natural light for your prayer plant, you can supplement its light requirements with artificial lighting.

LED grow lights are an excellent option for indoor gardening, as they provide the right spectrum of light for plant growth without producing excessive heat. Position the grow lights about 12 to 18 inches above your prayer plant and keep them on for 12 to 14 hours daily to mimic natural daylight.

Soil Requirements of Prayer Plant

These beautiful plants can thrive in various soil types if the soil is well-draining. While a traditional potting mix is suitable for prayer plants, you can also create your soil mix to cater to their specific needs.

To make your soil mix, combine two parts sphagnum peat moss,one part loamy soil, and one part perlite or coarse sand. This combination will provide adequate drainage for the plant's roots, preventing waterlogging and potential root rot.

It is important to note that prayer plants prefer acidic soil, with a pH level of around 6.0. To maintain the ideal acidity, you can test the pH level of your soil using a pH testing kit available at most garden centers. You can lower the pH level by adding organic matter to the soil if the pH level is too high.

To further enhance the soil's drainage, adding rocks or pebbles to the bottom of the pot before planting your prayer plant is recommended. This will create a layer for excess water to gather, preventing water from saturating the roots. Additionally, ensuring that the pot has ample drainage holes is crucial to allow excess water to escape.

Prayer plants thrive in soil that is nutrient-rich and abundant in organic matter. Adding compost or well-rotted manure to the soil mix can greatly enhance its quality. Organic matter provides essential nutrients and improves the soil's ability to retain moisture without becoming waterlogged.

This encourages healthy root development and overall plant growth. When it comes to watering prayer plants, it is important to strike a balance. Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering can cause the leaves to dry and curl.

To ensure proper watering, allowing the top inch of the soil to dry out before watering again is best. This will prevent the plant from sitting in waterlogged soil for extended periods. In addition to these soil requirements, it is essential to consider other factors that contribute to the overall well-being of your prayer plant.

These include proper watering, adequate lighting, and maintaining optimal humidity levels. By providing the right combination of these elements, you can create an environment that allows your prayer plant to flourish.

Overall, prayer plants have specific soil requirements for optimal growth and health. Following these guidelines, you can provide the ideal soil conditions for your prayer plant to flourish and showcase its striking foliage.

Temperature Requirements of Prayer Plant.

Prayer plants are known for their sensitivity to temperature changes, making it crucial to provide them with the right environment to flourish. Generally, these plants prefer temperatures between 60°F and 80°F (15°C to 27°C).

While they can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures, anything below 55°F (12°C) may cause stress and potentially harm the plant. Similarly, temperatures above 85°F (29°C) can lead to leaf scorching and overall decline.

Maintaining a consistent temperature for your prayer plant is essential. Avoid placing it near drafty windows, doors, or heating/cooling vents that may cause quick temperature changes. Instead, choose a spot in your home that provides stable temperatures throughout the day.

During the daytime, prayer plants thrive in slightly warmer temperatures. Aim to maintain a temperature range of 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 27°C) during daylight hours. This range mimics the tropical conditions the prayer plant is accustomed to, promoting healthy growth and vibrant foliage.

As nighttime approaches, prayer plants prefer slightly cooler temperatures. Lowering the temperature to around 60°F to 70°F (15°C to 21°C) during the nighttime hours helps replicate the natural drop in temperature that occurs in their native habitats.

This temperature difference signals the plant to rest and conserve energy, leading to overall better plant health. It's important to note that prayer plants are not frost-tolerant.

If you live in a region with cold winters, keep your plant indoors or properly protected during the colder months. Exposure to frost can lead to irreversible damage to the leaves and potentially kill the plant.

Humidity Levels for Prayer Plants

As an indoor plant, it is essential to understand the humidity requirements of prayer plants to ensure their health and survival. Humidity plays a crucial role in the overall well-being of prayer plants.

In their natural habitat, these plants are accustomed to high humidity levels, making it necessary to replicate those conditions indoors. Providing the right humidity levels will keep your prayer plant happy and prevent common issues such as dry leaf edges, browning, and wilting.

Ideal Humidity Levels for Prayer Plants

The ideal humidity range for prayer plants falls between 50% to 60%. However, they can tolerate slightly lower levels, down to 40%, without significant harm. Maintaining the humidity levels within this range will help promote lush foliage and vibrant colors.

Signs of Low Humidity

If your prayer plant is not receiving enough humidity, it will exhibit certain signs. Look out for these indicators to ensure you can adjust the conditions accordingly.


  • Browning Leaf Tips: Dry and crispy brown leaf tips are a common sign of low humidity. Lack of moisture in the air causes the plant to lose water through its leaves, leading to dehydration.
  • Drooping Leaves: If your prayer plant's leaves are drooping or wilting, it could indicate insufficient humidity. The plant is trying to conserve water by curling its leaves inward.
  • Leaf Edges Curling: In low humidity conditions, the edges of the prayer plant's leaves may curl or become crispy. This is the plant's way of protecting itself from losing excessive moisture.

By recognizing these signs and taking appropriate measures, you can ensure your prayer plant receives the right humidity for optimal growth.

Methods to Increase Humidity for Prayer Plants.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to increase humidity around your prayer plants is to group them together. When plants are placed in close proximity, they create a microclimate where moisture is retained, resulting in higher humidity levels.

Another popular method is to use a pebble tray. Fill a shallow tray with water and add pebbles or stones. Then, position your prayer plant on top of the pebbles, ensuring the water level does not reach the bottom of the pot. Water evaporates, increasing humidity around the plant.

It is important to regularly mist your prayer plant with water to keep the humidity levels high. Use a spray bottle to mist the leaves, making sure to cover both the upper and lower surfaces. However, avoid misting excessively to prevent waterlogged soil and fungal issues.

Investing in a humidifier is a great option if you live in a particularly dry climate or struggle to maintain adequate humidity levels. Humidifiers release a gentle mist into the air, creating an optimal environment for your prayer plant and other moisture-loving plants.

Tips for Maintaining Proper Humidity Levels

Avoid placing prayer plants near heaters, air conditioners, or drafts, as these can dry out the air and reduce humidity levels. Regularly monitor the humidity levels using a hygrometer, a device that measures humidity, to ensure they remain within the ideal range.

Use a well-draining potting mix to prevent waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot and other issues.

Water Requirements of Prayer Plant

One crucial aspect of caring for the Prayer Plant is providing the right amount of water. Finding the perfect balance can be tricky, like most houseplants, but with a little knowledge and attention, you can ensure your Prayer Plant thrives and grows.

The watering needs of the Prayer Plant are influenced by various factors, including the plant's age, size, environmental conditions, and the type of soil it is planted in. As a general rule, it is important to keep the soil consistently moist but not overly saturated.

Overwatering can cause root rot on your plants, while underwatering can cause them to curl and brown due to lack of watering. It is best to check the soil's moisture level to determine when it's time to water your Prayer Plant.

The soil should feel dry if your finger is pressed about an inch deep. However, if the soil feels moist, it's best to wait a bit longer before watering again. Seasonal changes will also affect watering frequency.

During the warmer months of spring and summer, when the plant is actively growing, it may require more frequent watering. On the other hand, during the colder months of fall and winter, when its growth slows down, you'll need to reduce the watering frequency.

Choosing the right type of water is also important. The Prayer Plant is sensitive to tap water chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride. To prevent any harm to the plant, using pure water or allowing tap water to sit out for a few hours before watering is recommended. This will help dissipate any harmful chemicals.

Proper drainage is essential for the Prayer Plant. Make sure your plant is potted in a container with drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. If the water remains at the bottom of the pot, it can lead to root rot and other issues.

Regularly check the drainage holes to ensure they are not blocked, and if necessary, repot your Prayer Plant in a container with proper drainage.

It's worth noting that each Prayer Plant may have slightly different water requirements, so it's important to observe your plant closely and make adjustments accordingly. Factors such as temperature, light levels, and the plant's overall health can affect its need for water.

Fertilizer Requirements of Prayer Plant

Like any other houseplant, the prayer plant requires proper care and attention to thrive. One essential aspect of its care is ensuring it receives the right amount and type of fertilizer.

Before we dive into the specifics, it's important to understand why fertilizing is crucial for the prayer plant. Fertilizers provide essential nutrients that may be lacking in the plant's soil, helping it grow and develop to its full potential.

These nutrients include minerals such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), as well as micronutrients like iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg), and zinc (Zn). When choosing a fertilizer for your prayer plant, it's best to opt for a well-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.

Look for one with an NPK ratio of 20-20-20 or similar, which signifies equal proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This balanced ratio ensures that your plant receives good nutrients for growth and development.

Now, let's talk about how often and when to fertilize your prayer plant. During the growing season, which is typically spring and summer, it's recommended to fertilize your plant every two weeks.

Prepare the fertilizer according to the instructions on the package, as using too much can lead to fertilizer burn and damage to the plant's roots. In fall and winter, when the prayer plant enters a period of dormancy, you can reduce the frequency of fertilization to once a month.

This allows the plant to rest and prepare for the upcoming growing season. Remember to always water your plant thoroughly before applying fertilizer, as this helps prevent root burn and ensures proper absorption of nutrients.

Another important aspect of fertilizer application is avoiding the buildup of salts in the soil. Over time, salts from the fertilizer can accumulate, leading to nutrient imbalances and potential damage to the plant.

To prevent this, it's essential to flush the soil every few months. Water your prayer plant thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain from the bottom. This helps flush out any accumulated salts and keeps the soil in optimal condition.

Choosing the Right Fertilizer.

When it comes to selecting the right fertilizer for your Prayer Plant, there are a few options to consider. You can opt for either organic or synthetic fertilizers, depending on your preferences and gardening practices.

It is important to keep in mind that organic fertilizers provide a slow release of nutrients that nourish a plant gradually such as compost, worm castings, or fish emulsion. They are environmentally friendly and promote soil health.

On the other hand, synthetic fertilizers offer precise control over nutrient levels and are generally faster-acting. Whichever option you choose, be sure to select a well-balanced fertilizer with a ratio such as 20-20-20.

Why Repotting is Necessary

There are a number of reasons why you may need to repot your prayer plant. Firstly, as the plant grows, it will eventually outgrow its current pot, leading to root-bound conditions. Repotting allows the plant to establish roots and access fresh nutrients and water.

Furthermore, repotting provides an opportunity to refresh the potting mix, ensuring optimal soil conditions for the plant's growth. Lastly, repotting can help prevent and address potential issues like root rot or pest infestations.

When to Repot

The best time to repot your prayer plant is during its active growth period, typically in spring or early summer. Signs that your plant needs repotting include roots growing out of drainage holes, stunted growth, or the plant becoming top-heavy and unstable in its current pot.

Materials You'll Need

Before you begin the repotting process, gather the following materials:

  1. A new pot: Select a pot that is one size larger than the current pot to allow for root growth. Ensure the pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
  1. Potting mix: Use a well-draining potting mix suitable for tropical plants or create your own by combining equal parts peat moss, perlite, and compost.
  2. Pruning shears: Clean, sharp pruning shears will be needed to trim any damaged or overgrown roots.

After getting the material, follow these simple steps.

Prepare the new pot: Fill the bottom of the new pot with a layer of fresh potting mix to provide a stable base for the plant. Remove the plant from its current pot by turning it upside down, tapping the bottom a few times, and turning it back over.

Doing so will loosen the root ball. While supporting the stems, carefully remove the plant from the pot. You may need to tease the roots apart if the plant is root-bound gently. 

Inspect and trim the roots: Examine the roots for any signs of damage, rot, or pests. Trim away any black or mushy roots using clean pruning shears. This will encourage healthy root growth.

Place the plant in the new pot: Position it in the center, ensuring it is at the same depth as in the previous pot. Make sure the potting mix is evenly distributed around the sides of the pot, and gently press it down to provide stability.

Fill the pot with potting mix: Fill the remaining space in the pot with fresh potting mix, leaving a small gap at the top to allow for watering. Make sure all air pockets are removed by gently patting the soil down.

Watering and post-repot care: After repotting, thoroughly water the plant until the water drains out of the bottom. Make sure the pot is well-lit and away from direct sunlight. Make sure the soil is consistently moist without becoming waterlogged.

To prevent overwatering, You can use a self-watering planter. These innovative planters are designed to prevent overwatering and provide the ideal moisture levels for your plants.

self watering planter for prayer plant

Specifically, a self-watering planter is an absolute must-have if you own prayer plants. If you're looking for a reliable self-watering planter for your prayer plants, check out the wide range of options available on Planterhoma.

They offer a variety of self-watering planters that are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing, allowing you to create a beautiful display while taking care of your plants' watering needs. So say goodbye to overwatering woes and give your prayer plants the perfect home they deserve with a self-watering planter from Planterhoma.

Monitor the plant's progress: Prayer plants are known to be sensitive to changes, so monitor your plant closely in the following days and weeks. Monitor any signs of stress, such as wilting or yellowing leaves, and adjust watering or lighting conditions accordingly.

Repotting and potting your prayer plant is crucial in its care routine. Following this step-by-step guide, you can ensure that your prayer plant thrives and brings beauty to your indoor space.

Prayer Plant Propagation

Propagation is a rewarding process that allows you to expand your collection of prayer plants or share them with others. Whether you choose to divide your plants or take stem cuttings, with the right care and patience, you can successfully propagate your prayer plants and enjoy their beauty throughout your home or garden. If you're looking to propagate your prayer plants, you can use two main methods: divisions and cuttings.

Let's start with the division method. To begin, gently remove the prayer plant from its pot, carefully not damaging the roots. Once you have the plant out, lightly shake it to separate individual plants. You can use sterilized scissors or shears to cut any connected stems or roots.

Next, you must prepare individual pots filled with loose potting soil that drains well. It's important to ensure that the plants have a healthy, white, and fibrous root system. Place each division in a pot, lightly pressing down on the soil to eliminate air pockets.

After planting, water the pots thoroughly and keep them in a warm and bright location. This will help the divisions establish and thrive.

Now, let's move on to the cutting method. Select healthy stems from an existing prayer plant using sterilized scissors or shears. It's best to choose not too-long stems, cutting them no longer than one or two nodes per cutting. From each cutting, remove all but one or two leaves.

Fill containers with a Moist but well-drained soil mixture, or you can use a Leca ball; Leca ball is an advanced soil option specifically designed to meet the needs of indoor plants. Make sure the cuttings are securely planted but not buried too deep. Lightly water the cuttings and keep them in a warm and bright location.

Both divisions and cuttings require proper care and attention. It's essential to keep the soil moist but not overly saturated. Regularly check the moisture level and water accordingly. Additionally, placing the pots in a warm and bright location will help the new plants establish roots and grow.

Pests and Problems for Prayer Plants

Prayer plants are not immune to pests and problems like any other houseplant. Here we will explore some common issues that can affect your prayer plants and provide tips on preventing and treating them.

Spider Mites: These tiny pests can be a nightmare for your prayer plants. They are difficult to spot with the naked eye but can cause significant damage by sucking the sap from the leaves, leading to yellowing, wilting, and even death of the plant.

To prevent spider mites, make sure to regularly inspect your plants, especially the undersides of the leaves where they tend to hide. If an infestation is detected, isolate the affected plant and use a gentle insecticidal soap or neem oil spray to eliminate the pests.

Mealybugs: Mealybugs are another common problem that prayer plant owners may encounter. These soft-bodied insects typically congregate in clusters, often hiding in the leaf axils or on the underside of the leaves.

Mealybugs feed on the plant's sap, causing stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and a sticky residue known as honeydew.

To eliminate mealybugs, you can gently wipe them off with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or use insecticidal soap. It is also crucial to isolate any infected plants to prevent the spread of these pests.

Fungal Diseases: Like many other houseplants, prayer plants are susceptible to various fungal diseases, such as root rot and leaf spot. These diseases are often caused by overwatering, poor drainage, or excessive humidity.

To avoid fungal problems, it is vital to water your prayer plant sparingly, allowing the top inch of the soil to dry out between waterings.

Providing proper airflow can also help prevent fungal diseases. If you notice any signs of fungal infections, such as yellow or brown spots on the leaves, removing the affected foliage and adjusting your watering routine promptly is crucial.

Root Rot: Overwatering is the main cause of root rot in prayer plants. When the roots are constantly sitting in waterlogged soil, they become exposed to fungal and bacterial infections, leading to rotting.

There are several signs that indicate root rot, including yellow leaves, wilting, and an unpleasant odor emanating from the soil. To prevent root rot, water your prayer plant only when the top inch of soil feels dry.

Environmental Stress: Prayer plants are native to tropical regions, where they thrive in warm and humid conditions. Some factors can stress these plants and cause problems, such as leaf curling, browning, and overall decline, including extreme temperatures, drafts, and dry air.

To create an ideal environment for your prayer plant, place it in a warm and well-lit spot away from direct sunlight. By being aware of these common pests and problems that can affect prayer plants, you can take proactive measures to prevent and address them promptly.


prayer plants are beautiful and vibrant houseplants that can bring a touch of nature into any space. Following the proper Maranta leuconeura care guidelines, including providing the right amount of light, water, and humidity, ensure your prayer plant thrives and displays its unique foliage to its full potential.

Remember to keep an eye out for any signs of stress or pests and take the necessary steps to address them promptly. By giving your prayer plant the care and attention it needs, you can enjoy its beautiful foliage and unique movements for years.

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Do Prayer Plants Need a Lot of Light?

Prayer plants (Maranta leuconeura) prefer bright, indirect light but not direct sunlight. They can tolerate lower light conditions, but their foliage may lose some of its vibrant colors. It is best to place them near a window with filtered light or in a well-lit room.

However, it's important to avoid placing them in direct sunlight as it can scorch their leaves. Providing them with the right light will help maintain their vibrant foliage and promote healthy growth.

How Do I Know if My Prayer Plant is Happy?

A prayer plant is happy and healthy when it exhibits certain signs. Firstly, check the leaves. It indicates good health if they are vibrant green and have no discoloration.

It's also important that the leaves stay firm and don't droop. Another sign of a happy prayer plant is active growth. If you notice new leaves sprouting regularly, the plant is thriving.

Additionally, the plant should not show signs of stress, such as wilting or yellowing leaves. By providing the necessary care, such as proper watering, adequate sunlight, and a suitable environment, you can ensure the happiness of your prayer plant.

Are Prayer Plants Easy to Maintain?

Yes, prayer plants are generally considered to be easy to maintain. They are known for their resilience and ability to adapt to different environments. With proper care, prayer plants can thrive and make a beautiful addition to any indoor space.

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