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The Prayer Plant or more specifically Maranta leuconeura is a part of the Marantaceae family of plants and originates from South America. Often just referred to as a Maranta plant this common houseplant is very affordable and easy-to-find. Luckily, that doesn’t stop it from giving us those beautiful leaves that look like artwork! Growing to just around 8-12 inches tall this spreading houseplant looks wonderful in a hanging planter or perched just about anywhere. It’s a slow-growing plant that’s perfect for small spaces.
The Maranta plant can thrive in low-light all the way up to bright, indirect light. Keep out of direct sunlight which can quickly burn and damage the leaves. If your plant is beginning to fade in color this may be a sign that it’s receiving a little too much light.
These plants will naturally go dormant during the winter months so growth will slow down. You can always add a grow light during these months to help aid in continued growth. Keep the leaves of this plant clean by using a dry cloth to wipe away dust.
One of the coolest parts about this plant is that when it’s dark it raises and slightly curls its leaves up to the sky like it’s praying. This is how it got its common name Prayer Plant and our award of most devout. Get it? Anyways, the reason it does this is to help rain pass by the leaves more efficiently getting straight to the roots.
Proper watering may be the trickiest part of keeping a Prayer Plant happy. They need moist, but not soggy soil at all times to be their happiest. Never let the soil completely dry out and aim to water once the very top of the soil starts to feel dry. When you water, water thoroughly so water freely comes out the bottom of the pot. During dormancy, you probably won’t need to water as often.
These plants can also be picky about the water they drink. Their preference would be distilled or rainwater. A trick I use to keep mine happy without the extra work is to just leave out some of my tap water in my watering can overnight. This helps to dissipate the chlorine and fluoride in the water and also makes the water the perfect temperature for these picky gals. Giving in to their water preferences helps keep away brown tips and keeps their leaves looking lush!
If you’re new to houseplants and are struggling to know when to water your plants check out the moisture meter that I use. It is so helpful in learning how to gauge when a plant needs to be watered.
Use a quality, well-draining houseplant soil for your Prayer Plant. Use a planter that has at least one or more drainage holes. Sitting in soggy soil can lead to root rot. If you’re looking to really step up your plant parent game check out our post about making your own soil perfect for tropical houseplants!
Maranta Leuconeura plants don’t need to be repotted very often, maybe once every one-two years. If your houseplant seems to be growing extra slowly this may be a sign that it’s root-bound and ready to move into a slightly larger home.
Originating in the rainforest it should be no surprise that the Maranta plants love humid environments! Keep the humidity levels up by adding a humidifier to your space. Other options include adding a humidity tray, or misting your plant daily. This will help to keep the leaves looking vibrant and lush. Your bathroom is a great home for your Prayer Plant since the humidity is usually a little higher than the rest of your house.
Use a quality houseplant fertilizer on this plant during the growing season. Once the plant goes into dormancy in wintertime don’t fertilize again until spring.
Another great thing about Prayer Plants is that they’re non-toxic. A perfect addition to a home with pets or children. However, I always find it best to keep plants away from curious children and pets to keep everyone, plants included, safest.
Maranta Leuconeura Kerchoveana
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