Prayer plants are growing in popularity for their beautiful colors and their famously animate foliage. All falling under the Marantaceae family, Calathea and Maranta are the most common types of prayer plants. This family includes all plants whose leaves visibly move and fold throughout the day. The folding up and down motion, similar to praying hands, is where these plants get the name “prayer plant”.
Water & Humidity
Be sure that your soil and container allows adequate drainage. Prayer plants like water, but they’re still subject to root rot. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. The best way to achieve this is by watering frequently with less water, instead of occasional deep waterings. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely. Wide and shallow planters are good for prayer plants. They have shallow root systems, and this shape of container makes sure you avoid too much sitting water. However, any planter will work as long as it drains well.
Since prayer plants are tropical, humidity is important. If the air in your home gets too dry (especially during winter months when the heat is on), you’ll notice the tips of the leaves browning. There are multiple ways to increase humidity for your plant. Using a humidifier, regularly misting your plant’s leaves with a spray bottle, or leaving out containers of water nearby are all great options.
Prayer plants can tolerate a variety of light conditions, as long as the light is indirect. Placing your prayer plant in bright direct sunlight will damage its leaves, creating burns or bleaching out the color. These plants can tolerate low light environments, as long as they have warmth and humidity. However, please remember that all plants need some amount of light! Ideally, your plant will get bright but indirect sunlight for optimum growth and color.
Another reason that prayer plants make great house plants is that their preferred temperatures are about the same as the average home. They like to be kept between 60 and 80 F (16-27 C). Temperatures below this will damage the leaves, and if temperatures are too low for an extended amount of time, it could kill your plant.
Prayer plants enjoy being fed regularly. Use a houseplant fertilizer at half the regular dosage every two weeks during warm months. Reduce feeding to once a month, or once every other month during the winter.
Are Prayer Plants Pet Friendly?
While I don’t think anyone enjoys their cat chewing on their plants, prayer plants are non-toxic to both cats and dogs!