The prayer plant is a gorgeous houseplant that loves humid environments but is a little sensitive to light. It is native to the tropics, just like many other plants, prayer plants will help clean the air from harmful gasses and toxins. Read on for all the information on the benefits of prayer plants and caring for this fun houseplant.
What Are Prayer Plants?
The prayer plant's botanical name is Maranta leuconeura. It belongs to the family of Marantaceae and includes 'arrowroot.' It is one of the low-growing plants native to Central and South America, primarily in the rainforests of Brazil. They are notable for their large, smooth, oval-shaped leaves that are colored by intricate patterns.
Prayer Plants like small pots, and their shallow root systems do well in half pots or flat pots. Great for tiny spaces in kitchens or bathrooms! When properly cared for, the maranta plant is one of the most beautiful indoor plants you can grow.
Why Is It Called a Prayer Plant?
As dusk approaches, the light-green leaves fold upwards, giving the plant the appearance of praying, returning to normal horizontal position during the day. In the rainforest, this movement allows prayer plants to collect rainfall in their folded leaves and direct it towards their roots.
Types of Prayer Plants
Some of the most popular types of prayer plants you're likely to find when you go shopping include:
● Red Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura 'erythroneura'): Arguably the most colorful of prayer plants, these have "super beautiful Fuchsia pinstripes on the top of the leaves and the underside is this really great bright purple," says Gubler.
● Lemon Lime Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura 'marisela'): Lemon Lime Prayer Plants have the same visible veins as the Red Prayer Plant but in a lighter green/white color.
● Green Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura): Green Prayer Plants, also known as the rabbit's foot plant, have noticeably smaller veins and deeper green spots on top of their leaves than other varieties.
Prayer Plant Benefits
The Prayer Plant is vibrant and tropical, uplifting your spirits when you see it inside your home. There's no denying that its pop of color is great for your mood. It's been proven that plants can boost your mental well-being and make us feel grounded.
Prayer plant gets the name from the upright folding leaves, which resemble hands folded in prayer. This characteristic of the prayer plant symbolizes gratitude. Also, when presented as a gift, it symbolizes gratitude and thankfulness. In some cultures, it is believed to bring positive energy and good luck.
2. Absorbs Pollutants
Nasa clean air study found that some houseplants reduce pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene from the surrounding air. However, the prayer plant was not included in the list; it's still highly probable that it also remove these pollutants. Indoor air pollution can be more harmful than outdoor as per CNBC!
3. Prayer Plants Help Lower Stress
Houseplants, such as prayer plants, create a calming presence that reduces stress and anxiety. This is because the sympathetic nervous system calms as we interact with plants, reducing our diastolic blood pressure, consequently producing an overall feeling of being soothed. The lowering of stress and anxiety makes it easier for people to focus and thus become more productive.
4. Low Maintainance
Urban dwellers already have a lot on the plate, so it's no surprise they want houseplants that require minimal care. Prayer plant is one such houseplant that is low maintenance and does not require much care. Bright indirect light, well-draining soil and high humidity are all it takes to make the Prayer plant happy.
5. Prayer Plants Don't Need Much Space
Prayer plants enjoy shallow pots because their roots system doesn't go deep. Most varieties don't get very big, either. Typical height is 10-12 inches (25.4-30.5 cm) and when fully fanned out, spread 15-18 inches (38-45.7 cm). Thus, they make them a delightful statement piece, even in snug living or work spaces.
6. Prayer Plants Have Attractive Foliage
They are resistant domestic plants that do not tend to grow much for the spaces in which they are planted, unlike similar domestic plants that need to be constantly transplanted or moved. Prayer plants have varied foliage but do not produce showy flowers, which makes them good choices as modest ornamental pieces.
How To Grow Prayer Plants in Indoors
Prayer Plants are generally easy to grow successfully at home. There are a few key pointers to follow that we'll cover here. Prayer plants thrive best when provided with conditions like that of a temperate greenhouse – think mild to warm throughout the day and moisture-rich whenever possible.
● Prayer plants prefer moist conditions and well-drained soils. Despite their preference for a tropical environment, prayer plants are rewarding to grow and do not need much attention to grow.
● Grow a prayer plant in low, medium, or bright light. In bright light, it is best to protect the leaves from direct sunlight using a transparent curtain or another filter.
● Water the prayer plant just before the soil surface dries up. This sturdy houseplant likes to stay relatively moist (but not soaked all the time). Its leaves may start to turn brown if they dry too much or too often.
● The prayer plant does not need much fertilizer. Just once or twice a year (preferably in the spring or summer) is enough to keep you healthy. You can certainly fertilize it more often if you want. Use any fertilizer formulated for houseplants and follow the instructions on the package.
● The prayer plant prefers above-average humidity levels but generally grows well in most homes. If the air in your home is especially dry in winter, increasing the humidity around your prayer plant will make you happier.
Best Location for Your Prayer Plant
Prayer plants can be grown in hanging baskets or in planters. They are not picky about where they are placed but keep in mind that they should not be exposed to direct sunlight. While prayer plants like to be warm, too much sun can scorch and dry out the leaves of the plant. Bright - but indirect - light is best, and when in doubt, remember that prayer plants can survive just fine in areas of lower light.
If you must grow your prayer plant in bright light, try to protect its leaves by hanging a sheer curtain or some other kind of screen against the sun. They should ideally be located in a room that faces the south or west. This will allow light to get to the plant without exposing it to direct sunlight. Your plants will grow rich and green, without becoming spindly or long as they reach for more light.
Common Prayer Plant Problems
Prayer plants are very easy to take care of but there are a few specific care instructions that you should follow to ensure that your plant thrives. Below are some problems you may encounter when taking care of your prayer plant.
Lack of Humidity
Prayer plants originally grew in the rainforest so they need lots of humidity to thrive. When the humidity is too low, the plant's leaves will turn brown. You can add humidity to your prayer plant by putting a humidifier in the room it occupies or leaving a dish full of water next to it.
Too Much or Too Little Water
When it comes to watering plants, keep your eye on the compost and make sure it's moist. It's vital that the soil never dries out as prayer plants are susceptible to drought and could die if they become dehydrated.
Allow the plant pot to drain well after so your plant isn't left sitting in water. In winter reduce the amount of watering but do not allow the compost to dry out entirely.
If you let your prayer plant sit outside, or grow your prayer plants in your garden, it could be susceptible to pests like spider mites, mealy bugs, and aphids. If you see anything unusual on your plant's leaves, like spider webs, white, powdery, fluffy substances, or weird spotting, use a natural pesticide to rid your plant of the pests. Plant your prayer plants with a sufficient amount of space around them to enable adequate airflow to prevent pests and diseases from taking root.
As your plants are growing, keep an eye out and inspect them regularly (perhaps during feeding or watering periods) for any signs of disease or pests. These issues usually crop up by surprise, so being vigilant can help you detect them early to minimize further damage.
Prayer plants are loved for their interesting leaf structure and carefree nature which make them excellent options for houseplants. What's great is they're generally low maintenance and will happily thrive in most home living environments with a little due care and attention. Please remember to keep the soil evenly moist.
In addition, prayer plants are great air purifiers, removing toxic chemicals, improving your breathing, sleep, and mental clarity. Lastly, they have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.