This prayer plant care indoor guide will introduce you to this intriguing indoor plant, and will provide some tips on how to select, grow and care for your prayer plant.
The prayer plant gets its name from its uncanny ability to fold its leaves in response to darkness. When folded, it’s said that the leaves look like a person’s hands when praying.
Then when dawn breaks and spreads its early light, the folded leaves of the prayer plant open back up to resume their horizontal position.
Apart from the prayer – like activities of this plant, its uniquely patterned leaves which vary across the many types of prayer plants, add to the attractiveness of this easy to care for indoor plant.
If their strikingly attractive leaves are pruned back occasionally, the plant will stay in good shape and enjoy new growth.
Enjoying only moderate light, a prayer plant can even grow in a north facing window. Like the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, it will reward you if humidity is increased thanks to the use of a water filled pebble tray, but even drier conditions will not particularly upset this agreeable green performer.
Prayer plants often rest in winter, and then produce a flush of new leaves in spring. To keep the leaves showy and in top condition, treat them to the occasional wipe with a damp cloth.
On a warm summer’s day, give your prayer plant a special treat by taking it outside for a nice, relaxing bath. By doing so you will clean the plant and help remove any unwanted salts that have collected in the soil.
Prayer Plant Care Indoor Tips
A prayer plant prefers a moderate level of indirect light or filtered light. It’s possible to have it in a north – facing or near-east facing window, preferably with a sheer curtain to help filter the sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight.
This plant is best suited to room temperatures of (60 -80F/ 16-27C)
WATER & HUMIDITY
Keep soil lightly moist at all times, avoiding wet or soggy soil. It’s good practice to restrain from watering until the top half inch of the soil (1 cm) has become dry. Try raising humidity by misting plant every few days or keeping it on a pebble tray filled with water. Your plant can do well in your bathroom if it has enough light.
Being a tropical plant it likes warmth and doesn’t enjoy sudden drops in temperatures or draughts.
Use an all-purpose potting mix.
FERTILIZING YOUR INDOOR PRAYER PLANT
In spring and summer, feed every 2 weeks with a balanced houseplant fertilizer, mixed at half the recommended dosage.
In fall and winter, feed monthly with the same diluted solution.
A new plant will grow to 12 in/ 30cm tall and 16in / 40cm wide over the first few years.
REPOTTING INDOOR PRAYER PLANTS
Prayer plants like well aerated soil, which is the main reason why you should repot your plant annually in spring.
Be careful not to pack the soil tightly around the roots.
PROPAGATING INDOOR PRAYER PLANTS
When the plant becomes too large, divide it in spring by cutting the roots into two large chunks. The plant may need several weeks to recover from this operation.
SELECTING YOUR INDOOR PRAYER PLANT
The most popular prayer plants for indoors are often referred to by their distinguishing colors or markings.
‘Erythroneura’ and ‘Fascinator’ are called red prayer plants because of their bright red leaf veins.
‘Kerchoveana’, or green prayer plant is sometimes called “rabbit tracks” because of the square, brownish marks between its leaf veins.
‘Massangeana’, also called silver prayer plant, has blackish green leaves with silvery gray midribs.
OTHER PRAYER PLANT CARE INDOOR TIPS
Grow your prayer plant in a shallow container or combine it with other foliage plants in a tabletop garden.
Prayer plants benefit from having close neighbors, which usually help to increase humidity.
The three bugs that are most likely to disturb your prayer plants are the mealy bug, the spider mite and scale; (see trouble shooting tips for dealing with these pests).
TROUBLE SHOOTING – PRAYER PLANT CARE
Prayer plants are relatively low maintenance indoor plants, and if you follow our indoor plant care tips, you shouldn’t have too many problems. However, just in case you do have some concerns for your plant, I have prepared this trouble shooting list for you.
PROBLEM: Faded leaves and scorched edges.
CAUSE: Too much direct sun light.
SOLUTION: Prayer plants don’t appreciate direct sunlight and grow best with filtered or indirect light.
PROBLEM: Browning on leaf tips or edges
CAUSE: Air too dry, over feeding or water may be too hard.
SOLUTION: Place on water filled pebble tray and mist occasionally and /or group with other foliage plant. Feed using a diluted fertilizer solution and try using filtered, rain or distilled water if your mains water is hard. Prayer plants react badly to chemicals in hard water.
PROBLEM: No new growth
CAUSE: Insufficient fertilizer or stunting from fertilizer burn or accumulated salts.
SOLUTION: Repot the plant in a clean container with fresh soil. A month later, begin feeding it with diluted, balanced plant food.
Expect most of the plant’s new growth to appear in late spring and summer.
PROBLEM: Prayer plant appears weak and floppy despite careful watering
CAUSE: Root mealy bugs (Note: plants can also start to flop if over watered)
SOLUTION: Remove the plant from the opt and inspect the roots. If mealy bugs are present, swish the root ball in a bucket of cold water and remove any hangers –on by hand.
Repot in a clean container with fresh soil, and isolate the plant until you are sure that it has recovered.
PROBLEM: Leaves dry and pale; faint webbing on leaf undersides
CAUSE: Spider mites
SOLUTION: Use pruning shears to cut off badly affected leaves and isolate the plant. Clean thoroughly with warm water and begin misting daily.
Spray with insecticidal soap if problem persists.
PROBLEM: Small brown discs on leaves and stems
SOLUTION: Isolate the plant and treat for scale.
I hope this prayer plant care indoor guide has encouraged you to consider this amazing plant and provide you with some useful tips on how to care for a prayer plant.
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