How to care for a prayer plant - how to help this shade-loving plant to thrive

How to care for a prayer plant - What you will need

– Prayer plant – varieties include Maranta leuconeura var. erythrophylla ‘Tricolour’ and Maranta leuconeura ‘Fascinator’ – Plastic pot with drainage holes – one size larger than the size of the plant bought – Decorative pot without holes – A liquid houseplant fertiliser, for example, Baby Bio Houseplant Fertiliser on Amazon – A trowel – Houseplant compost, such as Westland Houseplant Potting mix on Amazon

Where should I keep my prayer plant at home?

As with any houseplant – for example, snake plants – the perfect position is one that mimics its natural environment. Prayer plants originate from the Central and South American rainforests where they grow on the forest floor meaning they thrive in darker conditions – making prayer plants one of the best houseplants for low-light.

‘Prayer plants are also sensitive to cold or temperature changes – warm, humid bathrooms are great but not when you open the window,’ says Hayley Stephens, founder of Mint Plants.

Prayer plants are also good for our physical and mental health – in fact they are one of the best houseplants to boost wellbeing. ‘They purify the air, improve humidity and have a therapeutic presence. Prayer plants appear to go to sleep at night and wake each morning, which is a great grounding ritual to observe in your home,’ says Leaf Envy founder, Beth Chapman.

How often do you water a prayer plant?

The biggest challenge of raising a prayer plant is achieving the right levels of humidity. ‘A gentle misting will help to maintain moisture levels. Alternatively, you can place some pebbles under the base of the nursery pot and cover them with water. This will create a general humidity around the plant without flooding the soil,’ explains Holly Zawadzka, co-founder of Stupid Egg

Another way to increase humidity is to group together lots of house plants – this can be beautifully realised as seen in these living room house plant ideas.

When should I repot a prayer plant?

Prayer plants are quick growers, so require regular repotting. ‘The best time of year to repot is spring or early summer when your plants are in a growth period and can handle the shock of moving house,’ advises Beth Chapman.

Despite its rapid growth pattern, opt for a pot that is only a few centimetres larger than the current one. ‘Increasing the pot size too quickly can cause issues. With too much spare soil the plant can drown in the excess water or it will spend all its time growing new roots to fill the pot rather than growing new leaves,’ explains Holly.

How often do you feed prayer plants?

As one most Instagrammed house plants, you need to keep your prayer plant looking pretty. Feeding is essential to ensure that your plant has enough energy. ‘It is important to feed your Maranta, especially during the growing season when the plant requires more energy to push up those fascinating leaves. Aim for every 3-5 weeks in the summer, reducing to every 6-8 weeks in winter,’ says Holly

Can prayer plants be propagated from cuttings?

When it comes to houseplants, the more the merrier – whether you are looking to increase your own collection or gift them to loved ones. Thankfully, prayer plants are really easy to propagate.

How do I know what's wrong with my prayer plants?

Yellowing leaves indicate poor drainage or overwatering. Ensure pot has adequate drainage and that the plant is not sitting in water. In extreme cases, repot in dry soil.

Curled brown leaves ‘Your prayer plant might be underwatered, exposed to cold drafts or be lacking humidity,’ says Beth Chapman.

Crispy edge leaves Exposure to direct sunlight can cause the leaves to scorch. Move out of direct sunlight and increase the humidity with regular misting.

Spider mites ‘Keep a humid environment and mist regularly to keep them at bay,’ advises Beth Chapman.

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