Some of the most beautiful, profound plants you will find are prayer plants (Maranta leuconeura). These plants, native to the tropical regions, are easy to take care of and offer vivid green foliage and distinctive adaptive behaviors. Maranta leuconeura, also referred to as praying hands, is a flowering plant of the Marantaceae family, endemic to the tropics of the New World. It’s also commonly called the zebra plant, maranta, and the rattlesnake plant.
The Maranta plant is named after a botanist from the 16th century, Bartolomeo Maranta. Also known as the prayer plant, a Maranta is known for its rosmarinic acid. This acid is one of the main ingredients of rosemary, providing the famous rosemary scent.
There are a few varieties of prayer-plants such as:
- Leuconeura massangeana
- Leuconeura Erythrophylla or M. tricolor
- Leuconeura kerchoveana
Prayer plants can be hung or placed near a window where they will receive indirect sunlight. Don’t ever put your plant in direct sunlight because the sun will incinerate the leaves of the plant, or blotches and patches will grow on the leaves and diminish their color’s intensity. Generally, the plant is sensitive to lower areas of light. When your plant goes dormant in the winter, you need to provide bright light to protect them.
Water regularly and never let the potting soil dry out during the growing season. When the top of the potting soil is just beginning to become dry, you should water the prayer plant. This plant is very prone to drought, but you shouldn’t allow water to stay precisely on the leaves or let the plant get wet to prevent fungal problems.
The leaves can turn yellow and fall from the plant due to insufficient water and overwatering. While watering the plant, use water that is not slightly warm and at least at room temp. Reduce irrigation during the winter.
Temperature and Humidity
Maranta plants can easily survive up to 30 degrees celsius. But they can’t tolerate extremely low temperatures, such as below 15 degrees celsius. Lower temperatures may harm the leaves.
Prayer plant species thrive in a very humid climate, and there is sometimes too little humidity in houses. To increase moisture levels, use one of the following methods:
- Position the Maranta next to other plants
- Put a small humidifier or water bowl near the plant.
- Fill a dish with small rocks and add water. Add this bowl in or underneath the decorative pot.
From early spring through autumn, fertilize your prayer plants every two weeks. To half power, dilute a water-soluble, balanced potted plant fertilizer (10-10-10). Your plant grows slowly or hardly at all if you use too little fertilizer. Too much fertilizer can kill the roots, leaves can begin to brown, and the plant can even be killed. Reduce fertilizing in the winter to once a month or so.
It is non-toxic to humans, cats, and dogs, making it safe to keep in the home for everyone.
Prayer plants help clean the air of your house by filtering the present pollutants in your house.
You don’t need to repot the prayer plant regularly. But it will grow much slower when it becomes root-bound or pot-bound. If you are repotting, pick a pot that is just one to two inches bigger than the current pot. Gently remove the plant from its container during repotting, shake the roots clean, and position it in a container with fresh garden soil.
To promote healthy growth, you may prune the prayer plant. Using a pair of sterilized sharp scissors, you have to cut a leaf node right above the stems. The plant will develop new shoots that create a bushier appearance immediately below the cut field. If you note a tip or edge burn, sometimes with a yellowish hue on the edge of the plant, this could occur because of tap water.
To grow new plants, you can start the process when you repot the plant. When you take the plant out of the pot, you can separate the roots and stems into smaller divisions and put them in shallow pots. During the first few weeks until the plant claims growth, keep the soil moist and warm.
Furthermore, you can use stem cuttings as well. When you cut a stem, you can place it in a glass of water after dipping it into a growth hormone. Make sure to change the water after every few days. Once some roots take form, place the stem into a pot with soil. Regularly mist the plant and keep the soil moist for the first few weeks.
When the plant is lacking in humidity or water, it’ll show its displeasure by leaving brown blotches on the leaves or curling the tips. As long as you know which signs to look out for, you can easily solve the problem.
Following are some of the common issues of the prayer plant:
- Curling leaves
- Spots on the prayer plant
Following are some of the diseases of the prayer plant:
- Cucumber Mosaic Virus
- Helminthosporium leaf spot
Adding a prayer plant to your house is bound to uplift any area it’s placed in. Its stunning and unique appearance ensures it stands out amongst every kind of decor. As long as you follow the guide above, the plant will last a long time.