Native to Brazil, the prayer plant is a perennial that is typically grown as a house plant. It grows up to 12 inches tall and is best known for its large, waxy leaves, which can be light to dark green with red or purple veins. The prayer plant gets its name from the fact that its leaves fold up in the evening, like hands folded in prayer. With very little maintenance required, this striking houseplant will delight both the novice and more experienced gardener alike.
Place your prayer plant in front of a south-facing window. Although prayer plants can tolerate low light conditions, they do best with bright indirect sunlight. If necessary, cover the window with a shade or blinds during late afternoon when the sunlight will be the most intense. Be sure the temperatures are around 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep your plant watered during its peak growing season, spring through fall. The soil needs to stay moist, but should never get soggy. Use warm water when watering and reduce the amount of water during the winter months, letting the soil dry out slightly in between watering. Be careful of using water with high chlorine levels, as this can cause the leaves to develop brown tips.
Create high humidity conditions by misting your plant daily. You can also set a pan of water beside the plant or set the pot on top of a pebble-lined tray filled halfway with water.
Fertilize every two weeks during spring through early fall. Use a balanced water-soluble plant food (10-10-10). Do not feed during the winter months.
Check your plant periodically for pests such as aphids, mealy bugs and spider mites. Signs of infestation include white, cottony fibers on the leaves or small holes in the leaves. Use a damp cloth to wipe the leaves down each week to help eliminate the pest and prevent them.