How Do I Take Care of a Prayer Plant?

Overview

Prayer plant, also known as Maranta leuconeura, or "husband and wife" plant, is a flowering perennial valued for its ornamental, variegated foliage. The plant's foliage folds up at night or when exposed to darkness, appearing as a pair of folded, praying hands--hence the plant's common name. Prayer plant blooms during spring and summer, though the small, white flowers are inconspicuous. Native to Africa, the plant is only hardy in U.S. planting zones 10 and 11, and is most commonly grown as an indoor plant.

Step 1

Keep prayer plant in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight throughout the day. Use a moist, well-drained potting soil as the growing medium. Keep at a constant temperature of 60 to 85 degrees F to prevent cold damage.

Step 2

Fill a shallow tray with pebbles, and then add water until the pebbles are completely submerged. Keep the prayer plant's pot on the tray to increase the relative humidity of the climate. Replenish the water whenever necessary.

Step 3

Water once every five to seven days to keep the soil consistently moist. Decrease watering frequency to once every 10 days during winter, allowing the soil to dry slightly between applications. Apply water directly to the soil to minimize the chance of disease.

Step 4

Feed prayer plant once every two weeks using a balanced 10-10-10 NPK Fertilizer. Water the soil immediately after applying to prevent root burn. Apply according to the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.

Step 5

Re-pot prayer plant during February or March once every two to three years, or whenever the plant has outgrown its container. Increase the diameter of the container by about 3 inches and use a fresh potting soil to maximize new growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Shallow tray
  • Pebbles
  • Fertilizer
  • Container
  • Growing medium

References

  • Michigan State University Cooperative Extension: Maranta -- Prayer Plant
  • University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences: Maranta leuconeura
  • "Beyond the Windowsill: Add Style to Your Home with the Beauty of Indoor Plants"; Jon Carloftis; 2007

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: prayer plant, husband and wife plant, Maranta leuconeura

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.