Care of the Prayer Plant


The prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura) is a tropical, evergreen, broadleaf plant desirable for its hardy nature and attractive, variegated leaves that range in color from deep green to green and yellow with red veins (Maranta leuconerua erythroneuro). The plant is also known for its habit of folding its leaves together each night. Native to Brazil, prayer plants are often grown indoors due to their low-light requirements and simple care needs. They are sometimes also grown as ground cover, especially in shady areas.

Step 1

Plant Maranta leuconerua in loose, well-draining potting soil. A good combination for this plant is a soil mixture containing equal parts loam and sand, plus two parts peat moss, according to information publishing by the University of Oklahoma.

Step 2

Keep the soil of the prayer plant consistently moist at all times, but not overly wet or waterlogged. Soil that is allowed to contain standing water can lead to root rot, but at the same time, the soil should not be allowed to dry out completely save for in the winter. Reduce watering as winter begins to allow the prayer plant to enter a dormant period.

Step 3

Place the plant where it will receive some light, but also some shade. Indirect or filtered sunlight is best. This can be by a curtained window (an opaque curtain is best) or a window that faces the morning sun but is shaded in the afternoon. The hot, direct rays of the afternoon sun can scorch the leaves of the prayer plant and fade their colors.

Step 4

Provide humidity for the prayer plant. This plant needs very moist, warm (in the mid- to high 60s Fahrenheit) air in order to thrive and bloom. Group the plant together with other tropical plants, or place it on a tray filled with pebbles and water. Misting the plant with lukewarm water daily can also help.

Tips and Warnings

  • Watch for common houseplant pests such as mealybugs, spider mites and whiteflies. Knock them off the prayer plant with a strong stream of water, or use an insecticidal soap.

Things You'll Need

  • Loam
  • Sand
  • Peat moss
  • Watering tool
  • Tray and pebbles


  • University of Oklahoma: Plant of the Week: Maranta leuconeura erythroneuro
  • University of Florida: Maranta leuconeura
Keywords: Maranta leuconeura care, growing prayer plants, prayer plant care

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.