Instruction for Caring for a Mystify Prayer Plant

Overview

Mystify prayer plants (Maranta leuconeura) are tropical plants that are prized for their large, colorful foliage. The prayer plant gets its name from how its leaves fold up at night. Prayer plants grow from rhizomes and reach only 6 inches to 2 feet tall but spread 2 to 4 feet wide. These cold-tender plants can spread to form dense, low-growing clumps, with 4- to 8-inch evergreen leaves. Prayer plants are most commonly grown indoors due to their love of low-light conditions and constant warmth, but they can grow outdoors in regions where winter temperatures don't dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 1

Place your mystify prayer plant in bright indirect to low light, but never in direct sunlight. Maintain normal indoor air temperatures around the plant of 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

Water your prayer plant once or twice each week during the spring, summer and fall to keep the soil evenly moistened but not soggy. Water into the potting soil until the water begins to drain from the bottom of the pot.

Step 3

Reduce watering frequency in winter to give your prayer plant a resting period. Water lightly and just enough to keep the potting soil from drying out.

Step 4

Feed your prayer plant once every two weeks during spring until fall with a liquid houseplant fertilizer that's slightly acidic. Follow the dosage instructions on the fertilizer label.

Step 5

Keep the humidity levels elevated around your prayer plant, especially during the drier winter months. You can place a bowl filled with water beside the prayer plant or run a humidifier near the plant to increase the relative humidity in the air.

Tips and Warnings

  • Beware of watering your prayer plant with tap water, especially if you're on city water that contains fluoride or chlorine. Water the plant using bottled or distilled water. You can reduce the chlorine and fluoride levels in your tap water by allowing the water to sit out in an open container for about 24 hours. Avoid keeping your mystify prayer plant in a hot, dry spot. This type of location can encourage infestations of spider mites. If you detect spider mites on your prayer plant, apply an insecticidal soap, soapy water or approved miticide to the foliage.

Things You'll Need

  • Bottled or distilled water
  • Liquid houseplant fertilizer
  • Humidifier (optional)
  • Planter pots
  • Acidic well-draining potting soil
  • Insecticidal soap or miticide (optional)

References

  • University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service: Maranta leuconeura
  • The Garden Helper: Care and Cultivation of Prayer Plants

Who Can Help

  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Home Selection and Care of Interior Foliage Plants
Keywords: mystify prayer plants, prayer plant care, Maranta leuconeura

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.