How to Grow a Prayer Plant

Overview

Prayer plant, also known as arrowroot, is a family of flowering perennials native to tropical regions of Central and South America, Australia and Africa. It is commonly grown as a houseplant for its ornamental variegated foliage. The leaves of the prayer plant are light green with pink, red or dark green veins and markings. Small white or pink flowers may appear in spring if optimal conditions are provided. Prayer plant is easy to grow indoors and requires only basic care to thrive.

Step 1

Plant prayer plant in a shallow container filled with standard potting soil. Make a hole in the soil just large enough to hold the root ball of the prayer plant. Insert the root ball into the hole and refill with soil. Water thoroughly to compact the soil around the roots.

Step 2

Keep the container in a location that receives between two and four hours of indirect sunlight each day. Maintain a constant temperature of between 65 and 80 degrees. Keep a thermometer near the plant to ensure the temperature never leaves the required temperature range.

Step 3

Water prayer plant twice per week during spring, summer and fall months, or anytime the top two inches of soil are dry to the touch. Reduce the frequency of watering to once per week during winter. Never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Step 4

Use a spray bottle filled with tepid water to mist the prayer plant once per day. This will increase the relative humidity around the plant. Mist early in the morning so the moisture has a chance to evaporate before nightfall.

Step 5

Feed prayer plant once every two weeks during spring and summer using a balanced 10-10-10 NPK houseplant fertilizer. Apply fertilizer once per month during winter, when the nutrients are less vital to growth. Refer to the dosage instructions on the fertilizer packaging for the best results.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not allow standing water to accumulate or the prayer plant's stem will rot and the plant will die. Avoid placing the plant in a saucer of water and make sure the soil is thoroughly drained after each watering for the best results.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Potting soil
  • Thermometer
  • Spray bottle
  • Fertilizer

References

  • University of Illinois Extension: Prayer Plant, Banded Arrowroot
  • Penn State University Horticulture, Gardening and Landscaping: Prayer Plant
  • Beyond the Windowsill; Jon Carloftis; 2007
Keywords: prayer plant, arrowroot, prayer plants

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.