How to Care for Praying Hands Plants

Overview

Praying hands plants, more commonly known as prayer plants, grow indoors as houseplants in most areas of the United States. Native to Brazil, the plants require warm temperatures to survive and cannot tolerate the cold winters in most of the country. Only gardeners in zones 10 through 11 grow praying hands plants outdoors, often as a ground cover. Elsewhere, the plants thrive in containers indoors with only minimal care. Gardeners value these herbaceous perennials for their attractive leaves that fold together at night or when in the darkness, similar to praying hands.

Step 1

Keep praying hands plants in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight throughout the day. Maintain a temperature of 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit at all times to ensure proper growth and prevent cold damage.

Step 2

Water once every five days during the spring, summer and fall months to keep the soil moist at all times. Reduce watering frequency to once each week during winter, when the plant is dormant and moisture requirements are lower.

Step 3

Feed once every two weeks from May until September using an equal analysis 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer. Water the plant immediately after applying to release the nutrients into the soil. Apply at the rate recommended by the manufacturer for the best results.

Step 4

Mist praying hands plants twice per day during winter to increase the relative humidity of the air around them. Use a spray bottle filled with lukewarm water to avoid shocking the plants with water that's too hot or cold. Do not mist during spring, summer or fall.

Step 5

Re-pot during February or March once every three to four years to provide a new growing medium and provide more room for growth. Increase the size of the container by 3 to 4 inches and use a growing medium made of two parts potting soil and one part peat moss.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never expose praying hands plants to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, or cold damage will occur.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Spray bottle
  • Container
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss

References

  • University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service: Maranta leuconeura
  • Texas Agrilife Extension Service---East Texas Gardening: Prayer Plant
  • Michigan State University Extension: Maranta---Prayer Plant
Keywords: praying hands plants, prayer plants, care for praying hands 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.