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How to Get Starts From a Prayer Plant

Prayer plant, or Maranta leucoreura, is a popular herbaceous perennial that serves well as a houseplant. While it prefers bright, indirect light, its relatively lower lighting tolerance allows it to adapt well to typical indoor growing conditions. Prayer plants propagate readily from cuttings, or starts, taken anytime during the spring or early summer.

Choose an attractive, healthy prayer plant to get your starts from. The cuttings will grow into a clone of the parent plant, so select one that you like.

Find the lowest node on a mature, unblemished stem of the prayer plant. Use a sharp knife to cut cleanly through the stem just below this node.

Fill a well-draining 4-inch pot with a mixture of equal parts peat moss and Perlite. Set the pot in a shallow container of warm water until the surface feels moist. Remove the pot from the water and allow it to drain for about two hours.

Dampen the lower 1/2 to 1 inch of the stem and dip it in powdered rooting hormone. Plant the powdered area in the pot and firm the soil well. Seal the cutting in a clear plastic bag to retain moisture. Poke a few holes in the bag to allow for good air circulation. Set the start in a warm, brightly lit spot out of direct sun. A windowsill, the top of your refrigerator or above a hot water heater are good choices.

Open the bag and check the soil every day to ensure that it never dries out. Water as needed to keep the surface evenly moist, but not soggy or wet.

Check the start for root development in about two weeks. Tug on it very gently. If it resists, roots are forming. If not, try again in another week.

Remove the plastic bag when the prayer plant start’s roots have developed enough for the plant to strongly resist your tugging. Plant it in all-purpose potting soil and place it in a warm, bright windowsill out of direct sunlight. Keep the young prayer plant’s soil surface evenly moist, but not soggy or wet.

Feed the prayer plant an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer about two or three weeks later. Continue fertilizing every other week for the rest of the growing season. Follow the packaging instructions carefully.

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