The prayer plant is a plant highly valued for its foliage, which is found in a wide range of colors and patterns. It is also known for its habit of folding its leaves to keep them together at nightfall. One of the most popular species is Maranta leuconeura, which is grown indoors. Learn all about how to propagate a prayer plant in this guide.
It is an evergreen species of South American origin, of low growth that does not usually exceed 8” (20 cm) in height and 3” (8 cm) in length. Its leaves are oval and emerald green with dark or light green spots that look like they have been painted with a brush.
How to Propagate a Prayer Plant
Propagate prayer plant by division in winter-spring; gently breaking up the fleshy roots so as not to damage them. Separate the plant into two halves being very careful not to break them too much and plant them separately using new compost. You can also propagate it through 4” (10 cm) long cuttings from the stem tips with two leaves attached to them, between spring and mid-autumn. Plant no more than three cuttings in 3” (8 cm) diameter pots with equal parts sand and peat. Cover them with plastic wrap and move them to shade. Once rooted, plant them in new compost individually.
How to Care for Maranta Throughout the Year
The prayer plant grows very quickly, so you will need to re-pot the young plants every two years in the spring until they are established in a final 6” (15 cm) diameter. Remove all dead or damaged leaves. The ideal temperature for the prayer plant is 69.8°F (21 °C), although it can be raised to 80.6°F (27 °C) without being a problem.
Protect it from direct sunlight to keep it in good color and healthy, and keep it in a shady spot from April to September in the northern hemisphere and from October to December in the southern hemisphere. Water to keep the compost moist at all times and add liquid fertilizer to the water every three weeks during the summer. Mist to keep the plant moist; and when the temperature exceeds 69.8°F (21°C), you may need to mist the leaves daily.
In autumn and winter keep the plant at a temperature above 50°F (10 °C) and during the cooler months, move the prayer plant to a bright place but away from intense light. Water to keep the soil moist and spray the leaves every three days.