Prayer Plant Perfection

Prayer Plant Perfection

Watch the leaves of a prayer plant fold up at night. And unfold in the morning. Just for the fun of it. 
I was amazed the very first time I saw a prayer plant in action. As the sun began to set, I watched every one of my prayer plant’s gorgeous variegated leaves start to fold upright (it’s a slow process, a bit like watching paint dry, but still fascinating). Then, in the morning, each leaf gracefully unfolded looking just as pretty as the day before.

All varieties of prayer plant (Maranta, spp) have a horizontal growth habit that makes them ideal for hanging baskets, low bowls, or large dish gardens. Prayer plants grow 10 to 12 inches tall and can spread 15 to 18 inches wide. In a large mixed planter, prayer plants make ideal “fillers” where their lush leaves blend well with other houseplants. Plus, prayer plants help clear the air in your home by filtering indoor air pollutants.

Colorful and dependable, prayer plants do well in any kind of light, although it’s best to avoid direct sunlight. Prayer plant also thrives in slightly moist soil so water whenever the soil feels like it’s just starting to dry out. The plants won’t prosper in constantly wet soil. Feed your prayer plants once or twice during the summer with a liquid houseplant fertilizer.

Prayer plants also likes humid conditions so if your home’s air is dry during the winter, the leaves may develop brown edges. To correct this, boost the humidity around the plant by setting it on a layer of pebbles in a water-filled tray.

Some extra colorful varieties of prayer plant include: Red, Marisela, Kim, Green, and Black. All are either spotted or striped with bold, showy veins in a variety of colors. New leaves have an interesting, tightly rolled form that slowly opens as they mature.

And don’t forget that prayer plants make great gifts for kids. They’ll love watching the leaves open and close each day.

Written by Doug Jimerson