Player Plant: Indoor Plant Care and Growing Guide
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How to Grow a Prayer Plant
Named after Bartolomeo Maranta, a 16th century Italian physician and botanist, the Maranta genus includes a few dozen low-growing plants native to Brazil, including the prayer plant. Its common name is due to the fact that its leaves are flat during the day and fold like praying hands at night.
The prayer plant is one of the most distinctive tropical plants, thanks to its beautiful decorative leaves. The popular tricolor variety has velvety deep green leaves with yellow midrib markings and arched red veins that move to the leaf margins.
Growing slowly, the prayer plant can eventually reach up to a foot indoors. They are quite common as houseplants and can be planted and cared for indoors at any time of year, but they are not necessarily easy to keep growing long term.
|Botanical Name||Maranta leuconeura|
|Common Name||Prayer plant|
|Plant Type||Herbaceous perennial|
|Mature Size||6–12 in. tall, 6–12 in. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Partial shade, full shade|
|Soil Type||Moist but well-drained|
|Soil pH||Neutral to acidic|
|Bloom Time||Spring (rarely flowers indoors)|
|Hardiness Zones||11, 12 (USDA)|
|Native Area||South America|
Prayer Plant Care
Prayer plants are low-growing, low-spreading plants that thrive best when provided in greenhouse-like conditions, including regular, warm, humid airflow and plenty of fertilizer.
Plants that are kept too cool or too dry run the risk of losing their leaves or suffering from fungal infections that can cause the plant to die from root rot or collapse. Also, plants exposed to too much sun can fade and develop brown spots on the leaves.
You can hang or place your prayer plant near a window where it will receive indirect sunlight. Never expose your plant to direct sunlight as the sun will burn the leaves of the plant or the leaves will develop spots or spots and fade with the intensity of the color.
The plant is generally tolerant of low-light areas. In the winter, when plants go dormant (and sometimes die completely), provide them with strong light to support growth.
Prayer plants can thrive in a variety of soils as long as they are well-drained. Usually, a traditional potting mix works well, but you can make your own by combining two parts sphagnum peat, one part clay soil, and one part perlite or coarse sand.
In addition, the soil must be acidic, with a pH between 5.5 and 6.0. To improve drainage, put stones or gravel in the bottom of the pot and make sure the pot has a drainage hole.
During the growing season, water your prayer plant frequently (as long as the top layer dries out) and never let the potting soil dry out completely.
These plants are very sensitive to drought and will not survive long if they are not watered. However, to avoid fungal problems, don't let the water sit directly on the leaves or let the plant soak.
Both a lack of water and too much water can cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall off the plant. When watering your prayer plant, use water that is at least room temperature, if not a little warm.
Temperature and humidity
A prayer plant prefers normal home temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Prolonged low temperatures can damage the leaves and cause them to fall off the plant.
Also, prayer plants prefer a very humid environment. To increase the humidity in your home, place a small humidifier or container with water near the plant, fill a tray with small stones and add water only to the level of the stones and place the pot on top of the stones, or spray the leaves frequently at room temperature or hot water.
Fertilize your prayer plant every two weeks from early spring to fall (reducing it to once a month in winter) with half water soluble houseplant fertilizer.
If you use too little fertilizer, your plant will grow slowly or not at all. However, too much fertilizer can burn the roots of the plant; its leaves will start to turn brown and the plant may even die.
Propagating Prayer Plants
Propagating prayer plants is surprisingly easy; the most common (and easiest) way to propagate them is to divide the plant during replanting.
When repotting your prayer plant, you can divide it into several smaller plants by gently shaking the soil from the roots and spreading them apart. Each new plant should have a good root mass and several stems.
Place these new smaller plants separately in shallow pots. Keep the new rooms very warm and humid for the first few weeks until new growth appears.
Additionally, you can also propagate your prayer plant from seedlings. To do this, make a stem cut under a leaf knot. Dip the cutting in a rooting hormone and place it in a glass of water, making sure to change the water every other day or so.
Once roots are formed, drive the stake directly into the ground for potting. Keep the soil moist and mist the plant from time to time.
Varieties of Prayer Plants
There are many varieties of prayer plants, but the most popular of all is the tricolor variant available at many garden centers. Prayer plants and calate are so closely associated with each other that it is not uncommon for them to be mislabeled.
Within the genus Maranta, some species are the most common:
- M. leuconeuraerythrophylla: This tri-colored prayer plant, also called the herringbone plant, is the most common variety and features bold red veins.
- M. leuconeura kerchoveana: This variety, also known as Rabbit's Tracks, has plain green leaves with two rows of darker splotches.
- M. leuconeura massangeana: This variety has a darker leaf background with silvery blotches along the midrib and white leaf veins.
Common Pests and Diseases
Like many other houseplants, prayer plants can be prone to dust mites and mealybugs. If you notice signs of infestation, such as a white powdery substance on the leaves or darkening of the foliage, you can treat your plant with a natural insecticide, such as neem oil.
Enjoy This Video Tutorial About How to Propagate the Prayer Plant Houseplant
Source: Harli G
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