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How to Care for Prayer Plant (Calathea insignis)

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10 Reasons to have Prayer Plants as a Houseplant

About Prayer Plant

Prayer Plants are beautiful, easy-to-care-for houseplants that make a great addition to any home. Native to the rainforests of Brazil, Prayer Plants are tolerant of low light conditions and prefer bright, indirect sunlight. They get their name from the way the leaves fold in the evening, resembling hands folded in prayer.

They are perfect for window sills, mantles, or shelves that need pops of color given by your prayer plant’s leaves. They are easy plants to care for if they receive enough direct sunlight and the soil is kept damp. Prayer Plants should be misted once a week and will thrive. The leaves of Prayer Plants follow the light, so they will be closed at night and opened during the day.

Prayer Plants are beautiful, easy-to-care-for houseplants that make a great addition to any home. So if you’re looking for a plant that is low maintenance and adds a touch of beauty to your home, Prayer Plants are a perfect choice!

Additionally, research has shown that having plants in your house will have amazing benefits for you! Visit our article Amazing Psychological Effects of Nature in Pet-Friendly Interiors to find out more!

Prayer Plant Species

Prayer plants are a type of plant that is native to the tropical Americas. Prayer plants are mainly found in South America, mainly Brazil, and they are a part of the family Maranta leuconeura. There are approximately 40 to 50 different species or types of prayer-plants. Out of the many varieties of Maranta leuconeura, only two prayer plant varieties are used as houseplants or for other decorative purposes.

Growing Prayer Plant Indoors

How to Care for Prayer Plant (Calathea insignis)

Maranta – Easy to grow – 4″ Pot/unique-from Jmbamboo

Selecting soil for prayer-plants

A Red Prayer Plant or Maranta leuconeura is not too demanding when it comes to the type of pot and potting soil you use and prefers consistently moist soil, compared to many other tropical plants that need to dry out completely between waterings. 

Prayer Plants thrive in a balanced all-purpose potting mix. However, you might need to adjust your watering practices depending on which type of pot you choose.

Prayer Plants need a shallow and ample drainage container so the roots don’t sit in water. If you’re unsure about how often to water your Prayer Plant, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and water less often than more. Over-watering is one of the most common mistakes people make when caring for Prayer Plants.

When in doubt, allow the top layer of soil to dry out before watering again. Prayer Plants can make a beautiful addition to any home with a little attention.

Make sure to choose well-draining soil or potting mix. Well draining soil is important because Prayer Plants do not like to sit in water and will quickly become overwatered if the potting mix does not drain well.

Peat moss is often used in potting mixes for Prayer Plants because it retains moisture well. If your potting mix doesn’t contain peat moss, you can add some to the mix. To ensure that your Prayer Plant gets the nutrients it needs, you can also add a slow-release fertilizer to the potting mix or to well-draining soil.

How to Care for Prayer Plant (Calathea insignis)

Red Maranta Prayer Plant

Selecting the right pot for prayer-plants

A Red Prayer Plant or Maranta leuconeura has shallow roots, growing close to the soil’s surface instead of deep into the ground. Therefore, a wide and shallow container is better than a tall, deep one. A large pot contains a lot of all-purpose potting mix, which retains moisture, and you want a great balance of roots to soil, so it doesn’t stay too wet.

It doesn’t matter what type of material is used for pots. However, caution against using terracotta or clay pots because these materials are porous and will absorb moisture away from your all-purpose potting mix

Prayer plants do best in bright indirect light and need to be watered regularly so that the soil moist balance is perfect and not soggy. With a little bit of care, your Prayer Plant will thrive and bring beautiful foliage into your home.

Light

A prayer plant or Maranta leuconeura is an excellent indoor plant for places in your home that don’t get a lot of natural illumination. They thrive in moderate to bright indirect light or even in full shade. However, if exposed to strong natural light, a prayer plant’s leaves will get large brown spots and eventually fall off.

Your Prayer plant is also known for its love of humidity. A prayer plant’s leaves will die completely during winter, but the plant itself is not dead. If provided with bright light, the plant’s leaves will likely grow back in the spring. 

A Prayer plant makes an excellent addition to any indoor garden, and with proper care, they will thrive for years to come.

How to Care for Prayer Plant (Calathea insignis)

Maranta Prayer Plant in a Blue Ceramic Pot

Watering 

Prayer plants are beautiful, low-maintenance houseplants that can brighten up any space. But like all plants, they need the right care to thrive. One of the most important factors in Prayer Plant care is ensuring that it has optimal drainage. Prayer Plants need to be watered well enough so that the soil does not become dried out, but you also don’t want to leave your plant sitting in soggy soil.

The best way to tell if your Prayer Plant needs water is to touch the top of the potting soil–if it feels slightly damp to the touch, then it’s time to water. Use room temperature water to hydrate your plant and water in the morning so that your plant has a chance to absorb the moisture before any excess water evaporates during the day.

Exactly how much water your Prayer Plant will need will be dependent on so many circumstances–from the size of the pot to the type of soil you’re using–so it’s important to monitor your plant closely and get a feel for how often it needs to be watered. 

Generally speaking, Prayer Plants should be watered when the top of the potting soil is just beginning to dry out. You should never allow the Prayer Plant’s soil to dry out completely.

How to Care for Prayer Plant (Calathea insignis)

Red Maranta Prayer Plant

Fertilizers

One important part of Prayer Plant care is fertilizing. You’ll want to begin a regular fertilizing schedule for your Prayer Plant during early spring – once every two weeks throughout the summer months. You can stop during the winter months when your Prayer Plant will enter a natural dormancy period.

Use a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer and dilute depending on the specific manufacturer of your fertilizer. You can also use organic fertilizers, like a worm or compost tea – just be careful to ensure that all nutrient levels are balanced. With a little bit of love and care, your Prayer Plant will thrive! We recommend J R Peters 20-20-20 All Purpose Fertilizer.

Temperatures

Prayer plants are beautiful, unique houseplants that are native to tropical regions. Prayer plants get their name from the way their leaves fold together at night, as if in prayer. A prayer plant will prefer warm temperatures and humid conditions, making them ideal for use as houseplants.

However, a prayer plant can be sensitive to extreme changes in temperature, drafts, and other factors. As a result, it is important to take care when choosing a location for your Prayer plant. A room with an ambient temperature of 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal, and avoid placing your Prayer plant near a heating or cooling vent. Taking these simple precautions can help ensure that your Prayer plant thrives.

Displaying Your Prayer Plant

Having a prayer plant is very trendy, and it’s easy to see why. Prayer plants are known for their beautiful leaves, which come in a variety of colors, including green, red, pink, and purple. Prayer plants are also easy to care for, making them a great option for plant newbies. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to displaying your prayer plant.

First, prayer-plants look best when they’re displayed in a pot by themselves on a counter or tabletop. Second, try to choose a planter that complements the colors of the plant’s leaves. And third, be careful to place the plant on a wooden surface. 

Water rings can damage wood, so choosing a raised planter instead is best. With these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to have a beautiful and healthy prayer plant that will add life to any room in your home.

How to Care for Prayer Plant (Calathea insignis)

Red Maranta Prayer Plant

Prayer Plant Propagation

A prayer plant will propagate easily in the spring by taking stem cuttings or simply dividing your plant. Cuttings should be taken just beneath the nodes at the bottom of the stem and stored in a mixture of peat and perlite in a sunny location. The cutting should be covered with plastic to retain moisture.

You should poke a few holes in the plastic cover to allow air in a while, also promoting fresh growth. Once the roots have grown to about an inch in length, you can take the plant out of the plastic and place it in the soil. Prayer plants are beautiful, low-maintenance houseplants that make a great addition to any home.

Pruning your Prayer Plant

Pruning can be a great way to encourage more vigorous growth in your plants. By clipping the stems right above the leaf nodes, you can encourage new shoots to grow below the cut area, resulting in a fuller, more bushy appearance. 

Prayer plants are particularly well-suited to this type of pruning and can be pruned two or three times a year. As for flowers, you may either leave them to enjoy or prune them off – it’s entirely up to you! Whichever route you choose, pruning is a great way to keep your plants healthy and give them a little boost.

Potential pests and diseases

Though they’re lovely, they’re also just as susceptible to pests as any other houseplant. Luckily, there are easy ways to keep your prayer plant healthy and pest-free! One of the best ways to deter pests is to keep the humidity high. Prayer plants like moist air, so misting your plant regularly or placing it on a pebble tray filled with water can help to keep it healthy and pests at bay.

If you do find pests on your plant, don’t despair! Mealybugs are a common Prayer Plant pest, and they can be easily dealt with. Mealybugs produce a white residue on a plant’s leaves that looks a lot like cotton. If you see this, isolate your plant from others and remove any spots you find.

Spider mites are another common Prayer Plant pest. These tiny creatures are difficult to see with the naked eye, but they can cause big problems for your plant. If you think your plant might have spider mites, take a close look at the undersides of the leaves. If you see tiny webs or white dots, your plant is likely infested.

To get rid of spider mites or mealybugs, isolate your plant and treat it with a solution of three parts water, one part alcohol, and a splash of dish soap.

How to Care for Prayer Plant (Calathea insignis)

Thorsen’s Greenhouse Prayer Plant

When should I repot my prayer plant?

Having a prayer plant means you don’t need to worry about too much. They don’t need to be repotted often, but they will grow very slowly when they become root-bound, and it is time to change containers. You should only do so in the spring or summer months to prevent cold weather shock during the plant’s dormant period.

To repot, choose a container that is at least an inch or two wider than the existing pot. Water well for the first few days after transplanting. Prayer plants like to be potted in wide, shallow pots – they need plenty of air. 

To make sure they have enough oxygen, consider repotting every other year. And that’s really all there is to it! Prayer plants are almost impossible to kill, so this is the one for you if you’re looking for a low-maintenance houseplant.

Prayer Plants – FAQ

Do Prayer Plants need direct sunlight?

No, prayer-plants do not need direct sunlight. In fact, they prefer medium to low indirect light and will do best in an east- or north-facing window.

Do Prayer Plants need to be watered every day?

No, prayer-plants do not need to be watered every day. In fact, it’s best to water them only when the soil is dry to the touch. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it’s important to let the soil dry out between waterings.

What is the best way to propagate Prayer Plants?

Prayer plants can be propagated by division or by taking stem cuttings. To propagate by division, simply divide the plant into two or more sections and pot each section up in its own pot. To propagate by stem cuttings, take a 4-6 inch cutting from the tips of the plant and pot it up in its own pot. Be sure to keep the soil moist until the cutting has rooted.

Do Prayer Plants need to be fertilized?

Prayer plants do not need to be fertilized often, but they will benefit from a monthly feeding during the growing season (spring and summer). Use a half-strength fertilizer, and be sure to dilute it before applying it to the plant. Overfertilizing can lead to leaf burn, so it’s important to follow the directions on the fertilizer package.

How to Care for Prayer Plant?

Prayer plants are relatively easy to care for, but there are a few things you can do to keep them healthy and happy. First, they prefer medium to low light and will do best in an east- or north-facing window. Second, they like to be watered only when the soil is dry to the touch.

Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it’s important to let the soil dry out between waterings. Third, they can be fertilized monthly during the growing season (spring and summer) with half-strength fertilizer. Be sure to follow the directions on the fertilizer package to avoid leaf burn.

Finally, if you see any pests on your plant, isolate it from other plants and treat it with a solution of three parts water, one part alcohol, and a splash of dish soap. With a little love and care, your Prayer Plant will be healthy and beautiful in no time!

Are Prayer Plants Easy to Care For?

Yes, prayer-plants are relatively easy to care for. They prefer medium to low light and will do best in an east- or north-facing window. They like to be watered only when the soil is dry to the touch. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it’s important to let the soil dry out between waterings.

They can be fertilized monthly during the growing season (spring and summer) with half-strength fertilizer. Be sure to follow the directions on the fertilizer package to avoid leaf burn. If you see any pests on your plant, isolate it from other plants and treat it with a solution of three parts water, one part alcohol, and a splash of dish soap. How Fast do Prayer Plants Grow?

How do I make my prayer plant bushy?

Prayer plants are not fast growers, but they can be encouraged to grow more quickly by fertilizing them monthly during the growing season (spring and summer) with half-strength fertilizer. Be sure to follow the directions on the fertilizer package to avoid leaf burn. You can also make your prayer plant bushier by taking stem cuttings and potting them up in their own pots. Keep the soil moist until the cutting has rooted.

How to Care for Prayer Plant (Calathea insignis)

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M.Arch. Julio Arco
M.Arch. Julio Arco

Bachelor of Architecture - ITESM University
Master of Architecture - McGill University
Architecture in Urban Context Certificate - LDM University
Interior Designer - Havenly
Architecture Professor - ITESM University

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