Easy, Specific Prayer Plant Care Instructions

How to Grow and Care for Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

This article contains affiliate links for advertisers of this site. See our disclosure page for more information.

The prayer plant, scientifically known as Maranta leuconeura, is a tropical houseplant originating from the rainforests of South America.

Named for its distinctive leaf movement, the prayer plant’s leaves fold up at night, resembling hands in prayer.

This phenomenon is known as nyctinasty.

Learn to care for a prayer plant and it will reward you with its beauty


This beautiful and popular houseplant is also well-loved for its unique foliage colors and stunning patterns.

Learning to care for a prayer plant can be rewarding, and with the right approach, you can keep it thriving and looking its best.

Get to Know Prayer Plant
Common NamePrayer Plant
Botanical NameMaranta leuconeura
Native South America
Houseplant TypeTropical
Garden Plant TypeHerbaceous perennial
Hardiness Zones11 to 12 (U.S.)
Mature Height6 inches to 12 inches
Mature Spread6 inches to 12 inches
Overview of Prayer Plant Care
Light RequirementsBright, indirect light, avoid direct sunlight
MoistureEvenly moist, avoid soggy soil
Watering FrequencyEvenly moist in spring and summer , allow top inch to dry in fall and winter
Water TypeDistilled, rainwater or low mineral, no fluoride water
HumidityHigh, minimum 50% relative humidity
AirAvoid drafts, vents, etc.
SoilWell draining indoor mix
Fertilizer NeedsLow, sensitive to overfertilization
ContainerWith drain holes, remove excess water from saucers

Care for Prayer Plant: Light Requirements

Prayer plants thrive in bright, indirect light.

They should be placed near a window where they can receive filtered sunlight.

Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, as it can fade the color patterns and lead to leaf burn, and damage.

Aim for a light range of between 250-1,000 foot candles of light (there are phone apps to measure this) for 8-12 hours per day.

This is considered a medium amount of light for an indoor environment.

Prayer plants can adapt to lower light conditions, but they may develop leggy growth and appear sparse.

Close up of a prayer plant's leaves
Prayer plants are loved for their colorful leaves

Their distinctive colors may also fade in a low-light environment.

When this occurs, add supplemental lighting from a full spectrum grow light.

This will encourage growth that is more compact and uniform.

Temperature and Humidity

The prayer plant enjoys warm and humid conditions, replicating its native tropical habitat.

Keep the room temperature between 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C) with a minimum of 60 degrees relative humidity.

A hygrometer is a handy tool to measure room temperature and relative humidity.

To maintain proper humidity, prayer plants thrive in a room with a humidifier.

Occasional misting may not provide enough humidity to keep this true tropical happy.

Prayer plants are ideal for a terrarium or other high-humidity microclimates.

Avoid placing the plant in drafty areas or near heaters or air conditioners, as extreme temperature fluctuations can cause leaf curling and leaf tips and edges to turn brown.



Consistent and appropriate watering is crucial for the prayer plant’s well-being.

Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged and don’t allow the plant to dry out.

Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering may cause the leaves to wilt and dry out causing browning and leaf damage.

Allow the top one inch of soil to dry in between waterings.

Prayer plants have a sensitivity to hard water and fluoride so it’s advisable to use distilled water or clean rainwater.

There are machines that can make distilled water at home to save money if you have a lot of plants that require it.


Houseplants in a room with the text overlay: Tired of your plants not growing? We can help! Join our free weekly email newsletter. Getour watering guide as a free gift
Join our free email newsletter, we’d love to have you!


How Often Should You Water a Prayer Plant?

Test the soil’s moisture level every two to three days by inserting your finger about an inch into the soil.

If it feels dry, it’s time to water the plant.

This is the best way to know if your plant needs to be watered.

During the growing season (spring and summer), you may need to water more frequently.

In contrast, the watering frequency may slow during the fall and winter.

It’s best to use room temperature water as cold water can lead to root health issues.

It’s always a good practice to focus the water on the soil and to minimize the amount of water that is splashed onto leaves.

Using a watering can with a narrow spout makes the task easier.

Keeping the leaves dry helps prevent leaf-borne diseases.

In addition, water that is high in minerals may leave a residue on the plant’s leaves.

 a bag of Organic Potting Mix
Use a potting mix that is designed for container plants

Soil and Potting

Use a well-draining indoor houseplant potting mix that retains moisture but does not become soggy.

Repotting is generally recommended when the plant has outgrown its current container.

When repotting, choose a container that is just slightly larger (one size) and has drain holes to accommodate the growing roots.

A prayer plant in cream colored pot
Prayer plants are available in many different varieties, each with beautiful color patterns. Click here for more details.



During the active growth period (spring and summer), fertilize your prayer plant with a balanced, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer every 3-4 weeks.

In autumn and winter, suspend fertilization.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper dilution and frequency.

Another option is to sprinkle a slow-release fertilizer onto the top of the soil in early spring.

This will provide fertilizer to the plant for approximately 6 months (throughout the growing season) and eliminates the need for a water-soluble fertilizer.

Note that prayer plants are sensitive to overfertilization which will cause the leaf edges to turn brown.


Pruning and Maintenance

Prayer plants can develop leggy or straggly growth over time, especially in low light.

To maintain a compact and bushy shape, consider pruning your plant.

Use clean, sharp pruning shears or snips to remove any unhealthy or unsightly foliage.

Prayer plant in a clay pot
When this plant gets too big for this pot, it can be divided and repotted.



Prayer plants are rhizomatous plants that form clumps.

Therefore, propagation through division is quite easy.

As they grow, the clumps can be divided into individual plants and potted into their own containers.

Common Problems and Solutions

  • Yellowing Leaves: Ironically, overwatering or underwatering can cause yellow leaves. Adjust your watering routine accordingly and ensure proper drainage.


  • Brown Leaf Edges: Low humidity, drought, or excessive sunlight can lead to brown leaf edges. A hygrometer is a useful tool for monitoring a room’s humidity level. Prayer plants need a minimum of 50% relative humidity to stay healthy. In some environments, this level may be too low. Increasing the room’s humidity will always please a prayer plant.


  • Pest Infestations: Keep an eye out for pests like fungus gnats, mealybugs or aphids. If detected, treat the plant with neem oil or insecticidal soap according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
A terrarium with plants
Prayer plants grow well in terrariums



Are prayer plants easy to care for?

Prayer plants grow best in a terrarium or greenhouse, but when they are in high-humidity environments they thrive.


Do prayer plants flower?

Prayer plants do flower.

They have white flowers with purple spots.

These are rare in an indoor environment, but when grown in a greenhouse they may bloom.

A grow light with houseplants
A grow light can provide supplemental light


Where is the best place to put a prayer plant?

Prayer plants thrive in indirect bright light without any direct sunlight.

Therefore, eastern exposure is ideal.

However, southern and western exposures are acceptable provided a curtain sheer protects the plant from the sun.

LED full-spectrum grow lights are helpful to provide light.

Place the plant a minimum of 12 inches away from the bulb to prevent leaf damage.

Prayer plant in a hanging basket
Prayer plants do well in a hanging basket


How tall do prayer plants get?

Prayer plants get 6 to 12 inches high and spread about 6 to 12 inches as well.

They have a clumping arching habit and are ideal for both growing in pots and hanging baskets.


How fast do prayer plants grow?

Prayer plants are relatively slow growing.

This is ideal for the plant parent that may not want to repot regularly and keep their plants contained.

a humidifier
A humidifier will make growing prayer plants easier


Should I mist my prayer plant?

Although prayer plants thrive in high humidity, I don’t recommend misting as it can cause leaf diseases and is a very short-term burst of humidity for the plant.

The best solution to provide continual humidity and to create a more ideal growing environment is to use a humidifier.


Can you grow prayer plants outside?

Prayer plants are hardy to U.S. zones 11 and 12 and are a colorful groundcover.

They will not tolerate frost and do not grow well below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

In cold climates, plants can be acclimated to the outdoor environment and grown outside for the summer.

The process must be reversed when bringing the plants inside before winter.


Caring for a prayer plant can be a rewarding experience, and by providing the right conditions, you can keep this tropical beauty thriving in your home.

Remember to find a well-lit spot away from direct sunlight, maintain proper humidity, water the plant consistently, and periodically fertilize during its active growth period.

With a little attention and care, your prayer plant will continue to impress with its stunning foliage and unique prayer-like leaf movements.

Enjoy the beauty and tranquility this delightful houseplant brings into your living space!


1 thought on “Easy, Specific Prayer Plant Care Instructions”

  1. Not long ago you offered a booklet about the care of indoor plants I would like to receive information on them.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.