The Maranta Leuconeura comes with colorful evergreen leaves, having pink veins and several shades of red on the underside. The plant is native from Central and South America’s tropical forests, where the conditions are warm, humid, and having rich, drained soil. Though it flowers perennially, the leaves are so colorful that you’ll have a spectacle indoors throughout the year.
To grow a Maranta Leuconeura, provide indirect bright light and water it frequently during the growing season but do not flood the pot. Keep it under warm temperatures between 60ºF(15.5ºC) and 80oF(26.6ºC) and continually mist the leaves to improve humidity.
While the Maranta Leuconeura or Prayer plant can survive a week of neglect, it will call for attention by the second week. When you provide the conditions it requires to thrive, it will become showy and more glorious.
Let’s look at the conditions that Maranta Leuconeura requires to succeed indoors, shall we?
The Maranta Leuconeura requires generous hydration, especially during spring and summer. This means watering once or twice a week should do the work. However, monitor that the soil is not getting soggy. Leave the topsoil to dry at least an inch or two before resuming watering.
At the worst neglect, please do not allow the soil to get dusty because it might kill the plant to the extent that it is impossible to recover.
Twice or thrice a year, flood the pot until water begins to drip from the drainage holes. The ultimate goal should be to leave the soil moist throughout the growing season.
Light levels, temperature, and humidity affect the amount of watering. When it is warm and very bright, your prayer plant will require more water. However, the best signal that you need to water is dry soil an inch or two below the surface.
Maranta Leuconeura is sensitive to fluoride in water or mist. Use aged, rain, distilled, or filtered water on the soil and the leaves. The use of chemically contaminated water damages the soil resulting in an increased need for repotting. The water should also be at room temperature to avoid shocking both the leaves and the roots.
Lack of enough water or too much water will affect the growth of your Maranta Leuconeura. The leaves could begin to curl, turn yellow, and eventually drop. Too much water leaves the soil soggy and could cause root rot.
The velvet looking leaves of Maranta Leuconeura love a lot of humidity. To grow a beautiful prayer plant indoors, you need to imitate the conditions found under the tropical rainforest canopies. Humidity is, therefore, one of the elements that will demand your attention to the prayer plant.
Mist the prayer plant once every other day using rain, filtered, aged, or distilled water. Try to provide a humidity level of 50%-60% for most of the time. Also, keeping a balance is key, since excessive humidity levels can result in fungal infections, while low humidity levels will stifle growth and reduce the leaves’ brilliance.
The Maranta Leuconeura is one of the plants that benefit from grouping. Its robust growth habit results in a bush that helps to trap the humidity around the leaves. Identify plants that can be grouped with Calatheas and palms, among others. The grouping plants must also love similar conditions, mostly light, humidity, and temperature.
An automatic humidifier will also maintain the right humidity around the leaves. It saves you the daily duty of checking on your prayer plant, especially if you have a busy schedule or could be out of the office for a while. However, you must prepare to pay the utility bill to keep it running.
A pebble tray at the bottom of the plant will also help to maintain the right humidity levels around the leaves. Evaporating water from the dish will provide the moisture needed to keep the leaves looking glorious and fresh. With a pebble tray at the base, you don’t need to monitor the plant so often, without threatening its growth.
The Maranta Leuconeura is extremely sensitive to the quality of soil provided during potting. Since it is a robust grower, it will react immediately to changes in soil conditions. Yellowing and curling leaves indicate that there is a problem with the soil.
The best choice is a well-drained, aerated, and rich loamy soil. Mixing one part of loamy soil with a part of peat moss improves its quality, guaranteeing a robust growing Maranta Leuconeura. It would help to use treated soil that is free of weed seeds, insects, and diseases because it ensures the healthy growth of your flower.
Drainage is crucial when potting prayer-plants because soggy soil results in root rot and curtailed nutrient absorption. Gravel and sand can be used to improve drainage but must be done sparingly to ensure that the soil holds the nutrients needed by the plant.
This plant also requires adequately aerated soil for healthy root growth. However, soaking the soil reduces the quantity of air that the soil can hold and will spill over to your prayer plant’s health.
You can also use compost during potting to improve soil drainage. Compost decomposes slowly, releasing nutrients gradually into the soil. Mulching also turns out into compost eventually, improving the nutrients in the soil and its drainage.
Maintaining the quality of your soil is as important as using the right mix during potting. Use liquid fertilizer instead of granules because they result in chemical-laden soil. Flash the soil twice or thrice a year to clear chemicals that would have been introduced through fertilizers or fluoridated water.
The Maranta Leuconeura prefers medium to bright light throughout the year. Since it is a prayer plant, the leaves will open based on the amount of light available. Dim light will result in folded continuous leaves that lose their beauty and do not serve the intended purpose. If the light is too bright, the leaves fade and lose the velvet feel.
Place your Maranta Leuconeura near the window where it can get some filtered sunlight. The leaves should not touch the window panes to protect them from scorching. When planted indoors, you can enhance lighting using a fluorescent bulb.
Too much direct sunlight in summer will cause problems for your Maranta Leuconeura. When grown outside, use a shade to protect the plant from the hot noon sun. Alternatively, a curtain will protect the flowers from the direct sun.
Intense direct sun also affects other growth conditions like temperature, humidity, and soil moisture. When grown under the intense sun, increase the frequency of watering, misting, and provide some protection, especially at noon. Still, dim light and the accompanying low temperatures could also result in soggy soil, fungal infections, and pest infestation.
Maranta Leuconeura is your ordinary plant that thrives in the typical indoor temperature. As long as you provide temperatures between 60ºF(15.5ºC) and 80ºF(26.6ºC), you will see gloriously colored leaves on your Maranta Leuconeura.
The plant will tolerate temperatures as low as 50ºF(10ºC) as long as the humidity is also low and lighting is enhanced. The temperatures can also rise to 90ºF(32.2ºC) but not beyond that to protect the leaves. High temperatures must also be accompanied by enhanced humidity to protect the leaves.
High temperature drains moisture from the soil resulting in increased demand for watering. The leaves will also appear faded, reducing the beauty of your prayer plant.
Because high temperatures may drain the air around your plant, humidity levels will reduce. Therefore, you’ll have to mist the plant regularly, install a humidifier, group the plant with others, or use a pebble tray to enhance humidity at high temperatures.
Advanced Care for Maranta Leuconeura (Prayer Plant)
While this plant can tolerate some negligence level, it will reward owners who pay attention to minor details. Fertilization, pruning, flowering, and other aspects will make a difference in your prayer plant’s health and appearance.
Below are the advanced care needs for Maranta Leuconeura that will give you a breathtaking indoor spectacle. They are:
The leaves of Maranta Leuconeura are flowers unto themselves. It almost makes the flowers inconsequential despite them still being a spectacle. These flowers are so unique that they fetch a high price in the floriculture industry. They are used to make some of the unique floral arrangements.
The Maranta leuconeura flowers in spring and early summer, producing tiny white flowers. However, the flowers will only appear when you provide the best care while attending to its delicate needs of water, humidity, and temperature. It explains why most houseplant owners of the prayer plant have never seen these flowers.
Increase the amount of watering and protect your prayer plant from direct sun. A little compost will also provide the food that the plant requires to produce a beautiful bloom. If the foliage is glorious enough, you can nip the flower at the bud and remain with the beautifully colored leaves.
Maranta Leuconeura is a light feeder but requires nutrient-rich soil. The use of compost during potting is the best fertilization method at the beginning. Nutrients are released slowly into the soil without scorching the roots, giving your flower the boost it requires at a young age.
The prayer plant requires fertilization once or twice a year during the robust growth months of spring and summer. Use liquid and half-strength fertilizer once or twice a month to initiate robust growth. Remember, it does not require fertilization during winter because it is experiencing slow growth. Use liquid fertilizer instead of granules to protect the soil from chemical buildup.
The glorious leaves of Maranta Leuconeura are best left untouched. However, pests, diseases, age, and yellowing will necessitate pruning of Maranta Leuconeura. Pruning also enables you to control the growth habit of your houseplant.
Prune by cutting the entire leaf at the base using a sharp knife or scalpel. The best time to prune is during spring or early summer when the plant can restore the leaves faster as well as heal the wounds.
However, pruning to enhance your plant’s beauty or to control pests and diseases is doable at any time of the year.
This prayer plant does not require repotting often. However, the exercise will be necessary if the plant becomes root- or pot-bound because it begins to stunt. Repot into the next container size since it will take more than two years before repotting.
Remove the plant from the soil and shake the existing mold, or dip it in water. Please place it in the bigger container and pour your new potting mix. Water the soil adequately and place the newly potted plant at a warm place.
Spring and summer are the best months to repot your Maranta Leuconeura.
Propagating the prayer plant is pretty easy using a cutting or by division. Separate the young shoots during repotting and place them in moist-warm soil. It will take two to three weeks for the plant to recover.
When using a cutting, slice it below the leaf node and dip the cutting in rooting hormone. It will produce roots within a week and be ready for transfer to a container with soil.
Pest and Disease Control
Dry and dusty leaves are prone to spider mites. Too much humidity will also cause fungal infections. The Maranta Leuconeura, therefore, requires regular misting to keep pests away. Black spots on the leaves and curly leaves are signs that your plant is infested with pests or diseases.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do the prayer plant leaves fold up at night?
They respond to the reduced light intensity at night. It is thought that the leaves will give way for raindrops to fall through the leaves up to the roots.
How do you make a prayer plant fuller?
Feed the plant on more fertilizer and adequate water to make the foliage fuller. Compost manure is the best because it does not scorch the roots. Granular fertilizer will contaminate the soil if applied in unnecessarily high quantities.
Related Plant Guides:
- Calathea Makoyana Care Guide
- How to grow a Stromanthe Triostar
- The guide to growing a Calathea Medallion
- Calathea Warscewiczi Care Guide
- How to care for a Calathea Ornata
- The Rattlesnake (Calathea Lancifolia) Guide
- Calathea Zebrina Care Guide
- How to care for a Calathea Orbifolia