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Unlike some plants that seem to just sit there, month after month, the frequent movement of the Prayer Plant gives the feeling of having a living thing in your home. When you view this plant at various times of day, you can see different angles of the leaves and stems, providing an appealing visual interest. All Prayer Plants have the potential to move and pray, but sometimes they inexplicably stop moving. It can be alarming to observe any change in a previously healthy houseplant, so use this as a chance to diagnose possible problems with your Maranta. The most likely reasons for a Prayer Plant to stop moving are incorrect light levels too much or too little , insufficient water, or shock.
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: Prayer plant care (Maranta Leuconeura)Content:
- How to Care for Your Calathea Medallion
- Calathea ‘Maui Queen’: Informational Guide with Care & Facts
- Calathea Burle Marx Care Tips – How to Grow Fishbone Prayer Plant
- Prayer Plant | Maranta kerchoveana
- How to not kill your Calathea: Prayer Plant (Marantaceae) Care
- Prayer Plant Care
How to Care for Your Calathea Medallion
These dazzling plants — marantas, calatheas, stromanthes, and ctenanthes — have colorful, patterned leaves that lift upward in the evening, giving them their common name. We link to vendors to help you find relevant products. If you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. And they do come with certain advantages: they are both non-toxic to pets and do well in lower light conditions.
On the other hand, one of the very real potential disadvantages to acquiring one of these is that you may not be able to stop with just one. I may be speaking from experience. Many of the species in these different but closely related genera have very similar characteristics and growing requirements. So, whether you came here looking for information on how to grow Calathea orbifolia or Maranta leuconeura , the basic care guidance provided will work for your specific houseplant.
If you have a calathea of some sort, you may — or may not — be aware that these species have more current official aliases. It all happened during the Great Calathea Reclassification ofOkay, that title is my own invention, but the reclassification did indeed happen. That second calathea clade comprised a group of approximately species, leaving around 37 species behind in the Calathea genus.
Now renamed Goeppertia , that second calathea clade happens to contain all of the calatheas that are popular houseplants. Old habits die hard, and this is not uncommon in the era of DNA analysis and reclassification, wherein many plants have been given new names in recent years. Nyctinasty is a scientific term used to describe plant movement in response to darkness. These nyctinastic species have the quirk of folding up their leaves for the night, and then lowering them again when the sun returns in the morning.
It was the nighttime lifting of their leaves that made horticulturalists think of hands held vertically in prayer and inspired their common name. Instead, they exhibit a different type of movement. When the sun goes down, their leaves raise upward — and in some species, the undersides of the leaves are exposed. Papaya trees and mimosa, aka sensitive plant — as well as many other types of legumes, such as garden peas — exhibit movement as part of their circadian rhythm.
There are different hypotheses about why Marantaceae species have evolved this daily rhythm. Some think this is a way for these species to protect their foliage from fungal and bacterial growth at night. Another interesting hypothesis as to the reason for this daily rhythm is that it might be a strategy these tropical species have evolved to protect themselves from nibbling herbivores.
Lifting their leaves may give nocturnal predators a boost, providing less cover for herbivore populations seeking food on the rainforest floor. The predators have an easier time finding their prey, and the plants get a break from being nibbled on in exchange. While some members of the Marantaceae family are native to Africa and Asia, the ones we are going to focus on in this article are all native to tropical zones in the Americas and the Caribbean.
This order includes some other ornamental members you have probably heard of before, such as birds of paradise and canna lilies, as well as some tropical members commonly used for food, including bananas, turmeric , and ginger.
In fact, some members of the Marantaceae family have flowers that bear a strong resemblance to ginger blossoms.
While arrowroot starch does help us gluten-free home cooks whip up some delicious baked goods, I would dare to say that these sweets cannot compare to the fantastic ornamental value of the plants in the arrowroot family.
The Marantaceae family was named after a figure from the Italian Renaissance by the name of Bartolomeo Maranta, who was a literary critic, physician, and botanist — a true Renaissance man.
Members of the arrowroot family were first grown as specimens and cultivated in homes and greenhouses in Europe toward the end of the s. Most of the prayer plant species that are grown as houseplants have striking coloring and symmetrical patterns — with stripes, blotches, and streaks in shades of dark green, light green, gray, silver, pink, white, and cream.
In addition to their intriguing patterns, most of these offer textural interest as well. Some species have foliage with raised textures to match their patterns, while others have wavy leaf margins.
And as new leaves unfurl, the undersides — frequently colored in purple or burgundy hues — are exposed, adding an additional visual delight that contrasts with their upper portions. While the leaves of these plants are quite decorative, most of the species and cultivars enjoyed as houseplants produce tiny, inconspicuous flowers. In USDA Hardiness Zones , members of the Marantaceae family can be featured outdoors in the landscape year round, but those of us in regions with cold winters must enjoy these beauties as houseplants.
Ready to find out how to grow and care for them in your home? One thing to consider before embarking on a prayer plant propagation project say that three times fast is that some hybrid varieties are protected under patent, and it is therefore not legal to propagate them by any means.
Starting from seed is not the easiest way to propagate these ornamentals. That leaves us with propagation from stem cuttings and through division. Prayer plants produce underground rhizomes or tubers. When you divide these root structures, you can turn one specimen into two or more plants. Check your plant label for the expected mature size of the type you are growing. When you are ready to divide, carefully remove the plant from its pot. Follow the stems down to the roots — you will see separate clumps of stems attached to clumps of rhizomes or tubers.
Separate out clumps with at least three leaves attached to them. Finding a good spot to separate one clump from the others may be fairly easy and obvious, or they may be tightly packed, requiring you to work them apart. Do this gently. You are basically performing surgery on your plant, so try to be as gentle as you would like a surgeon to be with you. Repot the divided clump into a new container. You can repot the parent plant into a new pot as well if it is now significantly smaller, or put it back into its old pot if it still fits nicely.
Marantaceae species that have a spreading growth habit can be propagated easily through stem cuttings. These include Maranta , Ctenanthe , and Stromanthe species. Spreading types have nodes where they can grow new roots and anchor into the soil as they spread. We can take advantage of this to create more houseplants. In fact, propagating from stem cuttings is how most marantas are grown commercially.
While the pros typically root these plants in potting medium of some sort, for most home gardeners, the most successful method for rooting a cutting of this type is to place the cut end in a glass of water and wait for roots to grow. After several weeks or months, whenever your cuttings have established a thriving root system, you can pot them up by following the instructions in the repotting section of this article below.
Division is probably your most reliable option for propagating these plants. These green companions need a bit more attention than other houseplants, particularly regarding watering, humidity, and temperature.
And when purchasing these houseplants from an online vendor, make sure a heat pack is included during winter if you live in a cold climate, so your purchase arrives without any chilling injury. As I mentioned earlier, these species grow on the rainforest floor in dappled light. In our homes, that translates best to medium to bright indirect light. On the other hand, too much direct sunlight can cause faded coloring, as well as scorched leaves.
In general, placing prayer plants on windowsills will provide either too much light, too much heat, or too much of a chill as night falls. If the window is south facing, you may need a translucent curtain to help make the light more diffused. Coming from tropical areas as they do, Marantaceae species like it on the warm side. Avoid locating your prayer plants in areas that get very warm.As mentioned, a position too close to a south-facing window may overheat your houseplants, and scorch their foliage.
Also avoid situating them next to fireplaces or radiators, where temperatures are likely to be too extreme. Watering is probably the area of care where you will have to be the most vigilant. They grow in moist soil in their native range, and they would greatly prefer to continue doing so in the confines of our homes. They are prone to getting brown leaf tips when watering is either insufficient or inconsistent. So keep these tropical houseplants in soil that is moist — but not soggy.
That means they require well-draining soil and frequent watering. In other sources you may find directions to water when the top half inch or the surface of the soil is dry.
Another important watering tip is to avoid ice cold water, and water your plant babies with room temperature or lukewarm water instead. Also, remember to remove any saucers or decorative pot covers and let the water drain out of the drainage holes of their nursery pots after watering. Letting them sit in a saucer full of water can cause their soil to become waterlogged.
And since municipal water can contain contaminants and well-water is often mineral-heavy, use rainwater, filtered, or distilled water to give your prayer plants the gentle hydration they need. Check out our article for troubleshooting tips when prayer plant leaves turn brown. Being creatures of the rainforest as they are, prayer plants do best when the humidity is fairly high, between 40 and 60 percent.
Here are some other methods to consider:. Grouping these houseplants together will help increase the relative humidity around each one. An additional measure you can use to increase humidity is to place your plant on a humidity tray.
Water that is evaporating from the tray will add moisture the air around the plant. Just make sure the pot is never sitting in standing water — which is a recipe for root rot. Humidi-GrowMy calatheas, which are small, are housed in a terrarium.
This not only increases the relative humidity, it also protects them from my cats. And as for my maranta, which is in a hanging basket and is too large for a terrarium, I keep a humidifier nearby. Salts from fertilizer can build up in their soil, competing for moisture and even leaving unsightly tip burns on the foliage.
On the other hand, if your prayer plants are producing small, pale leaves, this may be a sign that they do indeed need fertilizing. You can use a liquid houseplant fertilizer that you dilute heavily and apply twice a month during the growing season, approximately from March through September.
I like to take a gentle, organic approach when fertilizing my houseplants, using worm compost tea to do the job twice a month. TeaDrops Organic Houseplant Fertilizer. You can find a pack of 16 worm compost tea packets for purchase from the Earthworm Technologies Store, available via Amazon. Even with the best care, prayer plants often develop brown tips or leaf edges, and older leaves will fade and die.
Calathea ‘Maui Queen’: Informational Guide with Care & Facts
The calathea family has some of the most stunning foliage plants with boldly marked, oblong leaves in a dazzling array of colours. A common name for calathea, maranta, and other marantaceae, which are similar but not identical plants is prayer plant, and while it is more commonly known as that their foliage has earned them several nick names like zebra plant, peacock plant, or rattlesnake plant. This blog will mostly talk about calathea, but these tips should do well for any variety of prayer plant. Calatheas are true tropical plants that thrive and grow rather quickly, often reaching a mature size of one to two feet tall in a year if they are given the right growing conditions. While many other varieties of plants are no salvageable once they lose all the leaves and die back, but not the prayer plants — they bounce back with proper light and water like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
How to grow and care for indoor prayer plants. They thrive in high humidity and their gorgeous leaves open and close daily as in prayer.
Calathea Burle Marx Care Tips – How to Grow Fishbone Prayer Plant
Yes, this lovely plant does EXACTLY what its name says- its leaves are flat during the day, but when the night comes, they fold up and pray. How to grow prayer plant? Just remember that it thrives on high humidity and it prefers brighter, indirect sun. Also, it would be wise to keep it in well-drained soil and be careful not to overwater it. Keep it in temperatures between degrees F. If you want to learn what is prayer plant and how to take care of it, this is the place for you so keep reading to find out. They have different spots and distinctive patterns.
Prayer Plant | Maranta kerchoveana
I never had a desire to purchase it when I saw it on my daily strolls through the plant aisle at Lowes. Then one day, someone offered it up as part of a plant trade. I find myself constantly glancing over at the leaves that are so striking and bright that they always catch your eye! Easy to care for and low-light tolerant these beauties are so low-maintenance but have the most gorgeous foliage!
Have you ever kept a house plant that moved when your back was turned?
How to not kill your Calathea: Prayer Plant (Marantaceae) Care
So one day you find yourself walking into a garden center, or maybe you are at your local supermarket or maybe even Ikea. And then you set your eyes upon it. That lush and sticking foliage. Your heart starts racing, love at first sight and you know you just have to have it. And so you buy it and proceed to take it home.
Prayer Plant Care
This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here. Prayer plants compromise many different species of plant that come from the Marantaceae family, such as Marantas, Calathea, Stromanthe, and Ctenanthe. If you record a time lapse, your plant might actually be moving more than you think it is. Surely if being able to lift your leaves was such an advantage, then all plants would do it.
How to care for Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura) including light, soil, propagation and more.
This striped calathea was named in honour of Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. Historically found in the Brazilian rainforests, this plant is now more widely spread. Like other calatheas, this plant has top air-purifying qualities. As part of its photosynthesis, the Calathea Never Never filters impurities like cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes from the air and transforms it into the oxygen we breathe!RELATED VIDEO: CALATHEA Plant Care Tips - Prayer Plant Care
Calathea or Prayer plants have a handpainted look that brings vibrant color and interest to any spot. Following their circadian rhythms, Calatheas open their leaves upwards towards the sun throughout the day to maximize their light intake. At night, they return to a resting position. Light: Does best in bright indirect to medium light. Watering Frequency : Allow the top in.
This pattern looks hand painted like a nature-made brushstroke.
A popular houseplant also commonly referred to as rabbit tracks, the prayer plant got its name because of its habit of folding up its leaves at night similarly to how someone folds up their hands to pray. Read on to learn all about the prayer plant, including its history, the different varieties available to gardeners, and how to provide the best growing environment and care for the prayer plant to ensure its success. A native of the Brazilian jungle, the prayer plant is only hardy to USDA growing zones 11 and 12, and does not typically do well outdoors, unless it is provided with a very shady location in a subtropical environment with the right neighbors. Because it has such a tiny climate zone where it is happy, it is typically grown indoors as a houseplant , where it is provided with specifically warm and damp conditions, similar to the tropical environment where it is from, in the jungles of Brazil. Not growing the prayer plant outdoors, however, means missing out on its tiny white flowers, which is actually not a big loss, as they are insignificant and barely noticeable when in full bloom. Instead of being grown for its tiny white flowers, prayer plant is actually coveted for its lovely odd and one-of-a-kind foliage. The six inch long leaves show off a different array of colors depending on variety.
Also known as the prayer plant or the Calathea dottie, the Calathea roseopicta She is native to the tropical forests of Brazil. The perfect spot for the Calathea Roseopicta green is about a metre away from any west or east-facing window. Prayer plants should be kept away from any direct sunlight especially in the summer months when the sun is at its hottest.