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The Beauty and Benefits of Prayer Plants: A Guide to Growing and Caring for Maranta Leuconeura

Do your plants ever seem to be praying? Well, you may be right! Prayer plants, which are members of the Marantaceae family, actually open their leaves during the day to get as much light as possible, and then close them at night. These unique plants are native to rainforests and take a lot of energy to create, so if you see blooms appearing, it’s best to remove them to conserve energy. With the right humidity levels and indirect sunlight, you can easily have a thriving prayer plant in your home. Keep reading to learn more about these fascinating plants!

Choosing the Right Location for Your Prayer Plant

Prayer plants, or Maranta leuconeura, are a tropical species native to the Brazilian rainforest. As such, they prefer warm and shady areas with [indirect sunlight]( When deciding where to place a prayer plant in your home or garden, it is important to keep in mind that direct sunlight should be avoided as this can cause the leaves of the plant to burn. Instead, you should look for an area where there is plenty of shade and warmth that can be further controlled by either location or some type of cover.

To help you choose the right location for your prayer plant, consider the following:

  • Light: As mentioned, prayer plants prefer indirect sunlight. They can tolerate low light conditions, but too much direct sunlight can be harmful. Place your plant in a spot where it can receive bright, filtered light or partial shade.

  • Temperature: Prayer plants thrive in warm and humid environments. Keep your plant away from cold drafts or areas with fluctuating temperatures. Ideally, the temperature should be between 60-80°F.

  • Humidity: These plants love humidity, so consider placing them in a bathroom or near a humidifier. You can also mist the leaves regularly to increase humidity levels.

  • Soil: Prayer plants prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. A mix of peat moss, perlite, and potting soil can work well.

  • Watering: Water your prayer plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your prayer plant thrives in its new home.

The Fascinating Features of the Prayer Plant

The Prayer Plant gets its name from the way that it moves its leaves throughout the day. These plants are part of the Marantaceae family, which is so named because plants in this family tend to droop at night – or “pray”. This movement of their leaves is known as nyctinasty and happens on a daily basis; during the night, they raise their leaves up and down, while during the day they lower them again.

The Prayer Plant is easily recognizable due to its striking foliage. Its decorative leaves come in a variety of colors, including shades of green, white, pink and purple. It is a popular choice for tropical gardens and terrariums because it adds an interesting texture and splash of color to any space.

One of the most interesting features of this plant is the ten dark green spots on its leaves. These spots are known as “the Ten Commandments” and are believed to symbolize the ten commandments from the Bible.

Features of the Prayer Plant

NamePrayer Plant
Leaf MovementNyctinasty
Leaf ColorsGreen, White, Pink, Purple
Ten CommandmentsTen dark green spots on leaves symbolizing the Ten Commandments from the Bible

Caring for Your Prayer Plant for Long-Term Health

Aside from its aesthetically pleasing look, the prayer plant is also renowned for its longevity. How long do prayer plants live? The plant grows slowly and can be expected to live for approximately five years under ideal conditions. The houseplant can be found in almost any well-lit room or location, as it performs well in both bright or indirect sunlight and strong artificial light. It likes to grow in average to moist soil; however, it should not be overwatered as this could lead to root rot and eventual death of the plant.

In addition, the prayer plant is relatively easy to care for as long as a few basic guidelines are followed. To ensure that your prayer plant stays healthy and vibrant, you should:

  • Make sure that it receives enough water but not too much
  • Provide adequate humidity levels by misting regularly
  • Fertilize every two weeks during the growing season with a balanced liquid fertilizer
  • Keep an eye out for pests such as spider mites or mealybugs
  • Prune away any dead leaves when necessary

The Red Prayer Plant is particularly easy to keep alive as it can be placed in a sunny spot, kept damp soil, and misted with water once a week. With proper care and attention, your prayer plant should flourish for years to come.

Care Tips
Make sure that it receives enough water but not too much
Provide adequate humidity levels by misting regularly
Fertilize every two weeks during the growing season with a balanced liquid fertilizer
Keep an eye out for pests such as spider mites or mealybugs
Prune away any dead leaves when necessary

The Benefits of the Prayer Plant: Clean Air and Non-Toxicity

  • The prayer plant is not just aesthetically pleasing; it also has beneficial properties.

  • Do prayer plants clean the air? The answer is yes. Similar to the snake plant, they help you breathe easier by removing pollutants from the air around them.

  • The pollutants that are removed from the air include formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene – all of which have been found to be harmful to our health in high concentrations.

  • The process by which plants remove these pollutants occurs through a process called phytoremediation – essentially meaning “plant cleaning” or “green cleansing” – as plants absorb toxins through their leaves and roots and break them down into harmless components before releasing them back into the atmosphere or soil in a more natural state.

  • Furthermore, the prayer plant is non-toxic to both dogs and cats, making it a great choice for households with pets.

BenefitsPrayer Plant
Clean AirYes
Non-Toxicity to petsYes

Growing Prayer Plants in the Bedroom and Bathroom

When it comes to bedroom plants, the prayer plant is one of the best options. The best conditions for growing prayer plants are in a room with dappled light, and the soil should be kept evenly moist, similar to that of a wrung-out dish sponge. They are effective in low-light areas such as your bedroom as well. In addition to being easy to care for and aesthetically pleasing, they also help purify the air around them by removing pollutants from it. This makes them an excellent choice for any home or garden looking for both beauty and clean air.

To ensure your prayer plant is healthy and thriving, it is important to water it properly. While regular watering from the top of the soil is effective, you can also help your plant by taking it into the shower and watering it until the water runs out of the bottom of the pot. To make sure that your plant is getting only clean water, you can use a Brita filter when watering.

Another great option for growing a prayer plant is in the bathroom. Calathea, also known as the prayer plant because of the way its leaves open during the day and close at night, thrives in medium to low light and appreciates the added humidity that a bathroom provides.

Effective in low-light areasThrives in medium to low light
Soil should be kept evenly moistAppreciates added humidity
Helps purify the airLeaves open during the day and close at night
Easy to care for

In summary, the prayer plant is a great option for both the bedroom and bathroom. Whether you choose to grow it in a room with dappled light or in a bathroom with added humidity, it is sure to thrive and provide both beauty and clean air to your home or garden.

The Nocturnal Habits of Prayer Plants

During the day, the leaves on the prayer plant will lower or spread out to absorb rain. At night, this adapted behavior helps the plant retain water by folding its leaves inwards so that any water droplets can be stored as they trickle down to the plant instead of evaporating. This is a great way for prayer plants to make sure they are getting enough hydration during times of drought. Additionally, it also helps protect them from potential frost damage if temperatures drop suddenly at night and help keep their foliage looking healthy.

This natural adaptation is known as ‘nyctinasty’ and is a diurnal response of the plant that signals whether it is day or night based on the light.

All Marantaceae plants will “pray” and fold up their leaves at night, and then relax them back down during the day. This is not to be confused as a problem.

Leaves lower or spread out to absorb rainLeaves fold inwards to retain water and protect from frost damage
Plant absorbs water through leavesWater droplets are stored on the plant
Foliage looks healthyFoliage is protected from damage

As shown in the table above, the prayer plant’s behavior during the day and night is quite different. However, this is a natural adaptation that helps the plant survive and thrive in its environment.

Should You Let Your Prayer Plant Flower?

However, despite its many benefits and adaptations, there are some things to consider when caring for a prayer plant. One of the most important is whether or not you should let your prayer plant flower.

The flowers take a lot of energy for the plant to create, so if you see blooms appearing, it is best to remove them before they bloom in order to encourage your plant to focus its energy on producing big, bright leaves.

The flowers also require more frequent watering than just regular top-ups from time-to-time; if left unattended they can easily dry out and cause damage or death to the entire plant. As such, it is recommended that once you have spotted any flowers beginning form on your prayer plants that these be removed as soon as possible in order for the rest of the foliage stay healthy and vibrant.

Many benefits and adaptationsFlowers take a lot of energy
Produces big, bright leavesFlowers require more frequent watering
Healthy and vibrant foliageFlowers can cause damage or death to the entire plant

Misting Your Prayer Plant for Optimal Care

Finally, when it comes to caring for your prayer plant, one of the key questions is should you mist your prayer plant every day? Prayers plants can be demanding when it comes to their humidity levels, so regular misting will help them thrive. When they look sad or droopy, a light mist can bring them back to life. It’s best to mist every day if possible; however, if that feels like too much effort then only mister once a week should suffice.

Mist FrequencyPlant Health
Every dayOptimal
Once a weekAdequate
  • Regular misting helps prayer plants thrive.
  • A light mist can revive a sad or droopy plant.
  • Mist every day for optimal plant health.
  • Mist once a week for adequate plant health.

Understanding the Movement of Prayer Plants

The movement of the prayer plant’s leaves is a truly unique sight to behold. This diurnal movement is controlled by an internal body clock, known as its circadian rhythm, which causes the leaf to move up and down in accordance with changes in light intensity. This process is known as nyctinasty and it helps the plant conserve water by folding its leaves at night so that any droplets trickle down instead of evaporating.

How Does It Happen?

In order for the prayer plant to move its leaves, it must first change the pressure of water inside its pulvini – or swollen nodes – located at the base of each leaf along their stalks (petioles). The pulvinis are essentially tiny balloons filled with air and water that help control turgor pressure; when they swell up, they push against cells on either side and cause them to bend downwards. When these same cells shrink due to lower humidity or lack of light, they pull back on those same sides causing them to lift upwards instead – thus giving us our beloved “praying” plants!

Why Do Prayer Plants Pray?

According to the current thinking, it is an evolutionary adaptation that helps the plant reduce the growth of bugs on their leaves. As we all know, rainforests are home to a wide variety of plants belonging to the Marantaceae family – and these same forests are also home to a plethora of insects. To combat this problem, some Marantaceae species have evolved to open their leaves during the day in order to get as much light as possible. This allows them to photosynthesize more efficiently while simultaneously making themselves less attractive targets for hungry bugs!

Key Points
MovementDiurnal movement controlled by circadian rhythm
NyctinastyProcess that helps conserve water
PulviniSwollen nodes that control turgor pressure
Evolutionary AdaptationHelps reduce growth of bugs on leaves
PhotosynthesisOpens leaves during the day to photosynthesize more efficiently


In conclusion, prayer plants are a beautiful and unique houseplant that will bring a splash of color and life to any home. They are easy to care for and have adapted to move their leaves up and down at night and lower them in the day to make the most of the light and water available. Although they require a warm environment with indirect sunlight, these plants do not require direct sunlight. They are also non-toxic to cats and dogs, making them a great choice for pet owners. With the right care and attention, you can enjoy your prayer plant for many years to come.