Native to Central and South America, the Maranta Prayer Plant has become super trendy as an indoor plant over the last few years. The variegated leaves in reds or bright green fold up during the evening, hence the name: prayer plant.
Prayer plants enjoy bright, indirect light and a humid environment. These plants will very happily reside in a bathroom with a window or above a kitchen sink beside a window. Do not place the place directly in a window sill, especially if it is south facing as the leaves may scorch.
If you live in a dry environment like we do in Colorado, you may want to take steps to increase the humidity around your prayer plant. This can be achieved by placing the plant in a humid part of the house, such as a bathroom or kitchen. You can also invest in a water tray with pebbles, such as the type orchids often grow atop, simply add water to the pebbled tray and let your prayer plant live on top, the standing water will help create a more humid micro-climate for your plant to thrive in.
Your prayer plant will thrive in well-draining soil such as the type sold for succulents. Prayer plants are slow growing and you can generally get away with repotting them only every two years or so. If your prayer plant begins to look crowded in its pot simple remove it and gently split the plant into two pieces, repot the pieces in separate pots and enjoy having two prayer plants or give one to a friend.
Prayer plants are not particularly prone to pests. Avoid over watering as the plant likes to have moist soil but not to sit in excess water. Keeping your plant in a pot with a drainage hole will help avoid this issue. While prayer plants do not like to have wet "feet" they also do not do well when allowed to fully dry out. Do not treat your prayer plant like a succulent by allowing the dirt to fully dry in-between waterings. Instead shoot to water your plant every 3 or 4 days so that the soils stays moist.
Should your prayer plant develop dry, brown tips, it is probably getting too much direct light or is too close to a heating vent. Try to locate a more humid and indirect light environment for it and or purchase a pebble tray for it.
Enjoy your prayer plant, their interactive, verdant presence is sure to brighten any environment!