The Prayer Plant, also known as Maranta Leuconeura, is a gorgeous-looking house plant. To have one at home, you should familiarize yourself with common Prayer Plant problems.
As striking as Prayer Plant foliage looks, it’s prone to several issues. This includes yellowing, wilting, spots, and other problems.
Keep reading this article to learn more about five of the most common Prayer Plant issues and how to address each one.
One of the most common Prayer Plant problems is yellow leaves. Unfortunately, sometimes determining the cause isn’t as obvious as spotting the issue.
Many reasons can cause your Prayer Plant’s leaves to turn yellow, including:
Prayer Plant, like other tropical plants, is sensitive to temperature changes. Therefore, noticing the leaves on your newly acquired Prayer Plant turning yellow must be due to shock.
This happens, especially if your house or the transportation method is colder than where you bought your precious house plant.
Make sure your Prayer Plant gets shipped with a couple of heat packs if you purchased it online. If you buy it yourself, on the other hand, don’t leave it out in the cold for too long.
The ideal temperature for keeping your Prayer Plants happy is between 65°F and 80°F.
So, adjust your house temperature accordingly, and keep your Prayer Plant away from windows and chilly drafts.
If you have had a Prayer Plant for a long time in the same place, you can rule out the environmental shock.
That said, the reason may be too simple to worry about, like natural shedding.
All plants shed their older leaves to grow new ones. So, your Prayer Plant might be in the process of growing fresh leaves.
If this is the case, the yellow leaves should typically be at the base of the plant while new growing leaves are elsewhere.
Well, it’s not a huge issue to address. However, removing those yellow leaves allows the plant to give more needed energy to the newer ones.
Moreover, those dying leaves may attract pests, so it’s better to get rid of them.
Although these tropical species require more moisture than many other plants, too much water can harm them.
When you overwater your Prayer Plant, the soil can become soaked and soggy. What’s more, if the plant’s pot lacks proper drainage, this traps more moisture inside.
Consequently, this may cause the roots to rot and the leaves to turn yellow.
Gathering more information about how much water Prayer Plants need and how often to water them is essential. Additionally, getting the right container for your plant is just as important.
Generally, you need to check the soil about two times a week. If the surface of the soil still feels moist to the touch, avoid watering at the moment and check again later.
Contrarily, if the first inch of the soil feels dry, your Prayer Plant is ready for watering.
Typically, Prayer Plants thrive in acidic soil. That’s because when the pH levels are higher than 6.0, it can affect the iron supply.
With not enough iron, the plant suffers from Chlorosis or iron deficiency. Chlorosis affects the plant’s ability to photosynthesize and produce chlorophyll.
As a result, it causes your precious Prayer Plant to turn yellow.
Experts recommend having soil testing kits at home for examining the soil when needed.
If your Prayer Plant’s soil is alkaline, you can use sulfur or aluminum sulfate to adjust it.
Furthermore, to balance the iron levels in the soil, you can use any chelated iron product.
Although too much moisture can harm your Prayer Plant, too little humidity isn’t good for it too. After all, it’s a tropical plant that ideally thrives in a humidity of over 40%.
Your Prayer Plant may suffer from insufficient humidity, especially in dry regions.
When this happens, you notice the leaves’ edges turning yellow, sometimes even brown.
For a start, you might want to get a hygrometer to measure humidity levels around your precious plant.
If the surrounding environment isn’t humid enough, you can try one or more of the following fixes.
- Get an air humidifier and run it nearby
- Spray the Prayer Plant with a mister frequently
- Place a humidity tray under your plant
- Gather a few houseplants together in a group
- Place smaller specimens inside a terrarium
- Move your Prayer Plant to a more humid location, like the kitchen or bathroom
Generally, the Prayer Plant moves in response to light levels. That said, if the leaves still look droopy at night, it might be due to another issue.
Typically, a healthy Prayer Plant should be firm to the touch with flat leaves. So, the reasons your plant is droopy may include:
Droopy curled-up leaves usually indicate the plant’s need for moisture. When the plant’s cells don’t contain enough water, it becomes hard to hold its leaves up.
Maybe your Prayer Plant needs watering, or the surrounding humidity just isn’t enough.
Don’t leave your Prayer Plant to completely dry out before supplying it with water. Moreover, try to maintain a proper watering schedule.
If it’s a problem with watering, your Prayer Plant should regain its normal posture within a day.
In addition, keep the surrounding humidity at optimal levels by applying the previously mentioned tips.
Not only does too much moisture cause your Prayer Plant to turn yellow, but it can also make it droopy and wilted.
Try to aerate the soil to get rid of excess moisture. However, in a more extreme case, you may need to repot your Prayer Plant with fresh and dry potting mix.
Sometimes you may notice a couple of brown leaves on your Prayer Plant. The reason depends on whether the brown leaf is soft or dry.
Sometimes people don’t pay attention to their watering habits. Therefore, the overwatered yellow leaves turn brown over time.
As previously mentioned, overwatering can cause more severe issues to your plant.
So, aside from adjusting the watering schedule and ensuring proper drainage, you should check your Prayer Plant for root rot.
Clipping the unhealthy parts of the roots and repotting your plant should fix the issue. Moreover, removing any decaying brown leaves is an excellent idea, as they may attract pests.
Occasionally, the leaves of your praying plant might start to become brown and crisp at the edges. These patches continue to move toward the center of the leaf until it’s completely dry.
Sudden climate changes and dry weather aren’t ideal conditions for Prayer Plants to thrive. When there’s not enough humidity in the air, the wilted yellow leaves turn brown and dry out.
Adjust the surrounding moisture levels as advised earlier, and always make sure to check the air humidity.
Naturally, Prayer Plants grow in the shades of large trees. That’s why direct sunlight can harm them and scorch their leaves.
This causes the plant to become brown and dry as if it was burned.
Always keep your Prayer Plant in a shady yet warm place with indirect sunlight. Filtering the light coming from the nearby window using a light curtain is a great solution too.
Tap water usually contains additives that make it safe for humans to consume. Nevertheless, these chemicals and minerals can build up inside the cells of your Prayer Plant.
In an attempt to dispose of those substances, the plant pushes them toward the tips of the leaves. This, in turn, causes what’s known as “leaf tip burn.”
If you live in an area where it often rains, the ideal solution is to collect rain for watering your Prayer Plant. Otherwise, try using distilled water or invest in a water filter.
Any kind of spots on the top or bottom of your Prayer Plant’s leaves can be alarming. Whether yellow, white, or brown, you should never ignore them.
Usually, spots of any color can be a sign of pests or diseases, the most common of which includes:
Helminthosporium leaf spot is a fungal disease that causes yellow or brown spots on Prayer Plant leaves. In addition, it can also form purple or brown lesions on the stems.
Repot your Prayer Plant into a fresh, dry potting mix and make sure the container has well drainage. Additionally, treat the infections using fungicides or neem oil.
Spider mites are among the most common houseplant pests and can cause brown or yellow speckles on the leaves.
You can identify them as tiny reddish specks moving across your Prayer Plant.
To get rid of spider mites, use insecticidal soap or horticultural oils.
Fungus gnats are annoying pests that love moisture and live inside the soil of your Prayer Plant.
They can reproduce at an extremely high rate and cause severe damage to your plant’s roots.
Use sticky traps to catch adult pests. As for the eggs and larvae, you need to replace the first couple of inches of soil to get rid of them.
Mealybugs are dangerous insects that can infest your Prayer Plant. You can easily spot them as tiny white blobs moving around.
Oftentimes, they leave traces of white deposits that may turn into black mold.
For minor infestation, use insecticidal soap or horticultural oils. In other severe cases, you may have to discard the plant completely.
Identifying common Prayer Plant problems is the key to maintaining a healthy houseplant.
Signs such as yellowing, droopy, spotty, or browning leaves can indicate other underlying issues. This includes pests, diseases, overwatering, and several other problems.
Remember to consider all symptoms before deciding the best way to address the issue. With the proper solution, you can restore your gorgeous Prayer Plant in no time.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.