Maranta leuconeura, aka, prayer plants, have specific care needs that you should be mindful of.
One of their demands is regular repotting, which might make you wonder:
Do prayer plants like to be root-bound?
The quickest answer is no. Marantas that are root-bound are prone to various issues.
As plants grow in a pot, their roots become so overcrowded that they start to circle themselves and get tangled up. This phenomenon makes the plant become root-bound.
When a plant is root-bound, its roots won’t have enough room to spread out and absorb water and nutrients properly. This can result in various problems, such as reduced growth and withering.
Essentially, prayer plants that are rootbound will survive. However, don’t expect it to flourish and grow vibrant leaves and blossoms.
Prayer plants came from the tropical rainforests of Brazil. There, they naturally grow in nutrient-rich soils that allow their roots to spread out quickly.
Thus, it’s ideal to give prayer plants lots of room to grow and expand their roots. Giving them enough space ensures they can properly absorb all the water and nutrients needed to thrive.
So, the simple answer is no, they don’t like to be root-bound.
Some indoor plants grow just fine on the same pot for years, while some can’t survive for long once they become root-bound. Root-bound plants can undergo various health issues.
If roots are entrapped in a pot without sufficient space to grow, it may lead to stunted growth, yellowing of leaves, and even plant death.
Furthermore, root-bound plants are more prone to root rot. This occurs when roots are overwatered and don’t dry out properly due to lack of space. Root rots can cause plants to discolor, wilt, and eventually die.
Yes, prayer plants are one of the few with aerial roots. These roots are small and delicate, and they’re often covered with a spongy, velvety material that helps absorb moisture from the air.
Moreover, aerial roots play a crucial role in the plant’s survival. These roots enable marantas to retain moisture, especially in dry environments.
Hence, it’s recommended to mist the plant’s leaves and aerial roots regularly to keep them hydrated. It’s also ideal placing prayer plants in a location with high humidity, such as bathrooms or near a humidifier.
Apart from having aerial roots, prayer plants grow shallow roots, too. Their roots typically grow no deeper than a few inches below the soil, and they’re often confined to the top layer of soil in the pot.
This shallow root system makes them suitable for growing in containers. This way, they can absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil and the air.
Regular repotting helps prevent the roots from becoming bound. Repotting your marantas at least once a year ensures that the plant has enough space to grow and absorb all the nutrients and moisture it needs.
However, prune the damaged and tangling roots first if you have an already withering plant caused by root-bound. Root pruning will encourage the roots to grow in a more natural and outward direction, rather than continuing to grow in a circular pattern.
Furthermore, transfer your marantas to a larger pot with fresh soil. Fresh soil contains more essential nutrients that plants need to grow and thrive in their new environment.
Lastly, place the plant in a bright location with indirect sunlight and frequently moisten the soil.
Proper care combined with adequate moisture, sunlight, and healthy soil will surely make any prayer plant healthy and happy.
Marantas capture the hearts of many indoor plant keepers due to their striking beauty despite being a low-maintenance plant. Hence, marantas are popular even for beginners.
Interestingly, prayer plants naturally grow both aerial and shallow roots. These roots enable our marantas to absorb moisture from air and soil, helping them retain moisture in dry environments.
Therefore, marantas shouldn’t be root-bound as it can lead to issues such as withering, root rot, and eventual death. As a preventive measure, it’s best to repot your prayer plants at least once a year.
By understanding their needs and providing proper care, prayer plants can thrive and show off their unique habits.
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.