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How Big Do Prayer Plants Get? (5 Factors in Controlling Growth)

How Big Do Prayer Plants Get? (5 Factors in Controlling Growth)

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It’s always helpful to know just how big your plants can get. Having that information can help you when planning your layout or how to include them with other plants.

Yet, with the numerous species of prayer plants, it can be a little tough to pin an answer to the question “How big do prayer plants get?”

That’s what we’re here to find out today. Keep reading for more.

How Big Do Prayer Plants Get?

Prayer plants are part of the Marantaceae family, commonly known as arrowroot, which also includes plenty of herbaceous evergreen perennials.

Across all prayer plant species, the average plant grows from 6–12 inches in height. As for width, they can grow anywhere from 6–18 inches.

This growth, namely the horizontal pattern, is what makes prayer plants such good candidates for low bowls, huge dish gardens, and hanging baskets.

It’s worth mentioning that we’re mainly talking about ornamental houseplants, which include Stromanthe, Maranta, Goeppertia, and Ctetanthe.

How Big Do Red Prayer Plants Get?

Red prayer plants can either be the maranta leuconeura erythroneura or the triostar stromanthe. The erythroneura, or Herringbone, grows up to eight inches in height. Typically, they have green leaves with different shades of red veins.

The triostar, on the other hand, is larger and can grow up to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide. They have green, white, and red leaves.

Their dazzling colors make them an excellent choice for decorative purposes.

Can You Control the Size and Growth Rate of a Prayer Plant?

Yes, you can. In fact, there are several factors that can affect the growth rate of a prayer plant. Consequently, this determines how big it’ll grow and whether it’ll produce flowers.

Generally speaking, prayer plants grow low and spread. They do very well in greenhouse conditions where they can get a breezy airflow, optimal moisture, warmth, and plenty of fertilizer.

So, what are some of these factors? Take a look.

1 – Soil

Prayer plants require well-draining soils, regardless of the variety. However, they seem to do quite well with conventional potting mixes.

You can always make your mix by combining loamy soil, perlite or coarse sand, and sphagnum peat moss at a ratio of 1:1:2, respectively.

Either way, you’ll want to provide your prayer plant with acidic soil. The pH level should be 6.0.

Adding gravel or rocks to the bottom of the pot enhances drainage. This, in turn, provides the roots with air pockets and prevents water from overflowing.

2 – Water

Prayer plants require frequent watering during the growing season. The general rule is that you water them once every 7–10 days.

Although it’s worth noting that prayer plants are prone to drought and quickly wilt if you don’t water them regularly. So, make sure you water the plant every time the top layer dries up.

However, avoid leaving water on the leaves. Also, never allow the soil to become soggy as it can cause it to become waterlogged and develop fungal diseases.

You need the perfect balance between not watering the plant too much or too little. Make sure to use lukewarm water to avoid distressing the plant.

3 – Light

A prayer plant needs a lot of indirect sunlight and dim light conditions during the warmer months. In winter, however, you’ll need to provide it with enough bright light for them to keep growing during the cold season.

Remember to always keep it away from direct sunlight. Otherwise, the leaves will develop patches, and the colors will fade away.

4 – Temperature and Humidity

For your plants’ well-being, you should provide them with a 60°F to 80°F. If the temperature drops below 60°F for long enough, the leaves will likely suffer damage, wilt, and fall off.

Moreover, prayer plants require a humid environment. That’s why you may need to use a humidifier.

A pebble tray is also a good idea. Simply fill a tray with some water, a layer of pebbles, then place the plant on top.

Alternatively, you can mist the leaves every now and then.

5 – Fertilizer

You’ll need to fertilize your prayer plant every other week from early spring to fall. During winter, you can lower that frequency to once a month using a water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half the strength.

Bear in mind that growth may be stunted if you use too little fertilizer. On the other hand, too much can burn the roots and turn the leaves brown or even kill the plant altogether.

Nyctinasty: Why Do Prayer Plants Move This Way?

Nyctinasty is the scientific description of how some plants respond to light and darkness.

When a plant has nastic properties, it folds its leaves at night and opens them up again in the morning.

As the leaves lift up and close at night, they resemble lifting hands to pray, which is where prayer plants get their name.

While the sun is up, their leaves stretch horizontally. Then, the leaves turn up to expose the underside at night.
Some think this movement evolved to protect foliage from bacteria and fungi.

The water slides down the leaves when they’re in a vertical position. This movement keeps the leaves dry and safe from the conditions that encourage fungal growth and bacterial festering.

How Do I Know My Prayer Plant Is Healthy?

There are a couple of tell-tale signs to let you know that you’re doing well when it comes to taking care of your plant. Here’s how to rest assured a prayer plant is on its way to healthy growth:

1 – Displaying New Growth

During the spring and summer, your prayer plant produces several new growths. If it is, this means you’re doing a good job keeping it healthy and happy.

2 – The Leaves Move

One of the things that distinguish prayer plants is their movement. As long as you can easily tell that the leaves are following their natural movement patterns, you know your plant is doing well.

To double-check, you can take a photo at the beginning of the day and another toward the end. If you can see a significant change in where the leaves are, you’re good to go.

3 – Firm Stem and Colorful Leaves

Prayer plants have bold leaves with little to no brown or yellow coloration. Moreover, their stems stand firmly.

So, if there’s any discoloration, drooping in the leaves, or the stem goes limp, you should look into what could be causing the issue.

Final Thoughts

Prayer plants are fun, low-maintenance ornamental decorations. Because of their varied species, they’re available in a myriad of shapes and sizes.

That’s why knowing how big prayer plants get can be useful when deciding on a layout for your indoor plants.

No matter which kind you decide to go with, the one thing all prayer plants have in common is their beautiful growth patterns. These plants are sure to brighten up any room, big or small!

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