The prayer plant is a hardy indoor plant. It purifies the air and withstands urban pollution while filling your space with positive vibes, thanks to its attractive foliage.
But to keep your prayer plant in perfect health, you need to understand the basics of prayer plant fertilizer care.
So, which fertilizer is best for your prayer plant? How often should you apply it?
We’ll answer all your questions in this article, so let’s dive in.
The Maranta leuconeura gets its common name from a unique feature where it keeps its leaves flat during the day and folds them up at night, like hands in prayer.
The variegated tri-color leaves make it an excellent houseplant and one of the easiest to maintain if you want to add tropical aesthetics.
Yet, since the plant follows the sun to create food, it needs more energy than your other indoor plants.
This is why you should fertilize your prayer plant once every two weeks during the growing season. Providing your prayer plant with a balanced fertilizer from early spring to fall will keep the leaves and stems healthy and more resistant to pests and diseases.
In winter, you should avoid over-fertilizing your plant as it goes into a dormant stage. Instead, you can apply a balanced fertilizer once every month.
Knowing when and how to fertilize your prayer plant takes some work, as over-fertilizing can be as bad as under-fertilizing your plant. Here are some signs to watch out for, so you can provide it with more food.
- Your plant has recently been transplanted into a new pot.
- The leaves are yellowing.
- The leaves and stems are drooping.
- Your plant is experiencing very slow or no growth.
- Pests and diseases are attacking your prayer plant.
Most fertilizers contain three essential nutrients that support the growth of plants and improve their health. These essential nutrients are phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen.
Some fertilizers also contain other secondary nutrients. These include zinc, copper, boron, calcium, and magnesium.
Granule and stick fertilizers are available, but liquid fertilizers work best for prayer plants. They’re easier to apply, and you can control the amount of fertilizer released since prayer plants are sensitive to too many or too few nutrients.
Moreover, liquid fertilizers guarantee that nutrients won’t be concentrated in a single spot, as they spread quickly throughout the soil. They’re also easily absorbed by the plant.
Understanding the N-P-K ratio will help you pick the right fertilizer for your prayer plant.
These plants need a balanced fertilizer, so you should go for a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 fertilizer.
This fertilizer will also work for most of your houseplants.
You must apply a balanced fertilizer if your plant looks unhealthy or the leaves start losing color. Yet, you should avoid over-fertilizing your plant as it can affect growth and cause the leaves to turn brown.
Here are the proper steps to follow.
- Check the fertilizer ratio to ensure it’s suitable for prayer plants. 8-8-8, 10-10-10, or 20-20-20 liquid fertilizers usually work.
- Read the instructions on the package to ensure you’re using the correct amount. If no instructions are given, dilute your fertilizer by mixing half a tablespoon of the fertilizer with a gallon of water.
- Drench your soil with the diluted fertilizer to allow the nutrients to reach part of the soil.
- Allow the excess water to drain.
- Watch your prayer plant for signs of over-fertilization.
- Wait for new growth.
- Reapply your fertilizer every two weeks.
- If you notice that your prayer plant is still experiencing stunted growth, increase the fertilizer amount.
Applying too much fertilizer or fertilizing your prayer plants too often will lead to undesirable results.
- Over-fertilizing can lead to stunted growth or loss of leaves.
- The excess salts from the fertilizer will lead to the browning of the leaves’ edges.
- A white crust will form on the top of the soil because of the excess salts.
If you noticed any of the previous signs, you could do the following.
- Avoid fertilizing the plant for a while, giving it a chance to recover.
- Remove the white crust from the top of the soil.
- Overwater the plant and allow the excess water to pass through the drainage holes. Use a pencil to unclog them if they’re clogged.
- Flush the soil by putting the plant pot in the tub and rinse the soil from all angles.
Prayer plants aren’t picky about their soil conditions.
As a matter of fact, this exact feature is the reason why they’re pretty popular among novice gardeners and houseplant owners.
These plants thrive in various soil types as long as it’s well-draining. Too much water in the soil will lead to root rot affecting the leaves, stunting growth, and eventually killing the plant.
Moreover, they prefer slightly acidic soil.
You should also improve drainage by adding gravel or rocks to the bottom of the pot and see how your plant performs.
You can definitely use a traditional potting mix for your prayer plants.
However, you can also make your own by mixing equal amounts of perlite, peat moss, and loamy soil.
Loam soil contains sand and a small amount of clay, providing good drainage and allowing the roots to breathe. Generally, this soil type contains more nutrients and humus than other soil types.
As a result, it will support the growth of your prayer plants.
Perlite is a naturally-occurring mineral that is considered a type of volcanic glass. Using perlite in the soil will improve aeration as it contains tiny air pockets.
It also helps with improving drainage.
Finally, peat moss will retain the excess water in the soil, prevent it from becoming too compact, retain nutrients, and decrease the pH to make the soil more acidic.
Cactus soil contains perlite, pumice, sand, and gravel, providing superior drainage to your succulents.
This is why this soil or potting mix will be a good choice for your prayer plants. However, you might need to amend it a little.
Prayer plants are shallow-rooted and won’t be able to dig into compact soil for nutrients. Moreover, overwatering prayer plants is a significant concern, as these plants are prone to root rot.
The cactus soil or potting mix has very sharp drainage, and it doesn’t hold much water to cater to the needs of drought-tolerant succulents.
Prayer plants need to be watered regularly during their growing season. Without enough water, the leaves will wilt, and the plant will die.
So, instead of using cactus soil all by itself, you should prepare a mix of equal amounts of cactus soil and peat moss. This will keep the soil moist but not too wet or too dry.
Prayer plants aren’t that challenging to take care of. Following these tips guarantees you’ll notice new growth, and the leaves will stay in excellent shape.
- Prayer plants thrive in greenhouse-like conditions that resemble their natural habitat in Brazilian forests.
- These plants are sensitive to the sun as they’re naturally understory plants. Too much sun can wash out the leaves.
- Prayer plants will achieve better growth in low-light areas than directly lit spots.
- The potting soil should be kept from drying out completely, so water your plants whenever the top layer feels dry.
- Don’t let the leaves stay wet, and wipe them dry to avoid fungal infections.
- Keep the plant in a humid place, like in the bathroom, where it can benefit from the extra moisture.
- Prolonged low temperatures can kill this plant, so ensure it’s kept in a warm room.
- If the soil is inferior, you can mix compost with your fertilizer. Compost is made of organic matter and won’t burn the roots.
Prayer plants thrive when given the right fertilizer in adequate amounts.
Before fertilizing your plant, see if it needs the extra nutrients, or you’ll be over-fertilizing it. This is just as bad.
Allow the extra fertilizer to drain through, and watch how your plant reacts to adjust your fertilizing schedule.
In addition to providing your plant with extra food, you should also ensure that you’re growing it in suitable soil.
Prayer plants can thrive in different types of well-draining soil. Cactus potting mix can also work, but you need to add some peat moss to retain some moisture.
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.