Home » Houseplants » Green Maranta Prayer Plant

Green Maranta Prayer Plant – GIY Plants

Close up of a Green Maranta Prayer Plant leaves

The Green Maranta Prayer Plant (aka Herringbone Plant) belongs to the Arrowroot (Marantaceae) or Prayer Plant family, which consists of ~30 genera and over 550 diverse species.

Native to the tropical jungles of Brazil, these plants thrive as creeping ground plants in indirect, low-light, and humid conditions.

The Prayer Plant is famous for two things: 1) its lush attractive foliage characterized by light green herringbone-patterned veins against dark green leaves; and 2) the unique up and down movement of their leaves in the morning and night, which resemble hands clasped in prayer.

Green Maranta Prayer Plant Care

Prayer Plants do not like cold temperatures or direct sunlight, so they’re best kept indoors in high humidity areas and away from windows.

They are quite easy plants to care for and will readily reveal when they’re unhappy with you via their leaves, which will turn yellow (due to pests, light, or water issues) or stop “praying” if stressed.

They also come in many distinct varieties, which can add some flair or color to any home garden.


Prayer plants can be planted in many types of soil, but do best in well-draining, moisture-retaining soil. For best results, plant in a peat-rich potting mix (to help retain moisture) with added minerals such as perlite or pumice (for improved drainage).


Prayer Plants prefer moist, but not soaking soil. During summers, increase moisture, and water every time the very top soil (1-1.5 inch / 2.5 – 4cm) feels dry to the touch. In winter, you can let the soil stay slightly drier.


Prayer Plants can survive in low-light conditions in filtered or indirect sunlight. This is why they’re often seen in libraries. However, insufficient light could cause your plants to stop “praying” at night. We recommend placing them in a bright room directly away from the windows.

Humidity & Temperature

Prayer Plants prefer humid locations similar to their native tropical rainforest habitats (~50%+ humidity year-round). Higher humidities will stimulate growth, and can be simulated with an aquarium, humidifier, pebble tray, or occasional misting.

Normal room temperature is suitable. Avoid cold drafts, cold windows, and temperatures below 55°F (13°C).


Use standard liquid fertilizer once every two weeks during spring, summer, and autumn for optimal growth. In the winter, fertilize once every month or stop entirely. Brown leaves are signs of over fertilization.


These plants grow in clumps, so they can be propagated by dividing the plant into two halves and then placing each half into separate pots.

You can also propagate by taking a 3-4 inch (8-10 cm) stem cutting with 3-4 leaves attached, and placing it into a cup with distilled water (changed daily), near sunlight, until 1-2 inches of root forms. You can then transplant to a moist potting soil mix.

Diseases & Pests

Prayer Plants are not particularly prone to insects or diseases, but may fall victim to common plant pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids. According to the UK Royal Horticulture Society, these common pests can be treated by an over-the-counter pesticide, natural neem oil, or with natural enemies such as ladybugs.

Leaf spot and cucumber mosaic virus are rare, but can occur as well.


According to the University of Kansas Poison Control Center, all parts of the Prayer Plant are non-poisonous.

Types of prayer plants

Among prayer plants, the Green Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura) is the most popular. Other popular sub-cultivars of Maranta leuconeura include varieties such as the Kerchoveana (Rabbit’s Foot), Erythroneura (Red-Veined Prayer Plant), “Kim” cultivar (purple-spotted), “Marisela” cultivar (lighter green pattern), and the “Fascinator” cultivar or Black Prayer Plant (silver or blue leaves).

Prayer plant benefits

Numerous studies, including the much-cited 1989 NASA study on the effects of houseplants on indoor air pollution, show that houseplants (including Prayer Plants) are effective at reducing carbon dioxide in indoor environments especially in high light conditions.

Other studies show Prayer plants can also help us stay mindful and more productive by absorbing background noise and helping us stay calm and less stressed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called a prayer plant?

Prayer plants are characterized by the movement of their leaves, which lay flat during the day (to absorb sunlight) and fold upward at night for protection .This movement resembles hands being clasped daily in prayer, giving the plants their name.

Are prayer plants easy to care for?

Prayer plants are generally not fussy plants. Their basic needs are biweekly watering, well-draining moisture-rich soil, high humidity, and shaded indirect light. Don’t let temperatures drop below 55°F (13°C), and prayer plants should reward you with beautiful dancing foliage.

How fast do prayer plants grow?

Prayer plants are slow-growers, reaching only about 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) tall, and spreading up to 16-20 inches (40-50 cm) across. They grow about 3-6 inches (8-15 cm) every year (faster in the summer) and may require repotting every 2-3 years.

Join Us

Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips!