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Know about a houseplant that prays: The Red Prayer Plant

Red Prayer Plant

Introduction 

A houseplant, mostly an ornamental plant, is grown and kept indoors for aesthetic and health purposes. It is a great alternative for enthusiasts and usually requires minimal care and thrives in low-light and humid conditions. 

Among the countless species that made its way indoors, there is a unique plant, commonly known as the Red Prayer Plant. It has earned its place as a popular houseplant due to its colourful leaves. This splash of colours can liven up any space including, window sills, mantels, shelves and balconies.  

This blog will give you a well-rounded introduction on the Red Prayer Plant.

About the Plant

The Red Prayer Plant, botanically classified as Maranta leuconeura var. erythroneura, is a species of the family Marantaceae. The leuconeura, derived from two Greek words, means ‘white-veined’ in reference to its unique foliage. It is called the Prayer Plant because when it folds its leaves in the evening, it appears as if hands are folded in prayers. 

The Red Prayer Plant is a popular houseplant originating from the tropical rainforests of Brazil. It flourishes in sheltered and humid spots with indirect-sunlight. This low-growing plant with its decorative leaves, makes it the perfect ornamental plant to brighten up your mantelpiece.  

A colourful foliage

The foliage of the Red Prayer Plant is what makes it so distinguishable. The leaves are wide, elliptic or oval-shaped, velvety and dark green in colour.

A red coloured midrib extends through the centre with red veins extending to the periphery. Striking yellow or light green patterns, lines or blotches are also found alongside the midrib, giving rise to a colourful foliage. 

The Red Prayer Plant is a spreading plant that typically reaches just half-a-foot or a foot tall. Being a flowering plant, it produces small white flowers but it rarely blooms on those kept as houseplants. 

Botanical NameMaranta leuconeura var. erythroneura
MaintenanceHigh Maintenance
LightPartial shade or full shade
Temperaturefavourable temperature is 18° – 21°C, intolerant of frost
WaterMedium or High. Prefers humidity
Soil TypeMoist but well drained
ToxicityNon-toxic to pets and humans
Maximum SizeFull length; ½ -1 foot

How to Care for the Plant

The Red Prayer Plant requires greenhouse-like or native rainforest-like conditions to survive and thrive.

Light

It can tolerate low-light places but its leaves would not open in the day if it does not get enough sunlight. It flourishes in shaded areas with indirect light. Direct exposure to sunlight will cause bleaching and discolouration in leaves. When dormant during the winter season, it requires brighter but still indirect sunlight to maintain its growth. 

Soil

The soil should be moist but well-drained, containing adequately fertilised soil, with enough humus content. The soil should be kept acidic with a pH within the range of 5.5 and 6.0. The soil should be kept moist at all times but care should be taken that the soil is not sogging. 

Water

Watering the Red Prayer Plant is only required when the top layer is dry. Only slightly warm water or at room temperature should be used. An imbalance in its water requirement can cause yellowing and dropping of leaves from the plant. 

Environment

It prefers a highly humid environment so the surrounding area should be kept humid at most times through misting, humidifier or simply a container of water from which water will evaporate. 

Temperature

It also prefers normal household temperatures i.e. 18° – 21°C during the day and above 12°C. It cannot handle extreme temperatures, frost or drafts.

Please read this article on How to take care of your Chinese Evergreen Houseplant to find out how to care your Chinese evergreen plants.

Where to Place it in your Home/ Ideas to add to the look of your Home

The aesthetic element of houseplants can completely upgrade the look of a place. Houseplants serve as an affordable option for interior decor. It can liven up and add warmth to any space. 

Adds Colour to a Space

The vibrant leaves of the Red Prayer Plant makes it the perfect ornamental plant to add colour to an otherwise dull and uninteresting corner.

It can add green and red colours in different patterns and shades. The small height and limited spread makes it the best choice to add to your window sills, shelves, mantles, or corner. 

The Red Prayer plant can be used in any interior design style and gives a balanced look. It can be coupled with other plants that will create contrast in colour and height. 

Revamps the look

It can be used in different ways to transform the look of your room, workspace or balcony. It is the perfect houseplant for your bathroom too.

Bathrooms are high-humidity spaces and red prayer plants will flourish in it, with a decent amount of light exposure. 

Due to its horizontal growth, you can hang it from the wall, keep it in small pots or elevate it with plant stands and planters.

These plants are ideal for low-depth bowls/dishes, and hanging jute baskets. It is preferable to use simple white or black coloured pots to draw focus to the leaves in a minimalist setting.

Common Plant Diseases for the Plant in Question

The Red Prayer Plant is susceptible to a few pathogenic and pest attacks. 

Helminthosporium Leaf Spot

During watering, care should be taken to not soak the leaves in water as it can develop a fungal disease, characterised by small water-soaked spots. The fungal disease is called helminthosporium leaf spot. It can cause yellowing in the leaves and spread to the other parts of the plant. 

Overwatering makes favourable conditions for the fungus to grow. Therefore, water only when required and care should be taken for the leaves to not get soaked. chlorothalonil, a fungicide, or neem oil can be applied to kill the fungus and prevent any future outgrowths. 

Cucumber Mosaic Virus Disease

The Red Prayer Plant is a host for the Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV). It causes yellowing of the leaves and can be found amidst healthy green leaves. Any new leaves that grow out are small and misshapen. Unfortunately, there is no cure for plant viruses and must be removed to prevent viral spread. 

Like other houseplants, The Red Prayer Plant requires occasional cleaning and humid conditions to prevent spider mite infestation. Spider mites cover the leaves with white webbing and have tiny brown or yellow spots on them.

Benefits of Having it as an Indoor Plant

Houseplants are known to not only improve the air quality of the household but also, bring a calming effect. Like any other houseplant, Red Prayer Plant is a natural air purifier as it removes pollutants and toxins from the air and replenishes with oxygen.

A Calming Presence

It can brighten up your workspace, increase your productivity, uplift your spirits and improve your mood. The presence of red prayer plants and looking at them can calm you down and relieve you from the stress and fatigue of a long day at work.

Nurturing and caring for houseplants has a therapeutic effect. Being close to nature heals and rejuvenates your mental health, so bringing nature indoors and looking after it can create a relaxed and serene environment.

Risks 

The Red Prayer Plant is perfectly safe to keep indoors. It is non-toxic and causes no allergic reactions or any other immune response in humans and pets.

FAQs

Are red prayer plants easy to care for?

Yes, red prayer plants are easy to care for. They are fairly low maintenance and thrive in both indoor and outdoor environments. To care for red prayer plants, you first need to select a healthy plant. They should have vibrant leaves and be free of insects and disease.

How long does a red prayer plant live?

Prayer plants usually have a long life span (3-5 years) due to the fact that they are not too demanding and don’t experience any major problems while they’re growing. While they are still young, prayer plants prefer an environment that is not too hot or too cold. They also need plenty of sunlight, so it’s best to place them near a window.

How big do red prayer plants get?

Red prayer plants are fast-growing, succulent perennials that average around 24 inches tall, with leaves that can grow up to 3 feet long and 18 inches wide. With proper care, red prayer plants can reach heights of up to 6 feet in a matter of months.

Conclusion

The Red Prayer Plant has earned its place as a must-have plant due to its colourful foliage and low maintenance. Its small height and horizontal growth makes it perfect to be displayed in different orientations and in combination.

The red hues of the veins in the leaves provide a contrast amid the various shades of green. Its rhythmic pattern of closing its leaves as if praying is fun to watch. It is a useful and attractive plant that will not only enhance your indoors but also improve the quality of your life. 

Written by Chris Buckland

Hello, I’m Chris. I’m a houseplant expert. I have been Cultivating and Growing Houseplants for 20 years. Plants are like my children. I love to write about Indoor plants and share my experience. That's why I started writing everything I know about houseplants.

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