Houseplants forum: Pray for my prayer plant!

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Name: vee
Pasadena, CA (Zone 10a)
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V33JG
Mar 10, 2016 4:07 PM CST
Hi there!

I have a prayer plant that is not doing well. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong or what I should do to get him looking lush and strong again. Many of the leaves are brown along the edges and any new growth just dries, shrivels, & dies. It's not in TERRIBlLE shape but he just doesn't look happy and healthy.

Here is the low down. When I first got the plant he was in great shape but I gave him too much light and he began to brown. I moved him to a new location so now, the plant is not in direct light but is kept in a room that gets good outside light. I keep a humidifying tray below the pot and mist daily. Also, I've noticed some dry white spots on the leaves, which I think are from misting with tap water. "/ Could this be doing the damage?

Maybe I'm not watering enough..? I'm thinking about giving him some food with his next watering. I also thought to repot him and give him some fresh soil. Should I remove all the brown/burnt foliage? I haven't already done so because it would be a lot of the plant and because those with brown tips still fold up in the prayer position in the evening. I figured that is a sign they are not "dead leaves".

Any suggestions?? Sad *See photos attached. Thank you<3
Thumb of 2016-03-10/V33JG/001a48
Thumb of 2016-03-10/V33JG/a2eb03

[Last edited by V33JG - Mar 10, 2016 4:24 PM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Mar 10, 2016 8:24 PM CST
Hi Vee ... a couple of us have offered suggestions for you on the other thread here: The thread "Pray for my prayer plant!" in Ask a Question forum
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: vee
Pasadena, CA (Zone 10a)
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V33JG
Mar 11, 2016 12:10 AM CST
Thank you very much Lin and others<3
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Mar 13, 2016 10:18 AM CST
I would not do anything dramatic because your Maranta is overall quite healthy. The leaf spots do commonly occur on this plant if the light, water, humidity and temperatures are not close to perfect. That is hard to manage in the home environment.

Many folks overestimate indirect sunlight. Across the room from a sunny window doesn't cut it. Bright indirect means just beyond where the rays of the sun can fall directly on the leaves. As close to direct sunlight as possible.

Watering is the tricky part and there is no formula. You will have to experiment yourself following the guidelines above to get it in the right place. If your local tap water is at all on the hard side (lots of minerals in it), then switch to distilled or filtered water. BTW, misting really does not help raise the humidity for more than a few minutes each day, so it is largely a waste of time.

Fresh soil, repotting and fertilizer are not recommended for plants that not healthy and growing vigorously. None of those will prevent the brown edges, but they may cause more serious damage to the roots.

Trim off the brown edges and focus on proper light and water.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
Name: vee
Pasadena, CA (Zone 10a)
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V33JG
Mar 13, 2016 12:16 PM CST
Thank you very much, Will!!
Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
Bloom where you're planted
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AlyssaBlue
Mar 15, 2016 6:21 AM CST
I have found that my maranta does not like to be misted or have their location changed a lot. When I started with houseplants, I was misting everything thinking that it was beneficial, and trying to find the "perfect" spot for each plant. I realized that it was my ritual of getting up, having coffee, and misting plants that was the fun part, for me (not the plants). So I set the maranta near an east window, and began ignoring it (except watering when necessary). Much better- and leaves up every night!
Name: vee
Pasadena, CA (Zone 10a)
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V33JG
Mar 15, 2016 6:35 PM CST
I can relate with you, AlyssaBlue. My husband thinks I kill our plants because I over tend to them. I do mist her a lot. Maybe I should cut back and see what happens. Thanks for your post.

Houseplants
MacnCheese
Mar 15, 2016 7:53 PM CST
My Mother says the same of me and watering my plants. Sometimes, less is more when it comes to certain plants. nodding
Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
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AlyssaBlue
Mar 15, 2016 8:27 PM CST
You're welcome! I truly understand how much fun it is to mist.

Just in case....The other thing to check is for bugs in the soil. I do this with all my plants, when they first come in the door, and also if I think something is up.

I put a slice of raw potato on top of the soil, pushing it in a little bit. Come back a few hours later (don't peek too soon) and pick up the potato slice carefully and lay it on a paper towel. There should be some soil sticking to the potato, resist the urge to shake it off. Use a flashlight and a magnifying glass to inspect the potato slice. Most likely, if the plant has bugs in the soil there will be at least one crawling on the potato slice. Sometimes I even leave the potato slice longer to be really sure (or if it's a bigger pot and it would take a while for bugs to migrate). Oh, and I always take a bag to discard the used potato in, so I'm not carrying it through the house (containment).

Hopefully it's not bugs, but thought I would mention it, because checking can possibly save days of wondering, "what the heck is going on?"

[Last edited by AlyssaBlue - Mar 16, 2016 7:32 AM (+)]
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Name: vee
Pasadena, CA (Zone 10a)
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V33JG
Mar 16, 2016 6:11 PM CST
It's just so fun taking care of our plants isn't it, MacnCheese!! Hehe Sticking tongue out

Good looking out, AlyssaBlue! I really hope that is not the case!

LorettaNJ
Mar 18, 2016 10:38 PM CST
It doesn't look infested to me, more like water spots. It looks like it dried out here and there. Otherwise, how much do you fertilize? That could burn leaves too.
I always cut my maranta back in the fall and let it refresh itself if it gets a little raggy. I've done other times of the year but fall seems to work for me the best.
Name: vee
Pasadena, CA (Zone 10a)
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V33JG
Mar 18, 2016 10:47 PM CST
I'm pretty sure its not infested. I've actually never fertilized this plant. I was advised above not to fertilize or prune while the plant is not in good shape... I've been keeping the soil moist and its in a room that gets indirect sunlight. I'm still not sure what the problem is. I want to cut back some of the burned leaves but I'd be left with very little plant. However, maybe that will give it strength to grow lots of new fresh leaves. I may do that. Thank you LorettaNJ for your comment.

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MacnCheese
Mar 19, 2016 7:49 AM CST
I apologize, as I am late to the conversation. I've noticed with these, it was impossible for me to get certain water spots off the leaves.

The brown tips suggest to me low humidity. Do you provide it with a pebble tray? I saw that you mist with tap water, which I believe could be the cause of the water spots (we have hard water and this happens to me), but misting (or so I've read) is only a temporary humidity raiser. Once the water evaporates, it's back to dry air again. A pebble tray would be a a more permanent humidity "raiser" IMO.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Mar 19, 2016 8:06 AM CST
For those who love nurturing their plants, misting is very satisfying. For that reason I don't often discourage it. However, the benefits are minimal. Contrary to popular belief. misting does not increase humidity by any significant degree. Pebbly trays and humidifiers do a much better job at that.

Misting can help remove dust and is a mild deterrent to spider mites, but otherwise it is a feel-good practice. In general, it is best not to mist plants that have fuzzy leaves. Likewise, if you use hard water, it will leav mineral deposits on the foliage.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]

LorettaNJ
Mar 19, 2016 9:52 AM CST
Your welcome, Vee!

Here is a little blurb I came across which talks about salt
http://mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/foliage/folnotes/maranta.htm

"1) Marginal or tip scorch of foliage

Symptoms -
Leaves turn brown at or near the tip and margin. There is usually a transition zone of yellow between necrotic and healthy tissue.

Control -
Avoid excessive soluble salts in root zone and excessively high light intensities and temperatures. Avoid use of superphosphate fertilizers in stock or finishing plants since it supplies fluoride in toxic amount"

Here is a photo of a plant that I trimmed in the fall as it looks now under lights with some fertilizer.

This maranta is 'Beauty Kim'

Thumb of 2016-03-19/LorettaNJ/7d37e3

Thumb of 2016-03-19/LorettaNJ/b2b7e4


Name: vee
Pasadena, CA (Zone 10a)
Image
V33JG
Mar 19, 2016 2:43 PM CST
MacNCheese - - I mist with filtered water now but still sometimes water the plant with tap. "/ Yes, I use a humidity tray that I tend to fill with warm tap water.

Will - - Thank you for the tips on misting. Yes, it does feel good! =p

LorettaNJ - - Beauty Kim is b e a u t i f u l ! (: Thank you for sending me a photo as well as that blurb.


You all are wonderful! I'm beginning to think tap h2o is the problem here. The salts are what are probably making the tips burn, leaving water spots, and just drying out my plant in general. Now that I think we have a diagnosis, time to remedy. I've cut back on misting but when I do, I use filtered water. for the humidity tray and general watering I will start using filtered water (reverse osmosis to be exact). Question, when do you all recommend I cut back all the damaged foliage? I'm assuming once new healthy growth appears. . . ? Thanks again everyone!

-vee
[Last edited by V33JG - Mar 19, 2016 2:47 PM (+)]
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LorettaNJ
Mar 20, 2016 8:00 AM CST
Vee, what I might do if I were you is just repot in new soil and see if the advice from that page is right. While you do it, look at the roots and see how healthy they are. I don't remember if this one has swollen nodes in the roots or not, (like little tubers) but that is a good thing. You might cut off the worst of the leaves but not all. I'm saying this because out of all the plants in this family that I've done this to, the red prayer plant and I would include M. marisela also, did not do as well coming back as all the others. I think in my case is that my plants had stingy roots. See how the new growth comes in. If it is the same and you are not happy with the results, you have nothing to lose by cutting it back as it is an easy plant to replace.
Name: vee
Pasadena, CA (Zone 10a)
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V33JG
Mar 20, 2016 2:26 PM CST
LorettaNJ, thank you. The more I look at it, the more I get depressed. Part of me wants to just part ways with it. Sad We'll see. I'd love to repot her if I knew I'd be able to save her. She is worse off than the photos depict. Sighing!

Houseplants
MacnCheese
Mar 20, 2016 2:44 PM CST
I say don't give up until she'd dead as a doornail. Some people have had them die back in the winter, thinking they're dead, only for them to reappear in the Spring. Big Grin
Name: vee
Pasadena, CA (Zone 10a)
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V33JG
Mar 20, 2016 4:08 PM CST
Okay MacnCheese! Thank you for the encouragement! Smiling Acorn

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