Ask a Question forum: Pray for my prayer plant!

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Name: vee
Pasadena, CA (Zone 10a)
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V33JG
Mar 10, 2016 4:24 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/553493


Thumb of 2016-03-10/V33JG/06f4c3

Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Mar 10, 2016 7:55 PM CST
Your Prayer Plant needs bright indirect light, high humidity and to be kept moist but not soggy. If it is developing dry spots and the new leaves shivel, its either too much or too little water. Smiling

If it is dry in the top half inch of soil, I would say too dry. If the soil feels water logged, too wet. Also, they hate dry air so if an air duct is blowing on it, the plant will not be happy.

If you decide to repot, use something like violet potting mix and plant it in a pot that is shallow and wide.

They are kind of touchy plants but when you manage to address all concerns, they are beautiful.

Daisy
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!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Mar 10, 2016 8:21 PM CST
Hi Vee, Welcome to All Things Plants!

Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura) is a lovely plant that prefers bright light but no direct sun and the soil should be kept evenly moist during spring and summer but slightly drier during the winter months. I'd suggest fertilizing (at 1/4 to 1/2 strength) only during the growing season which is Spring through early Fall; winter months are usually the time when most plants rest. Prayer Plants do require rather high humidity and brown and crispy leaf edges usually occur when the air is too dry. I'd wait another month before pruning; once the plant starts actively growing again would be a good time to remove any brown or dead leaves. My old eyes aren't seeing the white spots on the foliage in your photos but hard water will leave white spots on foliage. You can try removing the spots by gently wiping each leaf with a soft cloth moistened with dish soap.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: vee
Pasadena, CA (Zone 10a)
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V33JG
Mar 10, 2016 10:57 PM CST
plantladylin && Daisyl!!! Thank you so much for the tips! I don't think I'm watering enough, nor is it getting enough indirect light. I also think I'm going to switch to a pot that will better suit this plant. Thanks again for your insightful posts!
[Last edited by V33JG - Mar 10, 2016 10:59 PM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Mar 13, 2016 10:16 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: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Mar 13, 2016 11:06 AM CST
Finally! Someone who agrees with me about fertilizing an unhappy plant - Don't. Thank You!
Name: vee
Pasadena, CA (Zone 10a)
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V33JG
Mar 13, 2016 12:11 PM CST
Will, thank you!!

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