How can I rescue my prayer plant?

dovechaserMay 13, 2006

I had a beautiful prayer plant that grew so thick the leaves did not have room to close and open. However, when I tried to repot and divide it, all but one died. I think I did not water them enough and never misted them. Now I am down to two leaves on the plant and one is looking pretty sad around the edges. It is in a huge pot with other plants and I want to rescue it and hope to revive it. HELP! How should I do this?

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Dovegirl, your question is a toughy. Marantas (prayer plants) are difficult caring for to begin with. This is what I'd do if it were my plant..Remove from the larger pot. Check roots..if any roots looks dead, cut off. (make sure they're dead though) Sometimes dead roots emit a funky odor. I'd then repot to a 4" plastic pot w/new soil..All purpose, a handful of peat, and half a handful of sand or Perlite. Fill your sink or using a bucket, w/water. Set the pot in the water and let soak until water fills to the top rim of pot. Then, w/sharp scissors, remove all dead, rolled up brown leaves. Allow water to drain. I'd then hose leaves or use a mister, and continue misting daily. Next I'd either set the pot atop pebbles and a larger saucer and keep filled w/water, or using a plastic bag, set pot in the bag but keep top opened or slit for ventilation. Keep plant in semi-shady spot, no direct south or west sun..east is perfect. Or several feet away from a west or south exposure..
Some ppl may disagree about cutting dead foliage, but aside from it being unsightly, I've read when unhealthy leaves/stems are left on a plant when trying to resume health, energy focuses on dead leaves, instead of healthy parts. Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 8:54AM
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Thank you, Toni. I plan to use the plastic bag method. How long do I leave it in the plastic bag? How do I water in while in the plastic bag?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 8:37PM
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Dove, when I had to put a variegaetd prayer plant in a plastic bag, i just set the pot in the bag, covering the pot and leaves but keeping the top opened..this way I could water the plant w/o having to move the plastic each time. You also want the bag opened for air circulation. Don't keep the soil wet, only moist..I let my soil dry out. Wet feet will cause rot.
Or if you feel more comfortable, you can place the bag upsidedown and bottom water..but I'd still make a slit in the upper part of the bag. Toni

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 9:07PM
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Thank you for all the help.

How do you "bottom water?"

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 10:21PM
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tjsangel(z5 OH)

Bottom watering is simply placing a saucer, bowl etc. under the plant and filling with water. It will soak up what it needs and the rest can be poured out. Plants w/hairy leaves and those that cant get water on their leaves benefit from this, like African Violets. It might be easier for you to water your prayer plant this way when it's in the bag. Good luck, I hope it recovers!


    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 7:34AM
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Thanks Jen..I bottom water my AV's. I've even fertilized by bottom-watering..(S) But normally when I fertilize AV's I do so on top..Toni

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 9:18PM
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Follow up. (I first posted my questions as "dovegirl")

I followed your instructions and my rescued prayer plant is putting out its second leaf! I am so excited that it will live!! Thank you all and thank Gardenweb for this forum!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 9:36AM
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Bigfan, I'm happy to hear your prayer plant is doing's it doing in summer? Do you have it outside or indoors? What type of light is it getting?
Are you bottom-watering or top? I'm sorry I didn't see your question when you asked about bottom's done by using a semi-deep saucer, then pouring water in the saucer instead of the top soil. I find this works well w/some plants like African Violets, but not prayer plants. Since it's so hot in our house, I usually take my prayer plants to the sink and hose them..even though I prefer using water that's been sitting out over 24 hours, they do fine w/my tap water..A couple look bad, but I'm thinking once it cools off they'll resume health.
Do you have a pic of yours? If so, please send it..Toni

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 4:46PM
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i have a prayer maranta plant, i have had it for 3 months, and it has been doing very well, the leaves are still very healthy and green, but there's one thing I am noticing just a few days ago, its leaves are bending downward and I even thought I could lift them up, but they are so strong that if I force it to go up the other way it would break the leaves, somehow they all gotten stiff and bending downward, instead of folding up like prayer hands for the last 3 months, now they are starting to act strange,

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 6:14PM
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I am new to growing marantas, and have a similar question to caxtusfreak...not all my Rabbit Tracks prayer plant (I have another prayer plant, with red veins, and it is so far doing fine) leaves are folding down though, only bottom leaves, and they all remain folded downwards, day or night. I have just noticed this in the last month, and I have only had the plant for about 2 months. Does anybody know why this happens, and will it reverse itself? Also, what is the recommended set-up for using fluorescent plant lights in regards to prayer plants?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 12:06AM
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Does anyone know how to stop the prayer plant from branching out and looking scraggly? My plant is healthy and doing fine it is just growing outward. I would like to have a fuller plant.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:01PM
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