Curled Prayer Plant Leaves: 6 Causes and Solutions for this Common Problem

Prayer Plants (Maranta Leuconeura) is a genus of about 20 species found in the rain forests of tropical America. They have large green leaves with unusual markings and reddish undersides. They are also difficult to cultivate indoors and thrive in a humid greenhouse.

Prayer Plants earned their common name because their leaves fold up at night, like praying hands, and lay flat during the daytime. It has attractive leaves and occasionally produces small magnificent white or pink flowers.

Common NamePrayer Plants
Botanical NameMaranta leuconeura
Temperature65°F to 85°F
HumidityHumidity is about 60%
ExposureBright, Indirect Light
SoilWell-drained soil, nutrient-rich soil
FoodFeed with liquid fertilizer monthly in spring or summer
USDA Zone11 to 12

Why Are My Prayer Plants Leaves Curling?

Prayer Plants Leaves Curling

Prayer Plants grow horizontally on a flat surface with their leaves sprouting up in tiny toots until they unfurl to reveal their beautiful leaves. They are also native to tropical regions and prefer humid and slightly warm environments.

Seeing your prayer Plants curling up or down can leave you disheartened. However, there are many reasons for Prayer Plants Leaves curling, but the most common issues are watering, sunlight or humidity.

Reasons For Curling Prayer Plant Leaves

Treat Curling Prayer Plant Leaves

1 . Underwatering

Underwatering is one of the biggest and most common reasons that cause the prayer plant leaves to curl. However, overwatering the Prayer plants can also cause health issues. To check if the plant is underwater, take it out from its pot and check if moisture is in the soil.

You can also check by sticking your finger in the soil about 1 to 2 inches deep if you don’t want to remove your plants from their pot. If the soil is dry, it means the plant is underwater.

2. Poor Water Quality

Poor water quality causes curling leaves. That’s why rainwater is the best for watering potted plants because it is closest to what they would get in nature.

Rainwater always avoids bad things for plants like fluoride, chlorine, and salt in tap water. These things build up in the soil and cause the leaf tips to turn brown and curl. Furthermore, If you cannot use rainwater, try using distilled water, aquarium water, or let your tap water sit for a while so some chemicals will evaporate before you use it.

3.  Lack Of Humidity

Prayer plants are native to tropical regions and prefer humid and slightly warm environments. Lack of humidity or too much direct sunlight can result in curling leaves.

When your prayer plants lack humidity, you would probably see brown, crispy edges on the leaves and potential areas of discoloration. Do well to grow your Prayer Plant in indirect light and higher-than-average humidity.

4. Temperature

Prayer plants prefer a temperature that ranges from 60°F to 80°F. That means it cannot withstand temperatures if it’s cold during winter. Prayer plants react to cool temperatures or drafts because they go from warm, humid environments.

5.  Pests Problems

Insects that feed on the Prayer plants can cause them to curl. Prayer plants are highly susceptible to spider mites and mealybugs. They can also get other pests, thrips, aphids, scales, etc. 

These pests drink juices from plants depriving them of water and nutrients. The pests also inject toxins that curl, ruffle or distort leaves. 

The signs of pests infestation on the prayer plants depend on the pest present. The symptoms may include spots (black, yellow, or brown), pinched leaves, cupped, or deformed. Other symptoms include webbing, silvery, speckles, honeydew, and sooty mold.

6.  Soil And Fertilizer

Prayer plants tend to flourish in almost all soil types. You have to make sure it drains properly. The soil for a prayer plant should be acidic with a 5.5 to 6.

Soil Mixture For Prayer plant

Use the following steps to create a balanced soil mixture for your prayer plants.

  • 1 part garden soil
  • One pinch of lime dust
  • 1 part coarse sand or perlite
  • One part coconut coir or peat moss.

You can also use fertilizers about once a month when the plant grows during the spring and summer.

Ways To Treat Curling Prayer Plants Leaves

Curling Prayer Plant Leaves

1 . Proper Watering Habits

Prayer plants love humidity. You can do this by misting the plants every 2-3 days. Also, you can water your prayer plants when the top 1 inch of the soil is dry. 

Keep watering until liquid flows through the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. Another method of watering your Prayer plant that provides the right amount of water without overeating is the bottom watering method.

Below is a step-by-step process of using the bottom watering method;

1 . Place your Prayer plant on a flat open container for bottom watering.

2. Fill the container with 1 inch of water, which the soil will absorb and become moist.

3. After about 15 to 20 minutes, remove the plant.

4. Gently tick your fingers into the soil to ensure it is moist.

5. Place the plant in a dry place to allow the excess water to drain out.

6. Remove the excess water.

2. Reducing Pests Attacks

The Prayer plants are easily disturbed by pests. Once you notice pests on one part of your prayer plants, take the infected plants away from other plants.

For Fungus gnats, use a sticky fly trap, while for mealybugs, gently spray with alcohol or soap water. Neem oil has also proven to be effective. Use it after a few treatments through Foliar spraying.

3. Rotating The Plant

The leaves of the Prayer plants move with the light source, so if the light source comes from one continuous direction, the plant will remain in one position. Rotating the plants from time to time provides them with the same quantity of light from all directions.

4. Rootbound Plants

Prayer plants kept in tight compacted containers grow slowly. Promote new growth by repotting in larger containers. Repotting will give the plants more room and encourage them to grow larger more quickly.

5. Placement In The Correct Amount Of Light

Ensure you place your Prayer Plants in indirect light away from Windows and doors. The plants can survive well in low-lit rooms as well as office spaces.

Frequently Asked Questions

Prayer Plant Care

1 . Do Prayer Plants Move Their Leaves?

Prayer plants open their leaves while drying and fold them up at night. They adjust their movement to control the sunlight the leaves absorb during the brightest hours of the day.

2. How Often Should You Water A Prayer Plant?

Water your Prayer plant every 3-5 days. The plants don’t like to dry out, so you should water them when the first inch or two of the soil is dry.

3. Why Is My Prayer Plant Not Praying At Night?

Prayer plants are known to fold their leaves up at night, similar to praying hands, and the most common reason they may stop moving or praying includes reaction to shock, too much or too little light dry potting mix.

4. How Do I Know If My Prayer Plant Is Happy?

To know if your prayer plant is happy or healthy, check for traits of new growth, moving leaves, firm stems and deeply colored leaves, etc.

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