The Vibrant and Easy-to-Grow Prayer Plant Lemon Lime

Prayer plants have gained popularity as houseplants for their stunning foliage, with patterns that appear as if they were meticulously painted on. Among the various prayer plant varieties, the lemon lime prayer plant stands out due to its vibrant green leaves. While this particular maranta may seem unassuming, it is actually an excellent choice for beginners. Unlike its red-veined counterpart and other prayer plants, the lemon lime variety is far less demanding. In fact, it requires minimal care and rewards its owners with lush growth and beautiful flowers. I affectionately refer to this plant as ‘the good boy’ because it thrives with just regular watering, without any excessive demands.

Over the two years that I have cared for this lemon lime maranta, it has bloomed multiple times. Witnessing its delicate, tiny flowers is truly rewarding and adds to the sense of accomplishment as an indoor gardener. Interestingly, these plants do not require any special fertilizers or extensive sunlight exposure to bloom. They simply need a little patience, as they will flower in their own time, refusing to be rushed.

It’s worth noting that in its natural habitat, the maranta plant typically grows close to the forest floor, creeping forward and forming a carpet of lush foliage. This growth pattern may not be visually appealing to everyone, sometimes resulting in a sparse appearance on top with long, dangling stems. However, rectifying this is surprisingly simple. By taking cuttings, rooting them in water (an enjoyable process in itself), and replanting them in the bare spots, you can revitalize the plant’s appearance.

You may also notice your prayer plant producing small runners that grow baby plants at their ends, much like a spider plant. If this occurs, leave them attached until they develop roots, and then plant them directly back into the pot. In the image above, you can see one of these runners, which grew a plantlet that I subsequently planted in the main pot to fill in a bald spot.

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Prayer plants earned their name because they raise and lower their leaves throughout the day, resembling a prayer motion. Sometimes, you might even catch them moving out of the corner of your eye! If your plant ceases to move, it’s a sign that you should carefully inspect it for any signs of water deficiency, pests, or other issues. Generally, these plants will lower their leaves in the morning to capture daylight and then fold them back upward in the evening to conserve water.

General Care Tips for Lemon Lime Maranta Prayer Plants

Light

Prayer plants, including those in the marantaceae family, thrive best when shielded from intense light. Excessive light exposure can cause prayer plants to curl their leaves upward in self-defense. If you notice this curling, first check for pests and then move the plant slightly away from the light source. Ideal lighting conditions include indirect or dappled light. Personally, I keep mine approximately 20 feet away from a large west-facing window.

Water

Watering is where many people go wrong with maranta plants. Most care guides will advise you to “keep the soil moist and avoid letting it dry out,” but I find this advice often leads to problems. Fungus gnats, root rot, and suffocation are just a few potential issues that can arise from constantly wet soil. Personally, I allow my plant to dry out between waterings, but I ensure it doesn’t remain dry for extended periods. Overwatering can contribute to dry, crispy leaves due to root rot. If the roots are unhealthy, they cannot efficiently transport moisture to the leaves. It’s also crucial to use filtered water for prayer plants since they struggle to process the salts and minerals found in tap water. As a result, these minerals accumulate at the tips of their leaves, eventually causing browning.

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Soil

I believe that soil quality plays a significant role in the success of prayer plant varieties. Greenhouses often use soil mixes with a high peat content to reduce the frequency of watering. However, using this type of soil at home can lead to disastrous outcomes. To avoid such issues, repot your plant in a well-draining mix that includes perlite. This will allow the roots to breathe and the soil to dry properly between waterings. If you find that your plant is drying out too quickly and needs more frequent watering than once a week, consider adjusting the soil or using a larger pot.

Humidity

Another common piece of advice for prayer plants is to maintain high humidity by misting the leaves or using a pebble tray. While these plants do appreciate humidity, excessive moisture can result in fungal growth, mold, and root rot. If you keep your plant in a high-humidity environment, ensure there is adequate airflow to prevent the leaves and soil from remaining damp. Personally, my lemon lime maranta thrives in the general household humidity of 45-55%, and I do not mist it.

Fertilizer

Prayer plants are not heavy feeders, so using an organic balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength is sufficient. Fertilize once a month during the growing season. Be cautious when fertilizing these plants, as they are sensitive and can develop burnt leaf tips. Instead of using water-based fertilizers, consider incorporating a soil amendment such as worm castings. This organic option often provides enough nutrients. Additionally, prayer plants greatly benefit from the presence of beneficial mycorrhizal colonies in the soil, making organic fertilizers an excellent choice.

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Pruning and Propagation

Prune your prayer plant as needed to maintain an appealing growth pattern. If you wish to propagate your plant, ensure that each cutting includes a node, the swollen part between sections. Simply taking a leaf cutting may not always yield successful results. Place your cutting in water, submerging the node, and watch for roots to develop. Once the roots reach around 2 inches in length, you can plant the cutting in soil.

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Pests

Prayer plants, including the maranta variety, can be vulnerable to various pests. Spider mites are particularly attracted to these plants if they become too dry, while constant moisture can lead to fungus gnats. If you require more information on handling spider mites, you can refer to my guide on dealing with these pests on indoor hibiscus trees.

Toxicity

Most marantaceae family plants are considered non-toxic. However, as with any plant, it’s essential to prevent pets or children from chewing on them to avoid potential adverse reactions.

For more information on prayer plants, refer to the following resources:

  • Why do Prayer Plants Move?
  • Which species are included in the Maranta family?
  • Why does my plant have yellow leaves?
  • Back to the House Plant Index