Fredrick is a miniature-garden designer and author of landscaping guides. He loves to write about garden flowers, ponds, lawns, and hedges.
Prayer plants (Maranta leuconeura) are grown for their amazing leaves, which lie flat during the day and raise and fold at night as if they are praying. There are tens of varieties of these plants, but it is only a few that are suitable for indoors.
Like any other plant, prayer plants are affected by a number of issues including droopiness, which damage their attractiveness. In this article, I will discuss the reasons for drooping in Maranta, so read on to see how to prevent and fix the problem in your plants.
Note: These plants droop by leaning downwards limply, and this condition should not be confused with their ‘praying’ behavior.
Causes of Drooping in Prayer Plants
- Poor watering
- Extreme temperature
- Excessive sunlight
- Low humidity
- Pests and diseases
- Too much fertilizer
- Physical damage
1. Poor Watering
First, if you water your prayer plants inadequately, they will be getting less water from the soil than they are losing to the atmosphere. Second, if you give them excess water, their roots start to rot due to waterlogging and become ineffective in absorbing water. In both cases, the plant cells do not get enough water and therefore the plants lose strength.
To deal with underwatering, you need to water your plants when the soil dries out and ensure it has saturated all the soil. On the other hand, to avoid overwatering, you need to stop watering your plants every day. You also need to use well-draining soil to deal with the waterlogging problem.
2. Extreme Temperature
Very high temperature causes your plant to lose too much water. It also kills the cells, leading to drooping. On the other extreme, very low temperature makes the plant cells inactive and stops the processes that keep the whole plant strong.
Prayer plants require a temperature in the range 65–85°F (18–30°C), and you should therefore maintain them at these figures. It is also recommended not to grow or place your plants near an element or system producing hot or cold air.
3. Excessive Sunlight
Excessive sunlight has a scorching effect on delicate plants like Maranta. The effect makes the cells flaccid or even kills them, weakening the whole plant. If there is no intervention on the sunlight and the plant doesn’t get enough water, it will droop and eventually wilt.
To deal with this problem, you need to monitor plants that are exposed to sunlight and provide shade if the sunlight is too much. You can also move the plants to an area with safer sunlight.
4. Low Humidity
Prayer plants require medium to high humidity for them to develop healthy foliage. If the humidity is low, they lose more water to the atmosphere and their leaves become dull and weak. They eventually droop if the humidity remains low.
There are a numbers of ways to improve humidity around your plants. You can use a humidifier or place a tray of water around the plants to boost the water vapor in the air. You can also mist your plants occasionally.
5. Pests and Diseases
Pests that suck sap can cause drooping as they remove a lot of water from the plants. The most common pests in prayer plants include aphids, thrips, mealybugs, and spider mites. On the other side, diseases can damage roots and stems interfering with water absorption and movement in the plant cells.
To do away with the pests, you can use insecticidal soaps or pyrethrins, which are safer on humans and pets. I recommend the Garden Safe Insecticidal Soap which is usually ready to use and can kill all pests that attack ornamental plants. When it comes to diseases, the best way to control them is to dispose of the sick plants. Some common diseases in these plants include root rot, leaf spot, and mosaic virus.
6. Too Much Fertilizer
Applying too much fertilizer to your prayer plants can damage their roots and prevent absorption of water. Excessive application of fertilizer can also ‘burn’ your plants, leading to drooping and wilting.
If you plan to apply fertilizer to your plants, you need to apply the recommended amount—just enough to boost the soil nutrients. If you have already applied too much of it, you need to flash the soil with a lot of water.
7. Physical Damage
Physical damage is very possible in prayer plants, and it can be caused by you, your family members, or visitors without knowing. If a plant has a damaged stem, its leaves do not get enough water and nutrients and therefore it droops.
To avoid damaging your plants, you just need to be very careful when carrying out your activities in the house. For any physically damaged plants, you can straighten them, support weak stems, and leave them to heal.
A Potential Combination of Various Factors
It is also highly likely that your prayer plants are drooping because of one or more of the factors discussed above. With the help of this information, I am hopeful that you will find the cause of the problem, fix it, and revive your houseplants.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Fredrick aka JS
Liz Westwood from UK on May 04, 2021:
This is a well-organized and useful article. I think that a lot of your helpful tips could be applied to the care of other plants too.