Sure, prayer plants have pretty, broad leaves that are green on top with purple-pink stripes and dark maroon underneath. But there's something else that's even more special about them...
As darkness falls each night, their leaves fold together, making them look like hands in prayer. They open again in the morning when light hits them (listen closely, and sometimes you'll hear a faint rustle – another hallelujah moment). This behaviour is believed to have adapted to benefit the plant’s longevity. At night, raindrops fall through the closed leaves and reach the roots, helping the plant retain moisture.
Native to moist and tropical forests in Central and South America, prayer plants (maranta leuconeura) have low-growing, spreading evergreen leaves, which grow in clumps, each extending about five inches long. The second part of the plant’s name, leuconeura, means white-veined, in recognition of the plant’s leaves, which sport that pattern.
How to care for it
Prayer plants like medium to bright indirect light. Keep the soil damp, but never wet or saturated. Like many tropical indoor plants, it likes humidity. Brown edges on the leaves indicate the air is too dry. Mist the leaves twice per week with room temperature water.
Top Floom tip
Propagating prayer plants is surprisingly easy, and can be done from spring to early summer. You can also propagate prayer plants through cuttings. Take cuttings just below the nodes closest to the bottom of the stem.