Q. My prayer plant's leaves have all curled from dryness. Is there anything I can do?
Sorry to hear that you are having trouble with this tricky plant. Prayer plant (Maranta) is a tropical plant that needs high humidity and protection from strong sun. Think of the leafy filtering of light in a rainforest and the clouds of warm, wet air to give you an idea of the conditions it needs. At New York Botanical Garden we keep this plant in a constantly misting greenhouse environment. That is not to say that you should not give reviving the plant a try, it is possible that it will work, but just to recognize that it is a hard one to get right in a home and is not for everyone.
If you think that the plant succumbed to dryness rather than overly wet roots, you can try to bring it back. It is hard to say what your chances are of success, but a natural period of growth is beginning as we head into spring so the timing is good. You will need to raise the humidity around the plant. Use a pebble tray or consider a terrarium. You can cover it temporarily with a loose, clear, plastic bag until you get the humidifying environment you need. Use rainwater or distilled water to avoid mineral residue on leaves. A hygrometer (humidity meter) can help you understand how close you are to the 60 to 80% humidity your plant prefers.
Keep the soil thoroughly moist with tepid water during the growing period (March through September). Reduce watering in winter (now - February) so that the top inch of potting mix dries out.
Household temperatures between 65 and 70°F. are ideal. Avoid sudden changes and always keep above 55°F.
You will find more information about caring for this plant in our Prayer Plant Guide.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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