Prayer Plant - How to Care for the Ten Commandments
The prayer plant (Maranta leucoreura) is a popular perennial house plant with lovely variegated leaves. It has an interesting characteristic whereby at night, its leaves rise up like hands in prayer. It's also known as the Ten Commandments.
Have a look at the Youtube video below showing a time-lapse of the leaves coming up. This happens towards the end of the video.
While it's very easy to care for, you'll have to try to provide it with the high humidity it needs to flourish. This can be achieved by misting it daily with a spray bottle or by placing a saucer of water nearby to increase the humidity. Another option is to put it near other plants.
Because of its high humidity requirement, it can grow well in a terrarium. A terrarium is an enclosed glass ecosystem.
It enjoys bright, indirect sunlight. Too much light will cause the leaves to curl up and go brown, in which case you should move it somewhere where it gets less direct and more filtered light.
Moderate watering that keeps the soil moist but not wet is what this plant needs. Don't let the soil dry out between watering.
Use potting soil that drains well.
The Maranta is prone to being attacked by indoor gardening pests, specifically spider mites, mealy bugs and aphids.
You can propagate by making stem tip cuttings or by division. I'll explain cuttings here because it's the method that beginner indoor garderners are more likely to use.
Find a healthy leaf and follow it down its stem for 10-15cm (4-6in) and cut it with a sharp knife.
Remove the lower leaves and place your cutting in rooting hormone. Although you can use water to stimulate root growth on a cutting, I recommend getting some rooting hormone as it will produce stronger roots. Cuttings rooted in water have difficulty adapting to soil when they're transferred.
Plant your cutting in a potting mix that provides good aeration, drainage and moisture holding ability. In other words, don't use ordinary potting soil. Rather create an appropriate mix made up of perlite or vermiculite and peat moss and some sand.