How To Propagate Prayer Plant?

How To Propagate Prayer Plant?

Prayer plants, with the scientific name Maranta leuconeura, are common houseplants in the world’s more temperate regions. They are also referred to as praying hands, and are native to the New World tropics.These plants are native to the tropical forests of Brazil. They have wide, oval-shaped, dark green leaves with veins running through the leaves which can be several shades of red.  

Common methods of propagating prayer plants

Water propagation 

You will need a prayer plant, scissors, a glass jar, water, and a clear bag. 

Locate the node on the stem and cut just below it. You only need one node to propagate a prayer plant in water. Nodes are easy to spot: they are small bumps from where new growth will develop. Leave about half an inch of stem below the node and make sure that the tools you use are clean and sharp. 

Place your plant cutting in plant-friendly water that is room temperature. If you use tap water, leave it to sit for at least 24 hours before you use it. See to it that the node is submerged under the water, but do not allow the leaves to get below the surface. Trim a few leaves off if there are too many, so that the plant can focus on producing roots.   

To keep conditions optimal, place a clear bag over the plant to provide humidity. Blow in some air to stop the bag sagging onto the plant. Place your propagation station in a bright area with no direct sunlight. 

Change the water as needed. Some plant growers change it every two days, while others only change it as needed. If there is no sign of algae or impurities and the water is clear, it means the water is fine and does not need to be changed. 

In one week’s time, the roots should start to sprout, and after two weeks they will have grown longer. If you notice that growth has slowed down, the water may need changing. Remember to use room temperature water. By the third week, there should already be new leaves.

By the fourth week, the roots should have grown to an inch and a half long and are then ready to be moved from the water into the soil. 

Prepare fresh potting soil and a pot of the correct size, that has enough room for the plant’s roots to grow well. Add a bottom layer of soil into the pot and position the rooted plant. Fill the pot further with soil. Water the newly-planted prayer plant and place a clear bag over it for a few days. 

Soil propagation 

Propagating in soil is a good option if you want to make the mother plant look fuller by planting the cuttings in the same pot. Just like the previous method, cut below the node, and leave sufficient stem below it. Next, dip the end of the cutting in water and rooting hormone. Prune off some leaves if there are too many.

Plant the cutting into the soil, either in a separate pot or in the same pot with the mother plant. Water the cutting and keep the soil on the moist side until the roots develop. Place a clear bag over the plant to maintain high humidity. This method is somewhat more demanding than the previous method.

Seed propagation 

Propagating prayer plants through seeds is also a viable method, but it requires more patience and attention than the previous methods. You need to collect and select the most suitable seeds and sow them in a moist medium. Keep them in a warm place; you can also place them in a clear bag to help them along. In a couple of weeks, you should see roots beginning to sprout. 

Root or slip division 

This method is viable if the mother plant is big enough and there are many stems emerging from the soil. You will need to remove the plant from its pot and clean off the roots, and then untangle and tease the roots apart gently with your fingers. This will allow you to separate the different stems and, once separated, you can plant them in fresh potting soil. 

Conclusion 

Prayer plants are evergreen perennials native to the New World tropics. They are easy to care for and are popular among plant growers for their unique foliage. There are various options when it comes to propagating these beauties: you can use water or soil propagation, or opt to use seeds or root division.

Image: istockphoto.com / Firn