How To Save A Dying Prayer Plant?

How To Save A Dying Prayer Plant?

There are various signs to watch out for that may indicate that your prayer plant is dying. The leaves could be turning yellow or brown, they could be dropping off at an alarming rate, or the plant may no longer curl at night like it used to.

These symptoms could be due to overwatering, underwatering, excess sunlight, low temperatures, pests or low humidity. In order to save the plant, you need to correctly diagnose the problem so that your treatment can be fast and specific.

In this article, we will discuss the different reasons your prayer plant may be dying, and how to save it.

Why is my prayer plant dying?

Overwatering

Giving a prayer plant more water than it needs is one of the most common mistakes made by plant owners. The soil is the first thing you need to check if your prayer plant is ailing. If the soil is damp and waterlogged, you are probably watering too much or too often. It could also be that the soil you are using is not well-draining, or the container or pot you are using does not have drainage holes at the bottom. All these factors increase the probability of the plant’s roots sitting in soggy soil for prolonged periods.

If the roots of a plant are constantly soaking in wet soil, they will drown and rot. This leads to root rot, when opportunistic pathogens attack the rotten roots. Once the root system is affected, the rest of the plant will be compromised as well. The leaves will become soft and droopy and start to drop off.

You can save the plant by removing it from the soil and checking the roots. If any are brown or black, that means they have rotted and you should cut them off using sterile scissors. Let the plant air-dry on a tray lined with a paper towel. Once the roots have dried out, you can replant your plant in a pot with drainage holes, using a well-draining soil mix. Do not water the plant immediately after replanting; wait at least one week to give the roots enough time to recover and establish themselves.

When the plant has recovered, correct your watering techniques so that it does not get overwatered again. To know when to water, touch the soil in the pot. If the soil is dry, you can water the plant, but if it is still damp, wait one or two more days and check the soil again.

Underwatering

Another mistake plant owners tend to make is not giving the plant enough water and leaving the soil to dry out completely. The leaves will turn brown and crisp, and before you know it the whole plant will have shriveled.

If you think that underwatering might be the reason your prayer plant is dying, check the moisture level of the soil. If the soil is dry to the touch and feels hard, lift the pot up to feel whether it is much lighter than normal. Soil that is completely dry is much lighter than moist soil.

Fortunately, all you need to do to help an underwatered plant is give it water. For the initial watering, soak all of the soil until you can see the excess water flowing out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. If the soil has become too dry, you may need to water the soil several times over the next couple of days to soften it.

When the plant has recovered, adjust your old watering schedule to one that is more favorable for your plant. If you used to water once every ten days, try watering every eight days and see if the plant likes that better.

Make sure you do not overcompensate and end up overwatering, because then you will face an entirely new problem.

Too much light

Another reason your prayer plant may be dying is if you are letting it get more sunlight than it needs.

Yes, plants need sunlight to nourish themselves and survive, but there is such a thing as too much sunlight when it comes to plants. This is most apparent in plants that are left in direct sunlight. A plant left out in the open under the heat of the full sun can get sun-damaged, and its leaves can get burned and develop yellow or brown patches.

There is nothing you can do about the burnt leaves, but you can cut them off to preserve the aesthetic of your prayer plant.

Transfer the plant to a different spot where it will only get indirect light for most of the day. Do not place it somewhere that is too dark, however, because this is also not good for the plant.

Low temperatures

Prayer plants are not big fans of cold weather. They tend to stop growing in these conditions, and their foliage and roots can freeze up in the cold. You also need to be careful about how much water you give your plant during the winter, because the wet soil combined with low temperatures can cause the roots to decay. It is advisable to water the soil when there is a good source of light so that it does not stay wet for too long. Keep the plant in the room with the highest temperature during the winter, and only water it in the morning – never at night when the temperatures drop too low.

Pests

The most common pests that attack prayer plants are mealybugs and spider mites. It is unlikely that a prayer plant will actually die due to pest infestations, but it is still definitely possible.

These insects feed on the juices of the plant, depleting its nutrients and leaving damage as they go. If the infestation is large enough, the leaves can fall off due to damage.

Check your plant every time you water it so you are always aware of the presence of any insects. If you need to use a magnifying glass for a better look, do so. Check the underside of the leaves, since this is where they often hide.

You can get rid of these pests by spraying them with water from your garden hose. The water should be enough to knock them off the foliage. You can also wipe neem oil on the leaves to kill them.

Low humidity

When the air in your home is too dry, the prayer plant will have a hard time thriving, especially during the dry winter. The plant’s leaves will dry out and turn brown. Do not place the plant in a spot where it will be hit by drafts from heating vents.

To save the plant, mist the leaves with water a few times a week, use a pebble tray, transfer the plant to the humid bathroom, or use a humidifier.

Conclusion

Your prayer plant is dying because there is an environmental factor that is causing it stress. To treat it properly and save it, you need to identify the exact cause of the problem.

The most common reasons your prayer plant may be dying are overwatering, underwatering, excess sunlight, low temperatures, pests and low humidity.

Image: istockphoto.com / Firn