When growing a prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura), you’d surely have to prune them because, over time, they become leggy.
But you’d be missing a trick if you don’t propagate the pruned foliage.
There are tons of benefits to this fun gardening activity.
For instance, it promotes new growth, and combined with propagation, makes the plant bushier.
For veteran gardeners though, propagating any plant is the best way of getting more of the same without having to spend money.
Essentially, this ensures you are never without your favorite houseplant in case the unthinkable happens and the old ones die!
This article though is all about how to propagate prayer plant.
You’ll discover that with just a bit of patience, your space would be teeming with several, new, healthy, prayer plants.
Perhaps, it’s about time you draw up a list of your favorite people on earth. Because prayer plants are such wonderful gifts.
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How to Propagate Prayer Plant
There are several ways to propagate prayer plants. It can be done using stem cuttings, seeds, and root division. Using stem cuttings remains the most popular method.
And it is very convenient too since you’d only require readily available items such as the parent plant, potting soil, a pair of garden shears or cutters, and water.
Today, I would show you how to propagate prayer plant using stem cuttings.
And to keep things real simple, two common methods would be discussed: propagating in water and directly in potting soil. We’d also take a quick peek at how to propagate prayer plants via root division.
Like most houseplants, propagating the maranta prayer plant using stem cuttings involves three stages:
- Getting your stems cuttings
- Rooting the stems cuttings in the growth medium and
- Caring for the young prayer plant.
How to Get Prayer Plant Stem Cuttings For Propagation
Getting the stem cuttings involves pruning your prayer plant. This is best done in the growing season to give pruned stems on the parent plant enough time to grow new foliage.
To improve the chances of success, it’s best to target only mature stems. Usually, these are the leggy stems growing over the side of the pot.
Where to cut the stem can be tricky for newbies. You’d have to identify the nodes on each stem and cut just a few inches below the node.
The node is the little bump on the stem’s smooth surface. This is where new sprout.
The older nodes, usually more prolific when it comes to propagation, are brownish.
That said, any stem cutting for propagation must include at least a node and about 2 – 3 leaves at the top.
To ensure that stem cutting’s resources are concentrated on producing new roots during propagation, cut out the extra leaves if they are any.
Finally, before you start cutting, ensure that you sterilize the blades of your cutter (shears or scissors) with rubbing alcohol.
This prevents the transfer of bacteria from the blades to the plant. Allow the blades to dry before you begin cutting.
Get as many propagation-ready stem cuttings as possible at least 4 inches long.
It’s smart to propagate multiple stem cuttings so you have several rooted stem cuttings to fall back on if one or a few fail to root.
With your stem cuttings handy, you are done with the heavy lifting. Next, the easy parts: rooting the prayer plant stem cuttings in water or soil.
Rooting Prayer Plant Stem Cuttings in Water
Materials you’ll need:
- Stem cuttings
- Jar of water
- Potting soil
- Dip the stem cutting into the jar of water. Make sure at least a node is submerged in water and the leaves are above the jar’s rim.
You can place multiple cuttings in a single jar.
- Place the jar in a warm, brightly lit area.
- Wait for a few weeks for the roots to start sprouting. Rooting could take up to a month or even more.
Patience is needed, and as long as the leaves remain healthy there is nothing to worry about.
4. The cutting is ready to be transplanted when the young roots are about 2 inches long,
- Fill your pot with the soil and create a shallow hole in the middle that can contain the roots.
- Carefully place the rooted stem cutting in the hole and cover the roots with soil. Make sure the leaves are upright and above the soil.
- Water the soil until excess water starts coming out of the drainage hole(s) at the bottom.
- Keep the pot in a warm, bright area. Water as usual following the standard watering regime for prayer plants.
- Wait for it to grow into a beautiful prayer plant!
- You can cover the stem cutting in the jar of water with a clear plastic bag to create a greenhouse effect.
This speeds up the rooting process.
- If the weather is cold and dry, consider covering the transplanted maranta prayer plant with a clear plastic bag.
This would help keep the humidity high.
- You can dip the stem in rooting hormone before placing it in water to promote faster rooting.
- Use distilled or spring water because prayer plants are sensitive to fluoride in tap water.
- You can change the water every couple of weeks or if it becomes murky.
Rooting Prayer Plant Cuttings in Soil
With this method, the stem cuttings are planted directly in the potting soil.
- Simply take your cuttings and plant them into the potting soil as described in step 6 above.
- Water the soil as described above.
- In a few weeks, new leaves would begin to grow to indicate that the stem cutting has successfully rooted.
- Keep caring for the young plant as you would the matured plant
- You can simply plant the stems cuttings in the same pot as the parent plant.
This method is great if you want to create a fuller or bushier pot. Water the soil before planting the cuttings.
- You can plant multiple stem cuttings in the pot as long there is enough space.
- Use rooting hormone if you can get some for faster rooting.
Propagating Prayer Plant By Root Division
This method is best done when you have to repot the prayer plant to a larger pot.
Repotting is something you’d do sooner or later since the plant would surely outgrow its current pot. Simply use the opportunity to increase your stock of new player plants.
- Fresh potting soil
- Matured prayer plants
- Fill pots with potting soil
- Uproot the prayer plant and carefully brush out the dirt from the root system.
- Using your fingers, gently pry loose multiple roots from the root ball.
Each root with a stem and leaves above is potentially a new prayer plant.
- Replant these roots in the separate pots prepared in step 1
- Water the soil and make sure the standard prayer plant growing conditions are present.
Prayer Plant Growing Conditions
Let’s look at the ideal prayer plant growing conditions that you’d need to replicate for successful propagation.
Soil – Prayer plants thrive best in loose, well-draining soil. If you already have a prayer plant, you want to use similar potting soil during propagation.
But you can also simply transplant the rooted cuttings in the same pot with the parent plant for a fuller plant arrangement
That said, if you can get your hands on high-quality potting soil for houseplants, you are good to go.
Different types of high-quality potting soil for prayer plants are sold in many garden centers.
You can also order some online from any reputable e-commerce shop in the gardening niche.
Watering – The soil must also be regularly kept moist and never bone dry.
It is important to find a balance between frequently moist and soggy when watering the soil.
The watering schedule be could once a week depending on external weather conditions.
The rule of thumb is to water the soil only when the top two inches is dry.
The easiest way to nail this is to use the finger test. This involves sticking the forefinger about two inches into the soil.
The soil needs watering if it feels dry up to that depth.
If the finger is wet after pulling it out though, then you don’t have to water the soil. Wait for a few. days repeat the rest.
And finally on watering, since prayer plants are very sensitive to the chemicals in tap water, always use distilled, rain, or spring water to irrigate the young plants.
If you must use tap water, allow it to sit in a large container overnight first. The chemicals, fluoride especially, would have evaporated by then.
Humidity, lighting, and temperature – The young plants also thrive best in warm and humid conditions just like the adult plant.
And like the parent plant, you want to keep them in a bright area to aid growth. So consider keeping them close to a bright window but make sure they are not exposed to full sunlight.
In the winter months, when the air is drier, it is recommended that you wrap a plastic bag around the stem cuttings to trap moisture to help raise the humidity around the plant.
Propagating a prayer plant is an easy gardening chore that is both fun and rewarding.
All you need is a prayer plant and the patience to go through with it.
With basic gardening skills, you can grow as many new prayer plants as you want.
Using stem cuttings and rooting them in water or soil is the most common way of propagating prayer plants.
But you can also propagate them by dividing and planting the roots in new potting soil.
This is also an easy method and is best done when it’s time to repot the plant.
Kindly share other tips you know on how to propagate prayer plant using the comment box!