Prayer plants (Maranta leuconeura) are popular tropical houseplants prized for their stunning brightly colored foliage. They are great low-light houseplants known for being easy to care for. One common issue you may run into when growing a prayer plant in your home is curling leaves. There are a few potential reasons that your prayer plant’s leaves are curling, but luckily, as long as you catch it early, this problem can be easily fixed. Here are the four most common reasons your prayer plant’s leaves are curling and what to do about each one.
Prayer plants prefer soil to stay consistently moist. If the soil dries out too much between waterings the leaves will begin to curl. An underwatered prayer plant also will display drooping leaves that are soft and limp to the touch. Giving your plant a thorough watering should solve this issue as long as you stay on top of watering moving forward. If you water your prayer plant and the leaves do not go back to their normal shape within a day, then the plant may have dried out to the point where the roots have died and can no longer absorb water properly. In this case, the best course of action is to remove your plant from the soil and place it in water to encourage it to regrow roots. Once the new roots are at least an inch long (likely after a few weeks) you can repot the plant in soil.
Lack of Humidity
While prayer plants can grow well in standard household humidity levels they do best in at least 50% humidity (standard household levels can range from 30-50%). If your plant is placed in a particularly dry area of the home, such as next to a heater or drafty vent, the lack of humidity can cause its leaves to curl. If you suspect a lack of humidity is the culprit, there are a few things that you can do.
First, try moving your prayer plant to a new location—ideally a more humid area of your home, such as a bathroom or laundry room. Second, you can get a humidifier and place it nearby. There are plenty of small humidifiers available that are designed specifically for plants so they are discreet, stylish, and small enough to fit pretty much anywhere. You can also try using a pebble tray to increase humidity. Fill a shallow tray with pebbles and some water and place the pot on top of the pebbles. The water will create some extra humidity in the air directly around the plant. Just remember to refill the pebble tray as the water evaporates over time.
Lack of Sunlight
Prayer plants are great low-light plants but that doesn’t mean they can survive with no sunlight. Ideally, they enjoy bright to medium indirect light but can also tolerate low light (although they will grow much slower in low light). If your plant is displaying curled leaves and you have ruled out underwatering and a lack of humidity as potential causes, then a lack of light could be to blame. Try moving the plant to a brighter location (but avoid direct sunlight) or placing a grow light nearby if increasing the natural light isn’t an option.
While it is less common, exposure to extreme temperatures can also cause a prayer plant’s leaves to curl. These tropical plants enjoy temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 27 degrees Celsius), which makes them well-suited to indoor growing. Unless you keep your home ice cold or extremely hot, temperature probably isn’t going to be an issue.
However, if you live in a region that experiences cold winters you may want to keep the plant positioned at least a foot away from the closest window, especially if your windows aren’t weatherproofed. Similarly, if you experience extremely hot summers keep in mind that these plants struggle in temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, particularly if they are not watered enough.