Maranta plants get their nickname ‘Prayer Plants’ from the unique way their leaves fold in the evenings which looks as if they are praying. If you were to timelapse your plant, you’d be shocked at how much it moved. These incredible plants add that splash of colour that every urban jungle needs so we aren’t surprised you want to propagate your plant and create more of that!
In this post, we will go over everything you need to know when it comes to how to propagate a Prayer Plant, from the methods used, step by step guides and some of the most important questions you might have along the way.
Is propagating a Prayer Plant easy?
There are two main methods you can use to propagate your Prayer Plant (more on that below) and they differ in difficulty. If you want to propagate through stem cuttings then not only does this take a lot longer, but it can be more difficult and less successful. Propagating through division though is a lot simpler and there are very few things that can go wrong.
What methods can I use to propagate my Prayer Plant?
As we mentioned above, there are two methods that allow you to propagate your Prayer Plant. Firstly, stem cuttings which are suitable for all maturities of Prayer Plant which is the main benefit. You can also propagate through division if you have a more mature plant. Below you’ll find a step by step of each of the methods.
How to propagate a Prayer Plant using stem cuttings
This is the main method of propagating Prayer Plants as it’s suitable for all maturities and doesn’t require you to take your plant out of its pot.
Locate a few healthy Prayer Plant stems
When taking a stem cutting you want to make sure that the part of the plant you are cutting is healthy. Avoid any sign of disease or pests as they will be transferred onto your new plants which can damage your chances at a successful propagation.
When taking cuttings to propagate your Prayer Plant, you need to check for one important thing; a node. Without it, you will have a very slim chance of successful propagation. A node is where a leaf has grown from the stem.
Make the cut
Use your clean scissors to cut off one or more stems. You want to make sure that you have at least 2-3 leaves on your cutting as this ensures you have a few good nodes from which roots can grow out. It’s completely up to you as to how many stem cuttings you take from your plant.
Fill up a transparent container with water
Now that you have taken your cuttings, you need to grow them in water to allow the roots to grow. We like to use a transparent container so that you can see what’s going on with your cuttings, spot any issues quickly and track root growth.
Place your cuttings in bright but indirect light
It’s super important your cuttings aren’t exposed to any intense direct light as it will very quickly burn the cutting and prevent a successful propagation.
Change out the water regularly
Changing out the water every few days keeps it free from bacteria and stops it from stagnating which is harmful to your cutting.
Luckily Prayer Plant cuttings grow roots pretty quickly compared to a lot of other plants so you should start to see two delicate roots pop out from the node after a couple of weeks.
Don’t be alarmed if your cutting hasn’t grown any new roots in a few weeks as the process is unpredictable and some cuttings will grow roots a lot faster than others.
Plant your Prayer Plant cuttings into fresh potting mix
Once the roots on your Prayer Plant cuttings are a few centimetres long you can start to think about potting them in potting mix. The roots will be very delicate at this time so be careful when potting them to ensure they don’t snap.
Carefully place your cuttings a few centimetres into the soil. You can also pop the cuttings back into the mother plant so it becomes a little fuller – it’s up to you!
Resume your usual Prayer Plant care routine
Now that your cuttings are in their home, you can go back to your usual Prayer Plant care routine. Keep a close eye on your new cuttings for a few weeks after potting them in soil to ensure things are going well. Before you know it, your cuttings will be long and mature enough to propagate!
How to propagate a Prayer Plant through the division method
Remove your Prayer Plant from its pot
Be careful if any of the roots have started to grow out of the drainage holes as you might need to untangle these to prevent them from snapping. You also want to avoid pulling at the leaves to remove the plant as they are quite thin and will likely rip and break off.
Remove the potting mix from the roots
Loosely run your fingers through the root system to shake off the soil. This will allow you to see the natural section of the plant more clearly. It’s at this point that you can decide how many plants you want to create.
Untangle the various natural sections
To do this, you might need to slice through a few roots using pruning scissors. As long as you are only cutting through a few of the smaller roots, this should have no impact on the overall health of your plant. Avoid cutting any thick large roots as these are integral to your plant’s health.
If your Prayer Plant only has one central section, then you will need to slice your plant in half or slice off a section to create two individual plants. Don’t be afraid to do this as the sections will be completely OK as long as they still have some of the mature roots attached.
Pot into fresh potting mix
Pop your mother Prayer Plant plant back in its pot (or pot into a smaller one if you have removed a large section of the root system and leaves). Then pot your new plant into fresh soil, ensuring the pot isn’t too big, but there is still some space for it to grow into.
Continue your normal Prayer Plant care habits
That’s the process complete, we told you it was simple! Now all that’s left is to keep a close eye on your plant for a few weeks to make sure that no unexpected issues crop up.
Can I propagate my Prayer Plant from a single leaf?
Unfortunately, you can’t propagate your Prayer Plant using just a leaf. This is because it needs a stem node as this is where roots develop. If you did try to grow a single leaf, it would stay alive for several weeks in water, but no roots would grow and it would slowly wilt and die.
What season should I propagate my Prayer Plant in?
If you are using the division method when propagating your Prayer Plant, then you can do this all year around. Whilst warmer months are more ideal, as your new plant will already have established roots attached, it’s not as crucial.
However, when using the stem cutting method, you must start this in mid-spring. Make sure all of the wintery weather is behind you before taking your cuttings. Roots will take a long time to fully establish themselves which means your Prayer Plant cutting will need plenty of warmth and sunshine.
Where is the node on a Prayer Plant?
You can find the nodes on a Prayer Plant by looking at where the leaves and stems join. At each of these joints is a node. Prayer Plants also have nodes where two stems join so you are able to use any of these points to propagate.
Propagating a Prayer Plant without a node
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to propagate a Prayer Plant without a node. Growth tissue is found in the node, so without it, it’s not possible for new leaves to develop. If you do try propagating a Prayer Plant without a node, the leaf will likely survive for a week or two but then will slightly wilt.
So that’s how you propagate a Prayer Plant! If you follow all of the right steps, then you shouldn’t run into too many issues but the key to success is really keeping a close eye on your plant and cuttings. This will help you spot any very early warning signs and you can solve the problem before it’s really harmed your plant. Make sure to give your Prayer Plant good lighting and warmth, you should have plenty of success.
To learn more about how to care for your new plants after propagation, check out our Prayer Plant care guide.
Written by Billy Dawson