With a prayer plant’s gorgeous foliage, it is no wonder it has become one of the most beloved plants for an indoor garden. But did you know that with simple prayer plant propagation steps, you can multiply them while helping them thrive?
Propagation isn’t just about creating new plants; it’s about nurturing life and witnessing the marvel of nature unfold before your eyes. With the right knowledge, techniques, and a sprinkle of patience, you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by thriving prayer plant offspring.
Whether you’re a seasoned plant enthusiast or just dipping your toes into the world of indoor gardening, this journey promises to be both fascinating and rewarding. We’ll share some tips and tricks to ensure your new prayer plants grow strong and healthy. So, grab your gardening tools and prepare to start the process of propagating your prayer plants.
Let’s get started!
How To Propagate Prayer Plant – 3 Methods
Prayer plants, scientifically known as Maranta or Calathea, are popular houseplants known for their striking foliage. They can be propagated through various methods, including division, stem cuttings, and air layering. Here’s how to propagate a prayer plant using each of these methods:
The division method of propagating a prayer plant (Maranta or Calathea) involves separating the plant into multiple sections, each with its own roots and shoots. This method is commonly used when repotting a mature prayer plant or when you want to create new plants from an existing one. Here are the steps for dividing a prayer plant:
- Prayer plant with multiple stems or shoots.
- Clean, sharp knife or scissors.
- Pots with fresh potting mix.
- Watering can or spray bottle.
1. Prepare the Prayer Plant:
Water the prayer plant thoroughly a day or two before dividing it. This will make the roots and soil easier to work with.
2. Remove the Plant from Its Pot:
Gently remove the prayer plant from its pot. You may need to tap the pot’s sides or loosen the soil around the edges to facilitate removal.
3. Inspect the Plant:
Examine the plant’s root system and identify natural divisions or separate sections that can be divided into individual plants. Look for shoots with their own roots and leaves.
4. Divide the Plant:
Use a clean and sharp knife or scissors to carefully separate the chosen sections. Ensure that each section has its own roots and at least one healthy shoot or stem.
5. Pot the Divided Sections:
Prepare pots with fresh, well-draining potting mix suitable for tropical houseplants.
Plant each divided section into its own pot at a similar depth it was previously growing. Make a hole in the soil with your finger or a stick, place the section in it, and gently pack the soil around it. Water each newly potted section thoroughly after planting.
Care for the Newly Divided Plants:
1. Place the newly potted prayer plant divisions in a location with bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves.
2. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Maintain a regular watering schedule, allowing the top inch or so of soil to dry slightly between waterings.
3. Maintain high humidity around the newly divided plants. You can achieve this by misting the plants regularly or placing a tray of water and pebbles near them.
4. Avoid fertilizing the newly divided plants for the first few weeks to allow them to acclimate to their new pots. Afterward, you can start with a diluted, balanced houseplant fertilizer applied every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.
2. Air Layering
Air layering is a propagation method used to create a new plant from an existing one without detaching it from the parent plant. While it’s not the most common method for propagating prayer plants (Maranta or Calathea), it can be effective. Here’s how to perform air layering on a prayer plant:
- Sharp knife or scissors.
- Sphagnum moss or a mixture of peat and perlite.
- Plastic wrap or a plastic bag.
- Twine or plant ties.
- Rooting hormone (optional).
- Watering can or spray bottle.
Select a Healthy Stem:
Choose a healthy stem on the parent prayer plant that you want to propagate.
Prepare the Stem:
Make a slanting cut into the selected stem, about one-third of the way through. The cut should be approximately 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) long.
If desired, you can apply rooting hormone to the cut area, which may encourage root development.
Prepare the Moss:
Moisten sphagnum moss or the peat and perlite mixture until it’s thoroughly damp but not dripping.
Wrap the Moss Around the Cut Area:
Take a handful of moistened moss and wrap it around the cut area of the stem.
Ensure that the moss covers the entire cut and extends a couple of inches above and below it.
Secure the Moss:
Wrap plastic wrap or a plastic bag around the moss to keep it in place. Make sure it’s sealed tightly and secure the top and bottom with twine or plant ties.
Check the moss periodically to ensure it stays moist but not waterlogged. You may need to mist it with water or add more damp moss as needed to maintain the humidity inside the wrapping.
Wait for Roots to Develop:
Roots should begin to develop within a few weeks to a few months. You can check for root growth by gently squeezing the moss to feel for resistance or by carefully unwrapping a small section to inspect the roots.
Separate the New Plant:
Once you see sufficient root growth (usually when there are several inches of healthy roots), carefully cut the stem just below the rooted section, making sure to avoid damaging the new roots.
Pot the New Plant:
Plant the rooted section in a pot filled with fresh, well-draining potting mix suitable for tropical houseplants.
Water the newly potted plant thoroughly and provide it with appropriate care, including bright, indirect light, and high humidity.
3. Stem Cutting
Stem cutting is a popular method for propagating prayer plants (Maranta or Calathea). This method involves taking a section of the parent plant’s stem and encouraging it to grow roots and eventually develop into a new plant. Here’s how to propagate a prayer plant using the stem cutting method:
- Pruning shears or sharp, clean scissors/knife.
- A healthy parent prayer plant.
- Small pots with fresh potting mix.
- Rooting hormone (optional).
- A plastic bag or a propagation tray with a lid.
- A misting bottle.
Select a Healthy Stem:
Choose a healthy, mature stem on the parent prayer plant that you want to propagate. Ensure that the stem has at least a few leaves and nodes (the points where leaves and roots grow).
Take a Cutting:
Use clean pruning shears or sharp scissors to make a clean cut just below a node on the selected stem. The cutting should be about 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) long and have a few leaves attached. Make the cut just below a node, as this is where roots will eventually form.
Remove Lower Leaves:
Remove the leaves on the lower half of the cutting, leaving a few leaves at the top. This helps reduce water loss and encourages root development.
Apply Rooting Hormone (Optional):
You can dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone powder to encourage faster root growth, but this step is optional.
Plant the Cutting:
Plant the cutting in a small pot filled with a well-draining potting mix suitable for tropical houseplants. Make a hole in the soil with your finger or a stick and insert the cutting into the hole.
Gently press the soil around the cutting to ensure good contact.
Water and Enclose in a Plastic Bag:
- Water the cutting thoroughly after planting to settle the soil.
- Place the pot and cutting inside a clear plastic bag or use a propagation tray with a lid to create a humid environment. This helps retain moisture and encourages root development.
- If using a bag, loosely seal it, so there is some airflow, or use stakes to keep the plastic from touching the cutting.
Provide Indirect Light and Maintain Humidity:
- Place the cutting in a location with bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.
- Mist the cutting with water regularly to maintain high humidity inside the bag or tray.
Monitor Root Growth:
Check for root growth after a few weeks to a few months by gently tugging on the cutting. If you feel resistance, roots have likely formed.
Transplant to a Larger Pot:
Once the cutting has developed a healthy root system and shows signs of new growth, transplant it into a larger pot with standard care for prayer plants.
Stem cuttings can take some time to establish, so be patient with the process. Once the new plant is well-established, you can continue caring for it like a mature prayer plant.
Propagating Prayer Plant In Water
Propagating prayer plants in water is a simple and rewarding way to expand your collection or give life to new plants. Before you start propagating your prayer plant in water, gather the following materials:
Healthy Parent Plant: Choose a mature, healthy prayer plant as your source for propagation.
Pruning Shears or Scissors: Use clean and sharp tools to take cuttings from the parent plant.
A Container with Water: Select a clear glass or plastic container with enough space to submerge the cuttings. Make sure the water is at room temperature or slightly warmer.
Optional: Rooting Hormone: While not necessary for prayer plants, you can use rooting hormone to stimulate root growth, especially if you’re dealing with more challenging cuttings.
Steps to Propagate Prayer Plant in Water
Follow these steps to propagate your prayer plant successfully in water:
1. Prepare Your Container: Fill the container with enough water to submerge the nodes (where leaves and stems meet) of the cuttings.
2. Take Cuttings: Using clean and sharp pruning shears or scissors, cut a healthy stem from the parent plant. Make sure the cutting is at least 4-6 inches long and has a few leaves. It’s crucial to cut just below a leaf node.
3. Remove Lower Leaves: Trim away the lower leaves on the cutting, leaving a node or two exposed. These nodes will develop roots.
4. Optional: Dip in Rooting Hormone: If you’re using rooting hormone, dip the cut end of the cutting into the hormone powder, following the product instructions.
5. Place Cuttings in Water: Carefully place the prepared cuttings in the container with water, ensuring that the nodes are submerged while the leaves remain above the water surface. You can use small stones or marbles to help keep the cuttings in place.
6. Provide Adequate Light and Temperature: Place the container with cuttings in a bright, indirect light location. Ensure the room temperature remains between 65-75°F (18-24°C) for optimal root development.
7. Change Water Regularly: Change the water every few days to prevent the growth of algae and maintain a healthy environment for root development.
8. Wait for Root Development: Rooting typically takes a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on various factors like temperature and the plant’s health. You will notice white roots emerging from the nodes.
9. Transplant into Soil: Once the cuttings have developed a sufficient root system (usually when the roots are about 2-3 inches long), transplant them into a well-draining potting mix suitable for prayer plants.
Where To Cut Prayer Plant For Propagation
When propagating a prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura), it’s essential to make the right cuts to ensure successful propagation. You should cut just below a node on a healthy stem. Nodes are the points on the stem where leaves and stems meet, and they are crucial for root development.
By cutting just below a node and ensuring it’s submerged in water, you provide the optimal conditions for root development. With proper care and patience, your prayer plant cutting should start developing roots over the course of a few weeks to a couple of months. Once the roots are sufficiently developed, you can transplant the cutting into soil to grow a new prayer plant.
Propagation can be a rewarding process, and with patience and care, you can successfully create new prayer plants from your existing one using one of these methods we have shared. Remember to provide the right environmental conditions, such as humidity and light, to support the growth of your propagated plants.