Why Do Prayer Plants Move? Complete Guide

Why Do Prayer Plants Move? Complete Guide

Why Do Prayer Plants Move? Prayer plants (Maranta leuconeura)  are one of the most exciting and captivating houseplants that you can grow. These beautiful plants are native to the rainforests of Brazil, where they grow under the canopy of taller trees. Prayer plants get their name from folding their leaves upwards at night as if they are praying. 

One of the most intriguing things about prayer-plants is how their leaves move. During the day, the leaves are spread outwards, absorbing sunlight. At night, they fold inwards and droop downwards.  It is this movement that makes prayer-plants so fascinating to grow.

Why Do Prayer Plants Move?
Why Do Prayer Plants Move?

Why do Prayer Plants Move?

There are several reasons why prayer-plants move their leaves. 

The most likely reason is that it helps the plant to conserve water. By folding its leaves in at night, the plant reduces the surface area exposed to the air. This prevents the plant from losing too much water through evaporation. 

Prayer plants are also known to be sensitive to light. The leaves will open up wider when they are exposed to more light, and they will close up when the light levels are low. It is thought that the leaf movements help the plant to regulate its temperature. By opening up its leaves, the plant can cool down when it is too hot, and by closing them up, the plant can stay warm when it is cold. 

It is also thought that prayer-plants fold their leaves inwards at night to protect themselves from the cold. In the rainforest, temperatures can drop significantly at night. By folding their leaves inwards, prayer-plants reduce their surface area exposed to the cold air. This helps them to conserve heat and stay warm during the night. 

Why Do Prayer Plants Move?
Why Do Prayer Plants Move?

Prayer plants are not the only plants that move their leaves in this way. Many other plants, including ferns, also have leaves that fold inwards when touching them. However, prayer-plants are among the most well-known examples of this type of plant.

Prayer plants are relatively easy to care for, making them excellent for beginner gardeners. They prefer humid conditions and need to be watered regularly. The soil should be allowed to dry out between waterings. Prayer plants can be propagated from stem cuttings, and they will usually flower in the springtime.

Why are They Called Prayer Plants?

Prayer plants get their name from folding their leaves together upwards at night as if they are praying. It is thought that the plant gets its name from the way the leaves move, as they seem to be praying. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. 

Prayer plants have been grown in Europe since the early 1800s, and they have been popular houseplants ever since. In their natural habitat, prayer-plants can grow to be 12inches tall. However, when grown as houseplants, they are usually much smaller. 

Prayer plants are part of the Marantaceae family, which includes about 40 different species of plants. The most common type of prayer plant is Maranta leuconeura, also known as the herringbone plant, red prayer plant, or rabbit’s foot prayer plant. This plant is easily recognized by its green and white leaves with a herringbone pattern. 

Why Do Prayer Plants Move?
Why Do Prayer Plants Move?

Can Prayer Plants Live Outside?

Prayer plants can be grown outside, but they are not frost-tolerant and should be brought indoors when the temperature drops. They prefer warm temperatures and high humidity, so they are not well suited for most climates in the United States. If you live in an area with a tropical or subtropical climate, you can grow prayer plants outdoors.

If you decide to grow your prayer plant outdoors, choose a spot that receives filtered sunlight. Too much sun will cause the leaves to fade and scorch them. The shady spot beneath a tree would be the perfect location for your prayer plant. 

Prayer plants are not difficult to care for, but they have specific watering needs. The soil should be kept moist at all times but not soggy. Allow the top of the soil to dry out before watering your plant again. Prayer plants like to live in humid environments, so consider misting your plant with water a few times a week. You can also place your plant on a pebble tray filled with water to increase the humidity around it. 

Fertilize your prayer plant every two weeks during the spring and summer months with a half-strength solution of an all-purpose fertilizer. Prayer plants do not need to be fertilized during the fall and winter months.

Why Do Prayer Plants Move?
Why Do Prayer Plants Move?

Are Prayer Plants Toxic?

Prayer plants are not considered to be toxic to humans or animals. However, they can cause stomach upset if ingested in large quantities. If you have pets or small children, you may want to keep your prayer plant out of reach to be safe.

The best thing about prayer plants is that they purify the air around them. They are on NASA’s list of air-purifying plants, and they are known to remove harmful chemicals from the air, such as formaldehyde and benzene.  This is why prayer plants make such great houseplants. They are beautiful, but they also help clean the air in your home.


Are Calatheas Prayer Plants?

Calatheas are often confused with prayer-plants, but they are two different types of plants. Calatheas are sometimes prayer plants, but they are not the same family as actual prayer plants. Calatheas are native to tropical regions of South America, while prayer-plants are native to Brazil. Calatheas have broad, oval-shaped leaves, while prayer plants have thin, pointy leaves. 

Calatheas also prefer lower levels of light and humidity than prayer-plants. Too much light or moisture can cause Calatheas to lose their distinctive patterns. If you are looking for a plant that is easy to care for and does not require much attention, a Calatheas would be better than a prayer plant. 



Prayer plants are beautiful, low-maintenance houseplants that purify the air and require little care. Prayer plants are amazing little creatures that have evolved to survive in their natural habitats. By understanding how and why they move, we can appreciate them even more. 

 If you’re looking for a plant that will add some life and purify the air in your home, consider a prayer plant. Just don’t be surprised if it starts moving around on its own!

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