Types Of Prayer Plant: Growing Different Prayer Plant Varieties
The following are some types of prayer plants: Black, Lemon Lime, Red, White and Green. These are all different varieties of the same species (Prunus cerasifera).
They differ from each other in their color and shape. Some have long stems while others are short or round like a pencil. All of them grow well in most conditions.
Black Prayer Plant
The black prayer plant is one of the best known types of prayer plants. Its name comes from its dark brown color and its habit of growing along roadsides or in ditches.
It grows up to 2 feet tall with a 4 inch stem. It has a smooth surface and no hairs. Leaves are opposite to those of the white prayer plant and they are flat instead of rounded like those of the lemon lime prayer plant.
Lemon Lime Prayer Plant
The lemon lime prayer plant is another popular type of prayer plant. It has a light yellowish-green color and it grows in moist soil.
Leaves are alternate and pointed at the top rather than curved like those of the black prayer plant. The leaves are slightly smaller than those of the black prayer plant. Lemon lime plants need full sun but prefer partial shade when possible. They are hardy plants.
Red Prayer Plant
The red prayer plant is a beautiful addition to any garden. Most people grow it for its striking red color.
It has a short stem and grows between ground level and waist high. Its leaves are opposite and oval shaped rather than round like the green prayer plant’s leaves. It is native to parts of the United States, including Texas and California, but can be grown in most places. It prefers full sun to partial shade. It needs well-drained soil and regular watering. It can grow up to 3 feet in height.
White Prayer Plant
The white prayer plant is a good choice for gardeners who want a tall beautiful plant that requires little maintenance. The leaves are large, heart shaped and white with a bluish tinge.
The stems are smooth and hairless. They grow up to 7 feet tall but are often shorter. They need full sun and well-drained soil.
Green Prayer Plant
The green prayer plant is a popular choice among gardeners. It can grow anywhere from 2 to 5 feet tall, depending on growing conditions.
Its leaves are the broadest of all the types of prayer plants, ranging from 1½ to 6 inches wide. It has short stems with few leaves. It requires full sun and regular watering.
Green, White and Red Prayer Plants
Green, white and red prayer plants are a mixture of all three types of prayer plants. They grow to about 3 feet in height.
Green, white and red prayer plants can grow in most soil conditions. They prefer full sun but can adapt to partial shade.
These are some of the many types of plants that fall into the Prunus genus. They all need well-drained soil and regular watering.
They also need full sun to partial shade. Most of them are hardy and can grow anywhere in the world.
Caring For Prayer Plants
Soil: They like well-drained soil. You can buy a packaged soil mix or make your own.
Any type of soil mix for acid-loving plants will do.
Light: Most types of prayer plants need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. You can give them as little as 4 hours and they will still survive, but they will have less vibrant color.
Water: Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Water whenever the top inch of soil becomes dry.
Water early in the day so that the plants have all day to dry out. This reduces the chance of fungal growth and also reduces the chance of the leaves turning brown or yellow from drowning.
Pruning: New growth emerges from the center of the plant. Prune the plant back to this point to make it bushier.
You can also prune back to larger green stems, but make sure there are several buds on that stem so that it will grow back thicker.
Fertilizing: Fertilize 3 times a year, once in the early spring, once in the summer and once in the late fall. Use a slow-release fertilizer.
Protecting: Prayer plants do not require any special protection. They can tolerate light frost.
If you think a late frost is coming, you can cover them with a blanket or move them somewhere warmer.
Propagation: Most prayer plants produce seed pods similar to the redbuds and cottonwoods. The seeds germinate easily but can take several years to grow into a sizable tree.
Most gardeners buy new plants instead of growing from seed.
Pests and Problems: Aphids, caterpillars, leaf miners, nematodes, phylloxera and scale. Aphids are small, soft-bodied, green, red, black, gray or yellow insects that suck the sap from plants.
Watch for them near the bottom of the leaves and stems. You can pick them off by hand or spray with an insecticide/horticultural oil mixture.
Caterpillars look like worms and are usually identified by the leaves they eat. Pick them off by hand or spray with an insecticide/horticultural oil mixture.
Leaf miners are tiny insects that look like ants crawling under the leaves. You must use a magnifying glass to see the insects themselves.
They damage the plant by feeding on it without being seen.
Nematodes are microscopic worms that damage plants by feeding on the roots. You cannot see them with the naked eye.
Once you think you have a nematode problem, you can take several steps. One is to rotate your crops. Another is to add lots of organic matter to the soil and plant peas, sweet potatoes or tomatoes, which are nematode-resistant.
Phylloxera are small insects that look like aphids but are not the same. They were accidentally imported into America from Europe and have destroyed most of the native American vine species.
There are resistant American grapes that can be planted, but most gardeners opt for vinifera grapes instead.
Scale are small insects with armored shells. You can’t see them with the naked eye, but you can see their destructive brown shells.
They weaken a plant by sucking its juices. You must use a magnifying glass to see the shells and their inhabitants.
Insecticides: Pick off by hand or use an insecticidal soap.
Diseases: Anthracnose, black knot, powdery mildew and downy mildew. Anthracnose causes brown spots on fruit.
Black knot causes swellings on branches from which black knots extend. Powdery mildew causes a white, powdery film to cover the leaves. Downy mildew causes a grayish-white fluffy growth.
Pruning: Prune dead and diseased wood. Cut back to live wood.
Spraying: Use a fungicide at first sign of disease.
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Bamboo: Bamboo species fall into one of two categories: Clumping or Running. Clumping species grow larger than Running species, but do not spread as far.
They are often used as screens and privacy fences. Running species spread rapidly and can only be used for barriers in large open fields where they cannot get a strong toehold. They are also known as Running Bamboo for this reason. In either case, the root system is not as hardy or extensive as regular Bamboo.
Bamboo: This tall grass resembles pampas grass but has a hollow center. The shoots are commonly used in cooking.
It can spread aggressively and needs to be watched. It likes well-drained, sandy loam soil.
‘Catania’ (clumping): This species grows 8-12 feet high with a spread of 6-10 feet. It spreads slowly by its rhizomes.
It prefers full sun and moist soil but can tolerate partial shade. It has a yellow-green color and grows year-round.
‘Sedgwick’ (running): This species grows 6-12 feet high with a spread of 20 feet. It spreads aggressively by its rhizomes and seed.
It prefers full sun and moist soil but can tolerate some shade. It has a green-yellow color and grows year-round.
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The easiest way is to plant an annual crop. Annuals grow fast, produce seed and die.
Then you sow the area with a cover crop or put in a perennial. Any area where perennials grow can be considered a perennial area (regardless of whether it’s actually in the ground or not).
Annuals: Plant these from seed every year. Plant them as soon as you get them.
You can get them as seeds or as starts (young plants).
Biennials: Plant these the first year and dig them up the next. Their seeds won’t sprout until their second year.
Perennials: Plant these once and then enjoy their bounty for a long time. They come in two forms: hardy and tropical.
Each have their benefits and drawbacks.
Hardy Perennials: These plants survive the winter. There are two ways to grow them: from seed or from division.
To grow them from seed, you must wait until the season ends to sow them. They will bloom the following year. You can also divide an established clump (or take a cutting) to create a new one. This takes a little more effort but can give you a head start on growing them. Perennials grow best in a site that they have enjoyed in previous years. If you are moving an established clump, dig it up in the fall and re-plant it in the new area. It will take one growing season for it to adapt to its new position.
Tropical Perennials: These plants cannot survive the winter. They grow and flower all year long.
They can be transplanted just like hardy perennials.
If you live in a short (or mild) climate, such as southern California, you can grow annuals, biennials and perennials. If you live in a long (or cold) climate, such as northern California, you can only grow hardy perennials.
In between, such as the San Francisco Bay area, you can grow any type of plant.
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1. Division: The simplest way to increase is to divide an established clump.
Take a spade and dig up the entire clump. It helps to do this on a day with no wind or rain expected.
Disturb the roots as little as possible when removing them from the ground. If you can, try to separate the clump into pieces that each have one “leader” (main stem) and several roots.
Bamboo divided into sections
2. Cuttings: Another way to increase is by taking cuttings (small shoots) in the spring or early summer.
Plant them by making a slight notch in the soil with a trowel and pressing the cutting into the soil. Cover it with soil and water it.
It’s important that you keep the soil slightly moist but not soggy or dry. After a few weeks, you should see some growth.
3. Seeds: Another way to increase is by collecting seeds in late summer/early autumn and sowing them in the spring.
They need to be planted about a half inch deep. Keep the soil moist but not wet.
They will sprout in a few weeks, sometimes longer.
4. Nursery: Some perennials don’t come from seeds or cuttings but are instead grown in nurseries and then sold to you.
These usually come with instructions but if they don’t, here are a few tips:
Soil: Most perennials like a soil that is rich in organic matter. You can either buy bags of manure and other organic materials or, an easier task, simply add lots of organic material (pine needles, leaves, grass clippings) to your soil.
Plant: A perennial usually comes to you as a bare root plant (no soil on the roots). Most will do just fine without soil covering them but some really like it.
It’s up to you whether or not to cover the roots. If you do, make sure it isn’t so much that it will cause rot. Also, make sure the material you use to cover it holds moisture but doesn’t stay soggy and wet. A good choice is a clay based potting soil.
If you live in a colder climate, wait until late winter or early spring (after the threat of a killing frost has passed) to plant your perennials. The ground should be workable (firm and not frozen) but you don’t need to wait until the soil is completely thawed out.
Watering: Most perennials have their roots fairly close to the surface, making them susceptible to drying out. Water them regularly for the first year or two.
Once they are a little older, the roots go deeper and they are more established. Even then you might want to give them a good soaking once a week.
Cutting Back: Many perennials need to be “cut back” (have most of the stems and leaves removed) either in the late fall or very early spring (before growth starts). This encourages new growth and makes the plant look better and stronger.
Deadheading: This means removing spent flowers or buds to keep the plant looking neat and to encourage more flowering.
Sources & references used in this article:
Dysploidy and polyploidy trigger strong variation of chromosome numbers in the prayer-plant family (Marantaceae) by G Winterfeld, A Ley, MH Hoffmann, J Paule… – Plant Systematics and …, 2020 – Springer
Machine vision detection parameters for plant species identification by GE Meyer, TW Hindman… – Precision agriculture and …, 1999 – spiedigitallibrary.org
Interior Plants: Selection and Care by E Davison – 1998 – repository.arizona.edu
Prayer. by ME McCullough, DB Larson – 1999 – psycnet.apa.org
The geographic origin of the plants most commonly used for medicine by Hawaiians by IA Abbott, C Shimazu – Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 1985 – Elsevier
The cotton of the Hopi Indians: a new species of Gossypium, with five plates by FL Lewton – Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, 1912 – repository.si.edu