Prayer Plant At Night: What Makes Them Unique? [EXPLAINED]

When you come across one, you would expect it to be unusual, but prayer plants only have one odd habit. The prayer plant gets its name because, at night, its leaves close and are raised in prayer. As you may anticipate from a horror film, some plants have small leaflets that quiver and wave while others eat insects and other animals whole.

The praying hands plant, also known as the obedience plant or praying hands, gets its name from the peculiar behavior of elevating its leaves to a vertical position at night, resembling the way young children join their hands in prayer. Just like when people pray, the leaves fold to look like hands.

The chant for prayer is different. It does not capture insects and is not touch-sensitive. When it gets dark, the prayer plant closes its leaves. Due to their very manageable requirements, these plants make good indoor plants.

two prayer plant

Prayer Plant At Night Vs. During The Day

Some of the most beautiful house plants are tropical prayer plants. The prayer plant is a favorite among houseplants thanks to its oval-shaped, exquisitely patterned foliage. Often too much, these plants are loved by indoor gardeners. Whether new to growing houseplants or an experienced gardener, a prayer plant is a great option.

They will flourish in the correct amount of light, moisture, and temperature. The prayer plant, scientifically known as Maranta leuconeura, is a perennial flowering plant species that is a member of the Marantaceae botanical family and is indigenous to tropical South America, the West Indies, Asia, and Africa.

This tropical plant’s broad, oval, variegated leaves are lovely and attractive, but what makes them truly unique is what lies beneath. While the plant’s leaves move continuously during the day, they coil up and migrate to a straight position at night. They can do so because a unique liquid enters specialized cells found at the base of each leaf.

Nobody is absolutely clear why they are doing it, however, based on the quantity of sunlight, these plants display nyctinastic patterns. Although experts cannot seem to agree, their conduct is assumed to be an evolved trait or a habit. Only a small portion of the total plant population, or species, display this tendency.

The plant wraps its leaves to prevent moisture loss throughout the night, which is the main suggested explanation. This term, “nyctinasty,” describes the nocturnal response that prayer plants exhibit. This naturally occurring indication alerts the plant whether it is day or night when the light changes.

The most enticing hypothesis is that the plant evolved to best capture water, even if no single cause has been definitively demonstrated. As a result, plant leaves will droop or extend out during the day to retain water or collect rain.

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By bending the leaves inward at night, this adaptive habit allows the plants to retain water so raindrops can be kept as they filter down to the plant rather than evaporating. Another idea contends that the ability of the plant to fold inward at nightfall is an adaptive characteristic that improves its capacity for effective survival.

Rapid growth in the summer months and bold, vibrant leaves are rewards of a healthy Prayer Plant. For a day, you should notice leaves changing angles and stems moving if the lighting is ideal.

Prayer Plant Not Closing At Night

There is no universally accepted theory explaining why Prayer Plants spread their leaves. It is challenging to explain why nyctinastic movement arose in some species of plants but not others since the variety of species that do so represents just a small portion of all plants.

Since Marantas unfold their leaves throughout the day and close them at nighttime, it stands to reason that they are modifying their movement to regulate how much light the leaves receive during the hottest parts of the day. According to one idea, the folding movement inhibits fungus from growing on the surface of the leaves by preventing moisture or rain from condensing on them when it is cool at night.

The leaves move into different positions in response to the stimulus of light and darkness. Lack of light will prevent a maranta from raising its leaves at night. It will maintain the leaves open and flat, precisely as they are during the daytime, to gather as much light as possible.

Prayer plants do best in filtered, ambient lighting, although they will suffer in a dark environment. The Marantaceae family members, including well-known indoor plants like Stromanthe and Calatheas, include Maranta leuconeura. Marantaceae can be referred to as prayer plants because they all exhibit some level of nyctinastic movement.

Even though only Maranta leuconeura bears the popular name “prayer plant,” Calathea species are frequently named so by mistake. All Prayer Plants can wake up during the night and snap back open during the day; thus, there is no definitive answer to the question as to whether or not they all close up at night.

A Maranta might move around a lot or very little, though, based on their development circumstances. Some people worry if their Prayer Plant does not shut down at night, but this is not always a sign that the plant is in bad shape. If you recently repotted your Maranta, it might be in shock, which will cause it to not close.

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This plant is reactive to abrupt alterations in its surroundings, such as being put in a bigger container. In the weeks following repotting, several owners of Prayer Plants discover that the plant stops moving or drastically lessens how much it moves. Give the plant some time to acclimate if everything else about it appears healthy.

parayer plant green

Prayer Plant Not Praying

When their prayer plant is not moving, most people become worried. They must be aware, nevertheless, that this does not imply that the plant is inevitably unhealthy. If this occurs, the first step would be to check their light exposure and water them well to encourage the production of the fluid required to elevate the leaves.

If the Prayer Plant does not budge, check the lighting first. Marantas move in response to darkness and light; therefore, if the light is constant, they might not move much. For instance, if you continue to place this plant underneath a grow lamp without changing its location or the intensity of sunlight it receives, it is likely to remain in place.

A thirsty Maranta might not move at all. It makes sense to assume that the plant will forgo moving the leaves if inadequate moisture is present, given that the mechanism involves certain cells soaking up with water. A prayer plant may occasionally refuse to pray for several reasons, many of which are related to the reasons they believe they should pray.

For instance, since the mechanism needs light to operate, the plant will not open if there is not enough. The fact that the leaves will not fold with insufficient humidity or water is why the fungus explanation is widely accepted.

It makes sense that the leaves would not fold in a condition where there was no longer a risk of fungal infections if the plant folded to lessen that risk. Of course, since the technique depends on water entering the specific cells, if the plant is sufficiently dry, this could hinder its capacity to pray.

Final Thoughts

You should consider adding prayer-plants to your home as decorative plants. They also provide a rare look into botanical puzzles that researchers are still trying to solve. The plants require more care than ordinary plants, but it is a cost-effective investment. Compared to some other houseplants, Prayer Plants require more care, but they reward the obedient owner with a jaw-dropping foliage display. Growing prayer plants may be a wonderful addition to your house if done properly.

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