The slow-growing red prayer plant has oval leaves from 4 to 8 inches long and 3 1/2 inches wide. It grows from 1/2 to 2 feet tall and from 2 to 4 feet wide. The plant grows in clumps outdoors, spreading by underground stems called rhizomes. A prayer plant folds its leaves at night as though in prayer, leading to its common name. The leaves are predominantly green with grayish-green to purplish-green bottoms, but variegated cultivars may have blotches, shading and lines. It yields small, inconspicuous white flowers if you grow it outside.
If you grow red prayer plants outdoors, space them from 2 to 3 feet apart. If you grow them indoors, place the pots in a pot on a tray of wet pebbles to increase humidity or grow them in a humidified room. They have shallow roots, so grow them in shallow pots in a mix of 1 part loam, 1 part sand or perlite and 2 parts peat moss. Trim the plants twice a year to keep them growing vigorously. Do not repot unless a plant has outgrown its container.
Grow red prayer plants in bright indoor light. Avoid putting them in direct sun. Too much sun will fade the leaf colors. Keep the soil consistently moist when the plants are growing actively in spring and summer but reduce water from fall through late winter.
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