Prayer plant yellowing – House Plant Journal

Prayer plant yellowing

Plant: Prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura ‘lemon-lime’)

How long have you had the plant? 6 months to 1 year


Leaves started yellowing around a month ago:


Light Situation:

Only indirect light from a frosted glass door and skylight.

How do you determine WHEN to water? I water according to the soil dryness of the water meter, around once a week.

Describe HOW you water: I pour a small amount of water until the soil is wet.

Fertilizer: I have never used fertilizer.


Mixture looks like peat moss or coco coir with bark chips.

Darryl’s Analysis

There is sufficient light here for a prayer plant to grow well.

You’ve got the WHEN to water right but in terms of HOW, try giving the soil a thorough soaking, but allowing excess water to drain away. I don’t always drench the soil but maybe once a month, I will take my plant to the shower or sink to give the soil a through soaking. This should be fine as long as your soil is suitably well-draining (and it appears to be so).

With good light and adequate watering, you will need to use fertilizer to promote good growth. Use any high nitrogen fertilizer – I use the ratio 3-1-2 (more info).  This will not absolutely prevent any yellowing but the occurrence will be lessened with fertilizer usage.

Once a leaf begins yellowing, it will never become green again so if you feel it is unsightly, you can cut it off – but if you want to do what’s best for the plant, let it become fully yellow before cutting it off near the base.

You can cut off the spent leaves (browned or yellowed). They are not indicative of anything wrong since your light situation and care efforts are generally good. Remember that leaves have a limited lifespan – “proper care” doesn’t mean leaves will remain perfect forever.

My approach to houseplant care allows you to enjoy your plants to the fullest but with realistic expectations.

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