Prayer plants are flowering plants from the Maranta genus of the family Marantaceae, native to tropical forests in South and Central America.
As for why they’re called ‘prayer plants,’ Mandi Gubler, a master gardener and founder of Happy Happy Houseplant, explains that “At night, their leaves fold in on each other and it looks like hands that are praying.”
It’s more of a descriptive name than a scientific term, and Gubler adds that Calatheas (which also belong to the family Marantaceae) move in a similar way and are often referred to as prayer plants, too. However, Maranta is what’s known as “the true prayer plant,” Gubler says.
Hailing from a tropical climate, Maranta prayer plants love warmth and humidity, but with the right care, they can thrive just about anywhere. With proper care, your Maranta can grow up to 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide.
You’ll have a good chance of finding one in a nursery near you but if you do have any trouble, try an online nursery or peek around Etsy.