We have this prayer plant in a large pot and it was doing well for a couple months. Then leaves started to go brown. Bit by bit, most of them are dying. We water 1-2 times a week, although we also paused watering for a while thinking that could be the problem. Any ideas?

leaves go brown close-up dead leaves

  • Can you stick you finger into the mix to see if it's wet or dry? Commented Feb 3, 2018 at 21:42
  • It's pretty moist, even though we didn't water that recently. I guess drainage is one of the issues...
    – user20735
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 8:22
  • Number one reason for killing pot plants is over watering. Remove from pot and remove rotted roots. Allow the drainage hole to drain. Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 9:31

1 Answer 1


There is something seriously wrong...I don't think it is watering necessarily. Did you transplant this plant? Did you use sterilized potting soil? Is there a hole at the bottom of that pot? Did you put rock or gravel below the soil?

Need to know what you've been using for fertilizer as well as soil. There are indications of high salts usually from tap water.

If you've used soil from the garden that all by itself would contribute to irregular water access by the roots of your plant.

I would most certainly use those shears and cut off clean out all of the dead material. If you've used garden soil, I would transplant into bagged potting soil, NO gravel below the soil.

Make sure that pot has a drainage hole. Lift bottom of pot off surface using 1/4 inch pieces of tile. Only water when your plant and pot feel light to lift. Never go onto some 'schedule'...once per week might be perfect, once per month might work as well. Only water when that plant and pot feel light to lift. It is a very obvious difference.

I would also try to find distilled water or a friend's well water to water your plant (s).

After you get rid of the dead material please take another picture to send. Tell us everything you've added you've done for this plant. Nothing is too small. My gut feeling is that you watered too much and by reducing the water you've save a chunk of your plant. You need to pull it out of the pot, look at the root condition. Brown? Slimy? Starting to curl around the inside of the pot?

Tell us the soil you've used, how long ago did you transplant or up pot this plant, what fertilizer you've used, how much, what type of water you use, does this pot have a drain hole, did you put rock below the soil and most importantly did you use sterilized potting soil.

  • 1
    Thanks! Here's the thing... we didn't do anything to it! We bought it from a nursery, and left it in the exact same pot it came in. We didn't add any soil, fertilizers, etc. We only watered it. The pot does have a hole to drain the water. I guess a good way forward is to take it all out of the pot to inspect roots and take it from there...
    – user20735
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 8:24
  • And cut off all dead leaves, stems, roots. Make sure that ONLY potting soil is in your pot that you plant what is left of your prayer plant. You have to add a little fertilizer or plants will simply die. I recommend Osmocote 14-14-14. Half the amount of applications per year. Lift the bottom of the pot off the surface it sits on using 1/4" tiles to improve drainage. Use only sterilized potting soil. Feel the heft of that pot and plant after watering. When it is decidedly lighter, then water again. I would use distilled water, not tap water.
    – stormy
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 6:48

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