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How tall does a tricolor prayer plant get?

The tricolor prayer plant, also known as Calathea triostar, is a popular houseplant admired for its colorful foliage. This plant is native to Brazil and has elongated oval-shaped leaves that are pale green with stripes of dark green, creamy yellow, and pink. As a relatively small plant, the tricolor prayer plant grows to an average height of 10-15 inches tall at maturity.

Typical Maximum Height

In ideal indoor conditions, the tricolor prayer plant generally reaches up to 12-15 inches in height when fully grown. This makes it well-suited for use as a tabletop or desktop plant. The leaves themselves are 4-8 inches long and about 2-3 inches wide. While the plant may occasionally grow taller than 15 inches, its petite size and horizontally spreading foliage keeps the overall look compact.

Growth Rate

The tricolor prayer plant is considered a relatively slow grower. You can expect it to grow about 6-8 inches per year. The actual growth rate can vary based on environmental factors like light, temperature, humidity, soil quality, and fertilization. In optimal conditions, this plant may grow up to 12 inches per year. But on average, a slow, steady growth of 6-8 inches annually is typical.

Age Average Height Range
1 year 6-12 inches
2 years 12-18 inches
3 years 18-24 inches

This table gives a rough estimate of the average size you can expect a tricolor prayer plant to reach at different ages when cared for properly.

Maximum Height in Ideal Conditions

Given perfect growing conditions, the tricolor prayer plant may reach up to 18-24 inches tall at maximum size. Ideal conditions include:

  • Bright, indirect light
  • Consistent warmth between 65-80°F
  • High humidity levels around 60-80%
  • Moist, well-draining soil
  • Regular fertilization in the growing season

With optimizing factors like exposure to sufficient bright light, ample moisture and humidity, regular feeding, and proper temperatures, an exceptionally well-cared for tricolor prayer plant may achieve its peak potential height of up to 2 feet tall. But this would be considered unusually tall and require perfectly dialed-in conditions.

Maximum Height Outdoors

Although it’s typically grown as a houseplant, the tricolor prayer plant can be moved outdoors during warm weather. When planted outside in a suitable climate, it may reach larger sizes around 18-36 inches tall. Key factors for maximum outdoor growth include:

  • Planting in Zones 10-12
  • Partial sun to medium shade
  • Rich, moist soil
  • Frequent fertilization
  • Average temps of 60-90°F
  • High humidity and moisture

Outdoors, the tricolor prayer plant can thrive and grow to its tallest heights in tropical environments that mimic its native habitat in Brazil. It does best in partly shaded, protected areas outdoors.

Factors Affecting Maximum Height

Several key factors influence how tall tricolor prayer plants can grow:


Getting sufficient bright, indirect sunlight is vital for the tricolor prayer plant to reach its full size potential. Too little light results in a stunted, leggy plant. But too much direct sun scorches the delicate foliage.

Temperature & Humidity

Warm temperatures between 65-80°F and high humidity around 60-80% humidity supports lush, healthy growth. Cooler temperatures or excessively dry air limit growth.


Well-draining, nutrient-rich potting mix provides essential moisture and nutrition for the plant to thrive. Heavy, compacted soil or nutrient deficiencies restricts growth.


Consistent moisture is important, but soggy soil can cause root rot. Allow soil to partially dry out between waterings. Drought stress inhibits growth.


Using a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2-4 weeks during the growing season fuels strong, healthy growth and maximum size potential.

Pruning & Damage

Removing dead leaves and trimming off brown tips promotes plant health. But over-pruning or leaf damage due to improper care stunts growth.

Typical Height at Maturity

Under average home conditions, the tricolor prayer plant reaches a height of 10-15 inches when full grown at maturity. This compact size makes it suitable as a houseplant in most homes and indoor spaces.

Achieving the maximum size potential requires providing near-perfect conditions consistently over time. But with typical indoor care, these plants commonly grow to their mature size of about 1 foot tall within 2-3 years of being planted.

Height Control & Pruning

To control the height of a tricolor prayer plant and maintain a compact size, pruning can be done:

Pruning Method Description
Removing leggy growth Pinch or cut off lanky stems sticking up too far above the main plant.
Trimming stems Cut back extra-long stems by a few inches to shape plant.
Thinning interior stems Selectively remove congested stems from the base to open up interior.

Remove yellow, dying leaves as needed. Any major pruning is best done in spring. Avoid over-pruning, which can stress the plant. For best results, propagate pruned cuttings to create fuller, bushier plants.

Signs of Insufficient Height

Some signs that indicate a tricolor prayer plant is not reaching its proper height include:

  • Sparse, stunted foliage
  • Excessively small leaves
  • Long gaps between leaves
  • Lanky, leggy growth
  • Leaves drooping or wilting
  • Few new leaves
  • Brown leaf tips and edges
  • Poor flowering

These issues signify the plant is struggling with one or more suboptimal growing conditions, limiting its growth. Addressing factors like lighting, temperature, soil quality, or humidity can help get growth back on track.

How to Maximize Growth

Use these tips to encourage lush, vigorous growth and help your tricolor prayer plant reach its maximum height potential:

  • House in bright, indirect light such as an east or west window.
  • Keep temperatures consistently 65-80°F.
  • Mist leaves frequently and use a pebble tray to increase humidity.
  • Water thoroughly when top inch of soil is dry.
  • Feed every 2-4 weeks during spring through fall with a balanced fertilizer.
  • Re-pot annually in spring to provide fresh soil and room for growth.
  • Prune lightly to remove dead leaves and shape, allowing new growth.

Addressing all the key care needs of light, water, humidity, temperature, soil, and nutrients will enable your tricolor prayer plant to thrive and reach its peak size!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my tricolor prayer plant not growing vertically?

Insufficient light is the most common cause of a tricolor prayer plant not growing vertically and becoming leggy or stunted. These plants need bright, filtered light to grow upright. Low light causes weak, lanky growth as the plant reaches for light.

What is the maximum size of a tricolor prayer plant?

Typically 12-15 inches tall indoors, tricolor prayer plants can potentially reach 18-24 inches in height when provided ideal care and grown outdoors in tropical climates.

Should I prune my tricolor prayer plant?

Light pruning to remove dead leaves, shape the plant, and encourage bushier growth can be beneficial. But avoid over-pruning, which can stress the plant. Time pruning for early spring.

How can I revive a small, struggling tricolor prayer plant?

Boost light exposure, humidity, fertilization, and soil moisture to support new growth. Trim off dead parts and re-pot into fresh soil annually. Remove any rotted roots and cut back extra-long stems.

What causes a tricolor prayer plant to stop growing taller?

Lack of light, low temperatures, dry air, underwatering, compacted soil, or lack of fertilizer can all prevent further vertical growth. Addressing these issues encourages new growth.


With its brightly colored striped leaves, the tricolor prayer plant is prized for its compact size of just 10-15 inches tall at maturity. While 18-24 inches is possible with ideal care, most specimens reach their peak height at 1-1.5 feet indoors. Providing the right balance of light, water, humidity, temperature, soil, and fertilizer will allow this plant to achieve its maximum potential size. Limiting factors like low light, drought stress, or cold air will restrict growth. With proper care, this tropical plant can bring lush beauty to tabletops and shelves for years to come.