Calathea plants are popular houseplants that are relatively easy to care for and are known for their attractive patterns. It is a great choice for households with pets and children because it is a non-toxic variety, and its unique ability to move leaves also sets it apart from others.
Calathea plants are native to the tropical Americas and are also referred to as prayer plants due to their special ability to move throughout the day. This feature is called unique nyctinasty Calathea can lower its leaves during the day to receive more light and pull them up at night.
They are grown outside in tropical climates, but are commonly houseplants elsewhere because they cannot tolerate cold. Because of the bold veins and lines on Calathea plants, they have also been called peacock plants, zebra plants, or rattlesnake plants.
Related: Learn how to care for Pilea plants, monstera plants, fig leaves, golden pothos, snake plants, rubber trees, spider plants, and string of pearls plants.
Popular species of Calathea plants
- Calathea maquiana: Often referred to as the peacock plant, this cultivar features dark green leaves with shades of cream, purple and pink with red stems.
- Calathea louisii: These have dark green leaves with wavy edges and light green spots down the middle of the vein.
- Calathea lancefolia: Also known as the rattlesnake plant, this variety has thin green leaves with dark green spots and a purple underside.
- Calathea White Fusion: This beautiful plant is the queen of the Calathea group and has varied shades of green, white and even lilac in its leaves.
- Calathea ornata bar pin: This plant features dark green glossy leaves with pink stripes.
How often should I water Calathea plants?
Calathea plants like lots of water but don’t like to sit in soggy soil. You’ll need the top 1-2 inches of soil to dry before watering again, so stick your finger into the soil every now and then to see if you can still feel moisture. You can also use Pot with drainage holes To remove excess water.
Calathea plants are sensitive to chlorine and fluoride in tap water, so it’s best to use filtered, distilled, or rainwater if possible. If you only have tap water, you can leave the tap water out overnight in your watering can to help the chlorine dissipate before watering.
Humidity and temperature for Calathea plants
Since Calatheas come from a more humid environment, they thrive at a humidity level of at least 50%. You can add more humidity to your home with a humidifier or you can put some pebbles and water in a tray and then place the tray on top (make sure the water level is below the top of the pebbles). The pot will be placed on top of the stones and the water in the tray will evaporate and create moisture around the plant.
Bathrooms are a great place for Calatheas (as long as they have the right lighting) since they are a more humid environment.
70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for calathea plants and they will not do well if the temperature drops below 60 degrees.
How much sunlight do Calathea plants need?
Calatheas like to be in medium to bright indirect light. It can handle low-light situations well, but its color and pattern may not be as vivid as it is with more light. As a general rule, the darker the leaf color in your Calathea variety, the less light requirements it will need to thrive.
You will need to stay away from direct light on your Calathea as this can damage the leaves and fade their color.
What is the best soil for Calathea plants?
You will want a Such as a well-drained soil mix This is to prevent your plant from getting waterlogged.
Should I fertilize my calathea plant?
It is a good idea to fertilize your calathea once a month to encourage growth. You can use a Liquid fertilizers At half strength during the warmer growing season months and skip fertilizing in the winter when growth is much slower.
Pruning Calathea plants
You won’t need to do much pruning on your Calathea plant! Just use sharp scissors Or pruning shears To remove dead leaves or stems as they appear to keep your plant looking tidy.
Diagnose common problems
- Tips for brown leaves: Tap water can cause leaf tips to turn brown. If you are watering with tap water, remove chlorine from the tap water by leaving it overnight in the watering can before watering.
- Yellowing of leaves: It could be a sign of overwatering. Try to let the soil dry out more between waterings and make sure the top of the soil is dry before watering again.
- Curly leaves or drooping stems: This is likely a sign that the plant is underwater, give your plant a good drink and see if it comes back up again.
- Pests: If you see mealybugs, fungi or spider mites, spray weekly Neem oil Wipe the plant with water.
- Leaf spots: It could be a buildup of minerals from tap water; Try using distilled, filtered, or rainwater in your water instead.
Propagating Calathea plants
The only way you can propagate a calathea plant is to divide a mature plant into smaller plants. You can remove the plant from its pot and gently separate the roots into as many plants as you like. Replant the new plants into separate pots and water them, and they will eventually begin to spread themselves and fill in more over time.
Frequently asked questions
Are Calathea plants toxic to pets or children?
Calatheas are a great choice for household pets or children because they are a non-toxic plant.
Should I cut off the brown parts of my calathea plants?
Any crunchy brown areas on your calathea plant will not grow green again, so if you have leaves with a lot of browning, use sharp secateurs or secateurs to cut the entire leaf off the stem.