Botanical name: Calathea leopardina
Synonym: Goeppertia concinna
Common name: Calathea Freddie
Calathea leopardina (Calathea Freddie) is an easy-care Calathea plant which bears long, light-green leaves with darker green zebra stripes and purple undersides.
The leaves grow almost horizontally and are held up by long stems which makes it easy for your to admire them as they grow.
Calathea Freddie grows in clumps to a height of about 2-3 ft. The plant is not grown for the flower but for the pretty foliage and is unlikely to flower under room conditions.
Calathea leopardina also called Goeppertia concinna is native to the tropical forests in southeast region of Brazil where it grows as an understory plant.
Calathea leopardina is closely related to the Marantas, Ctenanthe and Stromanthe which are collectively called Prayer Plants in reference to their curious characteristic of closing their leaves at night.
If you would like to add this beauty to your collection, Calathea Freddie is available online at Etsy. Buy Calathea Freddie (Goeppertia concinna) online from Etsy.
Calathea leopardina (Calathea Freddie) thrives in bright, indirect light, warm and humid conditions and consistently moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.
Calathea Freddie requires pruning to keep it neat and also reduce pest and disease infestations. Repotting is needed only when the plant becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on the best growing conditions and how to provide them.
Calathea leopardina grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight to avoid scorching of the leaves and loss of leaf color.
For even growth, regularly rotate the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides.
If the natural lighting is not sufficient, Calathea Freddie can be grown under a grow light to ensure it receives the right amount of light.
Water Calathea Freddie liberally and keep the soil consistently moist at all times during the growing season.
Reduce watering in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
It is advisable to water the Calathea leopardina with water that is at room temperature to avoid shocking the tropical plant.
The water should also be free of chlorine and flourides as like other Calathea, it is sensitive to chemicals dissolved in water which will cause brown leaf tips and edges.
Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of the plant.
To minimize fungal infestations like leaf spot diseases, avoid wetting the foliage during watering or water from the bottom instead.
Calathea Freddie prefers average warmth with a minimum of 150C and a maximum of 260C. At temperatures below this range, the plant stops growing while temperatures above this range may cause the plant to die.
Keep Calathea leopardina away from draughts as they cause sudden changes in temperature which the plant cannot tolerate and may cause it to die.
Calathea leopardina requires high humidity (50% to 80%) inorder to thrive. Low humidity causes the plant to develop brown leaf tips and edges. Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity for the optimum growth of the plant.
To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or grow the plant in the bathroom, laundry area and other moist areas in the home if there is adequate lighting. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
You can also grow the Calathea Freddie in a terrarium where high humidity can be maintained easily.
Keep the leaves clean by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Read more on how to clean houseplants.
Feed Calathea Freddie monthly during the growing season with a balanced, liquid fertilizer to promote a lush growth.
Stop feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn.
Regularly, flush out accumulated chemicals (salts) from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil. Allow the stream of water to run for some time and repeat the process several times.
Repot Calathea leopardina every 1 or 2 years at the beginning of the growing season or when it becomes root-bound. Take care not to injure its delicate roots.
Use a pot one size larger than the current one and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of the plant.
One day before repotting, water the plant thoroughly to hasten establishment as a well hydrated plant suffers less repotting shock.
A large plant that has outgrown its current pot, can be divided into several sections and the splits used to propagate new plants.
After repotting some of the leaves may droop but the plant will eventually recover in about 3-4 weeks once it takes root.
The best soil for Calathea leopardina should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients. Buy quality Calathea potting medium for Calathea Freddie online from Etsy.
Pruning Calathea leopardina is easy. Remove dead and yellow foliage to maintain the plant neat and also discourage pest and disease infestations. Cut the leaves with a sharp knife or scissors at the base, where the leaf meets the stalk.
Calathea leopardina (Calathea Freddie) is propagated by plant division at the beginning of the growing season during repotting. We have outlined herebelow the propagation by plant division. Read on.
Water the Calathea leopardina thoroughly at least one day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment as a well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.
Slip the plant out of its pot and divide it into several sections. Ensure each sections has adequate roots and at least 2-3 stems.
Select a 6 or 8 in. pot and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Fill the pot with well-drained potting medium and make a hole in the center of the pot. Ensure that the hole is slightly wider than the root base of the section.
Place the section in the previously made hole and lightly firm the soil around the base while taking care not to bury it too deep; maintain the section at the same soil level it was in the previous pot.
Liberally water the soil until water comes out through the drainage holes. Cover the pots with clear polythene to create a greenhouse effect and maintain warm humid conditions which hasten establishment of the plants.
Place the pots in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight until new growth has emerged on the sections.
Gradually remove the polythene over a period of two weeks to acclimatize the new plants.
Maintain the soil moist until the new Calathea Freddie are well established after which you can begin routine care.
Calathea leopardina (Calathea Freddie) growing problems include drooping leaves, yellow leaves, loss of leaf color, brown leaf tips, plant death, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.
Calathea leopardina drooping leaves are due to three possible causes. One possible cause is too dry air (low humidity) as the plant is very sensitive to low air humidity.
To elevate humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier or grow the plant in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained inside a terrarium.
The second possible cause of drooping leaves in Calathea leopardina is incorrect watering; either overwatering (soggy soil) or underwatering.
Water the Calathea Freddie liberally during the growing season and maintain the soil consistently. Decrease watering during the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Also, ensure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
The third possible cause of drooping leaves in Calathea leopardina is that the plant is root-bound.
This means that the roots have filled the pot and there is very little soil to hold water when you water the plant.
Therefore, there is no water for the plant to take up to the leaves and as such, the leaves loss their stiffness and they droop.
Check the bottom of the pot if roots are growing through the drainage hole. If so, repot the plant into a pot one size larger than the current one or divide it into several sections to propagate new plants.
Calathea leopardina is dying due to two possible reasons. One possible reason is root-rot which is brought about by soggy soil due to poor drainage of the soil.
Take the plant out of its pot and inspect the roots. Brown-black mushy roots indicate root-rot, trim them off and treat the healthy roots with a fungicidal solution.
Disinfect the pot or use a fresh pot to repot the plant in fresh free-draining soil.
Do not water the plant and keep it dry for some time before resuming watering. Read more on how to deal with root-rot in houseplants.
To prevent root-rot in the future, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
Also, do not overwater the plant during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.
The second possible reason why Calathea leopardina is dying is pest infestations as it is prone to scales, aphids, mealy buds and spidermites.
Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.
Calathea leopardina washed out leaves are due to exposure of the plant to hot direct sunlight as it grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunshine.
Position the Calathea Freddie in a more shaded place or instal a light curtain to shield it from direct sunlight to prevent its eventual death.
Calathea leopardina curled and yellowing leaves are caused by incorrect watering; either overwatering (soggy soil) or underwatering.
Overwatering (soggy soil) causes the roots to die due to lack of oxygen in the soil.
When the roots die they cannot take up water and therefore the leaves begin to curl, yellow and eventually die.
Underwatering implies that there is too little moisture in the soil and therefore, the plant has no water to take up to the leaves.
Thus, the leaves begin to curl, yellow and eventually die if the situation is not corrected.
Water the Calathea Freddie thoroughly and keep the soil consistently moist during the growing season.
Lessen watering in the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Also, ensure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy
Brown, dry leaf tips and edges in Calathea leopardina are due to four possible causes. One possible is dry air (too little humidity).
Calathea Freddie requires a humid environment inorder to thrive. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or grow the plant in the bathroom and other moist areas in the home. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
The second cause of brown, dry leaf tips and edges in Calathea leopardina which is accompanied by stunted growth is infestation by spider mites due to too dry air (low humidity).
Remove the dead growth and raise humidity for the plant (as outlined above) to discourage the pest infestations.
The third cause of brown, dry leaf tips and edges in Calathea leopardina is watering with hard water. Water the plant with chlorine-free water only like rain water.
Calathea Freddie Like other Calathea, is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water and it responds with brown leaf tips and edges.
The fourth cause of brown, dry leaf tips and edges in Calathea leopardina is accumulation of salts or chemicals in the soil which may have come from the water or fertilizers used.
Flush out accumulated chemicals (salts) from the soil regularly by running a stream of water through the soil. Allow the stream of water to run for some time and repeat the process several times.
Calathea leopardina is also prone to leaf spot disease which is promoted by the humid conditions in which it grows. The disease is indicated by brown patches surrounded by a yellow halo.
Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the disease. Read more on how to treat leaf spot disease in houseplants.
Calathea leopardina (Calathea Freddie) like other Calathea Plants is non-toxic to both humans and pets as outlined by ASPCA. It is safe to grow indoors.
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