How to Grow and Care for Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) Indoors

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Calathea rufibarba, Furry Feather Calathea, Velvet Calathea

Botanical name: Calathea rufibarba
Synonym: Goeppertia rufibarba
Family: Marantaceae
Common name: Furry Feather Calathea, Velvet Calathea

Calathea rufibarba Description

Calathea rufibarba commonly called Furry Feather Calathea or Velvet Calathea bears red stems and deep blue-green, elongated leaves with a dark-purple underside.

The common names, 'Furry Feather Calathea' and 'Velvet Calathea', are in reference to the tiny hairs that cover the waxy leaves and stems which give the plant a soft, velvety feel to the touch.

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) may not be considered as an easy-care plant but if the growing conditions are met, the plant is a pleasant addition to any houseplant collection.

Calathea rufibarba Origin

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) is native to the tropical rainforests of Bahia state of northeastern Brazil.

Calathea rufibarba Related Plants

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) 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.

Calathea rufibarba for Sale

Buy beautiful and healthy Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) from Etsy.

Calathea rufibarba, Furry Feather Calathea

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) Care Indoors

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) grows best in bright, indirect light and moderately moist soil at all times. It requires a warm, humid environment inorder to thrive.

The best soil for growing Calathea rufibarba should be free-draining as it cannot tolerate soggy soil. Read on for more on the best growing conditions for Calathea rufibarba.

Calathea rufibarba Light Requirements

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.

If the lighting in your home is not adequate, use these grow bulbs to supplement it. Simply screw them into your regular lighting fixtures.

Too bright light will cause the leaf colour to fade. Keep the plant away from direct sunlight as it can lead to sunburn on the leaves.

For uniform growth of the plant, regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides. Read more on understanding light for houseplants.

Watering Calathea rufibarba

Water Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) liberally and keep the soil moderately 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.

Use tepid water that is free of chlorine and flourides as Calathea rufibarba like other Calathea is sensitive to chemicals dissolved in water. Dissolved chemicals will cause brown leaf tips and edges. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure 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 prevent fungal infestations like leaf spot diseases, avoid wetting the foliage of your Calathea rufibarba during watering or water from the bottom instead.


Temperature for Calathea rufibarba

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) prefers average warmth with a minimum of 150C and a maximum of 250C. At temperatures below this range, the plant stops growing while temperatures above this range may cause the plant to die.

Protect your Calathea rufibarba from draughts as they cause sudden changes in temperature which the plant cannot tolerate. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Calathea rufibarba

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) 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 your plant.

To raise humidity for your Calathea rufibarba, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

Calathea rufibarba can also be grown in the bathroom or other moist areas in the home where humidity is high. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Calathea rufibarba is ideal for growing in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium. Read more on how to make a closed terrarium for houseplants.

How to Clean Calathea rufibarba

Regularly, clean the leaves of your Calathea rufibarba by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to keep them clean and neat. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Calathea rufibarba Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 3-4 weeks through out the growing season.

Withhold feeding for your Calathea rufibarba during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

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.

Repotting Calathea rufibarba

Repot Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) every 2-3 years at the beginning of the growing season or when it becomes root-bound. Use a pot one size larger than the current one.

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.

Before repotting, water the Calathea rufibarba thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment. A well hydrated plant suffers less repotting shock and takes a shorter time to take root.

If the plant is large and has outgrown its current pot, divide it into several sections and use the splits to propagate new plants.

Repotting may cause the leaves to droop but the plant will eventually recover once it takes root; in about 3-4 weeks.

Soil for Calathea rufibarba

The best soil for Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) 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 your Calathea rufibarba online from Etsy.

Pruning Calathea rufibarba

Pruning Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) is easy. Remove dead and yellow foliage to maintain the plant neat and attractive. Cut the leaves with a sharp knife or scissors at the base, where the leaf meets the stalk.

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) Propagation

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) is propagated by plant division at the beginning of the growing season during repotting. We have outlined herebelow Calathea rufibarba propagation by plant division. Read on.

How to propagate Calathea rufibarba by plant division

Water the Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment. A well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.

Take out the Calathea rufibarba plant from 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 Calathea 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 Calathea rufibarba section.

Place the Calathea rufibarba 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 Calathea rufibarba plants.

Place the pots in a warm, well-lit place until new growth has emerged on the Calathea rufibarba sections.

Gradually remove the polythene over a period of two weeks to acclimatize the new Calathea rufibarba plants.

Maintain the soil moist until the new Calathea rufibarba plants are well established after which you can begin routine care.

Calathea rufibarba, Furry Feather Calathea

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) Problems Indoors

Calathea rufibarba problems indoors are caused by cultural faults in lighting, humidity, watering and temperature among others. Continue reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.

Calathea rufibarba drooping leaves

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) drooping leaves are due to three possible causes. One possible cause of drooping leaves in Calathea rufibarba is too dry air (low humidity).

Calathea rufibarba is very sensitive to low air humidity. Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity and maintain it at 50%-80% for optimum growth of the plant.

To raise humidity for Calathea rufibarba, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Calathea rufibarba can also be grown in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium. Read more on how to make a terrarium for houseplants.

The second possible cause of drooping leaves in Calathea rufibarba is incorrect watering; either overwatering (soggy soil) or underwatering.

Water your Calathea rufibarba liberally and maintain the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season. Reduce 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 rufibarba 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 your plant. Therefore, there is no water for the plant to take up to the leaves. The leaves loss their stiffness and they droop.

Check the bottom of the pot for roots growing through the drainage hole. Repot the plant into a pot one size larger than the current one or divide it into several sections to propagate new plants.

Calathea rufibarba dying

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) may die due to two possible reasons. One possible reason why your Calathea rufibarba is dying is root-rot which is brought about by soggy soil.

Take out the plant from 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 here.

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 your plant during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

The second possible reason why your Calathea rufibarba is dying is pest infestations. Calathea rufibarba like other Calatheas is prone to mealy bugs, aphids, scale insects and spider mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Calathea rufibarba leaves appear washed out

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) washed out leaves are due to exposure of the plant to hot direct sunlight. Calathea rufibarba grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunshine.

Move Calathea rufibarba to a more shaded spot or instal a light curtain to protect it from direct sunlight to prevent its eventual death.

Calathea rufibarba curled, yellowing leaves

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) 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 Calathea rufibarba thoroughly and keep the soil moderately moist during the growing season. Reduce 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. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Calathea rufibarba brown, dry leaf tips and edges

Brown, dry leaf tips and edges in Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) are due to four possible causes. One possible cause of brown, dry leaf tips and edges in Calathea rufibarba is dry air (too little humidity).

Calathea rufibarba requires a humid environment inorder to thrive. To raise humidity for your Calathea, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

Calathea rufibarba can also be grown in the bathroom or other moist areas in the home where humidity is high. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Calathea rufibarba is also ideal for a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium. Read more on how to make a closed terrarium for houseplants.

The second cause of brown, dry leaf tips and edges in Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) which is accompanied by stunted growth is infestation by spider mites due to the air being too dry (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 rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) is watering it with hard water. Water your Calathea rufibarba with chlorine-free water only like rain water.

Like other Calathea, Calathea rufibarba 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 rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) is accumulation of salts or chemicals in the soil. These chemicals may have originated from the water used for watering or from the fertilizers used.

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.

Calathea rufibarba pests

The common pests in Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) are mealy bugs, aphids, scale insects and spider mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Calathea rufibarba diseases

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) is prone to leaf spot disease due to 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.

Is Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) toxic?

Calathea rufibarba (Furry Feather Calathea) like other Calathea Plants is non-toxic to both humans and pets. It is safe to grow indoors.

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