How to Grow and Care for Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) Indoors

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Calathea vittata

Botanical name: Calathea vittata
Synonym: Goeppertia elliptica
Family: Marantaceae
Common name: Elliptica

Calathea vittata Description

Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) is a stunning plant which bears elliptical, bright-green leaves with distinctive white stripes and burgundy-purple undersides.

It is one of the outstanding Calathea plants that has become a popular houseplants as it will truly stand out in any houseplant collection.

Calathea vittata Size and Flower

Calathea vittata grows to a height of about 1-1.5 ft and about 1 ft wide. The plant is not grown for the flower and is unlikely to flower under room conditions.

Calathea vittata Origin

Calathea vittata is native to the tropical forests in Brazil and South America where it grows as an understory plant.

Calathea vittata Related Plants

Calathea vittata 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 vittata for Sale

Buy beautiful and healthy Calathea vittata from Etsy.

Calathea vittata, Calathea vittata

Photo Credit: Flower Power

Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) Care Indoors

Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) grows best in medium to bright, indirect light and consistently moist soil at all times. It requires a warm, humid environment inorder to thrive.

The best soil for Calathea vittata should be free-draining and rich in organic matter. Read on for more on the best growing conditions for Calathea vittata.

Calathea vittata Light Requirements

Calathea vittata grows best in medium to bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight. If the lighting in your home is not adequate, you can use these grow bulbs to supplement it. They are easy to use as you simply need to screw them into your regular lighting fixtures.

Avoid too bright light as it will cause the leaf colour to fade. Also, keep the plant away from direct sunlight as it can cause sunburn on the beautiful leaves.

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

Watering Calathea vittata

Water Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) 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.

Water the plant with water that is at room temperature to avoid plant shock. The water should also be free of chlorine and flourides as Calathea vittata 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 for your Calathea vittata 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 reduce fungal infestations like leaf spot diseases, avoid wetting the foliage of your Calathea vittata during watering or water from the bottom instead.


Temperature for Calathea vittata

Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) prefers average warmth with a minimum of 150C and a maximum of 280C. At temperatures below this range, the plant stops growing while temperatures above this range may cause the plant to die.

Protect your Calathea vittata from draughts as they cause sudden changes in temperature which the plant cannot tolerate and may cause it to die. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Calathea vittata

Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) 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 vittata, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

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

Calathea vittata can also be grown 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 vittata

Keep the leaves of your Calathea vittata clean by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Calathea vittata Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks through out the growing season.

Withhold feeding for Calathea vittata 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 vittata

Repot Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) every 2-3 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.

Before repotting, water the Calathea vittata thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier 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 vittata

The best soil for Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) 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 vittata online from Etsy.

Pruning Calathea vittata

Pruning Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) 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 vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) Propagation

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

How to propagate Calathea vittata by plant division

Water the Calathea vittata 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 vittata 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 vittata section.

Place the Calathea vittata 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 vittata plants.

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

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

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

Calathea vittata, Calathea vittata

Photo Credit: N1 Garden Centre

Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) Problems Indoors

Calathea vittata 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 vittata drooping leaves

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

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

Calathea vittata 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 vittata is incorrect watering; either overwatering (soggy soil) or underwatering.

Water your Calathea vittata liberally and maintain the soil consistently 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 vittata 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 vittata dying

Calathea vittata may die due to two possible reasons. One possible reason why your Calathea vittata 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 vittata is dying is pest infestations. Calathea vittata 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 vittata leaves appear washed out

Calathea vittata washed out leaves are due to exposure of the plant to hot direct sunlight. Calathea vittata grows best in medium to bright, indirect light away from direct sunshine.

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

Calathea vittata curled, yellowing leaves

Calathea vittata 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 vittata thoroughly and keep the soil consistently 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 vittata brown, dry leaf tips and edges

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

Calathea vittata 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 vittata 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 vittata 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 vittata 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 vittata is watering it with hard water. Water your Calathea vittata with chlorine-free water only like rain water.

Like other Calathea, Calathea vittata 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 vittata 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 vittata pests

The common pests in Calathea vittata 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 vittata diseases

Calathea vittata 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 vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) toxic?

Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) like other Calathea Plants is non-toxic to both humans and pets. It is safe to grow indoors.

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