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Botanical name: Calathea vittata
Synonym: Goeppertia elliptica
Common name: Elliptica
Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) is a stunning plant which bears elliptical, bright-green leaves with distinctive white stripes and burgundy-purple undersides.
Goeppertia elliptica 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 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 also called Goeppertia elliptica is native to the tropical forests in Brazil and South America where it grows as an understory plant.
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.
If you are looking to add this outstanding plant to your collection. Buy the spectacular Calathea vittata online from Etsy.
Photo Credit: Flower Power
Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) thrives in medium to bright, indirect light, warm and humid conditions and consistently moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.
Goeppertia elliptica only requires repotting when it becomes pot-bound. Pruning is necessary to keep it neat and also minimize pest and disease infestations. Keep reading for more on the growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Calathea vittata grows best in medium to bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight as it can cause scorching of the leaves.
Avoid too bright light as it will cause the leaf colour to fade to a appear washed out.
For even growth, regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides.
Water Calathea vittata liberally during the growing season and allow the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil consistently moist.
Lessen watering in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time to keep the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Use water that is at room temperature to avoid plant shock. The water should also be free of chlorine and flourides as Goeppertia elliptica like other Calathea is sensitive to chemicals dissolved in water which 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 reduce fungal infestations like leaf spot diseases, avoid wetting the foliage during watering or water from the bottom instead.
Calathea vittata 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.
Keep the plant away from draughts as they cause sudden changes in temperature which the plant cannot tolerate and may cause it to die.
Calathea vittata requires high humidity (50% to 80%) inorder to thrive as low humidity results in brown leaf tips and edges. Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity for the optimum growth of your plant.
To up humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or grow the plants in the bathroom and other moist areas in the home where humidity is high if there is adequate lighting. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
Occasionally clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust as well as discourage pest and disease infestations.
Feed Calathea vittata with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks through out the growing season for lush growth.
Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn.
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 vittata 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 Goeppertia elliptica thoroughly at least 1 day before to 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.
The best soil for Calathea vittata 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 Goeppertia elliptica online from Etsy.
Pruning Calathea vittata is easy. Remove dead and yellow foliage to maintain the plant neat and discourage pest and disease infestations. Cut the leaves with a sharp knife or scissors at the base, where the leaf meets the stalk.
Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) is propagated by plant division at the beginning of the growing season during repotting.
Water the Calathea vittata thoroughly at least 1 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.
Take out the 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 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 Goeppertia elliptica are well established after which you can begin routine care.
Photo Credit: N1 Garden Centre
Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) problems indoors include loss of leaf color, brown leaf tips, curled and yellow leaves, drooping leaves, plant death, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.
Calathea vittata 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 Goeppertia elliptica in a more shaded spot or instal a light curtain to protect it from direct sunlight to prevent its eventual death.
Calathea vittata drooping leaves are due to three possible causes. One possible cause is too dry air (low humidity).
The plant is very sensitive to low air humidity. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or grow the plant in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
The second possible cause of drooping leaves in Calathea vittata is incorrect watering; either overwatering (soggy soil) or underwatering.
Water the plant liberally and maintain the soil consistently moist during the growing season. Reduce watering during the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
In addition, 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 Goeppertia elliptica is that the plant is root-bound which 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. The leaves loss their stiffness and they droop.
Check the bottom of the pot for roots growing through the drainage hole and 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 may die due to two possible reasons. One possible reason is root-rot which is brought about by soggy 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 with the fungicidal solution 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 the 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 which include 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. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.
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 the Goeppertia elliptica 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, ascertian 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 vittata are due to four possible causes. One possible cause is dry air (too little humidity).
The plant requires a humid environment inorder to thrive. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.
It can also be grown in the bathroom or other moist areas in the home where humidity is high.
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 the plant with chlorine-free water only like rain water.
Like other Calathea, it 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 which may have originated from the water or fertilizers used.
Once in a while, 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 is also prone to leaf spot disease due to the humid conditions in which it grows and is characterized 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 leaf spot disease.
Calathea vittata (Goeppertia elliptica) like other Calathea Plants is non-toxic to both humans and pets as indicated by ASPCA. It is safe to grow indoors.