Calathea Indoor Care Tips; Light, Water, Fertilizer, Temperature, Soil, Repotting, Pruning, Propagation


Calathea, Calathea spp

Botanical name: Calathea spp
Family: Marantaceae

Description

Calathea Plants are grown for their ornately patterned leaves which will add a splash of color to any space and make a spectacular focal point in any room.

Calatheas are also popular plants on account of their curious characteristic of raising and closing their leaves at night.

Calatheas may not be easy to grow under room conditions but once the right growing requirements are met, they can last for years.

Like the shaded floors of their native tropical canopies, Calathea prefer medium to bright, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can damage their fragile leaves resulting in sunburn and dullness in the color of leaves.

Calathea also require high humidity to mimic their natural habitat. They thrive in moist but not wet (soggy) soil. Overwatering or underwatering Calathea can lead to brown dry leaf tips.

Due to their need for high humidity, Calatheas do well in a terrarium or a bottle garden where humidity can be easily maintained.

Origin

Calathea spp are native to the tropical regions of America where they grow as understory plants.

Varieties

There are about 60 species in the Calathea genus. We have here listed 16 Types of Calathea Plants with Pictures | Calathea Varieties.

Toxicity

According to ASPCA, Calathea are non-toxic to both humans and pets. They are safe to grow indoors.

Related Plants

Calatheas are closely related to the Marantas, Ctenanthe and Stromanthe and are collectively called Prayer Plants in reference to their curious characteristic of raising and closing their leaves at night.

Where to Buy Calathea

Are you looking to add these gorgeous plants to your collection? Calatheas are readily available online at Etsy. Buy the spectacular Calathea Plants online from Etsy.

Calathea crocata, Eternal Flame

Calathea Indoor Care

Calathea thrive in medium to bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with regular feeding during the growing season.

Calathea plants are only repotted when they become pot-bound. Pruning is necessary to keep the plants neat and also discourage pest and disease infestation.

They also need regular cleaning of the leaves to keep them clean and attractive. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to provide them.

Light Requirements

Calathea grow best in medium to bright, indirect light as the beautiful leaf colors fade in too bright light

Keep Calatheas away from direct sunlight as it can cause sunburn marks on the leaves.

Turn the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.

Calathea can also be grown under a grow light where the natural lighting is not sufficient.

Water

Water Calathea liberally during the growing season and keep the soil moist through out. Cut down on watering in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time to keep the soil slightly moist.

Use tepid water that is free of chlorine and flourides as Calathea are sensitive to chemicals dissolved in water and they respond with brown leaf tips and edges.

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, avoid wetting the foliage during watering or water from the bottom instead.

Temperature

Calathea prefer average warmth with a minimum of 150C. Room temperatures that are comfortable for you are ideal for these plants.

Keep Calathea away from cold draughts to avoid sudden drops in temperature as they can cause reduced growth, rotting and death of the plant.

Humidity

Calathea require high humidity inorder to thrive. Low humidity causes the plants to develop brown leaf tips and edges.

To raise 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. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Calathea are also perfect for a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained easily inside a terrarium.

Clean the Calathea leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to keep them clean and neat and also discourage pest infestation.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Calathea with a balanced, liquid fertilizer once monthly during the growing season to encourage a lush growth.

Do not feed Calathea 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 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.

Repotting

Repot Calathea every 2 years at the beginning of the growing season or when it becomes pot-bound. Use a pot one size larger than the current one.

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.

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 in about 3-4 weeks once it takes root.

Soil

The best soil for Calathea Plants should be rich in organic matter and well-drained to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients like this quality Calathea potting medium available online at Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning Calathea is easy as it involves removal of dead and yellow foliage to maintain the plant neat and also minimize pest and disease infestations.

Cut the leaves with a clean sharp knife or scissors at the base, where the leaf meets the stalk. Make clean cuts to avoid unnecessary injuries and also reduce disease infestations.

Propagation

Calathea are propagated by plant division at the beginning of the growing season during repotting.

How to propagate Calathea by plant division

Water the Calathea 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.

Take the plant out of its pot and divide it into several sections and ensure that 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 a rich, well-drained potting mix and make a hole in the center of the pot. Make sure 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 to ensure that the soil is completely wetted.

Cover the pots with clear polythene to create a greenhouse effect and maintain warm humid conditions which hasten establishment of the plants.

Position the pots in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight until new growth emerges from the sections.

Over a period of two weeks, gradually remove the polythene to acclimatize the new plants to ordinary growing conditions.

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

Calathea Problems Indoors

Calathea problems indoors include drooping leaves, loss of leaf color, brown leaf tips, curled and yellow leaves, rotting, plant death, pests and diseases among others.

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