Calathea Plant

About

A calathea plant, native to tropical South and Central America, Africa, and the West Indies, is grown primarily for its beautiful, brightly colored, upright, oval leaves. It is member of the Marantaceae group. There are four closely related plants in the Maranta group, the Calathea,  Prayer plant, Ctenanthe, and the Stromanthe. Of the four, the calathea is the most difficult to grow indoors. There are over 300 different types of calathea plants, many being man-made hybrids created by tissue cultures.

Calathea Plant Description

The many different calathea varieties have leaves with a purple underside and vibrant, colorful patterns on the top side. Indoors, it is a low growing table plant or short bush that rarely gets taller than 10.” It can, however, spread out 24”-26” wide. The leaves of a calathea plant are much more spectacular than the purple, yellow, or white flowers that may develop during the summer.

Popular Calathea Plant Varieties (all have purple undersides)

C. Lubbersii – Long, oval leaves with splashes of bright yellowing green

C. Lancifolia or Rattlesnake Plant – Long, narrow leaf with wavy edges, and dark green splotches

C. Majestic  “Whitestar” – Dark green and white stripes from the midvein to the leaf edges; mature plants in bright lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. have shades of pink.

C. Zebrina – Long, oval leaves with a velvety surface and a dark green pattern

C. Ornata – Pale pink stripes on broad, oval green leaves

Calathea plant with green stripes on a white and pink leaf .          Long green leaves with purple decorative spot ons Calathea plant             Calathea plant zebrina has light green oval leaves with dark green variegation       

Calathea Whitestar      Calathea Rattlesnake         Calathea Zebrina        Calathea Ornata

Quick Care Tips

Warm temperatures above 60°F

bright lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. but no direct sun

Keep soil barely moist at all times

Provide high humidity

Problems

Leaf tips turn brown-increase the humidity

Leaves burned and discolored- too much bright lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light., move to a shadier spot

Leaf drop – air is too dry, increase the humidity

Leaves turn yellow and curl – Plant needs more water

Conclusion

A calathea with its exotic foliage, is a bit difficult to care for and has very specific water, light, and fertilizer requirements. However, like many other fussy plants, a calathea plant is well worth the effort. This very attractive plant is safe to have around children and pets.

 

FAQ

Can I Use the Water From My Fish Tank to Feed My Calathea Plant. Is This a Good Idea?

It’s a great idea to use water from a fish tank to fertilize a calathea plant. Your calathea plant will love everything the water has in it.

Why Are the the Leaves of My Calathea Plant Curling?

The leaves of a calathea plant curl under when the temperature is too warm or the calathea plant is in an area that is too bright.

Why Are There Brown Spots on the Leaves of My Calathea Plant?

A Calathea plant is a very fussy plant and the leaves get brown tips, brown spots, or brown edges very easily. Here are some things that might be causing the problem with your calathea plant: water with too many chemicals or if it is too hard or too soft, over fertilization, direct sun, lack of humidity, and plant diseases.

Should I Cut Off the Flowers on My Calathea Plant Right Away Like I Do on Some of My Plants or Let Them Stay on.

The flowers of a calathea plant are usually quite attractive and you should let them stay on the plant as long as possible and enjoy them. With plants like a Coleus, that has beautiful leaves and small inconsequential flowers, I recommend immediately pinching off the flowers.