A Calathea ornata is native to Africa, the West Indies, and Central and South America and has large, oval, vibrantly colored striped leaves. The beautiful leaves of the Calathea “ornata” grow at the end of long stems and require quite a bit of care to stay looking good. Although a close relative of the prayer plant, a calathea definitely require more attention.
Calathea Ornata Description
Indoors, this plant rarely grows larger than about 2ft. wide and 2ft. tall. The leaves of the calathea ornata are smaller than those of other calathea plants and have bright pink stripes. The pink coloring of the “roseolineata” variety is even more vibrant.
Quick Care Tips for a Calathea Ornata
High humidity is a must or the plant gets brown leaf tips. Place the plant on a wet pebble tray if the air is very dry
Keep soil barely moist at all times and avoid using water that contains any chemicals including salt.
Bright , indirect light
Fertilize only when the plan is actively growing
A calathea plant requires bright indirect light but no direct sun. Direct sun burns the leaves and causes the vibrant colors to fade.
The leaves of calathea plants are easily damaged by the quality of the water you use. Hard water or soft water, water with a high chemical content (fluorine, chlorine, or salt), water that has passed through a softener, or water of poor quality causes leaf tip burn. Use distilled water, rain water, or allow your tap water to sit out over night before using it. Calathea plants like moist but not soggy, soil at all times; never let the plant sit in water. Allow the top 2-3” of the soil to dry out before watering.
Fertilize monthly in the spring, summer, and fall with a basic houseplant food diluted to ½ the recommended strength. Never feed a calathea or any houseplant, if it is not actively growing.
Calathea plants prefer temperatures between 65°-80°F (18.3°-27.7°C) , and don’t do well in cold drafts or temperatures below 55°-60°F (12.8°-15.6°C). The leaves of a calathea plant curl when the temperature is too warm.
Calathea plants need high humidity and when the air is too dry they develop brown leaf edges. Increase the humidity by placing the plant on a tray of wet pebbles (be sure the container is on the pebbles and not in the water), setting a humidifier near-by, or by grouping plants together to create a mini-greenhouse effect.
Calathea plant leaves are more beautiful than many flowers. With hundreds of calathea varieties available, some, such as Calathea crocata, White Ice, and Brazilian have gorgeous flowers as well as spectacular leaves.
Spider mites, aphids, mealy bug, and scale
Calathea plants require high humidity and this encourages bacterial and fungal diseases which appear as leaf lesions.
Grow well in a light, porous, indoor potting soil that retains water but still drains quickly; an African Violet soil mixture is a good choice.
Calathea plants rarely need re-potting.
The only pruning a calathea needs is the removal of brown or crispy leaves.
Calathea plants are difficult to propagate; if you want to try, plant division is the best method.
Poisonous Plant Info
Calathea are non-poisonous plants.
The light is probably a little TOO bright. Direct sun burns the leaves of most houseplants and causes their vibrant colors to fade.
The flowers on a Calathea are beautiful and you should let them stay on 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.
Calathea plant leaves may get brown leaf edges for many reasons: Your water has too many chemicals in it. The water is too hard or too soft or it has passed through a softener. You are giving the plant too much plant food.The plant is in direct sun and is getting a sun burn. Perhaps there is insufficient humidity in the air. Distinct brown spots on the leaves usually indicate a bacterial or fungal plant disease.