How to Grow Calathea - Planting & Caring

By Sharon & Team   /   Herbaceous Category   /   2022

Calathea, also known as Peacock plant, Zebra plant, or Prayer plant, is a species of plant belonging to the family Marantaceae. The Calathea plant is native to the tropical regions of South America, specifically Brazil. The plant is known for its beautiful, brightly-colored leaves, which are often variegated with stripes or patterns. The Calathea plant is an excellent choice for those looking to add a splash of color to their home or office.

How to Grow Calathea - Planting & Caring

Growing Easiness

Is it easy to grow Calathea plant? The Calathea plant is one of those that is beautiful, but difficult to take care of. They are very picky when it comes to the amount of light and water they need. If you don't give them the right amount, they will let you know by drooping their leaves. They are also susceptible to a lot of pests and diseases. So, if you're thinking of getting a Calathea plant, be prepared to do some research on how to take care of them.

Plant Size

How big can it be? While most Calathea varieties stay relatively small, some can grow quite large. For example, Calathea zebrina, a popular variety, can get up to 1.5 m in height and 60 cm in width. If you're looking for a smaller Calathea plant, Calathea lancifolia 'Freckles' only grows to about 50 cm in height and 30 cm in width.

Growth Rate

How fast is the growth? When it comes to Calathea plant growth, they don't grow too quickly. In fact, you can expect around 5-6 new leaves per year. But, each leaf is quite large and can grow to be around 8-10 inches wide. So, although they don't grow too quickly in terms of numbers, they do grow quite large.

Calathea Basic Knowledge

Plant Form Herbaceous
Family Marantaceae
Origin Tropical regions of South America

Lifespan, Perennial or Annuals

How long is the lifespan? Sometimes, it is said that a Calathea plant has a lifespan of about two to three years. However, with the proper care, a Calathea plant can live much longer than that. The key to a long-lived Calathea plant is to keep it healthy and happy by providing the right environment and care.

Ideal Temperature

What is the ideal temperature? Although it can withstand a temperature as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it is best to maintain a temperature of 60.8 degrees. The plants are sensitive to temperature changes, so they should not be placed next to an open window or door.

Humidity

What about the humidity? The reason for the leaf curling of Calathea is almost always too little humidity in the air. The leaves react by curling inwards in an attempt to prevent themselves from drying out. Curling is therefore a sign that the plant is not doing well. The ideal percentage of air humidity for a Calathea is not less than 60%. In summer and winter, spray at least 3 times a week, and preferably every day with soft water, the pot must be placed in a tray with wet pebbles. Do not spray species with velvety leaves, you should moisten the air around them.

Light Requirement

What amount of light this plant needed? So, it's best to keep your Calathea plant in a room that gets moderate indirect light. If the light is too bright, the leaves will start to twist and the color will fade.

Soil Composition

What is good soil for Calathea? So, the best type of soil for a Calathea plant is a mix of sand, perlite, and peat. If your soil is too dense, you can add sand or perlite to make it more breathable. You can also make your own soil mix by adding 2 parts leafy soil, 1 part peat, and 1 part sand. You can also add coniferous soil, sphagnum, pieces of bark, crushed charcoal, and dry mullein to your soil mix.

Watering Time

How much I must water Calathea? Sometimes, it's hot outside and you need to water your Calathea more than twice a week. But if the weather is cooler, once a week should be plenty. Just make sure the soil is moist, not soggy. Also, don't let water sit in the pot because it can cause root rot. It's best to use lukewarm water. In winter, you can cut back on watering to once every six to eight days. Let the soil dry out a bit between waterings.

Fertilizing and Nutritient

About fertilizer. The plant does best with a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen and low in phosphorus. Fertilize every 10-15 days during the growing season with a diluted liquid fertilizer. The plant does not tolerate excess calcium and nitrogen in the soil.

Reproduction

How to reproduce Calathea? The best time for transplantation and division of the plant is late spring. When dividing the plant, it is important not to damage the roots. Each new plant should have several leaves and 2-3 developed roots. Young plants are difficult to grow and they should be placed in a warm and humid environment. For example, you can put the pot with the plant on a tray with wet clay balls and place it on the radiator. You can also reproduce the plant with seeds, but it is rare. The seeds germinate at a temperature of 68-75.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bloom

Why Calathea won't bloom? Eventually, the calathea plant will bloom. The blossoms are small and unassuming, usually a violet color. In some species, the flowers may be orange-red, white, or yellow. They are most vibrant in the saffron calathea.

Transfer or Repotting

How much I must water Calathea? known that they need to be transplanted annually in February-March. The pot for the plant should be shallow, as the plant's root system is superficial. The soil should not be too primed so that the roots do not choke. In the future, the plant will need to be transplanted every 2-4 years as soon as the roots appear from the drainage hole.

Caring The Calathea

How to care the plant? The leaves of a Calathea, like all members of the family Marantaceae, are formed at night. Therefore, it is perfectly normal for the leaves to be slightly curled or bent during the daytime. In the summer, the plant can be taken out to the garden or balcony, but it should be protected from direct wind exposure. The plant does not like drafts or gas combustion products. Any completely dried leaves should be removed in a timely manner. The leaves are delicate and easily damaged, so it is best to wipe them with a soft, dry cloth or brush. Calatheas love the moist, hot air of bathrooms, especially when someone is taking a shower. The plant thrives when grouped together with other plants, as this increases the air humidity.

Pests & Challenges

What is the challenge when caring Calathea plant? The main thing is not to overdo it with watering, because the leaves of the plant can begin to fade, and eventually die. Also, the leaves can be damaged by too much sunlight or by low temperatures. The plant is also susceptible to spider mite attacks.

Toxic & Poisonous Type

Are Calathea poisonous? Common ly called zebra plants, Prayer Plants or Peacock Plants, members of the genus Calathea are native to the tropical Americas. Many of the species are popular as houseplants because of their decorative leaves and tolerate relatively low light conditions. Although most Calathea are not poisonous, some species within the genus contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation and swelling if ingested.