Calathea plants are known for their large, distinctly patterned, and vibrantly colored leaves. The beautiful striped leaves grow at the end of long stems and require a bit of care to stay looking good. Indoors, a Calathea plant rarely grows larger than about 2ft. wide and 2ft. tall. This plant requires high humidity to keep its leaves from getting brown edges. A Calathea is not an easy-care plant, but like many unusual houseplants, well worth the effort. Calathea plants are non poisonous.
Light: A Calathea plant requires bright indirect light. It would not do well in direct sun as it could burn the leaves and cause leaf colors to fade. An east facing window would be best.
Water: The leaves of Calathea are easily damaged by the quality of the water you use. Water with 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, but never let it sit in water. Allow the top 2-3” of the soil in the pot to dry out before watering.
Fertilizer: Fertilize a Calathea plant monthly in the spring, summer, and fall with a basic houseplant food at ½ the recommended strength. Never feed a Calathea or any houseplant, if it is not actively growing.
Temperature: Calathea plants prefer temperatures between 65-80° , and don't do well in cold drafts or temperatures below 55-60°. The leaves of a Calathea curl when the temperature is too warm.
Humidity: Calathea plants need high humidity. 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.
Flowering: 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.
Pests: Houseplant pests such as Spider Mites, Mealy Bugs, and Aphids can be a problem.
Diseases: Calathea plants require high humidity and this encourages bacterial and fungal diseases which appear as leaf lesions.
Soil: Calatheas 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.
Pruning: The only pruning a Calathea needs is the removal of brown or crispy leaves.
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