Caring for your Calathea Plant

 

Calatheas are the go-to plant for office or home interior landscaping. Their leaves come in beautiful varieties: some have pin-stripe patterns, purple undersides, peacock prints and light-green variegations. They may not be the easiest and most fuss-free plants and are sometimes known to be "drama queens". However, caring for them can be incredibly rewarding!

 

Sunlight

Calatheas require bright indirect sunlight but are tolerant of lower light conditions, making them great indoor houseplants. If brighter light is provided, they'll grow more quickly and you'll have to water more frequently!

Calatheas will also scorch in direct sunlight, so try not to leave them out in such conditions for too long.

 

Watering

Water your Calathea approximately once a week, or when the soil is dry to the halfway mark. They like moist (but not soggy) soil. You can water more often to obtain this condition, ensuring that your pot allows perfect drainage. Never allow roots to be soaked with standing water, nor allow the soil to go completely dry.

 

Repotting

Your plant will expand quickly enough to fill a decorative pot or a shady area in your garden. Repot every year to provide fresh soil and nutrients! If you wish for your Calathea to grow wider and larger, repot into a pot that's 2" larger in diameter.

You can go for regular soil mixed with orchid bark, or a cactus potting mix. If you're not confident in doing this yourself, you can engage a repotting service.

 

Temperature and Humidity

As Calatheas are native to Central America, they prefer warm and humid environments. However, they'll tolerate your air-conditioned office or room too!

 

Fertiliser

Fertilise once a month with an organic houseplant fertiliser.

  

Propagating

The most ideal way to propagate your Calathea is by division. Take a close look at the roots and base of the stem to see where to divide for the plants to grow independently. Place them into new soil and water as per usual. They can take about 2 - 4 weeks to normalise and adjust.

 

Watch this video on how to propagate your Calathea.

 

Troubleshooting

Leaves curling or turning brown at the edges: Under-watering. Remove the plant from the pot and sit it in water for a few hours. Allow it to drain after and put it back in its soil.

Pale or wilting leaves: Over-watering. It's a serious problem as it can cause root rot, which would be hard to salvage. Change the soil as soon as possible!

Small fruit fly-like insects surrounding your plant: These are harmless bugs called fungus gnats, which are attracted to the high soil humidity. You can try to:

(1) Bottom-water your plant by submerging your pot bottom-first into water, leaving the top inch of soil dry;
(1) Change your potting mix to include diatomaceous earth, a geological deposit known to be a natural insecticide; or
(2) Drench your plant's roots with neem oil diluted with water to get rid of larvae, and spray the upper parts of the plant to ward off adult gnats.

 

Prepared for the challenge of caring for Calathea? Take a look at the Pin Stripe Calathea OrnataCalathea - PurpleCalathea Peacock Makoyana and Calathea Orbifolia - Green.

 

P.s. Prune your Calatheas regularly for more growth. You can cut to the bottom of the stem, and leaves will still grow back with the right environment!

 

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