Calathea Care Guide

Vibrant. Balanced. Expressive.

The Calathea plant is celebrated for its vibrant and expressive foliage, featuring unique patterns that add a dynamic touch to any space. Thriving in indoor environments with minimal water and light makes it an ideal plant for those seeking a visually striking addition to their home or office.

Calathea Care Guide

Calathea Quick Care Guide

Indirect
Diffused

LIGHT

Tropical
Mix

SOIL

When Top Inch Dry

WATER

60-70%

HUMIDITY

Indirect
Diffused

LIGHT

Tropical
Mix

SOIL

When Top Inch Dry

WATER

60-70%

HUMIDITY

65-75°F

TEMP.

2 Years or
Rootbound

REPOT

Damanged
Leaves

PRUNE

Calathea Overview

Quick Care Sheet (Click Here)
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Calatheas, scientifically known as Calathea spp., are renowned for their strikingly patterned leaves and vibrant colors. Native to the tropical Americas, these plants have become a favorite among indoor gardeners due to their unique appearance and the ambiance they add to any space. This Calathea Care Guide will provide you with all the essential information to ensure your plant thrives.

Light Needs

Calatheas prefer indirect, diffused light. A spot near a north or east-facing window, shielded by a sheer curtain, is ideal. Direct sunlight can scorch their leaves, causing them to lose their vibrant patterns. If you notice the colors fading or the patterns becoming less pronounced, consider adjusting the plant’s position.

Soil Type

For beginners, a standard potting mix designed for tropical plants, like those from Miracle-Gro or Espoma, is recommended. For those more advanced, a mix of one part perlite, one part orchid bark, and two parts peat or coco coir ensures good drainage and aeration. Calatheas prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH, ranging from 6.0 to 7.0.

Watering Preferences

Water your Calathea when the top inch of soil feels dry. It’s crucial to avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot. If the leaves begin to curl or turn brown at the edges, it’s a sign that the plant is thirsty.

Humidity

Originating from tropical rainforests, Calatheas thrive in high humidity, ideally between 60-70%. To achieve this, consider using a room humidifier or placing the plant on a tray filled with pebbles and water. Regular misting can also help maintain the desired humidity levels.

Ideal Temperature Range

Calatheas prefer temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C). Prolonged exposure to temperatures below 60°F (15°C) can stress the plant. To maintain a consistent temperature, keep the plant away from drafts, heaters, and air conditioners.

Repotting

Repot your Calathea every 2 years or when it becomes root-bound. Choose a pot that’s 2 inches larger in diameter than the current one. This ensures the roots have ample space to grow and breathe.

Pruning

While Calatheas don’t necessarily require pruning, removing yellow or damaged leaves can enhance the plant’s appearance and promote new growth. Pruning also helps the plant focus its energy on producing fresh, vibrant leaves.

Propagating

Propagating Calatheas is straightforward:

  1. Gently remove the plant from its pot.
  2. Separate a section of the plant with a few attached roots.
  3. Plant the section in a pot with fresh soil.
  4. Keep the soil consistently moist until new growth appears.

Common Pests

  • Spider Mites: Use a neem oil spray.
  • Aphids: Rinse the plant with a strong stream of water.
  • Scale: Manually remove and apply insecticidal soap.
  • Mealybugs: Wipe with alcohol-soaked cotton swabs.
  • Whiteflies: Use yellow sticky traps.
  • Thrips: Introduce beneficial insects like ladybugs.
  • Fungus Gnats: Allow the top layer of soil to dry out between watering.

Common Growth Issues

  • Brown Leaf Tips: Often a sign of low humidity or fluoride in tap water.
  • Drooping Leaves: Indicates underwatering.
  • Faded Leaf Color: Too much direct sunlight.
  • Crispy Leaves: Overwatering or low humidity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, Calatheas generally enjoy higher humidity levels and can benefit from misting. Misting can help maintain the humidity around the plant, especially during drier months or in environments with low humidity. However, it’s essential to use distilled or filtered water for misting to prevent mineral buildup on the leaves. Misting is best done in the morning to allow the leaves to dry throughout the day, reducing the risk of fungal issues.

LeafWise recommends using a dedicated humidifier, as controlling room humidity is superior to misting as a long term solution.

Drooping leaves in a Calathea can be a sign of various issues, including overwatering, underwatering, or exposure to drafts. Overwatering can lead to root rot, causing the plant to droop. On the other hand, underwatering can lead to dehydration, also resulting in drooping leaves. Calatheas are sensitive to temperature changes and drafts, so make sure your plant is not placed near air vents, heaters, or cold windows. To resolve the issue, identify the root cause and adjust your care routine accordingly.

Curling leaves are often a sign that your Calathea is trying to conserve moisture, which usually occurs due to low humidity or underwatering. Calatheas prefer a humid environment, so if you notice the leaves curling, try increasing the humidity around the plant through misting or using a humidifier. Underwatering can also cause the leaves to curl; make sure you are following the correct watering schedule for your specific Calathea variety.

Conclusion

Thank you for choosing LeafWise for your plant care needs. We trust this Calathea Care Guide will be invaluable in your gardening journey. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to receive a free care guide deck, featuring the Calathea and many other indoor plants. Together, let’s make our homes greener and more vibrant!

*Note: Ensure your plants are out of reach from pets, as some can be toxic if ingested.*

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