Plant Care Guide Calathea

Difficulty Level: Modest

What is the Calathea plant?

Native to Brazil and other regions with tropical environments, the Calathea family of plants lives up to its reputation of being both sturdy and mesmerizing once grown. These plants are mainly characterized by their foliage, which often presents bold, striped patterns of deep green and white. Among the Calathea, some of the most popular include the Zebra Plant, the Peacock Plant and the Prayer Plant.

The Prayer Plant is a perfect example of the unique makeup this plant family offers. At night, its leaves will curl upward and the plant will begin to close itself off. Then, in the morning, it opens itself up once more, allowing for its leaves to reach out and absorb as much light as possible. Calathea plants can be difficult to care for on occasion, but as long as you can maintain some of their basic care requirements, you will get to witness the growth of an incredible plant!

Light CareLight Care

Bright, indirect light is ideal for most Calathea plants, as this effectively simulates the light conditions that they might experience in the wild. Placing yours near, but not in, windowsills and other sources of natural light is perfect, but avoid allowing it to sit too close. Bright, direct light can cause a number of complications, ranging from faded coloring to serious damage that limits the plant’s ability to grow.

On the other hand, make sure that your Calathea plant is not placed too far from a source of bright, indirect light. These include the more shaded areas of your home that sit far from any windows or sunroofs. Too little light could also cause the plant to sport faded colors and experience stunted growth.

Water CareWater Care

Water your Calathea plant once every 7 - 10 days, and plan on adjusting it depending on how the plant reacts to a given schedule. These tropical plants love water, so you should only allow the first inch of soil to dry before tending to it once more. When possible, use filtered or distilled water instead of the tap you might use for another houseplant. Tap water contains certain minerals that could damage the Calathea.

To determine the water level of your soil, simply place a water meter approximately 1 inch into the soil. This will provide you with all the information that you need, and if you do not own a water meter, you can simply use your finger. Place it at the same depth as you would the meter and consider whether or not the soil feels adequately dried.

Food GuideFood Guide

Calathea Plants can grow well in any well-draining potting soil, so you do not need to worry much about this step. Simply find a peaty mixture that retains water while not allowing it to pool and cause root complications. Most soils will offer exactly this, so find one that you think would be best and put it to the test.

Fertilize your Calathea plant once every 3 weeks during the growing months of the spring and summer. A Half-diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer works perfectly well, but you can also try out a diluted seaweed fertilizer. Make sure not to fertilize too frequently, as this can cause the plant’s foliage to burn.

Staff Holy Grail Pro-Tip:

While Calathea love water and require it more frequently than other houseplants, they’re more susceptible to overwatering. Be careful that you’re not causing its soil to develop pools of water. One of the best ways to determine how much water is currently in your soil is by checking the first inch of soil with your finger. Also, placing your plant in bright, indirect light will assist you by allowing the plant to dry out properly!

- Emin