Caring for Calatheas

How to Care for Calatheas, the most beautiful foliage plants

caring for calatheas

Calathea plants, native to the Amazon rain-forest, are grown primarily for their attractive, upright, brightly colored, oval leaves. There are over 300 different types of Calathea plants, many of which are man-made hybrids created from woven crops. The different varieties of Calathea have leaves with purple undersides and various bright color patterns on the upper side. Indoors, a Calathea is a table plant or short bush that rarely exceeds 24″ tall and 24″ 26″ wide. A Calathea plant, with its exotic foliage, is difficult to care for, but like many ‘other tough plants, it’s worth it.


Use good soil with rich organic matter. It is an essential factor when caring for Calathea plants. The type of soil you choose ultimately has little influence on whether or not your plant grows, but it should be well-drained and light enough that there are no pockets where water can collect.


Calatheas are very sensitive plants. Hard water, fluoridated water will cause the leaves of a Calathea plant to turn brown from leaf burn. The best way to water a Calathea plant is to use distilled water, rainwater, or let tap water sit overnight before using. Keep the potting mix moist, never soggy. Let the top 2 inches dry out before watering.


Light requirements make this plant an attractive choice for low-light homes, but keep in mind that these plants are bad for direct sun, which can bleach the leaves. Place your Calathea plant in a part of a room that receives low to bright indirect light. As a general rule, the darker the foliage, as with Calathea ornata, the less light it needs.


Feed your calathea plant monthly in the spring, summer, and fall with a staple houseplant food at half the recommended strength. Do not fertilize a Calathea plant if it is not growing.


High humidity is a need for a Calathea Plant. A Calathea Plant receives brown leaf edges while the air is simply too dry. Humidity may be improved with the aid of using setting your Calathea Plant on a tray of moist pebbles (make sure the pot is at the pebbles and now no longer with inside the water), putting a humidifier near with the aid of using, or with the aid of using grouping flowers collectively to create a greenhouse.

Common issues

Brown leaf: Most likely there is not enough humidity. If only the tips are brown, it could indicate that your water contains too many minerals or chemicals.

Fungus gnats: If you notice small insects that look like fruit flies around your plant, the high soil moisture may have created an ideal home for the fungus gnats. Although they are harmless, they can be a nuisance. Try watering the bottom of the plant by dipping the pot in water and trying to let the top inch of soil dry. If that doesn’t work, a little diatomaceous earth mixed into the soil surface should do the trick.

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