The Ultimate Care Guide for the Calathea Varieties – All You Need To Know

The Calathea plant or Calatheas in general is a large genus. It consists of over 50 species each with unique appearances and traits.  Calathea plants are also called prayer plants. They are from the Marantaceae family and are native to South and Central America. 

Calathea roseopicta houseplant - Rose painted Calathea care and info

Calathea types are quite colorful and feature bold patterns and variegations.  They often feature oblong leaves and produce stunning calathea flowers. These flowering blooms range in color from purple to white to yellow. 

Calatheas can be grown indoors and outdoors. While indoors they make great bedroom plants. They are eye-catching and help in purifying the air. They are also grown outdoors in gardens. They are known to be non-toxic to people and pets, so they are safe around kids.   

Botanical NameCalathea Spp. 
Common NamesRattlesnake plant, Calthea prayer plant.  
OriginSouth and Central America 
Plant TypeHerbaceaos, perennial plant 
Full SizeRanges from 1 foot to 2 feet tall 
Sun ExposureBright but filtered sunlight exposure 
Soil TypeWell-draining, but moist loamy soil 
ToxicityNon-toxic to both people and pets when ingested

Calathea Plant Types

There are a lot of calathea varieties in existence. But here are a few very popular varieties:

  • Calathea ornata 
  • Calathea makoyana 
  • Calathea orbifolia 

Calathea Plant Care 

Calatheas varieties have a reputation for being a bit difficult to care for. They require a lot of attention and can be quite fuzzy if ignored. Having a basic understanding of their soil and water requirements can help you. 

Calathea Plant  Light Requirements  

You should aim to provide bright but filtered sunlight for your prayer plant. They can also grow in areas of partial shade. But ensure you avoid exposing your calathea plant to full or direct sunlight. 

Prolonged exposure to full or direct sunlight can burn the calathea leaves. It can also cause the leaves to lose their vibrant colors. And too little sunlight can lead to a leggy plant with overall stunted growth. 

When growing the calathea plant indoors, consider keeping them next to a window. An east or south or west-facing window should be good. But ensure you make use of a light curtain to provide a filter from the sun. 

You should consider growing them under shade when outdoors. And make use of grow lights in areas with very little lighting. 

Calathea Plant Water Requirements   

Your calathea plant does well with frequent watering. But overwatering can affect the plant, so avoid soggy soil. Instead, keep the soil moist with controlled watering. The right schedule should be checking soil moisture before watering. 

Feel the topmost part of the soil with your finger, if it feels dry, then water the plant. You can also make use of a moisture meter for more accurate results. Watering should be more frequent in the hot season. And it should be less frequent in the cold season. 

Rainwater is best for the Calathes’s delicate leaves. You can also make use of distilled or dechlorinated water. Avoid tap water, it contains chlorine and can harm the plant overall.

Calathea Plant Soil Requirements   

Choose a well-draining soil for the calathea plant. It should be rich in organic compost and light to touch. It should also be able to retain enough moisture for the plant’s roots. You can achieve this with regular loamy soil. 

Or you can consider a custom soil mix. Make use of potting soil, perlite, and peat moss. Add some organic compost to the soil. It should also be a little acidic with a range between 6.5 and 6.0. 

Calahtea Plant Temperature and Humidity Needs   

Grow your calathea plants in high humidity and temperature levels. For humidity, it should be above 50%. Ensure you mist the plant often or make use of a humidifier. You can also place the plant next to a tray filled with pebbles and water. 

Temperature levels should be between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a tropical plant that loves hot regions. Temperature levels lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit is bad for the plant.

Calathea Plant Fertilizer Requirements 

Calatheas are heavy feeders. They require frequent fertilizer use each month during their growing season. They go dormant during the winter so postpone feeding then. 

Make use of a liquid-based fertilizer. Ensure it is diluted to half of its initial strength and keep to the feeding schedule.

Calathea Plant Propagation Requirements   

Propagating Calathea can be done from seeds. The calathea seeds can germinate in 2 to 4 weeks when cared for. 

Common Health Problems of Calthea Plants 

  • Yellow leaves 
  • Fungus gnats 
  • Brown leaf tips

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is the Calathea pinstripe plant?

The pinstripe calathea is quite common. It can range in price from $10 to $30.

Can you propagate a rattlesnake plant from cutting?

Yes, you can propagate calathea rattlesnake plants from leaf cuttings.

What is the best pot for calathea?

The calathea plant needs a well-draining pot. It should be at least 8 inches deep. 

Why is my rattlesnake plant dying?

Two main causes of calatheas dying are excess cold and overwatering. 

Why are my calathea medallion leaves curling?

Underwatering your Calathea plant can cause the leaves to shrivel up and curl.