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Calathea Warscewiczii: The Beautiful Plant with a Tricky Name

Calathea warscewiczii, (pronounced vark-zeh-wik-ZEE-eye) is one of the largest Calathea plants and is native to Central and South America.

As with all Calathea plants, it requires specific care conditions for it to thrive. Those who live in warm, humid climates will have the most success with the houseplant.

Calathea Warscewiczii

Calathea Warscewiczii Appearance

Calathea warscewiczii grows between 3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 m) in both height and width. The velvety foliage has two-toned, green tops with burgundy undersides.

Calathea warscewiczii blooms are small, cream-colored flowers forming on a central stalk. Flowers are rare when grown as a houseplant but are possible when all the plant’s needs are met.

Choose a West-facing window to provide filtered or indirect light.

Calathea Warscewiczii Water Requirements

Calathea warscewiczii prefers rainwater or filtered water as tap water’s minerals damage roots and cause leaf spots.

Proper Calathea warscewiczii care requires watering once the top 1 inch of the soil feels dry when you insert a finger into the soil. Ensure the soil is moist down to the root bottoms, but never soggy. Water more in the spring and summer, less in the fall and winter. 

Temperature and Humidity

For optimal growth, maintain temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 30 degrees Celsius) and humidity over 50 percent. Leaf damage occurs when the plant is placed near hot or cold drafts so avoid vents or doorways.

Supplement low humidity with a tray filled with pebbles and water or a room humidifier. Misting the leaves once or twice a week is also recommended to increase moisture intake.

Soil and Fertilizer Requirements
Cowell’s Garden Centre

Soil and Fertilizer Requirements

Encourage optimal growth during spring and summer with a houseplant fertilizer diluted to  ½ strength to avoid burning the plant’s leaves. Feed once a month at regular watering times. Adding organic fertilizer, like worm castings, to the plant’s soil mixture is also an option and requires fewer feedings of synthetic fertilizer. Calathea warcewiczii requires a well-draining soil for root health. Mix one part perlite or coco coir with two parts peat. A proper soil mixture allows water to soak through immediately without pooling on the surface. Change out the soil when the peat becomes compacted and drainage slows.

Calathea Warscewiczii Propagation

Division is the primary propagation technique for Calathea warscewiczii. Care is taken when removing the plant from its pot and when the delicate roots are handled to avoid damage.

Once out of the pot, knead the soil with your hands to separate the mother plant from the smaller offshoots. Place each new division into its own pot filled ⅓ full with a peat-based soil mixture.

Water until moist for optimal root to soil contact, draining excess water collected in the drip tray. Place each plant in moderate lighting conditions until new growth begins, then return the plants to bright, indirect light.

Calathea Warscewiczii Pests and Disease

The most common pests affecting Calathea warscewiczii are mealybugs, mites, and scale. Mealybug infestation presents as white, cotton-like masses on stems and under leaves.

Stickiness from their honeydew, and its resulting mold, is also a sign of their presence. Yellowing or speckled leaves indicate mites, while scale is identified by bumps on leaves and sooty mold from honeydew. Small infestations are removed by wiping the insects off with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. A larger presence requires treatment of the entire plant with an insecticidal soap or horticultural oil

Leaf spot causes small lesions on the foliage and are caused by overwatering or excessive moisture left on the leaves after misting. Reduce the plant’s moisture levels and mist in the morning to allow excess water to evaporate during the day.

Calathea warscewiczii care requires a diligent plant owner and regular health checks. Care issues often show up on the plant’s leaves first but, if caught early, are correctable and won’t cause long-term damage. This large plant is prized for its foliage and, with precise care, may reward you with its rare Calathea warscewiczii blooms. 

Calathea Warscewiczii FAQ
The Contented Plant

Calathea Warscewiczii FAQ

How do I prune Calathea Warscewiczii?

Prune dead leaves or crispy edges with a sharp pair of sterilized shears. Remove the dying leaves or leaf parts to allow the plant direct its energy into healthy foliage growth.

Is Calathea Warscewiczii Toxic to Pets?

No, all types of Calathea are considered safe for pets.

Will Calathea Warscewiczii Grow in Water?

No, Calathea plants cannot grow in water as excess moisture leads to root rot. Proper Calathea warscewiczii care includes growing the plant in a well-draining soil mixture.

Does it Matter What Time of Day I Water My Calathea Warscewiczii?

It is recommended to water all Calathea plants early in the day when temperatures are at their highest. Moisture left on leaves in cooler temperatures may lead to leaf fungus.

Why is my Calathea Warscewiczii drooping?

Drooping or curling leaf edges indicates a lack of moisture. Increase the frequency of waterings but do not let the soil become soggy.