Gardening Tips

Calathea: care

Calathea: care

The Calathea is one of the most beautiful indoor plants you can find. Neither easy to care for nor especially complicated, these plants with beautiful leaves can beautify any space in your home, giving it a touch of tropical nature that is very difficult to resist.

If you want to learn what are the Calathea plant care at home so you don’t miss anything, join us in this EcologíaVerde article.

Characteristics of the Calathea plant

Calathea is not really a plant, but a whole genus with 25 species differentiated. Their needs in terms of care are very similar, but the species differ among them, above all, by the different patterns and designs of its leaves.

Is about tropical plants that belong to the maranta family and they are related to the stenantes. Depending on the species, the plant adopts different sizes and colors and shapes in its leaves, although it rarely exceeds a meter in height and it is common to find them in pots around 40 cm.

Its flowering is rare when grown indoors, although it can occur, with the leaves appearing at the base of the stem, at ground level, as if they emerged directly from the ground. These are not very showy flowers, so they are not decoratively important. The only exception to this is the Calathea Crocata, which does produce flowers: it forms elongated floral rods topped by a rather showy orange flower.

If you like plants of this type, you may be interested in knowing more species of outdoor tropical plants.

Location for the Calathea plant

One of the most important points in the care of the Calathea is to find a good location for it at home. Like many other tropical plants, the calatea does not tolerate direct sun, since in its natural environment it grows below the tree canopy. At home, the best thing is to look for a bright room, but keep the pot away from the windows and direct light sources. In fact, you can grow your Calathea directly in the shade and it will live well, although its development and vitality will be less.

If you notice that the leaves of your plant are drying or showing brown spots, it means that it is receiving too much sunlight and you should place it in more shelter. Also avoid locating it near artificial heat sources such as stoves, fireplaces or radiators, because they can do a lot of damage to it by drying it out.

Calathea: care - Location for the Calathea plant

Temperature for the Calathea plant

The same thing happens to the Calathea plant as to many other tropical plants that we grow as indoor plants: it admits a fairly narrow range of temperatures for a temperate climate, since in its tropical environment the thermal variation is small. You should keep your Calathea at between 18 ºC and 25 ºC during the warm months, and do not let the temperature of your environment drop below 13 ºC in winter. If it were to drop below 10 ºC, you will most likely lose it.

Irrigation and humidity for the Calathea plant

Again, here the Calathea is no different from most tropical plants: it needs to maintain a certain level of humidity constantly in the substrate, although this should never be confused with flooding it, hence its main difficulty. You should water your calatea frequently and in rather small amountsso that you help the plant to stay moist without its roots suffering from rotting problems.

In warm months, don’t let the top layer of the soil dry out completely between waterings, while in cold months you can let it dry out slightly. If you have a saucer under the pot, do not forget to remove the excess water after watering.

The plant also needs a much higher level of environmental humidity than what we usually have in our homes, so you should spray it from time to time or, better yet, place the pot on a plate with large pebbles or stones and water. Pour water on the plate so that it does not cover the stones and place the pot on top of them. Thus, the water will not reach the flower pot drainage holes, but the water that evaporates naturally will reach the plant constantly. Change the water a couple of times a week and you’re done.

We recommend reading these other articles on When to water plants and How to water plants on vacation.

Calathea: care - Irrigation and humidity for the Calathea plant

Substrate and fertilizer for the Calathea plant

This plant is not too demanding with the substrate, although it is very important that provide the best possible drainage. The best way to make sure it grows well is to use a mixture like universal seed mix that we usually recommend: mix peat, coconut fiber and earthworm humus in equal parts, and then add a handful of vermiculite and another of perlite.

As for the subscriber, you can add one or two centimeters of earthworm humus to the base of the plant once a month, or every 15 days in the warm months.

Transplants, finally, are quite traumatic for the Calathea. Don’t repot your calathea until absolutely necessary, when the plant’s roots or base break out of the pot, and always do so in early spring. Here we tell you everything about Transplanting a plant: when and how to do it.

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