In general calatheas like to be humid, and give them plenty of indirect sunlight and you should find them easy to care for...
Calathea Care Summary
|Light needs:||Indirect sunlight.|
|Watering needs:||Let the top layer of soil dry out only (half a finger depth), before watering again. So the soil is kept moist but not wet|
|Fertilizer:||You don’t need to feed your calatheas, but they will grow quicker if you do, use a balanced general fertilizer in the hotter growing months.|
|Soil:||A well draining multipurpose compost.|
|Humidity:||60% they like to be humid.|
|Temperature:||Normal household temperature, but avoid colds or drafts in winter.|
|Where to buy:||Try our list of Rare Plant Shops.|
|Common issues:||Leaf curling due to low water or humidity levels.|
Welcome to our Calathea care guide. Calatheas are leafy tropical house plants that come in various shapes and sizes, all with strikingly patterned leaves.
Calathea Light Needs
Calatheas like indirect sunlight. Midday sun can burn leaves, so be careful. They grow naturally on the forest floors so do not require bright direct sunlight.
How Often to Water
In the growing season water your calatheas regularly. Let the top layer of soil dry out only (half a finger depth), so the soil is kept moist but not wet. In the winter you can let them dry out to a finger depth before watering, to avoid root rot. The leaves will curl up to let you know if it is underwatered.
It is not absolutely necessary to feed your calatheas, but they will grow quicker if you do. You can give them a balanced general fertilizer in the hotter growing months.
A good multi-purpose well draining potting compost will be great for your calatheas.
When To Repot A Calathea
Repot them in spring. Even if you are happy with it’s size and keep it in it’s pot, calatheas get their nutrients from the soil, and will do well if you change the soil once a year
60% is ideal, they need humidity, they are tropical plants after all. If you have low humidity levels in your home then consider misting the plants when watering.
Don’t let your plants get too cold, other than that normal household temperatures will be fine for calatheas.
Where To Buy A Calathea
They are available in most plants shops, so support your local nursery or plant store. If you cannot, I sometimes get plants from private sellers on Etsy.
Calathea FAQs and Common Issues
Here are a few frequently asked questions…
What Types of Calathea Are There?
There are haundred of different types of calathea out there, here are just a few of our favourites…
Do Calatheas Like To Be Misted?
Calatheas like to be humid, it is best to keep them at 60% or so. If you cannot give them this, you can mist them to up the humidity round them.
Do Calathea Like Acidic Soil?
Slightly acidic soil is ideal, they’ll be fine with most good aroid mixes.
Do Calathea Leaves Move?
Calatheas leaves move with the light slightly, you won’t be able to see it visibly, but they move quite a lot over a 24 hour cycle.
Do Calathea Like To Be Root Bound?
Give the roots plenty of space, pot them up a size if they get crowded.
Can Calathea Grow In Water?
Calathea cannot be propagated from cuttings, and will not do well in water.
Can Calathea Live Outside?
They can live outside if the temperatures are generally above 10°C (50°F). They are quite fussy, and for this reason a controlled indoor environment is best.
Can Calathea Survive In Low Light?
They do well in lower light areas of your home. Low-medium indirect sunlight is ideal.
Why Do Calathea Leaves Turn Yellow?
Calathea leaves will turn brown or yellow if they get too little or too much water. They like to be moist but not dry or soggy.
Why Do Calathea Leaves Droop?
Calathea can dry out quickly, check the soil and if it is dry, try to keep it moist but not soaking.
Where Do Calathea Plants Come From?
The grow naturally in South American tropical jungles.
Is Calathea Toxic To Cats?
Calatheas are are not toxic to cats.
Are Calathea and Maranta the same?
Calatheas and Marantas are very similar plants, often both are referred to as ‘prayer plants’ an both belong to the Marantaceae family. Marantas spread out more are good hanging plants, they also ‘pray’ – the leaves can curl up slightly at night (this is called nyctinasty), you can see a video of this here.
Why are the leaves on my Calathea turning brown?
This can be due to too much sun – try moving your plant out of sunlight. It can also be from too much fertilizer, or even impurities in the water – if you have ‘hard’ tap water, consider filtering it first. I use a water filtering jug for all my calatheas, they are really fussy when it comes to water and the leaves brown easily.
Why are the leaves on my Calathea curling up?
The most common reason for leaf curl is lack of water – don’t let the plant fully dry out between waterings. It could also be low humidity – which can be remedied by regular misting. Leaf curling is a major issue from lack of humidity. Up the humidity levels and you should see the issue stop.
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