Calathea Rufibarba
Calathea and Maranta,  Plant Care

Calathea Rufibarba

Welcome to our calathea rufibarba careguide. They like to be fairly humid and do not like to be root bound, find out below how to get the best out of your plant in this care and propagation guide…

Calathea Rufibarba Summary

Light needs:Plenty of bright but indirect sunlight.
Watering needs:Check weekly in winter, twice weekly in summer, water if the top 25% is dry.
Fertilizer:Use an NPK 3:1:2 feed once a month in the summer months. 
Soil:Rich, well draining compost with some perlite for drainage.
Temperature:18-27°C (65-80°F). 
Where to buy:Try our list of Rare Plant Shops.
Common issues:Underwatering and lack of humidity.


The calathea rufibarba a.k.a. the furry feather calathea, is a really nice calathea with long sword-like leaves that feel velvety to the touch.

See also: Calathea Medallion Care, Calathea Orbifolia, Calathea White Fusion, Calathea Louisae, Prayer Plant Leaf Curling.

Tip: we recommend Etsy for buying plants. Look for the best rated seller you can, and try to buy as close to your home as possible so the plant does not travel too far.

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Calathea Rufibarba Light Needs

Give your calathea rufibarba plenty of bright but indirect sunlight. Direct sun will be too much for it. They can be ok in medium indirect sunlight too, but grow best a bit brighter.

How Often to Water

Check your calathea once a week in winter and twice in summer and water if the top 25% is dry. They can be fussy when it comes to watering they must not get soaking wet to the point the soil is heavy, but they must not dry out. They are best kept slightly moist. Make sure it’s not sat in water left in the tray underneath it after watering, tip it out.

Tip: they can be sensitive to hard water, so use filtered tap water and let it stand over night, I use a brita water filter and use it first thing in the morning with water from the day before.


Use a feed once a month in the summer months. Select one which is aimed at foliage, and has slightly higher nitrogen content. You can use a balanced feed with an npk of something like 1:1:1 (all numbers the same), but as this is a leafy plant it is good to use one with more nitrogen so an npk of something like 3:1:2.


Use a rich, but well draining compost. You can add some perlite to ensure it drains well.

When To Repot

Repot once a year even if not going up a pot size to keep the soil rich and refresh nutrients.

Calathea Rufibarba Humidity

50%-60%. Calatheas like the high end of household humidity. You can mist them daily to up the level of humidity. For me, I have always been able to keep calatheas healthy as long as I mist them or give them a humidity pebble tray. They can easily curl or crisp up if the humidity drops too much.

Tip: Keep them humid, aim for at least 50% in the day and they’ll be ok with a bit less at night. You can buy a humidity meter (affiliate link) to keep an eye on maximum and minimum levels.


18-27°C (65-80°F). Normal household temperatures will be fine. Don’t let them get too cold in winter, 15°C (59°F) is a good minimum temperature. Avoid cold drafts too.

Calathea Rufibarba Where To Buy

Support your local plant store where you can, if they don’t have one, try one of these Rare Plant Shops.

Calathea Rufibarba Propagation

You need to propagate it by division. You cannot take stem cuttings. You need to wait until the plant is a good size and has started to spread out, so there are plants that can be separated out. Take the plant out of its pot and then divide it up, being careful not to damage the plants. Then you can pot them all up separately.

Calathea Rufibarba Vs Wavestar

The calathea rufibarba and the calathea wavestar are the same plant just different names for it

Calathea Rufibarba USDA Zone

Zones 10-11.

Do Calatheas Like To Be Root Bound?

You should make sure their roots have enough room to grow or they will not grow their best.

Are The Toxic To Cats?

They are non-toxic to dogs and cats.

Do Calathea Rufibarba Flower?

They can flower with big yellow flowers around the base of the plant.

Why Is My Calathea Rufibarba Drooping?

They can droop when over watered or underwatered. Check the soil to be sure. They should be kept Why Is My Calathea Rufibarba Drooping? but not dry or waterlogged. Keep them moist by checking the soil a couple of times a week and only watering is the top 25% is dry, and then make sure the plant is not stood in excess water in the tray underneath the plant.

Why Is My Calathea Rufibarba Turning Yellow?

Yellowing can be due to overwatering and underwatering, but most commonly, overwatering. It is important to keep the soil moist but not over water.

How Big Does It Grow?

They can grow to 50cm to a meter (20 to 40 inches) tall, it can take up to 5 years to reach maturity.

Other Names

Velvet calathea, furry feather calathea, calathea wavestar, goeppertia rufibarba.

Calathea Rufibarba FAQs and Common Problems

Leaves can dry up and go crispy if not given enough humidity or moisture, so make sure the plant is watered well. Be careful of plant pests too.

A calathea rufibarba does not like to be root bound, make sure you give it plenty of space in the pot and repot it once a year.

How Big Can It Grow?

They can grow to a meter in height (3 feet), making them a relatively large houseplant at maturity.

Other Articles You Might Like

Hope you liked our guide to the calathea rufibarba. You might also like our other guides: Calathea Lancifolia Care, Begonia Maculata, and Prayer Plant Propagation.

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Calathea Rufibarba
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