Calathea care

The Calathea is also known as “the living plant.” This plant closes its leaves in the evening and opens them up again in the morning. These movements are so fast that you can actually hear the leaves rustle! On this page you’ll find all information on Calathea care, from the ideal spot until repotting instructions. Follow these Calathea care guidelines and help yours live a long and healthy life.

The Calathea is a colourful plant that is part of the Marantaceae family. This family is originally from South America and consists of the Calathea, Ctenanthe and Stromanthe. There are quite a few different types of Calatheas, each with different leaf shapes and patterns. For example, the Calathea Zebrina has a light and dark green zebra print, the Calathea Roseopicta Dottie is completely purple and the Calathea Lancifolia has elongated leaves with dots.

Although the leaf patterns very considerably, all Calatheas require the same care. Their natural habitat is quite dark, and their preferred humidity level is high. That is why it is important never to place Calatheas in direct sunlight or near the heating. Read on for all Calathea care tips.

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Calathea light requirements

Place the Calathea in partial shade from spring until autumn. During winter you can move the plant to a light spot, clear of direct sunlight. Furthermore, make sure that you do not place the Calathea near the heating, as the humidity here is quite low.

Calathea care: water

Regularly give the Calathea small amounts of lukewarm water to make sure the potting soil is always mildly moist. Never give a large amount of water in one go, and make sure there’s never a layer of excess water at he bottom of the pot. It’s best to water the Calathea using rainwater or other lime-free water, as lime can leave white stains on the leaves. The plant requires a little less water during winter. Regularly mist the plant using a plant spray to maintain a high humidity. This will in turn improve the plant’s health and resilience.

What’s good to know is that the Calathea leaves curl up or drop down when it has had too little water. Take this as a sign to water it more and/or more often.

Repotting tips

We recommend repotting the Calathea once a year. Do this during the spring, when the plant recovers fastest from repotting. Be careful not to damage the roots too much when repotting. Use a pot that is at least 20% larger than the current pot, allowing the roots plenty of room to grow.

We recommend placing a layer hydro granules at the bottom of the pot when repotting. That way, it won’t matter if you overwater the plant, as the hydro granules provide drainage.

Calathea care: Fertilizer requirements

The plant won’t need any fertilizer during the first two months. During that time, the plant can still obtain enough fertilizer from the fresh potting soil. After the first 2 months, only apply fertilizer during spring and summer to promote growth.

Make sure you never give too much plant food. This can be quite harmful to the plant’s roots. The maximum amount of plant food is noted on the packaging. Never use more than recommended. The plant doesn’t need any fertilizer during fall and winter.

Is the Calathea plant poisonous?

All outdoor and indoor plants on Plantler have a decorative purpose; they’re not fit for consumption – unless it is explicitly stated that they are (i.e. a fruit tree). The Calathea is generally not known to be a poisonous plant.