Calathea Plants, native to tropical South and Central America, Africa, and the West Indies, are grown primarily for their beautiful, brightly colored, upright, oval leaves. There are over 300 different types of Calathea Plants, many being man-made hybrids created by tissue cultures. The various Calathea varieties have leaves with a purple undersides and various vibrant colorful patterns on the top side. Indoors, a Calathea is a table plant or short bush that rarely gets bigger than 24” tall and 24”-26” wide.
A Calathea Plant likes bright indirect light; so placing it in front of an east, west, or north window is ideal. Too much direct sun burns the leaves of a Calathea Plant and causes the beautiful leaf colors to fade.
Allow the top 2-3” to dry out before watering. Never let a Calathea Plant sit in water. Calathea Plants are very sensitive to the water you use. Hard water, soft water, fluoridated water, or water of poor quality causes the leaves of a Calathea Plant to turn brown from leaf burn. The best way to water a Calathea Plant is to use distilled water, rainwater, or allow your tap water to sit out overnight before using it. Keep the soil of a Calathea Plant moist but never soggy.
Calathea Plants like temperatures between 65°-80° F degrees, and do not like cold drafts or temperatures below 55°-60° F degrees. Hot temperatures cause the leaves of a Calathea Plant to curl.
Common Problems Q&A
Why are my leaves yellow?
This may be a sign your plant is receiving too little water. You don't want the soil to be soggy but you do want to keep it moist. Calathea plants can survive short periods of under watering, but if it goes on for too long you will notice yellowing leaves.
Why is the pattern on my leaves fading?
When a Calathea receives full sunlight the Chlorophyll in the leaves takes over and the light and dark patterns fade or disappear. Simply move your plant to an area with more shade or indirect light, the amount of Chlorophyll will be reduced and the pattern will reappear.
Why are my leaves turning brown and drying out?
This is usually a sign the air in the room is too dry. You can move you plant to a room with more humidity, like the bathroom, laundry room or kitchen. If you want to leave the plant where it is, misting the leaves can help!