How to care for Calathea houseplants
Calatheas are popular houseplants, commonly known for their impressive patterns and unique movement tendencies. Here at Moffatt's, we are amazed by the marvelous foliage on all of our Calathea, such as the Makoyana, Louisae and Lancifolia.
While Calathea are relatively easy-care, they will still benefit from the right growth conditions and a bit of extra TLC. In this article, we’ve outlined everything you need to know to help your Calathea thrive for years to come.
How often should you water Calatheas?
Calathea are not particularly thirsty plants! While they appreciate a regular watering, they do not like to sit in damp soil for long periods of time. We’d recommend using distilled water to saturate the top few inches of soil, then wait for this to dry out between watering. Water every few days in the growing season and reduce in the cooler months.
What are the best lighting conditions for Calathea?
For best growth conditions, place your Calathea in bright but indirect sunlight. Filtered light is great as it replicates forest-like environments, which the Calathea plant is familiar with. Direct sunlight may burn the leaves or cause them to tarnish. Avoid direct sun rays streaming onto your plant.
Should you mist Calathea? (how much humidity do they like)
Calathea’s prefer a humid environment so will appreciate being occasionally misted to replicate their natural growing conditions. Calathea can absorb moisture through their leaves so spritzing them with water will help them thrive.
How do you propagate and repot Calathea?
Due to their shape and growing conditions, Calathea are one of the indoor plants that can't be propagated from stems or nodes. If your plant is getting too big and you would prefer two smaller plants, you should separate it from the roots.
Find out more: How to repot houseplants
Do you need to prune Calathea?
Aside from yellow or brown leaves, Calatheas do not require any pruning. They are a low growing plant and will keep a relatively bushy shape without any pruning. This adds to their easy-care appeal! Removing dead or yellow leaves may encourage new growth.
Common Issues with Calathea Houseplants
Why are the leaves on my Calathea drooping?
Calatheas are often referred to as ‘prayer plants’ because they close their leaves at night then open them again in the morning, resembling a prayer-like motion! Therefore, do not be alarmed by drooping leaves as this can be considered natural movement.
If you notice the leaves slumped over for a prolonged period of time, this could indicate a thirsty plant. Rehydrate with a quick watering and be rewarded with upright leaves.
Why are the leaves on my Calathea turning brown?
Leaves could be turning brown for several reasons. With a little experimentation, you will get to the bottom of it and have a thriving plant in no time.
Firstly you want to entirely remove any brown or yellow leaves. This often needs to be done in stages because removing more than 20% of the leaves at one time may shock the plant.
If you’ve tidied up your plant and the leaves are still turning brown, a common cause of this is water quality. Most people use tap water to replenish their plants and while this may seem like the easiest option, a lot of tap water will contain chlorine, minerals and fluoride which can cause the tips of leaves to turn brown and curl up. To mitigate this, you can leave water in an open container or jug overnight, allowing it to filter out the nasty toxins, or invest in a filtration jug.
Another reason for brown leaves could be related to how often you water your Calathea. To ensure you aren’t over or under-watering, check that the top few inches of soil have dried out before replenishing.
Aside from these common concerns, Calatheas are relatively easy-care houseplants that require little maintenance. If you have any questions regarding Calatheas or house plant care, please contact us through the website or social media. Our talented team have a wealth of knowledge and are here to help.