The fact that we love houseplants at Plantsome is no longer much of a surprise. Each houseplant is unique and comes with its own story. Because of this, we have decided to create a series that highlights a specific plant and the many things that make it special. For our first feature, we will be focusing our plant spotlight on the beautiful Calathea, a popular genus of houseplant known for its beautiful moving leaves. On our website, Sophia (Calathea Medallion) and Abby (Calathea Zebrina) are both great examples of Calathea plants. So, without further ado, welcome to the wonderful world of the Calathea!
Calathea plants are part of the Marantaceae plant family, which are found in the Amazon region of South America. They are known for their beautiful coloured leaves, which have a different pattern depending on the Calathea species. In the wild, Calathea plants grow as a shrub and their large leaves serve as a natural umbrella for local people and animals. Apart from an umbrella, Calathea leaves are also used as a roofing material, for wrapping up fish, and as small containers. Now that's handy!
The living plant
From the Calathea's many nicknames, one of our favourites is "the Living Plant". It gets that name because Calathea plants have the special ability to close their leaves at night and re-open them in the morning. Technically, their leaves move because of the ions in their leaf cells, which react differently to blue light (found in the day), then to red light (found at night). They also close their leaves when they need more water. Researchers believe that Calathea plants do this to protect themselves from the cold. Sometimes you can even hear Calathea plants move (they make a rushing 'tsss' sound)! So don't be alarmed if you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and see something moving in the corner. It's not a ghost, it's just your good friend the Calathea!
It's obvious that Calathea are very unique plants. They are a beautiful addition to any living room, office space, or even dog house. And they also do a great job of keeping the air clean. In short, a green amigo anyone would want to have!