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How to care for a Calathea plantCalatheas, who doesn't love them. They come in all shapes and sizes with leaves as beautiful as any you've ever seen. There are many variations but the Pinstripe Calatheas, Peacock Calatheas, Rattlesnake Calatheas and Medallion Calatheas are among our favorites. And with air purifying powers such as the ones that Calatheas possess you really can't go wrong.
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- Once every 2 years
- Bright, Indirect
- Not toxic
- Every 2 weeks
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The Calathea is originally from Brazil and neighbouring countries. The Calathea plant species actually belong to the family of the Marantaceae. This plant is well-known for its variety of impressive leaves. There are even Calatheas with silvery looking leaves. Another fun fact; because its leaves are rather firm, they are widely used as packaging material by locals. So it's common to see fresh fish wrapped in a Calathea leaf. Your Calathea at home would prefer if you wouldn't though :).
The Calathea excels in the field of air purification. Partly due to its many large leaves, this houseplant is very good at converting CO2 into oxygen and purifying the air. So, it's a plant with a story and a skill to boot.
Sweet! The Calathea is not toxic to humans or animals.
The Calathea is originally from the Brazilian rainforest, and therefore is used to tropical conditions. This means it thrives in an environment with high humidity and regular water. However, the plant does not like it if it's constantly standing with its feet in the water, and who would! So be careful not to leave a layer of water at the bottom of the pot. As with any plant, the Calathea needs more water in the summer than in winter. Always check how dry the soil is by putting a finger deep into the soil. Try to keep the soil slightly moist, and your Calathea will be juuuuust fine.
Place the Calathea in a place with light, but not directly in the sun. (This is also called semi-shade.) This houseplant is very sensitive to an excess of sunlight, and will soon get brown leaves. In the tropical rainforest, the Calathea is used to survive under the canopy of large trees, where there's little to no sunlight. That's where the nickname 'shadow plant' comes from. A few feet away from a window on the East or West is a good place for the Calathea, but ideally this plant is placed in front of a window on the North. Oh, and please avoid drafts; Calathea's get a 'cold' quickly. Try to keep temperatures above 16 °C.
In the summer, it may be good to give some plant nutrition once every two weeks. This is totally unnecessary in winter, however, because Calathea's are in hibernation mode. Feeding in winter can even have negative consequences because the plant can't get rid of all those nutrients.
Just like with most plants, it's best to put the Calathea in a new, larger pot once every two years. In the space of two years, most nutrients from the potting soil will have been used and the plant will therefore have a hard time without any new potting soil.
The leaves of a Calathea make the plant very recognizable. There are many different types of Calatheas, all with different types of leaves, but what they all have in common is that each leaf has a unique pattern. The most common is a somewhat sprung pattern. These very stylish leaves are hypersensitive to anything and everything, so it's possible to find brown and curly leaves. You can safely cut them off. This is often caused by too much heat or too little water.
The Calathea is used to high humidity and can therefore become vulnerable to vermin, especially in winter, when indoor heating is on. A plant disease often seen in Calatheas is spider mite. To prevent this, it helps a lot to spray the plant with water every now and then.