Calathea are some of our most beautiful houseplants. They are also known as a “Peacock Plant”, a “Zebra Plant”, or a “Rattlesnake Plant” (my least favorite of the titles). Some are even called a “Prayer Plant” because their leaves lift high as the evening approaches and then drop again in the morning. Their leaves almost look as if they have been painted. Despite their beauty and diversity, the thing about Calathea–they are not the easiest houseplants to care for and can be a “little” finicky. So we thought we would take the time to give you tips to keep your Calathea happy and healthy.
Light and Location
Calathea prefer medium light. You do not want to place them in a room that is very bright or a room that is very shady. Find a spot in your home that gets a good amount of indirect light. While Calathea do like a humid environment, they do not do well near sources of heat. So make sure you don’t place them near a source of heat like a fireplace or vent. The heat will dry them out, and that is the opposite of what you want to do.
Water and Humidity
Unlike your cute hairdo, Calathea love the humidity. Do all that you can to keep Calathea in a humid environment. You may be thinking that you do everything you can to keep the humidity OUT of your home, but there are a few locations and tactics to keep Calathea moist. Consider placing your Calathea in a room that is typically more humid–the bathroom or the laundry room (make sure that this location has enough light however). If those locations don’t work for you, place pebbles or marbles in the tray that you keep your Calathea in, and add water. You do NOT want the base of the plant sitting in water. But add just enough water so it can evaporate and create a more humid environment. Another way to add humidity is to mist your plant. You can do this daily if needed.
While Calathea want to stay moist, they do not want to be wet. So water them when you notice the soil has become a little dry. If the water runs into the tray, again, you can allow a layer of water for the pebbles or marbles (if using), but empty out any water that is not absorbed. During the summer, you should likely be watering your Calathea a couple times a week.
To Repot or Not to Repot
If you think it may be time to repot your Calathea, turn it out of the pot it is in and check the roots. If they are brown or appear crowded, it is time to repot. Choose a new pot that is no more than 2 inches in diameter larger than the pot it is currently in. Gently loosen the roots, add fresh potting soil, nestle the Calathea into its new home and then add potting soil to the sides.
Best of luck with your Calathea care. As always, you know we are here to answer any questions about any of your houseplants. We love that you love them, too!