All you need to know about Calathea plants


Indoor plants are a great source of indoor decoration and indoor landscaping. They bring alluring beauty to offices, meeting rooms, lobbies, and homes. They provide numerous benefits to offices, workplaces, and residential buildings. Bright, colorful blooming plants are very relaxing for the eyes and nerves of people who are working or living there. The plants selected for indoor decoration must be easy to care for. Plants that require less sunlight are considered better.

One plant that fits all these requirements and will add to your indoors’ aesthetics is the Calathea plant. Calathea plants can grow well even in low light, but certain factors can make it a challenge. Here is all you need to know before keeping a Calathea plant.


Calathea Plant on white ceramic pot What is a Calathea Plant?

Calathea is a popular choice of home and office decorators and owners. The plant thrives well in indirect lighting, which means it is the best choice for indoor use. They are easy to care for and are visually attractive.  They have broad leaves, which let them make the most of the available sunlight.

Calathea belongs to a family of plants called Marantaceae. They are flowering plants originating from tropical areas of Africa. People like them because of their broad, green, and colorful leaves. In nature, they are most often found in forests at the base of trees, where the reach of light is relatively low.


Calathea at a Glance:


Botanical name Calathea
Plant type Herbaceous Perennial
Mature Size 6 in. – 3 ft tall, 6 in. – 2 ft. wide
Soil pH Acidic
Bloom time Summer
Flower color Yellow, Purple, White
Hardiness Zones 11, 12 (USDA)
Toxicity Non-toxic



What are the most common species of Calathea plants?

There are various species of calathea plants that are readily available for indoor decoration. Some of them are:

  • Calathea lancifolia
  • Calathea ornata
  • Calathea rufibarba
  • Calathea roseopicta
  • Calathea makoyana
  • Calathea orbifolia

You may be surprised that Calathea plants are also known with some exciting names such as peacock plants, cathedral plants, zebra plants, prayer-plants, and rattlesnake plants.


How to plant, grow and care for a calathea plant?

Calathea plants are common indoor plants as they do not require any special care. You can plant them in planters of various sizes and shapes. They can be placed at a variety of locations in a building. If you have bought a Calathea plant or plan to buy one, here are the basic things you should know about it.

Indirect Light:

They can be placed anywhere in a building where there is an availability of indirect light. They need bright light, but they thrive when the light is not from a direct source such as an open window. Exposure to direct sunlight will cause the leaves to burn and lose their vibrant colors.

Limited Water:

Calathea plant requires distilled or purified water. It requires moist soil, but too much moisture is not suitable for its health. Take care not to let the plant sitting in standing water.


Calathea plant originally belongs to tropical areas, and the optimum temperature for them is between 65 – 80 degrees. Temperature greater or less than this optimum temperature can damage the plants, which first appears to curl the leaves.


Calathea grows and thrives in humid environments. They have a large surface area due to big leaves, which may lose moisture if you keep them in a dry environment. The leaves absorb the required amount of moisture from the air through their broad, green leaves.


You can use houseplant fertilizer during spring, summer, and fall to increase the fertilization process. They do not need special fertilizers, but it is good to add some fertilizers during growth and flowering periods.


A calathea plant requires no special pruning. You just need to remove yellow and brown leaves.


A soil blend that can retain moisture will take good care of the Calathea plant. The planter should have holes in the base to let the excess water drain from it, as waterlogging can cause it to rot. Calathea, grow best in acidic soil, with an optimum pH of around 6.5.

Calathea Plant in brown clay pot

How does a Calathea grow indoors?

Calathea is a plant that prefers moderation. It requires just the right amount of moisture, light, and temperature. Its growth depends on the type of plant that you have. Their average height is 2 feet, after which you just need to remove the yellow and brown leaves. Most of the Calathea do not bloom indoors, and they just have bright green and attractive leaves.


Calathea Plant – Common Problems and their Reasons:

  1. Symptoms: The plant shows wilting along with curling leaves. The potting mix appears dry.
  2. Cause: the plant is under-watered
  3. Cure: Water the plant well to let its soil soak water. Don’t leave standing water in the pot.
  4. Symptoms: The plant shows yellowing leaves with a black base. The potting mix appears wet.
  5. Cause: the plant is over-watered
  6. Cure: Let its soil drain water or add more soil. Never leave standing water in the pot.
  7. Symptoms: The leaves show undesirable spots.
  8. Cause: the plant has a fungal infection. There is a possibility of mineral build-up if the tap water is used.
  9. Cure: Water the plant with distilled water.



Though the plant is non-toxic and pet-friendly, it is always better to keep the indoor plants out of children and pets’ reach.



You can brighten up your lobbies, meeting rooms, and apartments with the beautiful Calathea plant. When keeping a calathea indoors, you need to take care of providing it with the right level of humidity, indoor air temperatures, and the right amount of pure water. You can place them at any place where they can get indirect exposure to sunlight. They will continue to thrive and please your eyes for years if you keep them in the right conditions.

Bonus video: Calathea Plant Varieties A to Z




Thank you for reading!

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