Calathea: The Plant That Changes Throughout The Day

Calathea is a plant that's native to tropical areas. Learn more about it and how to care for yours.
Calathea: The Plant That Changes Throughout The Day

Last update: 05 January, 2023

Calathea is a beautiful indoor plant. What’s more, its leaves open when the sun rises and they close or roll themselves up again at night. Its leaves are green on the top and violet on the underside and the fact that they change depending on the time of day, allows us to admire them at their best.

This plant is native to tropical areas. It reaches about 60 centimeters in height and is native to the tropical areas of America. Keep reading to discover more about this beauty, as well as to learn about its care.

Discover how to take care of your calathea

Calathea has wavy leaves with striking geometric patterns. Some produce flowers, but it’s the leaves that stand out the most, depending on the particular species. Among the most common species are Calathea Makoyana, Calathea Zebrina, Calathea Insignis, and Calathea Ornata.

Its origin is in the undergrowth of tropical forests and it requires very specific care. This includes moderate light exposure without direct sunlight. Continue reading to find out more about its care.

Calathea leaves are wavy with natural geometric patterns.
Calathea leaves are wavy with natural geometric patterns.

1. Moderate watering

Irrigation is one of the most delicate aspects regarding the care of the calathea. Being a tropical plant, you may be mistaken for thinking that you have to water it constantly. However, providing it with humidity is more important.

You should ensure that the soil stays moist throughout the year. During the winter you should wait for the soil to dry out a bit between watering, and in spring and summer, water it more often. Always make sure you remove any surplus water by leaving a container under the pot.

2. Indirect lighting

As we’ve already mentioned, the calathea comes from tropical undergrowth, which is a humid place, but one that’s also dark. Remember, in tropical forests, large trees, and native species block sunlight from the smaller species.

It’s for this reason that when you grow the plant indoors, you should place it in an area where it receives light, but not directly. If you happen to overlook this and leave it in direct sun, you’ll notice that the leaves will burn. Simply put, when it comes to lighting, it’s important to somewhat mimic the natural living conditions of this plant.

3. Fertilizer and the calathea

Calathea is quite a demanding plant in terms of fertilizer. After all, in the undergrowth and its natural environment, the soil is rich in countless micro and macronutrients.

As such, you’ll have to feed your plant once a month, even in colder months like winter. However, during the growth stage, you’ll have to do this twice a month (every 15 days).

4. Monitor the temperature

While extreme heat harms the calathea, so does the cold. In light of this, try to keep the temperature of your home stable, ideally between 64 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature extremes will cause the plant to suffer, or to become stressed, sick, and even die.

5. Transplanting the calathea

Relocating or transplanting is stressful for any plant because you’re removing familiarity and its comfort zone. However, sometimes it’s necessary, especially when it outgrows its current pot.

You’ll know when it’s ready for transplanting when its roots begin to protrude, indicating that the container is already too small for it.

Common calathea problems and their causes

The calatea flowers, but its most peculiar characteristic is its leaves.
The calathea does flower, but its most peculiar characteristic is its leaves.

Calathea is a beautiful plant, so seeing it in a bad way means that it’s sick. Here are some common issues to look out for:

  • Wilted leaves: wrinkled and with dry substrate often means a lack of water.
  • Yellow leaves: a black base with yellowing leaves means excess watering.
  • Leaf spots: this indicates a fungal infection or mineral buildup from the water.
  • Insects in the soil: can mean the presence of fungi or excessively moist substrate.

Take care of your calathea like a professional!

Now that you know how to care for the calathea, it’s time to take care of your plant like a professional. Make sure you keep its leaves clean and shiny too. You can do this by using a damp microfiber cloth to remove any dust and grime buildup. Now go enjoy your plant!