Friday, April 10, 2020

Spotlight: Calathea

Calathea Lancifolia

Calatheas are often grown as houseplants and go by common names such as the Peacock Plant, Zebra Plant or Rattlesnake Plant. Their bold leaves with markings and patterns on them are very striking.  Even though their flowers are small and insignificant, calatheas are often some of the prettiest and most unusual houseplants.  
Calathea Maranta (Prayer Plant)
Calatheas are in the Marataceae or prayer plant family. Calatheas and Prayer plants look very similar and have similar care requirements.  Like the prayer plants, the leaves on the calatheas also close up slightly at night.
Calathea Medallion
Care Recommendations

Calatheas seldom flower as houseplants and they are mainly grown for their unique foliage.  Most grow under 2-3' tall and they aren't that easy to grow. They do best with a medium to fairly bright indirect light without any direct sun. Too much sun can damage their fragile leaves and cause them to turn brown. Calatheas were originally native to the rainforests of Brazil and Africa where they were an understory plants.  In nature, they are found in jungles and at the base of trees.
Calathea Beauty Star
Calatheas are very sensitive to the water that is used to water them. Hard water, soft water or fluoridated water all cause the leaves on calatheas to turn brown. Rainwater, distilled water or water that is left to sit out for 24 hours are all appropriate for watering them. Fluoride toxicity is a common problem with many calathea varities.  It often shows as a tip or marginal burn and affects the oldest leaves first.  In order to avoid this, you must use low-fluoride phosphate sources and low-fluoride irrigation water.  Incorporating gypsum in the soil also reduces fluoride availability.
Calathea Ornata

We hope you enjoyed our overview on calatheas.  If you are interested in adding some lush, tropical plants to your commercial workplace? Let one of our experienced designers help you get started! We offer complimentary consultations and design services. Contact Everything Grows today and one of our designers will be happy to assist you!

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