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Are Calathea plants easy to grow?
How to Care for Calathea easy guide
Calathea plants belong to the Marantaceae family and are geographically found under massive trees on the rainforest floor in South America. Known for its vibrantly ornate leaves, it’s easy to see why plant lovers of all types are drawn to the pet and people-friendly Calathea plant. The large, multicolored leaves are a guaranteed showstopper for any space you need a pop of color. If you are prepared to put in a little work, you can expect a big payout from this eye-catching jungle flora.
While there are a wide variety of popular Calathea houseplants such as C. Orbifolia, Musaica aka Network, Makoyana aka Peackock plant, Ornata, BeautyStar etc, all of them follow the same rule of thumb care-wise (with one exception being Calateha White Fusion requiring extra extra humidity and best suited to terrarium conditions).
When you first get your Calathea, resist the urge to immediately re-pot it. It needs time to adjust to the new environment you are putting it in. A good waiting time is a week to two weeks. Avoid putting your Calathea directly into a terracotta pot as the clay from the pot absorbs water that the plant needs to stay moist. If you love the look of terracotta pots, have no fear! You can keep the plant in its nursery container and place that container in the pot.
Water your Calathea with either room temperature or warm water. Rain, filtered or distilled water is advised as minerals found in tap water like fluoride can harm the plant. However, the best source of water is to collect rainwater that’s applies to all plants, though it is not required. Water your Calathea regularly allowing 1 - inches of the substrate to dry up before next watering. Crucially avoid too much water that will stay stagnant in the pot as that will drown the roots leading to plant deteriorating and eventually dying.
Humidity and Temperature
The Achilles’ heel to maintaining Calathea houseplants is failing to keep high humidity and warm air around them. To keep your plant comfortable, it requires at least 70°F/21°C and over 50% humidity. If you aren’t sure if you have the right temperature or humidity, you can purchase a cheap Temperature and Hydrometer with Humidity Gauge. If you are worried you cannot maintain a sufficient amount of constant humidity for your plant, you can also purchase a small humidifier. A cheaper alternative is to mist the leaves in the morning and let the heat keep your Calathea happy and humid. Although we found some varieties of Calatheas are easier and less humidity hungry. Currently we stock only the easier ones so check our store for Calatheas if you would like one.
It’s important to remember that Calathea plants are found on the floors of the jungle where they are shaded from the sun by the towering trees above them. When you bring one into your home, make sure to put it in indirect light as your goal is to mirror rainforest conditions.
A good spot for your Calathea plant is somewhere it can be away from windows but still receive low light. If you can read a book in a room with natural light only, that is the perfect location for your Calathea. If you watch closely, you can keep track of how the leaves follow the sun at a safe distance.
While you may initially feel intimidated by the finicky nature of the Calathea, you are now more than prepared to go to your nearest plant nursery and take one home to bring a piece of the rainforest to your favorite room.
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