How to Grow and Care for Calathea Plants

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When it comes to houseplants, there are few that are as strikingly beautiful as calathea plants. With their vibrant, colorful leaves, calatheas are sure to add a touch of elegance to any indoor space. But while calatheas may be beautiful, they can also be a bit finicky. If you’re thinking of adding a calathea to your indoor garden, here are a few things you should know about how to grow and care for them.

History of Calathea as a Houseplant

History of Calathea as a Houseplant

Calathea is a genus of tropical plants native to South America. The plants are known for their beautiful, brightly colored leaves, and their ability to thrive in low-light conditions. Calathea has been a popular houseplant since the Victorian era. It was brought to Europe from South America in the 1800s and quickly became a favorite among gardeners and indoor plant enthusiasts.

How to Care for Calathea

How to Care for Calathea

Calathea plants make beautiful, low-maintenance houseplants–but they do require some care to keep their foliage looking its best. Here are a few tips for keeping your calathea healthy and happy:

Lighting for Calathea Plants

Lighting for Calathea Plants

Provide bright, indirect light. These plants do best in bright, indirect light–too much direct sun will cause their leaves to fade or burn. If you don’t have a spot in your home that gets bright, indirect light, you can grow calathea under fluorescent lights.

Watering Calathea Plants

Watering Calathea Plants

When it comes to watering, calatheas like to be kept moist but not soggy. Allow the top inch or so of soil to dry out in between waterings. The best way to determine if your plant needs water is to stick your finger into the soil. If the soil feels dry to the touch, it’s time to water your plant. To avoid overwatering, we recommend using a moisture meter to check the soil before watering. If the leaves start to droop, that’s a sign that your plant is thirsty and needs a drink. If the leaves are yellowing or browning, it can be a sign of overwatering. Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering your plant again.

Humidity Considerations for Calathea

Humidity Considerations for Calathea

Because they are native to the tropical regions of South America, calatheas prefer warm, humid conditions. If your home is on the drier side, you’ll need to take steps to increase the humidity around your calathea. One way to do this is to group your plant with other moisture-loving plants, such as ferns or orchids. You can also use a humidifier, or simply mist your calathea’s leaves on a regular basis.

Fertilizing Calathea Plants

Fertilizing Calathea Plants

Calatheas are typically slow-growing plants, so they don’t require a lot of fertilizer. If you do decide to fertilize your plant, we recommend using a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer that’s been diluted to half strength. Fertilize your plant every other week during the growing season and monthly during the winter.

Common Calathea Issues

Common Calathea Issues

While calatheas are relatively low-maintenance plants, they are susceptible to a few common pests and diseases. Mealybugs and spider mites are two of the most common pests that attack calatheas. These pests can cause the leaves to yellow and drop off, so it’s important to catch them early and take steps to get rid of them. If you see any signs of pests, you can try wiping down the leaves with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. For more serious infestations, you may need to use an insecticide.

Common diseases that affect calatheas include fungal infections and leaf spot. Fungal infections are often caused by overwatering, so be sure to water your plant only when the top inch or so of soil is dry. If you see any signs of fungal infection, such as white or gray mold on the leaves, you can treat it with a fungicide.

Leaf spot is another common disease that can be caused by overwatering or poor drainage. If you see brown or yellow spots on the leaves, you can try treating it with a fungicide.

Calathea Plants – The Wrap-up

With proper care, calatheas can make beautiful, long-lasting additions to your indoor garden. Just remember to give them bright, indirect light, keep the humidity high, and water them when the top inch of soil is dry. By following these simple tips, you can keep your Calathea healthy and thriving for years to come.

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