How to care for your Calathea

Tuesday February 28, 2023
Calathea care

How to Care for your Calathea

The Calathea is a stunning tropical houseplant known for its bold stunning foliage, you can usually tell a calathea apart due to its maroon underside to its leaves. This plant folds up slightly at night which is how it gets the nickname of the prayer plant.

Calathea’s natural habitat is ground foliage on the floor of tropical rainforests. So this can help point you in the right direction for caring for your Calathea.

Calathea’s need a bit more specific TLC in order to thrive. They prefer to be in a consistently warm spot with bright in-direct sunlight. Keep them away from any bright direct sun! Keep its soil consistently moist (but not over saturated) is what most Calathea’s prefer. Keeping the humidity levels high is where they are most comfortable as well.


In general, placing your Calathea somewhere that it can receive lots of bright in-direct light is ideal. The Calathea can handle a low light environment – however to maintain its beautiful colours looking vibrant it is best to place it in bright indirect light.


A well-draining potting soil that is rich in organic matter is ideal for your Calathea. A slightly acidic to neutral pH soil is the best choice for this plant.


Calathea’s are known to have above average needs when it comes to watering. Give your Calathea and thorough watering when the top few inches of soil feels dry to the touch.

While the Calathea may be a thirsty plant, they still like to dry out a bit between waterings. It is important to allow its soil to dry out slightly between waterings as keeping its soil overly saturated can still lead to root rot which can bring a host of issues to your plant.

Another important variable with Calathea is that they are known to be “diva’s” especially with the type of water they prefer to receive.

Watering your Calathea using filtered or distilled water is ideal. Using tap water may contain different minerals or compounds that can be damaging to its leaves.

Brown edges along the edge of its leaves can be an indication that the water is high in salt or contains chlorine, chloramine, bromide, or fluoride.


Fertilizing your Calathea can promote new growth and encourage new blooms depending on the variety. Adding a liquid organic fertilizer diluted to half strength or follow the directions on the bottle. It is best to fertilize your Calathea only during its growing season.

Temperature & Humidity

Being a tropical plant, Calathea’s enjoys warmer temperatures. Temperatures above 18 °C (65°F) is where Calathea’s do best. Anything above 29°C (85°F) may become too hot for your plant.

Avoid placing your calathea near exteriors doors, windows and away from any drafts or HVAC venting – especially from heat in the colder months and Air Conditioning in the summer.


Propagating a Calathea can be quite straight forward. The best way to propagate a Calathea is through root-division. However, this should only be done during spring or its growing season. As well as the plant should be healthy and at least 2 years old.

  1. Start by taking your plant out of its grow pot, gently separate the root ball with your fingers. Gently pull from the outer edges of the root ball and you should find that a piece should come off fairly easy.
    1. If the root separation is not easy – you can cut through the roots to separate it. Be sure to use a clean and sterile sharp blade.
  2. Re pot both new root divisions into fresh soil. You should place them into pots that are slightly larger than its root system.
  3. Water your freshly potted plant and place somewhere that it can receive bright in-direct sunlight


Potting & Re Potting

  1. Water your plant the day before you plan to repot it. This allows the roots to absorb enough moisture before their root system is handled.
  2. Gently dig around the plant, knock off the majority of the extra soil being careful not to damage its root system.
  3. Gently separate the roots to expose the root ball of the plant.
  4. Replant your Calathea in a brand-new pot with fresh soil. Be sure to add soil to the bottom of the pot first before placing your plant in its new pot. Check to see that the height of the plant is level with the soil. Water after re potting and monitor your plant for the next week.


FAQ / Common issues

  1. My Calathea leaves are drooping.
  • Drooping or curled up leaves can be a sign of your plant needing water. Calathea’s are known for being thirsty plants as they like their soil to be consistently moist (but not over-saturated)


  1. The edges of my plant’s leaves are turning brown and yellow.

Yellow or brown tips on your calathea can be from either underwatering or overwatering. It is important to find the mid ground as to how much water your Calathea will need to stay happy. Keep adjusting your plants watering needs and frequency to find out the main issue for this.