Oh Calatheas, how beautiful and how finicky they are. Even though they are not the perfect plant for beginners, they are definitely worth the trouble. These gorgeous plants have amazing, uniquely patterned leaves that look like they're hand painted. I'd say they are one of the most interesting plant Genus there is. Their leaves fold up at night, making them part of the Prayer Plant family. And we cannot forget to mention they are all pet friendly, as they are not toxic for our pets. They have similar plants, also part of the Prayer Plant family, as Ctenanthes, Marantas and Stromanthes, but these have different care regimes.
Even though there are multiple varieties of Calatheas (which we will try and do separately eventually) here are some general tips to make your plants grow and thrive inside your home.
Calatheas thrive in bright indirect sunlight. Place by a window or glass door that receives indirect light. Always shield from sun if placed outside since this can damage the leaves. They do prefer the terrace/balcony lighting here in Puerto Rico, so try to place them where there is plenty of light.
It's important to not let this plant sit in soggy potting mix, since this will lead to root rot. Water only when the top half of the soil feels dry, it is better to let dry a bit between waterings than to overwater, but do not let them be too dry for too long, as they do not like this. All Calatheas love rain water, it is like a boost for them. Once a month, shower their leaves to clean dust, they also love this.
Calatheas in general need a well draining potting mix. We recommend to use an indoor potting mix, with peat moss and perlite or vermiculite, or create your own mix half peat moss, half perlite. This mix helps to retain moisture without rotting the roots. Also, adding a bit of Orchid bark to the mix will help with drainage.
If your plant was just repotted with a potting mix that has fertilizer included, start fertilizing in 6 months, since the potting mix will still have enough nutrients. If not, then start fertilizing right away. You can add slow release fertilizer and forget about it for the next few months. If you prefer to use fertilizer diluted in water, then you can fertilize once a month or every two weeks, since Calatheas love to be fed.
Repot once a year or every other year to give it more space to grow. Always use pots with drainage holes. Repot in pot that is 1 to 2" larger in diameter and in height.
Calatheas are propagated by division. This can be done when repotting.
All Calatheas are not toxic to cats or dogs, so they are safe for pets. Perfect for pet owners.
•Calatheas are native from the tropical Americas.
•They are dynamic because they fold up their leaves at night.
•They are pet safe.
•From personal experience: Rattlesnake Calathea and Calathea Medallion are the most low maintenance of them all.
•Calatheas don't like to receive a lot of attention, it is better to just let them be. Too much water will cause root rot and they do not forgive this.
•Curling leaves in Calatheas usually mean dry soil, while burning, brown tips could mean too much water.