Calathea: care and tips

The Calathea is one of the most popular indoor plants in Europe, due to its particular leaves of great beauty, however, for a correct cultivation of this species, certain care must be taken, so it is worth reviewing the advice of the botanists about it .

Science has so far identified at least 25 species of Calatheas, for this reason, they are easy to confuse, however, they all have the characteristic pattern of the leaves. In addition, the varieties share the same requirements, therefore, once we have learned to grow one, we can already enjoy the others. Hence, many decide to have all possible types, being a kind of hobby, as if it were a personal collection of Calatheas.

In interior design this is a great advantage, as it is possible to find the specific type of Calathea that suits best depending on the style and colors of the space. Whether they are lanceolate or rounded, with blurred or very marked nerves, you can always find a useful variety of this ornamental plant.

Main characteristics of the Calathea

The Calathea belongs to the Marantaceae family and comes from the tropical forests of the center and south of the American continent, especially Brazil, but also from Mexico, Colombia and Peru. It is a herbaceous plant, so it does not have woody organs, in addition, it has an underground stem with several buds, like rhizomes, and can measure 1 meter high in its wild state, while in the city it grows up to 60cm

In the tropics, the Calathea serves as an outdoor ornamental plant, so it is common to find it in gardens, but in the Mediterranean it is exclusively indoor, since it does not support low temperatures. Despite its origins, it has successfully acclimatized in many countries around the world.

The leaves are usually very showy and have the colors pink, purple and green, with different shades and shades, depending on the variety. It is an evergreen plant, however, it requires a series of conditions to survive, so it is important to have all the information before planting.

Calathea Requirements

This is a delicate species compared to other grasses, especially when it is not in its natural habitat. Therefore, to maintain its aesthetic value we must pay attention to the care of the Calathea.

amount of sunlight

To understand the light needs of Calathea, it is necessary to think of the Brazilian rain forest, since this is a common grass in the undergrowth. These are very humid places, but where the sunlight is filtered by the leaves of the largest trees. For this reason, it is always advisable to plant in a space with moderate light and never in direct sunlight, since the leaves are delicate and can burn.

In this sense, it is possible to grow it inside the house in the shade, as long as the space manages to recreate a little the place where the Calatheas originally grow. Likewise, we must keep it at a temperature above 18 °C in preferably humid environments.

The cultivation of Calathea

As for its cultivation, to plant in a pot, fertilizers made with litter are recommended, as well as garden soil, peat and a little sand. It is good to transplant towards the end of winter and the division of plants for multiplication is convenient in early spring. It is necessary to mention that, at least in Europe, the Calathea needs fertilizer every 15 days during growth and then once a month even in the coldest time of the year.

Just the right amount of water

We may think that, being a tropical plant, the Calathea needs a large amount of water, but this does not mean that we should water it excessively, as this could be counterproductive. In this sense, the irrigation guideline must be to maintain the substrate with high humidity throughout the year. Both in summer and spring it is necessary to water abundantly, but without leaving a deposit of excess water in the pot saucer. As for winter, the need for water decreases, so it is better to wait for it to dry out a bit between each watering.


The environmental humidity that exists in the jungle where the Calathea grows is very high, therefore, it is a fundamental characteristic in the care of this plant, since it is difficult to have so much humidity inside a house, not even in the bathroom.. In this sense, if the leaves of your Calathea have turned brown, it is time to increase the humidity.

For this we can place stones on a plate and fill it with water to put the pot on top, taking care that the plant remains on the surface of the stones without having direct contact with the water. This is sufficient in the colder months, however, the summer in the Mediterranean is too dry for the Calathea, so it will be necessary to hydrate the leaves by spraying water on them, this without removing the device that we have installed in winter.


Although some experts think that it is better not to move the Calathea, the truth is that there comes a time when it is necessary. However, we should not be in a hurry, since if we do it before the correct time, it could be highly detrimental to the plant.

It is best to wait until the Calathea has completely filled the pot it is in with roots, so that you can see them come out of the container; thus, the transplant is more likely to be successful. Also, it is important to do it in spring.

While you wait for your Calathea to be ready to transplant, you can use the time for other gardening activities, but also remember to have moments of relaxation, recreation and fun. In this sense, if you are a fan of video games and spend hours in front of the computer, we invite you to review a comparison of gaming chairs, with the aim of choosing the one that best suits your gaming needs.

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