Calathea (peacock plant)
Calathea plants (calathias) are Finicky, and some of its varieties like the white fusion are known as the “drama queen”. These plants are closely related to the members of genus Maranta and they’re all considered as ‘prayer plants’. Leaves of the calathias are used for food wrapping and handicrafts in the tropics. Baskets are weaved with the lanceolate leaves and food is wrapped in wider leaves. The popularity of the peacock plant is increasing and is becoming an important houseplant due to its colorful leaf markings.
Some popular species of the calathias: The Calathea veitchiana ( Medallion calathea), Calathea lancifolia (Rattlesnake calathea), and the Calathea ornata (Pinstipe Calathea).
Overview Calathea plant
Scientfic name Calathea
Common name Cathedral plants, Zebra plant, peacock plant, rattlesnake plant, prayer-plants.
Plant type Houseplant
Sun indirect bright light, shade
Soil well-drained aerated
Soil pH 5.5 – 7
USDA zones 10-11
Photo by Severin Candrian on Unsplash
Calathea Plant care
Mix some of the general potting soil with some perlite or orchid bark, because the ideal soil mixture should be well-draining and aerated. The soil needed for Cathedral plants should be moist but not wet. You can also add a bit of coco coir or sphagnum moss as a moist-retaining element, and it can make sure that the soil doesn’t dry too quickly.
If you let the soil dry out, the leaves of the plant may turn brown or yellow. And when you find the soil surface about 1-2 inches dry, give it water.
You should plant your Calanthea in a planter that has a drainage hole. For example, a plastic nursery pot placed inside a decorative pot. Repot your plant during summertime or spring when the plant is growing. As rattlesnake plant requires repotting yearly.
Calathea plant requires indirect bright light. So, when you plant your Cathedral plants you should consider the best location according to its natural habitat. They should not be exposed to direct sunlight because they are naturally shaded by larger trees.
Direct sunlight can burn the leaves of the plant and their beautiful pattern can fade. They are often known as low-light plants. They should be kept in front of a window because they enjoy the medium bright light.
Place the plant in a location where it receives bright ambient light, and you can watch its leaves move up and down with the sun.
Calathea plants belong to the tropics, therefore, they grow in warmer temperatures. The ideal temperature for calathia plants should be between 18–30 ° C. Take care in keeping rattlesnake plants, they should be kept away from sources of unstable temperatures. Do not use heaters, draftee corridors, etc., these provide unstable temperatures to the plant.
Cathedral plants are best in humid environments and can somewhat tolerate lower humidity. The leaves of the plants start turning brown around the edges without high humidity.
You can avoid your plant from drying out by:
- Using trays of pebbles so can provide the plant with extra humidity as the water evaporates.
- Using a humidifier with filtered water.
- Keep home plants together, this will increase moisture in the plants.
- Placing the calathias in higher-humid areas like bathrooms.
Temperature and humidity are the keys to Calathea plant care.
Rattlesnake plants require moist soil, do not leave it dry. You may need to water your plants for very few days or once in a week or two, depending on the lighting, temperature, and humidity.
You can check the top few inches of the soil to know whether your plants need watering or not. Use filtered water for watering as Cathedral plants are sensitive to salt and chlorine and the leaves may turn yellow and brown from the tips.
Cathedral plants do not require a lot of fertilizers, you can use a general houseplant fertilizer once or twice a month, during the growing season. Be careful not to use fertilizer once the winter starts because it can burn the roots of the plant.
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