Calathea Care: How to Keep a Calathea Plant Healthy

Calathea plant
Calathea plants are popular house plants because of their beautiful foliage and easy maintenance. Elizabeth Fernandez/Getty Images

It's no wonder why the calathea plant — also commonly known as the cathedral, peacock or zebra plant — is such a popular household plant. Its beautiful foliage of bright white veins against green, red and cream leaves provides interesting and unique texture to any room of your house.

Following these simple calathea care tips, and everyone will think you have a green thumb.

What Are Calathea Plants?

Calatheas, which belong to the Marantaceae family, are perennials that make for good indoor plants. However, they can also grow outside in a humid environment.

Sometimes called prayer plants, calatheas, which are native to Brazil, react to light and darkness. The plant can handle a few hours of direct sunlight but it doesn't do well in colder temperatures. The leaves have a dark green topside and a purple underside

Calathea Lighting Needs

Calathea plants can do with some direct sunlight, but be careful with giving them too much light. They prefer bright indirect light and will grow best in a shady room. Place your zebra plants away from any open windows with sunlight.

Calatheas and Humidity Levels

The tropical plants come from Brazil, so they prefer humidity. You can provide ample humidity by placing a humidifier in the room, or by placing the potted plants on top of a saucer filled with pebbles. Add water to the pebbles and the humidity will travel up through the pebbles and the pot to the plant's roots.

How to Fertilize and Water Calathea Plants

Instead of tap water, use distilled water. Alternatively, you can save rain water for your plants. Don't heavily water cathedral plants. Feed them room temperature water when the soil an inch (2.5 centimeters) below the surface is dry.

The plants require regular watering during the summer months and less frequent watering during the colder months. You can periodically give the plants houseplant fertilizer.

Calathea Plant Maintenance

Groom your calathea plant regularly to keep it looking beautiful. Wipe any dust off the leaves with a clean, damp cloth. Mist the leaves to ensure that all sides of the plants receive humidity and moisture. Remove any yellow leaves to keep your plant strong and growing.

Original article: Calathea Care: How to Keep a Calathea Plant Healthy

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