The Q&A Archives: Calathea and Maranta

Question: I recently purchased a CALATHEA and a MARANTA plant which I will be growing indoors. With regard to plant food, is there a particular balance of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash which these plants require?

Answer: Calatheas have ornate leaves, most with stripes of white, pink or purple, and some with contrasting purple undersides. Because of this the plants have descriptive common names which include Peacock, Zebra, or Rattlesnake plant. Maranta (Prayer Plant or Rabbit's Tracks) is a Calathea so the care will be the same for both your new plants. Provide average household warmth with a minimum of 60F. Keep your plants out of drafts or sudden changes of temperature. Provide moderate light - colors will fade if the light is too bright or if plants are placed in direct sunlight. Keep potting soil moist but reduce watering in the winter. Use tepid water, and mist leaves regularly. You can provide additional humidity to the plants by placing the pots on a tray of pebbles to which you've added a little water. As the water evaporates it will increase humidity in the immediate area. Plants can be fertilized during active growth (spring through autumn) with a diluted liquid fertilizer. I feed mine weekly with a quarter-strength dilution of liquid fertilizer. Enjoy your new plants!

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