tropical house plant - Knowledgebase Question

Roebuck, So
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Question by jkmclain5
February 6, 2011
I bought a tropical house plant last week at Home Depot and I don't know what it is. The tag says

Answer from NGA
February 6, 2011
Calathea is a member of the marantacea family of plants. Prayer plants are Marantha plants so it's easy to confuse the two. Cream colored areas on the green leaves are typical of calathea. I can't tell from your description just which plant you may have purchased but here's a web page with photos of the most popular varieties of Calathea:

For best growth, provide your calathea with moderate light. Direct sunlight will make the leaf color less attractive and possibly burn the foliage. The best place for a calathea is an east or a west window with either a curtain or shade from a tree.

High humidity is essential to a calathea and unfortunately, most homes have low humidity. Increase the humidity by placing the plant on a tray of pebbles, placing it around other plants and misting it with soft water daily.

Give your calathea a temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A somewhat warmer room will be tolerated, however the warmer the room the more humidity the plant needs. Because increasing the humidity sufficiently is challenging, temperatures less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit are best.

Water your calathea frequently enough to keep most of the potting mix moist. When the top of potting mix is dry but there's moisture several inches into the soil (gauge by sticking your finger down into the potting mix), it is time to water. The water must be room temperature, so let the water sit in your watering can for 15 minutes before watering.

Best wishes with your new plant!

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