Help with Calathea houseplant - Knowledgebase Question

Bangalore, India
Question by sally758
September 12, 2017
Hello everyone

I got a Calathea plant a month ago.and has struggled since. The leaves have started turning yellow, tips browning daily and the plant looks dull in general. Also, the leaves were all spread out for the first few days. Now, they all seem to have come inwards. It is not in direct sunlight but gets enough light since I leave in a sunny, tropical country. I water it once a week as was told to me by the nursery. Also, I would like to add that it is a hydroponic plant. Can anyone please help? I am sorry if I didn't explain it well. I can answer any questions anyone might have.

Thanks
Sally
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Lancaster ca USA
A comment from gramyof6
September 12, 2017
There is plentiful info on your beautiful plant @ houseplant411.com .. I read that It likes humidity , also does NOT like tap water, preferably distilled or rain water .. check out obove site, Good luck!!

Bangalore, India
A comment from sally758
September 12, 2017
Thank you for your reply. I use bottled water.(Is that okay?) Also, tried reading up a lot on the plant but nothing seem to work. I guess Calthea plants are harder to take care of.

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
Answer from WillC
September 15, 2017

2

Hi Sally - While it is true that Calatheas do not like direct sun falling on their leaves, they do want the light to be as bright as possible otherwise. That means it should be just off to the side of the window or no more than several feet away from the window. If it is across the room from the light source, it is not getting adequate light.

Watering will depend on just what the hydroponic set-up is. Let's hope they gave you proper watering instructions. Make sure the water is not hard or high in mineral content.

Very high temps and very low humidity can cause leaf edge browning and curl.

This is a fussy plant and not very forgiving of any lapses in care.

Bangalore, India
A comment from sally758
September 15, 2017
Hi Will
Thanks a lot for the detailed reply. The plant was off to a side of the window and when the leaves started turning yellow/brown I moved it across the room but the yellowing and browning of the tips continue. They told me to water it 100 ml a week and I am doing that.

Are the yellow/brown leaves because of more or less light? I found the plant very pretty and got it before researching much. This is only my second houseplant and I would like to keep it as well as I can.

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
A comment from WillC
September 15, 2017
Hi, Sally - Plants react very slowly to changes. I suggest you move it back close to the window, but just beyond the reach of direct sun rays falling on the leaves.

Already partially damaged or distorted leaves will not improve. Watch the new growth to monitor how your plant is doing now.

I don't know exactly what your Calthea is potted in. There are many different hydroponic set-ups with different methods for monitoring moisture level. Make sure that the media is not getting too dry around the roots.

Bangalore, India
A comment from sally758
September 16, 2017
Hi Will
I have moved it back. It is potted in pebbles with a water level indicator. I have had it for a month now and haven't see any new growth yet. I am not sure of the normal growth frequency though. I have lost two leaves so far. I hope that moving it back will help.
Thanks, Will.

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
A comment from WillC
September 16, 2017
If it was set up properly, then you should be able to water when the indicator is near the bottom.

Calatheas are slow growers that tend to put out several new leaves and then none at all for quite a while. Be patient.

Bangalore, India
A comment from sally758
September 17, 2017
Will do. Thanks a lot!

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