growing calathea - Knowledgebase Question

Guaynabo, Pu
Question by munos
August 4, 2008
I need instruction on plant & care of calathea. Needs sun or shade?

Answer from NGA
August 4, 2008


Calathea is a herbaceous perennial from the Tropical Americas like Brazil, Guyana, Columbia and Nicaragua. The handsome leaves are the attraction for tropical gardeners and indoor plant lovers as well

Outdoors in the landscape, use Calathea in shaded conditions and protect from all wind and even mild cold. Prolonged direct sunlight is harmful so plant in a shady area.

The appearance in late winter outdoors can be disturbing as the leaves take a beating in the cold. If you wish, cut off all the leaves and stems at the edge of spring, fertilize and all will be well

Indoors, Calathea is tolerant of lower light conditions making it a fine houseplant

Your soil for Calathea should be highly organic and well drained. Use plenty of coarse material in the soil mix to help water flow through. A commercial cactus mix is fine

Never allow roots to be soaked with standing water but they do enjoy continuous availability of water in their soil. Water often to obtain this condition (with perfect drainage)

Calathea wants high humidity and high temperatures as well. Indoors, mist several times a week to provide added humidity. They get sick or sick looking whenever the weather is even a little cold or too dry. Remember, this is a jungle plant

Feed often but lightly in spring and throughout the summer growing period. Use a half-strength dilution of liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.

Best wishes with your garden!

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