Houseplants forum→Help please! All my Calathea's are sad...

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London
rm21
Jun 7, 2020 6:23 AM CST
Hello,

In the last two weeks all three of my Calathea's have gone from doing well or even thriving to looking pretty sad. Photos of all below

Pinstripe Calathea - Bought 8 months ago, still in original pot (but sat in another pot to catch water)
This one has been the least problematic ever since I bought and has always sat in the same spot where it gets lots of indirect light. It does have sticky white marks on the leaves, I read that these are sap and wash it with slightly soapy water but it's now becoming sappy again within days of washing. Is there anything I can do about this?
Also some of the lower leaves have gone yellow and started to curl up. I watered it heavily a few days ago because prior to that it was looking like it had dried out a bit due to all the hot weather, are the yellow leaves from under then over watering?

Calathea Rufibarba - Bought 5 months ago, still in original pot (but sat in another pot to catch water)
Until recently this seemed to be very low maintenance but I noticed the outside of the leaves were going brown and crispy. This was in a slightly darker spot than the pinstripe one so I thought it might due to lack of light so I moved it into a spot with more direct and indirect light. Within days it had really drooped and the brown leaves don't look like they're improving. I upped the watering a bit and that seemed to help but now I don't want to move it again too soon so I never know what the problem actually is. I read online that these don't make particularly good houseplants. Does anyone have any advice, specifically how to get rid of the browning leaves?

Calathea ??? Bought 8 months ago, still in original pot (but sat in another pot to catch water)
This one has always been a bit tricky due to it being quite big and only having so many places I can put it. Recently it was doing really really well, all the leaves would be stood up really uniform and then in the last few days it's deteriorated really really quickly. I don't know what I've done wrong with it because I don't actually know the name of this one. Similarly to the pinstripe it has what appears to be sap (although it's less white/sticky and more dusty) so should I be washing that in the same way?

If anyone has any tips that would be great. Is there a reason why all 3 have got worse at similar time? Would repotting them all now help or should I try and get them a bit happier first. Very lost so any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!


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Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
Image
Gina1960
Jun 7, 2020 7:04 AM CST
They all 3 look to have insect infestation to me. The very last photo looks classic for spider mites. Spider mites will attack in the house because houses are like deserts for plants most of the time. Spider mites like dry, not humid. Calathea like humid, not dry. SO you actually have 2 problems.

You should treat all these plants with whatever you choose to use...if organic, Neem Oil, or Soap and Water, or whatever some of the many homemade treatments exist.

If you are not as concerned about that and choose to use a pesticide, choose one that is labeled SPECIFICALLY that it will be a MITICIDE.

It will require serial treatment for a month or so, weekly.

After that, I would apply a systemic insecticide that you water in.
And I would try to increase the humidity around your plants. Calathea thrive in humidity levels of 75-80% on the floor of the rainforest in near dark conditions. They are one of the hardest of the rainforest origin tropical plants to make happy in a house.
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Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
Image
Gina1960
Jun 7, 2020 10:27 AM CST
These Calathea are all maintained in an environment of year round humidity of 60-90+ %. I have never had the problem with growing or crisping edges on any except the White Fusion which is a picky finicky plant. Humidity does make a very big difference for Calathea, Maranta, and Ctenanthe
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London
rm21
Jun 7, 2020 12:04 PM CST
Hi Gina,

Thanks a lot for your replies!

I will buy some Miticide. Should I be moving them away from my other plants? The most infected one was quite close to my fiddle leaf fig this morning so do I need to presume that that is now going to be infected?

Are yours outside?
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
Image
Gina1960
Jun 7, 2020 2:33 PM CST
Mine are outside but in a greenhouse planted into the ground. It is much easier for me to keep the humidity adequate in that environment that it is for people who are growing plants inside the house. Florida is naturally an extremely humid place, and in winter, its easier to keep the humidity up when the air is dryer because I have 2 large water features in there that produce humidity, and also I make more by wetting down all the rocks, pots, and the ground on a daily basis. I would never buy a calathea-alliance plant to grow as a houseplant personally. Of all the tropical plants on the market, they are the most finicky and hard to please.

Oh yes you should quarantine them away from everything else. If it was REALLY close to the FLF I might give it a little prophylactic treatment of miticide as well.
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Name: TK
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6b)
Cactus and Succulents Sempervivums Bromeliad Tropicals Aroids Hibiscus
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Macrocentra
Jun 9, 2020 11:38 AM CST
I agree on the humidity. If you can increase humidity, that should help some of the issue. I unfortunately had a lot of trial and error with Calatheas until I worked out how to maintain humidity. I went through a lot of curling and browning leaves. Almost all my desert and tropical plants are indoors. My Calatheas now live in one particular area at the top of a stairway because it turned out to be the most humid spot in the house (except my huge Zebrina, which seems very happy with the one bathroom). They also have humidity trays and get misted with warm water multiple times a day. This has stopped the curled crispy brown leaves from occurring.

My makoyana for example, usually gets 3-4 showers a day to help with humidity.
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Grouping plants together can help trap in some humidity too. I keep my lancifolia clustered with my bromeliads to try to trap some extra humidity around them:
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@Gina1960 - What's that white striped plant in your second photo?
[Last edited by Macrocentra - Jun 9, 2020 11:52 AM (+)]
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Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
Image
Gina1960
Jun 9, 2020 11:54 AM CST
That is Calathea vitatta
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Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
Image
Gina1960
Jun 9, 2020 1:57 PM CST
I also have this very uncommon calathea that I got from a fellow collector, Calathea binottii. Its a very large growing plant. This plant used to be considered the same as Calathea zebrina but it has been reclassified as a separate species
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And Calathea warsewiczii
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