Houseplants forum: Calathea In Trouble :(

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Apr 4, 2017 12:21 AM CST
Hello everyone,

A few weeks ago I bought a really nice calathea plant; it looked very healthy. The card it came with said that it needed medium sunlight, so I placed it by my bedroom window, which faces east. Before I researched the plant to know what else it needed, I watered it thoroughly in the shower, and I'm afraid I may have damaged it, because the website I read about it said that the plant can be sensitive to tap water. I also moved into a slightly larger pot and used a mixture of regular potting soil and orchid soil because I thought it'd help it drain better (there is also a layer of rocks beneath the soil). For about a week now the plant has been getting brown leaves - they started browning at the bottom of the plant, which I thought was okay because it had new leaves coming out at the top, but then the browning continued in the leaves near the top, including some of the new leaves. The website I read about calatheas said to trim any brown leaves off, but I'm afraid I won't have any leaves left soon. I'm also not sure how often I should water and fertilize it, since it's such a sensitive plant. I really don't want it to die. I'll post some pictures here; hopefully someone can help me determine exactly what it needs. It looks punier every day and now one of the stalks is falling...

Thumb of 2017-04-04/Kyttie/33cc30
Thumb of 2017-04-04/Kyttie/d79537
Thumb of 2017-04-04/Kyttie/d68ca0
Thumb of 2017-04-04/Kyttie/42fb68
Thumb of 2017-04-04/Kyttie/6ef374

Please help me, I really want to save it. Thanks
Name: Lin
Southeast Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Apr 4, 2017 4:43 AM CST
Hi Kyttie, Welcome!

Your plant appears to be a variety of Maranta which is a relative of the Calathea's and your plant resembles the one below:

Your plant appears to have sun damage. Maranta (and their relative Calathea's) do best in bright, dappled shade; sun will scorch the foliage. I've always had trouble keeping Calathea and Maranta's looking decent. They seem to do best when I put them outside beneath a shrub in full shade.

Hopefully others who have luck growing these will pop in with advice and suggestions.
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Name: Deborah
midstate South Carolina (Zone 8a)
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Apr 4, 2017 7:06 AM CST
I agree with Plantladylin. Also, please remove the layer of rocks from the bottom of your pot. Instead of aiding with drainage, it actually hampers it, keeping the medium too damp too long. Thus causes the roots to rot from the bottom upwards. You also mentioned placing it in a larger pot. Did it need to be placed in a larger pot? It sounds like you made a lot of changes in a short period of time, causing stress to the plant each time.

I see that your pot has a saucer, be sure that you empty it so that there is no standing water, otherwise the roots will starve from lack of oxygen. One other thing, these plants need high humidity. So, placing it outside, will do it a lot of good. Happy growing with your new maranta/ctenanthe. It is a very pretty plant.
Apr 4, 2017 12:31 PM CST
I see, thank you both for your suggestions! I'll remove the rocks asap and start misting it and leaving the window open. Hopefully it'll perk up as I keep it better shielded from the sun. The only reason I moved it to a new pot was because it looked nicer; I didn't know it would stress the plant so much.

Thanks again!

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