Ask a Question forum: Calathea Ornata - new leaves don't seem to grow

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Name: Madhu c
Karlsruhe, Germany
Chanmad
May 24, 2017 2:00 PM CST
Since late September October my calathea doesn't seem to be thriving too well. In Winter it couldn't take the chillness in the room or lack of humidity due to heaters being constantly on and some of the leaves began to wither away. I looked it up and somebody mentioned at a local shop putting some porous stones in the pot would help. This is exactly what I did but with the weather getting better I still don't seem to find new leaves growing at all. I keep it on the window sill with the blinds partially open so that it doesn't get direct sunligt.
Please suggest what should be done to bring this back to life ? It's so sad to see this plan with just 4 leaves. The picture would indicate the blinds are closed but that's only because the picture has been taken in the night.
Thumb of 2017-05-24/Chanmad/6a512f
Thumb of 2017-05-24/Chanmad/7b1178

Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
May 24, 2017 5:54 PM CST
How long have you had it, total? How did you do the porous rocks? Said to be fussy.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
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Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
May 24, 2017 9:25 PM CST
Welcome! , I used to have this plant when we lived in the Marshall Islands. It grew outdoors in shade with extremely high humidity....normally around at least 80% and often it was higher. Indoors in your area I believe it would be much happier if you could put it on a humidity tray like people do with orchids. It is a tray with water, but the plant doesn't sit in the water. Here is a link with an example of a humidity tray.

http://www.gardeners.com/buy/h...

A humidifier near the plant might help too. They are beautiful plants but a bit picky to keep.
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Name: Madhu c
Karlsruhe, Germany
Chanmad
May 25, 2017 2:33 AM CST
sallyg said:How long have you had it, total? How did you do the porous rocks? Said to be fussy.


I just lifted the plant emptied the remaining soil and filled half the pot with the porous stones and put the plant back in the center and I water it based on the indicator reading. I am not sure whether this is helping as after removing the dried leaves it's been months and yet I don't see anything new.

Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
May 25, 2017 6:03 AM CST
I agree the plant loves humidity. From what I read (not experienced with it) the humidity tray method may not make a big difference
And the stones is another piece of often-posted advice that doesn't really have good basis. I get these two opinions from reading by a member (tapla) who has posted a lot in the past.
Can you unpot, remove all that, get good new soil, and repot? Maybe what it couldn't take over winter is the dryness of winter heat.

Failing plants can be good learning experiences. And don't be afraid to learn that it is just not suited to your home and you'd be happier with another plant. There are lots and lots of fun plants out there.

I had good luck with a related plant, Calathea insignis. It did very well for about two years, including months on a dimly lit table in the house. Then I divided it and did something wrong, killed my own plant, but a friend who has one is happy.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
May 26, 2017 3:53 PM CST
The growth rate of your Calathea will not be affected by increasing humidity. In this case, the plant is potted in a pot that is so large that it is unlikely that the roots are getting enough oxygen to maintain their health. If you gently remove it from its pot, I think you will find relatively few healthy (firm) roots and lots of extra soil not attached to the roots. If so, I recommend that you gently remove the excess soil that is not in immediate contact with the roots and repot it into the SMALLEST pot the roots will fit into. Use a porous potting mix consisting of peat moss or coir and perlite.

When plants are overpotted, they often put all their energy into filling the pot with roots at the expense of top growth. Of course, the more important concern is that the roots will rot and the plant will die before that happens.

Finally, make sure your Calathea gets lots of very bright indirect sunlight.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
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