Ask a Question forum: What am I doing wrong?

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Muscatine, IA
Feb 3, 2018 10:39 AM CST
I am in Iowa with house plants in the winter currently. I don't know what I am doing wrong with this plant. I have had this plant for 6 months and I have tried full sun, less sun. More water, less water. I am lost. I am not even sure what type of plant this is. Thank you for any advice given.
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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Feb 3, 2018 11:35 AM CST
Hi & welcome!

Compare to this Calathea:
Rose Painted Calathea (Goeppertia roseopicta)

Calatheas can be very emotional plants, especially in low humidity situations.
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Feb 4, 2018 12:27 AM CST


I just added three new ones to my house yesterday and looked up their care.

Shield it from direct light to prevent sunburn. It's relatively forgiving if you forget to water it from time to time. Extended periods of dryness can result in brown leaf tips or edges.
It prefers a spot with low to medium light and abundant humidity, maybe try setting it in a dish of pebbles and add water. If the air is too dry or the plant dries out too frequently, the leaf edges may turn brown and crispy.
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Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Feb 4, 2018 12:02 PM CST
While it is true that Calatheas benefit from high humidity, low humidity can be compensated for by proper watering. It looks like you repotted your Calathea and that can make watering more problematic depending on how much bigger the pot is, the porosity of the soil you used and whether the pot has drain holes.

Ordinarily, a Calathea will need water as soon as the top half-inch of soil dries. However, if you repotted and added soil to the top surface, then that equation no longer applies. In any case, it should get dry enough to need water about once per week.

Indoors in winter, it is hard to give a Calthea too much light. Keep it on or close to a sunny windowsill at least for the next several months.

Finally, leaf damage such as yours has can also be a sign of excess mineral salts in the water if your tap water is hard or if you are over fertilizing. Use distilled or filtered water if your tap water is hard. Stop fertilizing if you have been.
Will Creed
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Feb 4, 2018 12:02 PM CST
Calatheas don't do fine in full sun exposure, it needs a shadier place. All my Calatheas stay away from any direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist but not water logged, and do not ever place near heaters. I spray my Calatheas every a couple of days, early in the morning.
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Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Feb 4, 2018 12:49 PM CST
Direct indoor sun in Iowa winters is not too strong for a Calathea. Misting is not an effective way to improve humidity unless you do it hourly throughout the day and night. Pebble trays are somewhat more effective.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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