Winterizing Calatheas: Tips For Calathea Care In Winter

Winterizing Calatheas: Tips For Calathea Care In Winter

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By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

If you’re wondering how to overwinter a calathea, keep in mind that these are tropical plants. Warm temperatures and high humidity are the keys to calathea winter care. Read on to learn more about winterizing calatheas.

Tips on Calathea Care in Winter

Calathea is a moisture loving plant, but you can cut back slightly during the winter when the plant is dormant, and growth is slow. Don’t let the soil become bone dry and always water if the plant appears wilted.

Calathea plants require humidity, especially during the winter months when indoor air is dry. The best way to add moisture to the air is to use a humidifier. Otherwise, set the pot on a humidity tray or keep it in the bathroom or kitchen, where the air tends to be more humid.

Withhold fertilizer during the winter months, then resume your regular feeding schedule in spring.

Calathea winter care includes keeping the plant in a warm room with temperatures between 60- and 70-degrees F. (15-20 C.). Never let the temperature drop below 59 degrees F. (15 C.). Don’t place the plant near drafty windows or doors.

Move your calathea plant to a slightly sunnier window as days get shorter and darker, but continue to avoid intense, direct sunlight. Be careful not to place the plant too close to a drafty window.

Calathea Winter Care: Winterizing Calathea Grown Outdoors

If you keep your calathea outdoors during warm weather, inspect the plant for pests and disease and treat the problem before bringing the plant indoors in late summer or autumn.

Prepare to overwinter a calathea by acclimating it gradually to the change in environments. For instance, if the plant was in bright sunlight, put it in dappled sunlight or light shade for several days before bringing it indoors.

It’s normal for calathea to drop a few leaves when you bring it indoors. Remove any dead or yellowing leaves or branches using sharp, clean scissors or pruners.

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Read more about Calathea Plants

How to Grow Rattlesnake Plants

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

Rattlesnake Plants (Calathea lancifolia) aren't the easiest houseplants to nurture, but, if you give them them the care they need, you will be rewarded with an impressive display from their foliage.

This tropical calathea species is native to the rainforests of Brazil and gets its common name from the distinctive decorative markings that are displayed on its leaves.

The plant can grow up to 30 inches tall, and the large leaves have a variegated pattern with various shades of greens and a wavy pattern along their edges. Even the undersides of the foliage are eye-catching with their beautiful purplish-red tones.

In its native region, the rattlesnake plant produces small yellow flowers in the late spring. As a houseplant, you will be growing this plant for its impressively ornamental, long, and elegant foliage as it rarely blooms indoor.

Although this plant is often seen growing in shaded outdoor landscapes in Hawaii and some southern parts of California and Florida, it is most commonly kept as a houseplant or in greenhouses or terrariums. This tropical native needs lots of heat and humidity to thrive.

If you can give this plant the humidity, warmth and filtered sunlight it requires, the bold markings on the rattlesnake plants foliage are sure to impress any visitors. It is a worthy addition to any tropical houseplant collection and looks great as a stand-alone specimen too.

Botanical Name Calathea lancifolia
Common Name Rattlesnake Plants
Plant Type Perennial, Evergreen
Mature Size Up to 30 in. tall
Sun Exposure Partial Shade
Soil Type Well-drained, moist
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Bloom Time Late spring
Flower Color Yellow
Hardiness Zones 11-12, USA
Native Area Brazil
Toxicity Non-toxic
The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

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The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

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The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

Growing and Caring for a Calathea Ornata

From watering to feeding, and from light requirements and the optimal setting, below, you’ll find how to properly grow and care for a calathea ornata, or pin stripe plant.

The Ideal Location

Location plays a big part in your success with a pin stripe plant, as the setting dictates the conditions it will be exposed to. Because it’s a tropical plant, it prefers bright, yet indirect sunlight. Lighting is one of the reasons why this plant is so fussy.

If this prayer plant isn’t provided with enough light, it’s growth will be stunted however, if it is exposed to high amounts of direct sunlight, the delicate leaves of the plant will burn.

Calathea ornata is native to the rainforests of South America. As such, it has adapted to being shaded by taller plants and trees. If it is placed in direct sunlight, the leaves will burn, and eventually, the plant will perish.

When choosing a location for your pin stripe plant, make sure that it won’t be exposed to bright, direct sunlight. If you aren’t too sure about the amount of sunlight it is receiving, keep a close watch on the leaves. If it looks as if the leaves are starting to lose their stripes, it’s getting too much sunlight and it needs to be moved.

The ideal location is one that is bright, yet won’t shed sun directly on the plant. An east-facing window that is covered by a shade or a curtain would be the ideal location for this indoor plant.

When discussing the location for the calathea ornata, the type of container it is planted it is also an important factor to discuss. This plant can be placed in a pot, container, or planter that offers plenty of room for root growth and that features drainage holes along the bottom.

Soil Requirements

As a tropical plant, the calathea ornata thrives in moist, well-draining soil. While the soil should retain ample amounts of water, it shouldn’t be standing, and it should allow the plant to breathe.

A heavy, compact soil isn’t ideal, as it can retain too much moisture and ultimate, they roots can develop rot and die, or pests can be attracted to the plant. Choose a potting soil that is made specifically for tropical plants.

It should have a slightly acidic pH level. If necessary, you can mix peat or small amounts of aggregate into the soil however, avoid adding too much, as the soil could become compact, which would lead to high amounts of water retention.

Watering a Calathea Ornata

Water is vital for all species of plants, and the calathea ornata is no different. As a tropical plant, it loves moisture. The soil should always be moist, but it shouldn’t be completely saturated.

To determine when it needs to be watered, feel the soil. If the top inch or two feels dry, it’s time to water it. On average, it should be watered at least once a week, if not more depending on where the plant is located and what type of soil it is growing in.

Humidity Levels

Again, because this is a tropical plant, humidity plays an important role in a pin stripe plant’s health. in order to mimic the native conditions, this plant requires a great deal of humidity.

To achieve appropriate humidity levels, you can spray the undersides and tops of the leaves on a daily basis in the morning. Misting in the morning is important, as doing so will allow the leaves to dry out throughout the course of the day.

Alternatively, you could set up a humidifier, which would allow the plant to receive the humidity that it requires without demanding extra work from you.

Pet Problems

Unfortunately, calathea ornata is prone to some pests. Spider mites are the most troublesome pests but, with routine maintenance, you should be able to prevent them from infiltrating your plant.

Cleaning the leaves with a mixture of dish soap and water in a spray bottle is an easy and effective way to keep spider mites at bay. The combination of the two will suffocate any pests that may be lurking on the leaves.

Once you have completed the treatment, wipe the leaves down to remove the soap. Repeat the process once every few weeks.

Warning Signs

The calathea pin stripe plant can be a bit temperamental. Fortunately, the plant will send some warning signs that it needs help before it is completely lost. If it seems like the color of the leaves are lighter green as opposed to dark green, if the beloved stripes are starting to fade, or if the leaves look as if they are turning yellow or white, those are all signs that your pin stripe plant needs some help.

Take a deep breathe, because your plant isn’t dying… yet. As long as you make changes to the care you are providing, you’ll be able to resuscitate your plant and return it to a flourishing state.

Some of the issues that could be at play include:

  • A dry environment. Remember, these plants are tropical, and as such, they require adequate humidity.
  • Lack of water. In addition to humidity, pin stripe plants require ample amounts of water. If your plant is starting to show signs of trouble, it may be a sign that you aren’t watering it enough.
  • Poor drainage. A failing calathea ornata could be a sign that the soil isn’t draining properly. While this plant does need plenty of water, the soil does need to drain properly. If the drainage isn’t adequate, the plant could drown.
  • Pests. If you start seeing holes in the middle of or fringes on the edge of the leaves, pests may be infiltrating your plant.

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, make sure you address them as soon as possible. If you don’t, you could end up losing your plant.

Calathea lancifolia Plant Care & Watering Guide

Watering your Lancifolia Plant

One of the key things to be mindful of when looking after any prayer plant is the watering requirements of the plant. After all, while most types of philodendrons thrive when allowed to dry out between waterings, this simply isn’t the case for calatheas.

Instead, prayer plants prefer to be moist at all times, though don’t want to have their feet sitting in water. After all, too much water can lead to root rot, from which there is little chance of recovery. As such, the lancifolia is best watered little but often.

The other main issue, asides from watering, that many indoor gardeners will face is the fact that Calatheas are particularly susceptible to low humidity levels in the air, and this can lead to brown and crispy leaves.

This can particularly be a problem during the winter months when central heating tends to dry out the air in your home. In order to combat this, you can mist your plant every few days. Grouping prayer plants together can also improve humidity levels around the plants.

Best soil conditions for the Lancifolia Calathea

Due to the fact that the plant enjoys being moist at all times but does not want to be sitting in water, the substrate that the plant sits in is particularly important. A well-draining mix with some organic material but also well-draining substrate such as coco coir or perlite is a great selection. Most gardening centres which sell indoor plants will likely have a ready made mix which is perfect for houseplants which originate in the jungle.

Best light conditions for the Calathea rattlesnake

Though many advertise Calatheas and other Prayer Plant types as being the ideal plant for low light conditions, this is simply not the case. While it’s true that these striking plants will survive in lower light conditions than many of their houseplant counterparts, this doesn’t mean that they’ll thrive!

In order for your lancifolia to grow its best, I highly recommend placing the rattlesnake plant in a brightly lit spot which gets plenty of indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can burn the leaves, from which there is little chance of the leaves recovering.

Too much sun can also lead the plant to dry out too much in between waterings. As such, the ideal spot for the Calathea rattlesnake is a few feet away from an East or West facing window. If you notice that the leaf markings on new leaves are a little dull or are not as vibrantly marked as before, this is a sign that the plant is not receiving enough sunlight. If this happens, then move your plant to a more brightly lit spot.

Advice for buying calatheas

Here’s our guide to buying the right calathea for your home, including where to buy calatheas:

  • Calatheas are available from garden centres and nurseries, as well as specialist house plant nurseries. Bear in mind that you may get more choice if you buy your calathea from a specialist nursery
  • Make sure you have the right conditions for growing calatheas – remember they do best in a humid environment in bright but indirect sunlight
  • Check over your calathea before you buy/when it arrives. Make sure the leaves are healthy and plump, and there are no signs of pests

Watch the video: How To Care For Calathea. Houseplant Care Tips