Calathea: maintenance, watering, repotting and flowering

The Calathea (Calathea) is a plant of the family Marantaceae, which is sometimes called peacock plant or even cigar plant. He is originally from South America. There are different varieties, some are very recent, all are appreciated for their sublime decorative foliage and some also for their flowers. Let’s take a look at the needs of this slow growing houseplant that should never run out of water, see when to repot it and how to help it bloom.

Caring for a Calathea

Once planted in a potting soil for green plants possibly mixed with heathland, the Calathea should be placed in a moderately bright room. He particularly likes the proximity of a window facing north. If it is near a window facing due south, it is absolutely essential to filter the light and filter the direct rays of the sun with a curtain so that the color of the leaves does not turn brown.

Dust off the foliage

We think of dusting the leaves of Calathea every 7 or 8 days ideally with a feather duster, or failing that, using a hair dryer on condition that the latter is set to “cold air” and kept a good forty centimeters away from the plant. We do not recommend dusting with water which tends to leave stains on the leaves. This is the ultimate solution and should only be reserved for scrubbing if the Calathea has not been cleaned for a very long time and the dust is encrusted. In this case, a sponge soaked in non-hard water is used.


From April until the end of September, the Calathea must benefit every two weeks from a contribution ofliquid fertilizer for green plants to be diluted in the irrigation water.


We delete the wilted flowers as and when dry leaves or damaged.

Water a Calathea

Calathea must be watered very regularly because it must never run out of water. Whenever possible we usenon-hard water. Beware of dry soil which quickly causes dehydration of the leaves and then the death of the plant. This does not mean that you should let your roots bathe in water. Excessive watering should be avoided because they cause the roots to rot. Two to three moderate irrigations per week suit him perfectly. However, it is necessary to halve waterings throughout the winter season.

For save a Calathea who suffered greatly from lack of water, it is recommended to start by removing the dead leaves. Then remains at immerse the pot in a larger container filled with room temperature water or in the tub, and leave it there as long as necessary to allow the roots to drink their fill.

From January to December, the humidity level in the ambient air must be bred for the Calathea to thrive, as this is the case in its natural environment. It can be placed on permanently submerged clay balls and cultivated alongside other green plants to increase the humidity of the air. Another solution is to carry out mistings, more frequent in summer than in winter of course. But in an overheated home where the air is dried up by heating systems, especially electric ones, do not hesitate to use the fogger a little more frequently.

The lack of water or even insufficient humidity have the same consequence: the plant is suffering. Its leaves curl up, stop growing and eventually dry out.

Repot the Calathea

Admittedly, this plant does not grow quickly, but as soon as it is cramped, it should be repotted in a larger pot. The best time to repot a Calathea is between June and September. Care must be taken not to damage its roots during the operation.

It is also beneficial to repot the plant, failing to submerge it if its substrate is ultra dry for some time since it is undoubtedly totally devitalized. Although the goal is not to change the size of the pot, repotting at least allows the plant to find itself in a brand new, fresh and nutritious soil capable of meeting its needs.

It is wise to take advantage of a repotting session to separate any possible rejections of the mother plant or, if it has grown in size, to divide the tuft. We can see how easy it is to multiply a Calathea.

Flowering Calathea

A Calathea that does not lack water or fertilizer can be very generous in the production of flowers. The result is splendid because the color of the flower heads or the cones (depending on the variety) contrasts nicely with that of the spectacular foliage which can be marbled, striped, variegated, and colored, purple, bluish green, even white or pink. Usually the front and back of the sheets are different colors.

Calathea crocata product of beautiful bracts of a flaming orange carried by proudly erect floral stems. Its wavy leaves are a pure green with reflections on the top and chocolate below. Calathea ‘Casual XL’ is distinguished by a very long flowering period since its extraordinary flowers of an astonishing purple green have a lifespan of a hundred days!

Finally, there are other varieties sought after for their sublime foliage as is for example the case of C. rosea-picta, C. sanguinea ‘Flamingo’, C. rufibarba or C. illustris. Nothing prevents to decorate its interior by offering a calatheas collection. And if we covet these plants only for the beauty of their foliage, it suffices to cut the flowers as soon as they appear in order to promote the development of the leaves which can then reach 60 cm in length depending on the variety.