Caring for your Calathea

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If you are an avid plant collector you have heard of the Calathea and how precious they are. Calatheas are famous indoor plants for offices and shops because of their ability to thrive in low light and with minimal care. Although they’re quite a resilient species, keeping Calatheas healthy, and green can be a challenge if you miss a few important aspects of Calatheas plant care, more specifically, the watering routine. This makes caring for your Calathea much easier if you follow these suggestions.

Let’s start with the questions we mostly get asked in regards to caring for your Calatheas:

How often do I water Calatheas?

Calatheas are tropical plants that like consistently moist soil, watering your Calatheas about once every 5-7 days will do. Don’t wait for the Calathea’s soil to dry completely before watering it. The best way we’ve found to test when to water your Calathea is to do the finger test and press your finger in the top 5cm of the soil. If the top layer feels dry, it’s time to water.

Caring for your Calatheas when watering ?

When caring for indoor plants, it is a good suggestion to keep an established watering routine especially when It comes to Calatheas. Calatheas are quite forgivable if you do a few things wrong, but they do take improper watering very seriously. So read closely.

Taking time to set out a watering routine might take some extra minutes of your time in the beginning, but it will go a long way to keep the peace with your Calathea. We all know how stressful it is to have an unhealthy, wilting plant, and you can’t seem to help it no matter what you do.

So, where do you start?

You will most probably have to follow varying watering practices for summers and winters. But suppose your Calathea lives in controlled humidity and temperature year-round, like along the coast, the watering routine can stay the same. But, first, take note of when your Calathea’s thirsty. You can check this with the same old finger test.

Stick your finger 5cm into the potting mix. If you can’t feel moisture or the object shows no signs of dampness, then your plant is in need of water. After the finger test, offer adequate water to your plant and jot down the time and date of the watering. Repeat the same steps for the next time your Calathea needs water, and jot down the time interval between waterings.

For better accuracy, you can repeat the steps one or two extra times to ensure that the time interval between watering is roughly the same. Keep a close eye on your Calatheas reaction to this routine. A generic time gap between waterings for Calatheas is one week in the summers and two weeks in the winters. This estimation is strictly not for any particular climate or plant case.

Bear in mind that you will have to alter your watering practice when the seasons change or if your plant starts to droop or stops growing.

What water type do Calatheas like?

Calatheas can be very moody when it comes to watering practices, and the frequency of waterings is not the only aspect you need to consider.

The water you use to feed your Calathea also plays a crucial role in how well your plant fares. Because they are tropical plants they have access to mild, filtered groundwater in their natural habitat. But this is not the case when you bring your Calathea indoors.

Tap water is our go-to water to water our indoor plants. This can be dangerous for Calathea because tap water can be a little too unforgiving for these delicate plants. Normal tap water contains fluoride and chlorine that can have drastic effects on your plants.

Using tap water can cause burn marks or browning tips on the leaves, and if you’re not over-fertilizing or over-watering your plant, the problem lies in the water.

Chlorine and fluoride toxicity can be fatal for plants partly because they are difficult to diagnose and partly because plant parents keep over-watering their plants confusing the brown edges as a sign their plant needs water.

If possible, you can use Filtered or distilled water when watering your Calatheas. You can also try watering your plants with water that has been sitting in place for a while. This allows the chlorine in the water to evaporate, although the fluoride elements can still be found in the water to some extent.

Consider these factors when caring for your Calathea

1. Pot Size

A larger pot means a larger soil volume. And a larger soil volume means a larger water quantity retained in the soil.

2. Plant Size

The two primary ways plants lose water are evaporation and transpiration by the plant. The bigger your Calathea, the greater are the leaves, both in size and in number. This increases the leaf surface area available for transpiration to take place. So, the greater the plant size, the lesser the time needed between waterings.

3. Potting Mix

Calatheas are generally like a well-draining potting mix that stays moist for longer. Because striking a balance between drainage and water retention is not an easy task, your soil may dry out too quickly or too slowly. If your potting mix is well-aerated with ingredients that have varying particle sizes, it will tend to dry out much quicker than if you are using a potting mix that has a consistent texture.

Caring for your Calatheas comes down to watering and what type of water you use. Make sure to take special care of your Calatheas, as they will spoil you if happy and well looked after.

Take a look at our Calatheas we have on our shop.