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The characteristics of the calathea
- Type: Ornamental plant with decorative foliage
- Height: From 60 to 80 cm, From 80 cm to 1 m
- Flower color: yellow, white, orange or green
- Desired exposure: semi-shaded
- Type of soil: drained, rich in humus
- Foliage: Persistent
- Interview: Frequent watering
- sanitizer: No
- variety: Crocata, lancifolia, makoyana, orbifolia, zebrina
Origins and peculiarities of the calathea
Thecalathea orbifolia is a plant belonging to the Marantaceae family. Native to the humid forests of South America (especially Brazil), this plant cannot be cultivated outside in our regions because it cannot stand the cold.
It's a ornamental plant that we cultivate mainly for the beauty of its evergreen: the leaves of the calathea, which grow at an angle of 90 ° to the stems of the plant, can indeed be green, mottled, striped, spotted, round, oblong , slender, and of different sizes (between 15 and 60 cm depending on the species). A real pleasure for the eyes, hence the nickname of the calathea "peacock plant"!
The planting a calathea must be performed in the spring, during the months of March, April and May. These plants love subdued light: you can therefore place them near a window located to the west or east, but avoid direct sun at all costs because the plant would not survive, especially in summer. You should also avoid placing the plant near a radiator, as the air would be far too dry for it to flourish. Given the rather slow growth of the calathea, if you want to see your plant flourish and last, be sure to provide it with heat and humidity; but at all costs avoid exposing it to large drafts or temperature variations.
Calatheas are perennials that can be planted: in a planter, in a container, in a pot or in a greenhouse.
The problem of the calathea is very often the too dry air of our apartments, it should ideally be grown in a greenhouse, but the air of a bathroom can also please it.
Depending on the season, you must adjust the watering of your calathea so that it does not wither away. In winter, be satisfied with a light watering every two weeks: the top of the root ball of your plant must dry out between each watering.
On the other hand, in summer, the root ball should always remain moist, water abundantly every two or three days.
The Calathea does not support hard water, so the ideal is to provide it with rain water, or softened water.
It is advisable to repot the plant upon purchase and each year in the spring. Add clay balls to the bottom of the pot and a good potting soil. If you do not repot your calathea regularly, add fertilizers every fortnight, only during the growing period, in spring and summer.
To remind your plant of the tropical rain in the Amazon, you can spray non-calcareous water on the foliage, it will only be more beautiful. As the calathea is a plant whose leaves tend to take dust, do not hesitate to pass a feather duster and wet sponge once a week.
Finally, good news: no pruning is necessary for this plant! Just be sure to remove the withered flowers and leaves when there are any.
The calathea particularly fears mealybugs which come to stick under its pretty leaves. It can also be attacked by red spiders. If you detect these pests, do not hesitate to treat quickly with an insecticide.