The Calathea orbifolia is a species of tropical plant that is commonly grown indoors. The reason why Calatheas are common house plants is due to their enormous, showy, decorative leaves. Calathea orbifolia plants have large, silvery-green leaves with pronounced dark-colored veins. Although this Calathea species grows well at home, there are a few care essentials to help the plant thrive.
The Calathea orbifolia is a flowering species of plant in the family Marantaceae. The perennial plants are native to tropical forests in Central and South America, Asia, and Africa. Outdoors, calatheas grow on the forest floor, where they thrive in shaded, warm, humid environments.
Sometimes Calatheas are called 'prayer plants' because they raise their leaves at night like prayer plants. In the evening, the leaves of Calathea plants fold upright at the base of the stem, as if the plant is folding its leaves upward to pray. This process is called nyctinasty.
How to Care for your Calathea Orbifolia
Light: Your Calathea orbifolia needs to grow in medium to low light, protected from direct sunlight. You can tell if the light is adequate if you can read without straining your eyes. If the light is too bright, the leaves will start to fade, and they may even wither and die. Although these calathea plants can survive in low light, they are not classed as plants for dark places. They’ll grow well on a north-facing windowsill or placed near an east-facing window. In rooms that face to the south and west, keep well away from the window in a shaded corner.
Water: Water Calathea orbifolia only when the top soil has dried out. This houseplant watering techniqueensures that you never overwater your plant. To know when to water your Calathea orbifolia, press the soil. Hints of moisture mean you should hold off watering—water when the soil is partially dry. Although not a drought-tolerant indoor plant, they can withstand periods of dryness better than overwatering. In summer, you might have to water the plant once a week or even more frequently. Check the saucer occasionally to make sure the pot doesn’t sit in water. Warm temperatures cause moisture to evaporate faster than in winter. However, in winter, you may have to mist the leaves more frequently than watering. Calatheas love high humidity,and central heating tends to cause dry air.
Soil: Calathea orbifolia thrives when growing in fertile potting soil that has excellent drainage. The soil should retain some moisture, but never become soggy. The best ingredients for a Calathea potting mix are two parts potting soil, one-part perlite, and one-part orchid bark. Organic matter holds moisture, and perlite provides drainage. One advantage of using peat-based soil is that it contains essential nutrients for Calatheas to thrive. This type of organically-rich growing medium is better than using chemical fertilizers. However, peat can become compacted in time, so it’s always good to check that water drains freely. Perlite or pumice are better soil amendments than vermiculite for increasing drainage. Although all these are natural products, vermiculite tends to hold too much moisture. If roots get too damp, or soil becomes waterlogged, you’ll have problems with root rot.
Fertilization: Plants in the genus Calathea don’t require a lot of feeding. During the growing season, light monthly fertilization will provide the minerals and nutrients your Calathea orbifolia plant needs. Use an organic houseplant feed and dilute it to one-quarter strength. Stop feeding during the fall and winter.Calathea orbifolia benefits from a balanced, regular fertilizer for houseplants. However, you should remember to flush the soil every so often. Too much fertilizer in the soil can burn the sensitive orbifolia roots. Giving the soil a good drenching between feeding prevents a build-up of excess minerals.
Temperature: Average room temperatures are ideal for growing Calathea orbifolia houseplants indoors. Keep an even temperature between 65°F and 75°F (18°C – 24°C), and your tropical plant should thrive. If temperatures are too high, the leaves will start to curl. Too low, and the large glossy green leaves will droop. The challenge of growing Calatheas indoors is caring for them properly in summer and winter. Calatheas are sensitive to sudden temperature changes. So, keep them away from cold drafts, such as the air-conditioner airflow or open windows. In winter, make sure and keep the orbifolia plant pot far away from radiators. Calathea orbifolia plants can grow outdoors in containers in summer. As long as the temperature never drops below 60°F, the potted tropical plant can grow in a shaded spot in your backyard. Remember to protect your plant from direct sunlight and water only when the top layer of soil has dried out.
Humidity: Native to tropical habitats, Calathea orbifolia need high humidity of at least 50 percent. Usually, average room air moisture levels are too dry for Calatheas. You’ll need to mist the leaves, place on a pebble water tray, or use a room humidifier to keep your Calathea orbifolia happy. An ideal location for calatheas is in a well-lit bathroom or a kitchen. These excellent shower plants thrive in the humid environment and filtered sunlight that many kitchens and bathrooms have.
Pruning: Calathea orbifolia plants have minimal pruning requirements. Single-leaved stems make up the bushy foliage. Therefore, the only reason Calatheas need pruning is to trim off dead foliage to improve the plant’s appearance. Pruning your Calathea orbifolia plant is also useful for removing old yellowing leaves.
Growth: Under the right conditions, Calathea orbifolia plants have a medium growth rate. For the fastest growth, make sure the Calathea grows in bright indirect light and hydrate it just enough to keep the soil slightly moist. Most Calathea orbifolia plants grow to about 2 feet (0.6 m), but some can become taller. The luscious, glossy oval-shaped leaves grow to about 30 cm wide. These broad houseplant leaves are excellent for absorbing light, which makes them plants suitable for low-light conditions. However, in dim light, the plant’s growth rate will slow considerably.
Toxicity: Calathea orbifolias aresafe for pets.
Arrives in a nursery grow pot. Pot sold separately.
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