The Calathea plant is native to Central and South America and thrives in areas with hot temperatures and moderate humidity–where they grow in abundance on rainforest floors!
This places them perfectly for moist, humid conditions which are created naturally by their wild environment. Here, roots are able to absorb all the nutrients it needs without becoming over or underfed. Calatheas also have a deep root system that allows them to access groundwater during dry spells, keeping them alive even after extended droughts.
These plants are often found growing near rivers, where they float on top of the surface collecting whatever nutrients are available at the moment from decaying leaves falling into its body.
Table of Contents
- What is Calathea Orbifolia?
- Watering Needs and Schedule for Calathea Orbifolia
- Soil Needs for Calathea Orbifolia
- Light Requirements
- Propagating for Calathea Orbifolia
- Humidity Requirements
- Common Pests for Calathea Orbifolia
- Final Thought
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Question)
What is Calathea Orbifolia?
Calathea orbifolia is an old world tropical perennial. It is a member of the marantaceae family, sometimes referred to as Banana Shoots or Arrowroots for their edible starchy rhizomes. Calathea orbifolia has striking foliage that lacks the camouflage look found in many other plants–its leaves are highly noticeable and often get noticed.
The plant is native to Amazon rainforest in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru where it grows on the ground under tall trees. This type of habitat contains a lot of humidity that works well for its leaf structure and can be replicated easily at home.
The leaves grow out into a circular pattern and closer to the ground, which is where they gain their common name: calathea orbifolia.
Watering Needs and Schedule for Calathea Orbifolia
Calathea orbifolia is a tropical plant that is native to Central and South America. It prefers moist, shady conditions and high humidity. In the home, calathea orbifolia can be grown as a houseplant.
It needs regular watering and a consistent schedule to maintain its lush green foliage.
1. Watering Needs
Watering calathea orbifolia is important to maintain its health and keep it looking its best. The plant needs to be watered regularly, but not excessively.
It is best to water the plant when the soil feels dry to the touch. If the top of the soil is wet, avoid watering until it dries out a bit. Overwatering can cause the plant to rot and die.
2. Watering Schedules
A watering schedule is also important to help keep track of when to water the plant. A good schedule to follow is to water the plant every other day or every third day. However, this may vary depending on the environment and moisture levels in the home.
If the plant is in a dry environment, it may need to be watered more often. If the plant is in a humid environment, it may need to be watered less often. It is important to adjust the watering schedule as needed to ensure the plant gets the right amount of water.
With regular watering and a consistent schedule, calathea orbifolia will thrive and maintain its lush green foliage.
Your plant may be over-watered if the leaves turn yellow or fall off easily. If this happens, cut back on water and make sure to allow soil to dry out between watering. Also make sure your potting mixture is well draining as this allows excess water to drain away from roots which leads to rotting of roots inhibiting healthy new growth.
If you notice black or decaying leaves coming from the leaf axils (where stem meets leaf), remove them immediately as they can attract bugs such as mealy bugs that feed on decaying plant matter, and secrete a sticky substance called honeydew which can turn black and encourage the growth of a sooty mold fungus.
Mealy bugs can be removed using rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab or with an insecticide.
When you notice dry leaves after watering, it is probably due to overwatering. If possible, try repotting into a fresh potting mixture as this will help prevent root rot from occurring. If your plant develops powdery mildew (white or gray fuzzy patches on leaves), it is most likely due to too much humidity and not enough light or ventilation in your home or office space. This fungal disease thrives in moist areas and can be treated with an all-purpose fungicide.
Leaf color can also be affected by calcium or lime build-up in the saucer. If this occurs, clean out the saucer and fill with gravel or small rocks to help remove excess water from plant soil. Then, replace potting mix with fresh medium every couple years to prevent root rot. Make sure there is enough light for your new leaf growth otherwise it will turn a pale yellow due to lack of sufficient light.
Soil Needs for Calathea Orbifolia
Like all plants, calathea orbifolia needs well-drained soil in order to thrive. A potting mix that is high in organic matter and includes compost or peat moss will work well. The pH of the soil should be slightly acidic, between 5.5 and 6.5.
It is important to keep the soil moist, but not wet, as calathea orbifolia is a tropical plant. A weekly watering schedule should be sufficient. In winter, when the plant is dormant, you can reduce watering to once every two weeks.
Fertilize the plant twice a year, in spring and summer, with a balanced fertilizer. Follow the instructions on the package for how much to use. Too much fertilizer can be harmful to the plant, so it is important to be careful not to over-fertilize.
Repotting and Potting Soil for Calathea Orbifolia
Repotting should only be done when necessary as too much repotting can damage the root system which inhibits healthy new growth. Repot every 2-3 years using fresh potting mixture. Keep the area around the plant free from excess fertilizer that may run off into leaf axils and burn tender roots of your plant.
For potting soil, try using a well-draining mixture of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite (1:1:1 ratio) with extra charcoal because it helps keep the soil free of excess salts.
This will also help prevent root rot if your plant becomes overwatered. As always, let any new medium you are utilizing fully dry out before re-watering your calatheas!
If you have no choice but to water during winter months, do so very lightly at room temperature–never cold shock them by exposing their roots to cold water which can cause root rot! Also, cover the pot’s drainage hole to avoid letting too much water escape–which is very important for this type of potted plant.
When repotting, never do so in the same pot as they usually need a new home to accommodate their growth. For example, you can keep your calathea in a 4″ or 6″ pot for up to 3 years and then if necessary, transfer it into an 8″ or 10″.
Calathea orbifolia requires medium to high light levels. This means that it should be positioned in an area where it will receive between 2,000 and 5,000 lux of illumination.
If the plant is not receiving enough light, its leaves will start to turn yellow. Too much light can also be damaging, so it’s important to position the plant in an area where it will receive the right amount of light.
If you are unable to provide the plant with enough natural light, you can supplement with artificial light.
However, be sure to use a grow light that emits UVB radiation, as this is essential for the plant’s growth. Make sure the light is positioned close to the plant so it can receive direct light.
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Propagating for Calathea Orbifolia
Calathea orbifolia can be propagated from a cutting or rhizome. A stem cutting will need to be placed in water and once roots begin to develop, it can be planted into soil. The rhizomes should be divided every 3 years as they grow large and take over the pot with its spreading growth pattern.
This plant is easy to propagate and maintain if proper care is taken for the sun exposure, watering needs and use of fertilizer.
The humidity requirements for calathea orbifolia are 70% – 80%. This means that the plant needs a relative humidity of at least 70% and no more than 80%. If the humidity is too low, the leaves will start to brown and curl.
If the humidity is too high, the leaves will start to rot. Ideally, you should keep the plant in a room where the humidity is around 75%.
You can increase the humidity for your plant by using a humidifier, placing it near a water source, or spraying it with water occasionally. If the humidity is too low or too high, you can adjust it by using one of these methods.
Keep in mind that humidifiers can add moisture to the air and increase the humidity, but they can also be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold if not cleaned regularly. It is important to keep an eye on the humidity level for your plant and adjust it as needed.
If you are unable to provide the correct humidity level for your calathea orbifolia, you can try growing it in a terrarium. A terrarium creates a microclimate that is high in humidity, which is perfect for calathea orbifolia.
You can buy a terrarium or make your own. To make your own, you will need a glass container with a lid, some soil, and plants.
The soil should be damp, but not wet. You can add water to the terrarium as needed. Place the plants in the soil and cover them with a layer of soil. Add some pebbles or decorative stones to the top of the soil to finish it off.
Make sure that the lid fits tightly on the container so that moisture does not escape. If you are using a handmade terrarium, be sure to check the humidity level regularly and add water as needed. A terrarium is a great way to keep your calathea orbifolia healthy, even if you cannot provide the correct humidity level in your home.
Common Pests for Calathea Orbifolia
Calathea orbifolia is a beautiful, tropical plant that is often used in home decoration. It is also known as the prayer plant because its leaves close up at night as if in prayer. This plant is easy to care for, but there are a few pests that can be a problem.
The most common pest for calathea orbifolia is the mealy bug. These small, white bugs can infest the leaves and stems of the plant, causing them to wilt and die. Mealy bugs can be difficult to get rid of, but there are several methods that can be used.
One method is to spray the plant with a strong stream of water. This will remove most of the mealy bugs, and will also help to clean the leaves. Another method is to use a pesticide. There are several types of pesticides that can be used, but be sure to read the label carefully and follow all instructions.
Finally, you can try removing the mealybugs manually. This can be a bit time-consuming, but it is usually effective. Simply use a cotton swab or Q-tip to remove the bugs from the plant. Be sure to dispose of the bugs properly, and never put them in your mouth.
If you are having trouble getting rid of mealybugs, or if they return after treatment, consult a professional. They will be able to help you identify the problem and recommend the best course of action.
As you bask in the stunning beauty of your Calathea Orbifolia, remember that caring for this exquisite plant is not just a duty – it’s a delightful dance with nature. The subtle rustle of its leaves as they respond to your touch, the mesmerizing patterns that seem to change with the light – these are the rewards of your nurturing hands. But don’t be fooled by its diva-like demeanor; this tropical treasure has its quirks.
From a spa-like humidity regimen to a gentle talk every now and then, your Calathea Orbifolia appreciates the extra effort. So, as you embark on this foliage-filled journey, relish in the satisfaction of being both a plant parent and an artist, painting the canvas of your space with the lush strokes of nature’s brush.
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Question)
How do you choose the right spot for your Calathea Orbifolia?
Calathea Orbifolia thrives in bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves. A well-lit room away from drafts and cold temperatures is ideal.
Are there any common pests you should watch out for?
Calathea Orbifolia is susceptible to pests like spider mites and mealybugs. Regularly inspect the leaves for signs of pests, such as webbing or tiny white cottony clusters. If pests are present, isolate the plant and treat with insecticidal soap or neem oil, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
How do you encourage my Calathea Orbifolia to thrive and display its vibrant foliage?
Beyond proper care, Calathea Orbifolia appreciates the occasional “spa day.” Gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and keep its patterns vibrant. Remember, a little extra attention goes a long way in keeping your Calathea Orbifolia healthy and stunning.