Types of Calathea Plants: A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to the comprehensive guide on types of Calathea plants! Calathea plants are known for their stunning foliage, making them popular choices among houseplant enthusiasts. In this article, we will explore various types of Calathea plants, including their unique characteristics, care requirements, and common problems and solutions.

Calathea Plants Overview

Calathea plants are native to the tropical regions of South America and are part of the Marantaceae family. These plants are known for their large, colorful leaves with unique patterns, making them prized for their ornamental value. Calathea plants are also commonly called prayer plants, as their leaves fold up at night as if in prayer.

Popular Calathea Varieties

Calathea plants come in various species and cultivars, each with its own distinct features. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular Calathea varieties:

1. Calathea Ornata

Calathea Ornata, also known as the Pinstripe Calathea, is characterized by its striking dark green leaves with pink stripes and undersides. This variety prefers bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. It can grow up to 2-3 feet in height and is known for its air-purifying properties.

2. Calathea Medallion

Calathea Medallion, also known as Calathea veitchiana, features large, round leaves with intricate patterns that resemble a medallion. The leaves are dark green with silver-green markings and burgundy undersides. This variety prefers bright, indirect light and high humidity.

3. Calathea Lancifolia

Calathea Lancifolia, also known as the Rattlesnake Plant, has long, lance-shaped leaves with dark green markings resembling a rattlesnake’s skin. The undersides of the leaves are purple. This variety prefers bright, indirect light and moderate humidity.

4. Calathea Zebrina

Calathea Zebrina, also known as the Zebra Plant, features elongated leaves with bold, green stripes and deep purple undersides, resembling the stripes of a zebra. This variety prefers bright, indirect light and high humidity levels.

5. Calathea Roseopicta

Calathea Roseopicta, also known as the Rose Painted Calathea, is characterized by its oval-shaped leaves with dark green markings that resemble brushstrokes of pink or white, giving it a painted appearance. This variety prefers moderate to bright, indirect light and well-draining soil.

6. Calathea Makoyana

Calathea Makoyana, also known as the Peacock Plant, is known for its striking foliage with feather-like patterns in shades of green, brown, and cream. The undersides of the leaves are a rich purple color. This variety prefers bright, indirect light and high humidity levels.

7. Calathea Rufibarba

Calathea Rufibarba, also known as the Velvet Calathea, has elongated leaves with a velvety texture and rich green color. The undersides of the leaves are a deep maroon color. This variety prefers bright, indirect light and high humidity levels.

Read more: How to Care for Calathea Plant

Caring for Calathea Plants

Calathea plants require specific care to thrive and maintain their stunning foliage. Here are some essential care tips for Calathea plants:

1. Light and Temperature

Calathea plants prefer bright, indirect light, but they can tolerate moderate to low light conditions as well. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight, as it can cause leaf burn. They prefer temperatures between 65-85°F (18-29°C) during the day and slightly cooler temperatures at night.

2. Water and Humidity

Calathea plants prefer consistently moist soil, but not waterlogged. It’s essential to keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy, to prevent root rot. They also require high humidity levels, so misting the leaves or using a humidifier is beneficial. Placing a tray of water near the plant or grouping it with other plants can also help maintain humidity.

3. Soil and Fertilizer

Calathea plants prefer well-draining, peat-based soil that is slightly acidic. A good mix can include potting soil, perlite, and sphagnum moss. It’s recommended to fertilize Calathea plants during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer at half-strength every 2-4 weeks.

4. Propagation

Calathea plants can be propagated through division or by taking stem cuttings. Dividing the plant during repotting is the most common method. Gently separate the plant into smaller clumps with roots, making sure each division has at least one healthy leaf and root system. Plant the divisions in separate pots with well-draining soil.

5. Pruning

Pruning Calathea plants is mainly for removing any dead, yellowing, or damaged leaves to maintain the plant’s appearance and health. Use clean and sharp pruning shears or scissors to avoid damaging the plant. Regular pruning can also encourage bushier growth.

6. Common Problems and Solutions

Calathea plants are susceptible to some common problems, including curling leaves, brown tips, and pests such as spider mites and mealybugs. Curling leaves can be caused by low humidity or inconsistent watering. Brown tips can be due to dry air or water with high levels of salts. To solve these issues, maintain high humidity levels, water consistently, and use filtered or distilled water. If pests are present, treat them with insecticidal soap or neem oil.


In conclusion, Calathea plants are a popular choice among indoor plant enthusiasts due to their stunning foliage and unique characteristics. With their various types and striking leaf patterns, Calathea plants can add a touch of exotic beauty to any indoor space.

When caring for Calathea plants, it’s crucial to provide them with the right amount of light, humidity, and well-draining soil. Regular pruning, propagation, and addressing common problems such as curling leaves and pests can help maintain the health and appearance of Calathea plants.

Incorporating Calathea plants into your indoor plant collection can be a rewarding experience. With proper care and attention, these plants can thrive and become a stunning focal point in your home or office space.

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