Common Name: Calathea, Prayer Plants, Cathedral Plants
Botanical name: Calathea orbifolia
The large, broad leaves of the Calathea orbifolia add lush greenery to any plant styling situation. The slight color variations add a subtle visual interest while the daily movement of the leaves makes this already intriguing plant even more so. This particular prayer plant does not like dry air and the leaf edges will start to turn brown signaling that it is time to increase the humidity! Read more to learn how to care for these indoor plants!
Calathea orbifolia is very adaptable when it comes to light. The orbifolia requires low, medium, or bright indirect light. Exposing this easy-care houseplant to higher light levels will promote increased growth, but the Calathea orbifolia can still do very well in low light conditions. Direct sunlight can burn the leaves, so avoid placing the plant in areas that receive direct sunlight. If you move the plant to a deck or patio in the summer, find a shady spot.
In nature, calathea plants grow in damp conditions, so these plants like to stay on the moist side. Water when the top ¼ to ½ inch of the soil is dry, but do not allow the soil to dry out completely. When you water, saturate the soil until water drains through the grow pot.
Remember that Calathea orbifolia grown in high light environments may dry out more quickly and need water more often, while plants grown in areas with less light may not need water as frequently. Feel the soil to gauge the dampness and determine when the plant needs water.
A comfortable room temperature is acceptable for the Calathea orbifolia. Anything at or above 65°F is fine! Cold temperatures are a problem, so avoid placing this houseplant near drafty windows or vents and if you bring the plant outdoors for the summer, make sure the overnight low is well above 60 degrees.
Perhaps one of the critical aspects of calathea care is humidity. These tropical plants love humidity and thrive in areas with lots of moisture in the air. Kitchens, bathrooms, or other areas prone to high humidity are excellent spots for these plants. The Calathea orbifolia can still make itself at home in drier climates, but you may need to use a humidifier or a pebble tray with water to increase the humidity. Lear how to increase the humidity for your houseplants!
A diluted complete liquid fertilizer or fish or seaweed emulsion feeds the Calathea orbifolia. These houseplants can use the extra help during the growing season to push out new growth and possibly even bloom. It is not necessary to fertilize the calathea during the colder months when the plant is dormant.
Calathea orbifolia is a moderate to fast grower and can reach 3’’+ in height and width with the proper care and conditions!
Pet Friend or Foe
These indoor plants are non-toxic to pets! Friend
- You may want to avoid planting a calathea houseplant directly in terra-cotta or unglazed ceramic. These materials are porous and allow the soil to dry out quickly, requiring frequent water. If you like the look of terra-cotta, keep the Calathea in a grow pot and use the terra-cotta as a cache pot.
- Pay attention to changes in the humidity throughout the year as this can affect a Calathea orbifolia. There may be enough moisture in the air to sustain your calathea throughout the summer, but if you experience dry winters, you may need to introduce more humidity.
- Dust buildup on the leaves can diminish the natural beauty of the Calathea orbifolia and interfere with the plant’s ability to conduct photosynthesis. Routinely clean the leaves using a damp cloth.