Common Name: Calathea, Prayer Plants, Furry Feather, Velvet Calathea
Botanical name: Calathea ‘Furry Feather’
The narrow leaves of the Calathea rufibarba feature the mesmerizing patterns Prayer Plants are known for along with velvety purple undersides. The leaves of this easy-care houseplant are also slightly rippled. The combination of intricate patterns and texture is not to be missed.
The Calathea rufibarba can live in low light settings, however, this houseplant prefers increased light, just as long as it is indirect. The more indirect light the plant receives, the more stark the contrast of the leaves will be and the quicker the plant will grow. Be careful to avoid direct light, which can burn the leaves or cause the variegation to appear muted.
Damp conditions, similar to what the plant would experience in the rainforest, are best for the Calathea rufibarba. This is a plant that does not like to dry out and should be watered when no more than the top half-inch of the soil has dried out. The plant may need less water during the winter when it is not actively growing.
Calathea rufibarba needs a soil medium that can retain moisture but drain excess water to avoid the root rot. Most pre-mixed soils will suffice. Make sure that there is plenty of organic matter, like coco-coir, peat moss, or shredded leaves, and avoid soils that contain moisture retaining crystals. If your soil drains too quickly, we recommend re-potting your calathea into a compost-rich soil mixture. Learn how to create your own universal soil mixture for all of your indoor plants!
Furry Feather Calatheas like to be warm, and generally, a comfortable room temperature is acceptable. Anything between 65 - 85°F is good for calathea houseplants. Keep your Calathea rufibarba away from doorways and drafty locations during the cold months as cold temperatures can damage the leaves!
Calathea plants are native to rainforests, so they prefer high humidity and they need this extra dampness to stay hydrated and viable. The edges of the leaves will dry out and turn brown if the plant is not receiving enough humidity. If this happens, supplement the moisture in the air with an evaporation tray or a humidifier.
Fertilization helps prayer plants grow larger, push out new leaves and possibly even bloom. You can use diluted liquid fertilizer monthly when watering the plant, or seaweed or fish emulsion. Another option is to amend or top dress the soil using worm castings, or the next time you re-pot, use a soil that includes a slow-release fertilizer. Take a break from applying fertilizer during the colder months when the plant is not actively growing.
Calathea rufibarba is a moderate to fast grower and with the right care and conditions can reach 3’’+ in height and width!
Pet Friend or Foe
These indoor plants are non-toxic to pets! Friend
- If you notice some of the leaves of your Calathea rufibarba appear muted and not as vibrant, there could be several causes. Direct light can burn the leaves but it may also cause the leaves to lose some of their natural colors and appear less saturated. In very low light settings the leaves may lose some color intensity. New leaves may also have a more muted appearance but the colors will set in with time.
- Yellowing starting at the tips and edges of the leaves is a sign of inconsistent watering. If you routinely let the plant dry out before watering, and you notice this yellowing then water more often. If the soil is constantly damp and you notice this yellowing, then let the soil dry out more before watering.
- Keep in mind that humidity levels may fluctuate throughout the year. While a prayer plant may absolutely thrive during certain times of the year, it may benefit from being placed near a humidifier or a pebble tray with water at other times.