Calathea Vittata or the Prayer plant is the plant for you if you are looking for a less demanding Calathea. Its beautiful patterned leaves make it a piece of art. You can consider growing it even if you are new to gardening.
In our guide, you’ll learn how to take care of it properly so it blesses your life with its stunning colors for a long time. Read on and follow our gardening experts’ advice closely.
- What Is a Calathea Vittata?
- Calathea Vittata Care
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Calathea Vittata?
Calathea Vittata or Calathea Elliptica Vittata, which is native to South America, is a tropical plant belonging to the family Marantaceae. It is a perfect plant for greenhouses with the right amount of humidity and warmth. The plant gets its name Prayer plant because of its leaves that tend to fold at night and open in daylight.
Calathea Vittata Care
Learn all about Calathea Vittata indoor care from our holistic care guide, as it is easier to care for when compared to other Calathea varieties because of different reasons. However remember, it is a Calathea which means that you cannot ignore it like a Snake plant, for this plant you must give care so that it thrives in your house.
Let us get into the details regarding its growth requirements such as light, water, temperature, humidity, soil, and fertilizer.
– Water Requirements
Calathea Vittata has moderate to high water requirements. It needs to be watered every two to three days in summers and once a week in winters.
Do not allow the soil to dry out completely as this tropical plant needs moist soil at all times.
To check whether your plant needs to be watered or not, use a moisture meter or check by following the finger-knuckle test. Dip one of the fingers in the soil till the second knuckle and if the soil sticks to your finger, do not water the plant and check back again after a few days.
Calathea Vittata is a tropical plant and thrives when watered regularly. It prefers its soil to be evenly moist. If you allow the soil to go dry for two to three consecutive days, its leaves will start turning brown and eventually, the roots will die too.
If you are forgetful when it comes to watering, Calathea Vittata might not be the right plant for your home. It can tolerate being neglected for some time but a dry environment for longer periods leads to brown leaf tips and edges.
Calathea Vittata loves frequent watering but waterlogged soil can be an issue, especially when the plant is in low-light and high humidity conditions. If you notice the leaves of your plant turning yellow and curling in on themselves, it could be due to excessive watering. Adjust your watering schedule if you observe any such signs.
– Tap Water or Distilled Water?
If the tap water in your home has high chlorine levels and high levels of salts and fluoride, switch to filtered or distilled water. Tap water with high chlorine and salt levels is bad for the health of Calathea Vittata. Water heavy in salts and minerals can damage the plant’s sensitive root system.
– Light Requirements
Calathea Vittata needs bright, filtered light to grow well. Similar to the other Calathea varieties, it does not do well in direct sunlight. Direct sun can cause leaf burns and crisping of the leaf edges.
The ideal level of light is bright, dappled light throughout the day. It is not known as a low-light plant either because low-light conditions make the plant prone to problems related to overwatering such as root rot and fungus growth.
An east-facing window where the plant can receive lots of morning sunlight and be protected from intense afternoon sunlight is the perfect spot for this plant. Avoid south and west-facing windows where the afternoon sun is the strongest.
– Soil Mix
The potting mix for Calathea Vittata should be well-draining and evenly moist at all times. It thrives in a peat-based mix that is good at retaining moisture. You can use the regular potting soil mixed with perlite and peat moss to keep it well-drained and moisture retentive.
Always plant your Calathea Vittata in a container with enough drainage holes. Having adequate drainage holes prevents the problem related to overwatering. Airy soil in a clay or terracotta pot is the key to keeping this plant happy.
You can also add charcoal to your soil mix. It enhances soil pH, kills toxins and also absorbs excess water. Orchid bark and charcoal help in making the soil mix well-drained.
– Temperature Requirements
Calathea Vittata prefers to be kept in warmer temperatures. Try to keep the plant in an environment that is similar to the tropical jungles where the plant grows in shade in moderately warm temperatures. Temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit work the best for its growth.
Protect Calathea Vittata from frost as it is intolerant to frost and might die in extreme temperatures. You can bring it indoors when the temperatures outside fall in the winter months. Ensure that you keep it away from windows with cold and hot drafts.
Often the air indoors gets dry due to excessive usage of air conditioners and heaters. In such cases, increase the humidity levels around the plant by placing a humidifier or a humidity tray. Invest in an indoor humidifier if you live in a dry area.
– Humidity Requirements
The Prayer plant needs high humidity conditions to grow well. If you live in a dry area, you might have a hard time keeping this plant healthy as low humidity around the plant shows on its leaves in the form of browning and crisping of leaf edges.
Calathea Vittata can tolerate the normal humidity levels indoors but if the air in your house is too dry, then the plant will suffer. To improve the humidity levels around the plant, try using a humidifier or a humidity tray.
Fill a shallow tray with some pebbles and water and keep your pot above it. As the water evaporates, the plant will absorb moisture from the air. Try to replicate the conditions similar to the natural environment of the plant to keep it happy.
Shower or mist your Calathea Vittata occasionally to keep the leaves clean of impurities and dirt. Remember to keep good air circulation around the plant, otherwise, it will face rot problems.
– Fertilizer Requirements
Feed Calathea Vittata with a slow-release fertilizer twice a month in the growing seasons of spring and summer. This tropical plant can be quite sensitive to over-fertilization. So use a balanced, diluted fertilizer after watering.
Follow the instructions on the fertilizer label and dilute the fertilizer. Strong fertilizers can cause salt build-up in the soil and burn the plant’s sensitive root system. Nitrogen-rich fertilizers are generally the best for this plant.
With age, Calathea Vittata Elliptica tends to have some yellowing or browning of leaves which is a natural process. In such cases, prune or trim away the foliage so that the plant’s energy is focused on the healthier leaves.
Pruning makes the plant compact and bushier and helps prevent unnecessary bacteria growth. Always sterilize your tools before pruning the foliage. Sometimes, bacterial growth and pest attacks happen because of using dirty tools.
You can divide the plant and propagate through root division while repotting. The ideal time to shift and propagate the plant is in early spring when the plant shows new growth.
Propagate Calathea Vittata to have more of these gorgeous baby plants. Early spring is the best time to propagate the plant when the growing season has just begun. It is quite easy to propagate them from root divisions.
However, when propagating you need to remember the repotting of this gorgeous plant. The Calathea Vittata is a medium-sized plant but it does need repotting once every few years. Look at the drainage holes of your pot. If the roots are coming out of them, it is time to shift the plant to a bigger pot.
– Root Division
Calathea Vittata is easier to propagate from root division instead of taking stem cuttings. As the plant gets older, new shoots emerge from the soil. You can separate these segments from the main plant and grow them in new pots.
Separate the plant from roots when the shoots have reached a substantial height above the soil so that it is easier to separate them. Be careful not to break too many roots while separating the baby plants.
Fill the pot with freshly prepared soil mix into which you will place the separated segments. Before gently placing the baby plants, remove the dead or brown leaves and roots. These new plants will need less light than the bigger plant.
After you are done separating the baby plants from the mother plant, repot the mother plant in the original container and let all the plants sit in a shaded spot for a few days before shifting them to the final spot.
It can sometimes be challenging to care for Calathea Vittata because of certain pests and diseases. Let us take a detailed look at some of these problems.
– Curling and Wilting of Leaves
Curling of leaves could be due to exposure to too much light or underwatering. The leaves try to curl to conserve water. If you notice such signs, check the soil immediately and if it feels dry to touch, water the plant thoroughly such that it drains out of the bottom holes.
Try changing the plant’s location if it is in a spot that receives too much light. Move it to a shadier and colder spot to protect it from dry and warm weather conditions. Curling and wilting are quite common when the weather gets too hot.
– Yellowing of the Foliage
When it comes to the yellowing of leaves, it could indicate any the problems like overwatering, underwatering, overexposure to direct sun, or improper fertilization. Calathea Vittata is sensitive to extreme changes in any of the above.
If you notice the leaves yellowing which does not seem natural, watch out for the growth conditions you are providing to your plant.
– Browning of Leaf Tips
Browning of leaf tips happens often due to low-humidity conditions and salt build-up in the soil. Damaged leaves cannot turn back green, so it is better to remove them so that the plant can put its energy into growing healthier leaves.
Adjust the humidity levels by keeping a humidifier and using a diluted liquid fertilizer to avoid excessive minerals in the soil. Avoid excessive sun exposure as it often causes the leaf edges to turn brown.
– Root and Stem Rot
Roots and stems of Calathea Vittata are a sign of overwatering. Calathea Vittata is tropical in nature but is prone to overwatering-related problems. If you notice mushy stems, check the roots too. Remove the plant from the soil and check for mushy roots.
Remove the affected stems and roots and replant the Calathea in fresh soil mix in a new pot. If the damage is extensive, the plant cannot be saved but if only a few roots are mushy, take appropriate measures to save the plant.
– Fungus Gnats
Fungus gnats are quite common in Calatheas. They are similar to mosquitoes. Gnats attack in swarms and feed on the leaves and stems. Calatheas thrive in moist soils and these gnats are also attracted to moist soils.
To prevent these pests, cover the top with some dry ground. The roots will be in moist soil and the top dirt will keep the gnats away. Use three percent hydrogen peroxide mixed in four parts of water to get rid of the gnats.
– Mealybugs, Spider Mites, and Scale
If you notice the leaves losing color and crisping up despite when it is kept under perfect conditions, it might be a pest infestation. Check for spider mites that thrive in dry weather, mealybugs that suck the sap and hide in stem crevices, and scale that secretes honeydew.
You can remove some pests manually by using cotton buds dipped in alcohol or use a neem oil spray solution as a preventative measure to keep these unwelcome guests away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let us take a look at some commonly asked questions about Calathea Vittata.
– How Big Does Calathea Vittata Get?
Calathea Vittata size is small to medium. It remains short and can grow 24 to 26 inches tall with proper care. It grows upright in a clumped manner. It can be fast-growing if you provide it with tropical jungle-like conditions.
– Is Calathea Vittata pet friendly?
Calathea Vittata is safe to keep around pets and children as it is non-toxic in nature. It is non-toxic but it is better to keep it at arm’s length from pets and children because it might have some pests or bugs that can be dangerous.
– Can I Overwater Calathea Vittata?
Calathea Vittata belongs to the tropical jungles. You can overwater it at times and it can tolerate it for some time. However, if you often tend to overwater most of your plants, use an airy soil mix so that the soil does not get waterlogged and the excess water drains out of the bottom drainage holes.
– Is Calathea Vittata Rare?
Calathea Vittata is not too rare and is becoming easier to find in most nurseries because of its increasing popularity among houseplant enthusiasts. If you cannot find it in your local nursery, there are lots of online stores and sites that sell this gorgeous plant.
Calathea Vittata might seem like a tricky plant at first, but once you get a hang of its needs, it will reward you with gorgeous leaves. Let us summarize all the important points you need to keep in mind before growing one of these beauties.
- Calathea Vittata is a medium-sized, tropical plant with thin elliptical leaves.
- It needs indirect, bright light, well-draining soil, high humidity levels, and warm temperatures to grow well.
- Use filtered or distilled water to water the plant as it can be sensitive to chlorine and salts in regular tap water.
- Repot the plant every two to three years when the roots come out of the drainage holes and propagate the separated baby plants in new pots.
- It can face problems like curling and wilt of leaves, pests, and diseases that can be treated if spotted early.
With our comprehensive care tips, you will be able to care for your Calathea Vittata easily. Give them some love and care making sure that they receive lots of bright light and warmth and your plant will be happy.
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