Calathea white star is the ideal plant for the top of refrigerators, windowsills, and tabletops.
It opens and closes its leaves from day to night all by itself. Its vibrant bright foliage will surely put a smile on your face all day. Read up on how best to fulfill its basic care needs here.
- What Is Calathea White Star?
- Calathea White Star Care
What Is Calathea White Star?
Calathea white star is a tropical plant. Its broad leaves have dark green veins with an alternating striped pattern of white and green. The undersides are violet in color. Like all other praying plants, it closes its leaves at night and opens them at night.
Calathea White Star Care
This beautiful plant grows best when you give it the right amount of care. The care for this plant is provided to you below:
– Light Requirements
Calathea white starlight comprises bright yet indirect sunshine for six to eight hours daily. Direct exposure to sun rays, especially during mid-day, will cause the edges of its leaves to turn brown. Sunburnt leaves turn yellow and become thin and papery. When growing this plant outside, some kind of shade is always required.
The best space indoors is one lit by properly-sized windows. Any corner of the room provided it receives adequate light, works. You will have to keep rotating the plant’s pot so that all sides receive an equal quantity of light.
Be careful while moving the pot too close to windows, though. Any window to the south is not safe, and the plant should be kept at least three feet away from it. You can also try covering such a window with curtains.
Any other window is safe for this plant to grow directly next to. The best ones are the eastern and the western ones. They receive direct sunlight, but it is usually only for a brief duration.
Does your indoor space lack the natural light needed to grow a calathea? Artificial grow lights can be a lifesaver in this case. These lights are available in various price ranges, so you can go for anyone you like.
These lights are best installed right above where the plants will be kept. Don’t place them too near the plant, though. LED grow lights these days are pretty safe overall. You must turn these lights on for ten to twelve hours each day. Only then will your calatheas be able to make food for themselves and grow.
– Water Requirements
The Calathea majestic white star plant loves evenly moist soil all the time. You only need to allow its soil to dry between one to two inches before watering it again. What you may do here is to try and water more frequently in summer because the soil will dry up faster. Later, during fall and winter, you can water less frequently too.
Here are a few methods to help you get started and determine if the soil is dry or not. Dip your finger in the soil knuckle deep. You can feel if the soil is dry or not pretty easily. Alternatively, a pencil or a wooden skewer can be used instead. If they come out with dry, crumbling soil from the top two inches of the soil, hence you need to water as soon as possible.
Furthermore, the most accurate measure of a soil’s dryness can be gauged by using a moisture meter. It comes with a sensor inserted in the soil and a screen that tells you how dry the soil is within seconds.
Calatheas are particularly sensitive to tap water’s minerals, chlorine, and fluoride. It will not grow well when consistently watered with it. Instead, opt for using distilled water or water that has been filtered using reverse-osmosis technology.
Even rainwater is a better option when compared to tap water. In case of an inevitability, you can make tap water safer. Leave it in a bucket exposed to air for 24 hours to let chlorine and fluorine evaporate off.
– Soil Requirements
This plant grows best in soil that drains adequately and is properly aerated. Buy any well-reviewed ordinary houseplant soil mix as a starting point. Then add large pieces of chunky barks to it to shake it up.
One key ingredient you must add is peat or sphagnum moss. This moss helps a lot with providing nutrients to the soil over time. It also absorbs water from the soil when you first give it, preventing overwatering. Later on, this water is released when the soil gets dry.
Another key ingredient is perlite, which comes from white-colored balls. These balls need to be of the same quantity as perlite. Mix it thoroughly with the soil in question. Perlite creates spaces for easy flow of air and water.
The ideal soil needs an ideal spot to be put in. Calatheas grow well in terracotta, clay, and plastic pots. Clay and terracotta pots are the most conducive for ideal growth. Plastic pots don’t have the best air circulation, and the soil needs more time to dry.
We suggest you stay away from cement or metal pots on principle. Before filling it with soil, ensure there are large enough drainage holes at the bottom. Remember that you make these holes yourself using a sharp instrument, making sure that they are sterile to avoid all kinds of pests.
– Temperature Requirements
Between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect temperature range for this praying plant. It cannot tolerate cold temperatures below 60 degrees. A warm room or kitchen garden is where it stays the happiest.
You might notice that the plant seems to be drooping its leaves in winter. It might even start dropping leaves when directly exposed to cold air drafts. You might need to see if it is receiving cold air from anywhere or not. However, during winters, it is simplest just to move the white star indoors. Even if the air is chilled inside the house, move it to a kitchen or washroom.
– Humidity Requirements
Calathea majestic ‘white star’ is a plant that needs high humidity. More than 50 percent is needed all the time, all year round. Most regions in the US have about 50 to 60 percent humidity levels for most of the year.
However, the plant tends to get dry outdoors because of wind blowing. Inside the house, the air conditioning and radiator also dry the air quite often. Signs of a dry humidity starved plant include papery leaves with their edges turning brown. You can buy a humidifier and use it to see how humid the air is around this plant.
You can use a humidity tray to keep your calathea white star pink and healthy. You can make your own tray by filling any shallow container with water. Put something in the container for the pot to rest on.
This is important because the pot should not touch the water in the humidity tray. The water in the tray needs to be changed every five to six days. This water is what evaporates and then contributes to air moisture levels.
A humidifier is an excellent tool if you have a lot of humidity-loving plants at home. You can plug one in the room with these plants and run them for most of the day.
A humidifier will take your mind off all plants’ humidity-related problems. Luckily, these machines aren’t that expensive to buy or even run all day long. Another awesome feature of a humidifier is that it turns off automatically when the required levels are reached. It then starts right back when they start falling.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Regular fertilizing every month is needed during the growing season. The growing season for all calatheas, like a white star or calathea ornata, lasts from spring till late summer. Two months before bloom season, it is best to use a phosphorus-rich fertilizer. Phosphorus helps a plant bloom gorgeous flowers.
You can also opt for a regular fertilizer equal to the three essential plant nutrients. Liquid fertilizer is the most convenient type of feed you can find, especially if you are busy. Do this every month during the growing months and give the plant some rest during winter. Always dilute these fertilizers to half or one-third of their original strengths. You can do this by mixing it with clean water.
When pouring a dilute liquid fertilizer, do so on the soil, not the plant. If this fertilizer falls on the plant, it might cause chemical burns and turn that area yellow. If feeding a plant every month sounds like hard work, try pellet form fertilizers. These come in the form of pellets or even crushed powdered form.
All you have to do is dig the soil and mix this fertilizer in. Do this only once at the start of the growth period in spring. They will keep giving your plant nutrients for the next four to six months.
Calathea, whether white star or calathea white fusion, needs constant pruning. Pruning is best scheduled once a year at the beginning of spring. First, cut off all stems and branches that seem to be ruining the plant’s shape.
Also, look out for yellowed, brown, or diseased foliage ruining this plant’s look. Just take care not to prune off more than one-third of the plant in one go.
Always clean and sharpen your instruments before carrying out pruning. For cleaning, you can use disinfectants, alcohol, or bleach. Always prune leaves and stems at an angle of 45 degrees. Properly cut stems will grow back healthier than before.
Root division is the best method by which to propagate Calatheas. Of course, you will need to take the plant out of its pot for this. That is why it is most convenient to carry out this propagation whenever it feels like the plant needs repotting.
One day before you carry out your root division, water the plant’s soil copiously. This will help the roots survive the shock of being divided and transplanted much better. Watering will make the soil a bit soft and moist. This will help greatly when taking the plant out of the soil. This is the only intensity where you can get away with some overwatering since the plant will soon be out of the soil.
Divide the plant, you will need smaller pots than the current one. Mix a soil that is one-third perlite, one-third peat, and one-third ordinary potting mix. Place a layer of gravel or porous filter paper at the bottommost of each pot. This helps prevent soil’s outflow and water from the drainage hole. Fill up the pot with the leftover soil mix so your plant becomes stable and stays upright. Lightly sprinkle some water on the topmost surface to moisten it.
Take a rake and gently start pulling the top layers of the soil off. Start pulling the roots out after loosening the soil around them. The roots are delicate, and you must exercise extreme caution not to damage them. Even after they are out, use water from a hose at moderate pressure to wash the soil off.
Luckily, this plant is not too problematic, even if you are a beginner at gardening. Some common calathea white star problems are mostly pests related. Below, we discuss all the most common pests and how to get rid of them using natural methods.
– Fungus Gnats
These are flies that love to lay their eggs in moist soil. These eggs then hatch into larvae that eat your roots and produce malnutrition to your majestic white star.
You will notice that the leaves are wilting or turning yellow suddenly. The growth of new leaves is also severely impaired. If you poke deep around the soil, you might be able to spot these larvae lurking around.
The first step before anything is to get rid of the black fungus gnat flies to control the source of the infestation. Proceed by taking a small container or jar and filling half it with water. Add two teaspoons apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dishwashing soap. Place this container near the prayer plant pot. The flies will be attracted to this mixture and die. You can also use bright yellow colored paper to trap them.
To kill larvae present in the soil you must use hydrogen peroxide. Mix one part three percent hydrogen peroxide with four parts water. Pour it on the soil slowly until it begins to drain out.
– Spider Mites
Spider mites are counted among the most common pests that attack this plant. They puncture the stem and leaves and then suck sap from the plant. Naturally, the plant gets weaker and malnourished eventually.
Spider mites are hard to notice. You can detect an infestation by the appearance of brown and yellow spots on the foliage. The leaves become wilted and have silkworms woven around them. We suggest you try killing mites using natural remedies first. If these don’t work, only then proceed towards chemical insecticides.
By using a hose or water nozzle, use water with pressure to wash the affected plant. This method will kick most of the spider mites off the plant. Next, you may take a few cotton rolls and apply two to three drops of 100 percent organic neem oil on each. Use them to wipe the entire plant. Neem oil is toxic for pests and their larvae.
You can also put a teaspoon of neem oil in one water gallon. This foliar spray will last you months when used every week. The easiest method is to introduce biological agents that predate spider mites.
Lady bugs are easy to buy and a great help. The spider mite destroying beetle, on the other hand, might be a bit difficult to procure. If you want a quick fix using insecticide, try going for an organic one. This will not harm the plant as much as a 100 percent chemical.
– White Flies
Whiteflies are gnat-like pests that also lay their eggs in the soil. The eggs and their larvae then feed on the roots and the nutrition within the soil. These larvae destroy foliage as they munch on the lower sides of the leaves.
You can get rid of these flies using any moderate commercial pesticide. However, do take care to take safety precautions like covering your eyes and skin with protective equipment.
Whiteflies can also be killed using homemade remedies. Make one using one cup of vegetable oil and a few drops of dish soap. Proceed by adding two teaspoons of this mixture to a cup and spray the whole plant every week.
– Root Rot
This plant likes constantly moist soil, hence it is easily prone to overwatering. This often happens when the pot’s drainage gets blocked by soil draining along with water over time. Maybe the drainage of your soil or pot wasn’t ideal, to begin with. It only gets worse with time. You might not be allowing the soil to dry the first two inches before watering it.
Root rot is destructive and causes yellowing leaves that eventually wilt and drop. The whole plant develops brown and black rot spots and starts smelling bad. First, take your white star out of its old pot. Be careful that the already diseased roots don’t get damaged.
Lay the plant on a water absorbent paper to soak in all the extra water. Then apply a liquid copper fungicide generously on the whole plant and its drooping leaves. Finally, repot calathea white star in fresh new soil and pot. The old pot and soil are infected and should either be sterilized or discarded as a diseased item.
– When Is The Best Time To Propagat?
Keep in mind that early to late spring is the ideal season to propagate any plant. This is because the plant’s growth is at its peak and will survive much better in new soil. In summer, when the plant is in bloom, and in winter, when it is in rest mode, propagation will not work.
Move the pots over to a place in the house lit brightly but indirectly. Wrap a transparent plastic sheet around each pot to create a mini greenhouse environment. Every second or third day, lift this sheet up to allow air in and water the pot if needed. Within one or two weeks, each newly divided plant will settle in its new home and give rise to more stems and leaves.
– Does Calathea White Star Like Big Pots?
No, the Calathea White Star doesn’t like to be in big pots, because it prefers smaller pots. It is important to know that the plant is a tropical one, and they prefer to be in a compact structure when it comes to the that it stays in. Furthermore, when the plant’s container is big, the roots will not maintain their stable growth.
Now you know all about this beautiful tropical plant. A long guide like this calls for a brief summary at the end.
- Keep watering your calathea to keep its soil evenly moist.
- Select the brightest and warmest areas in the house for this plant.
- If the air is drying to the leaves, you may take help from a pebble tray or a humidifier.
- In order to maintain the right humidity level, you can always mist the plant, so that the plant reaches its optimal humidity level.
- Calathea white is best propagated using root division. Where they are best propagated in the season of spring.
Calathea white star is a non-demanding plant that gives back so much. Its brilliant leaves open and close during day and night, respectively.
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