Calathea are a genus of plants that stand out, above all, for the color of their leaves: some are green and could pass for common plants, but there are others that have lighter colored margins, others that have purple, … and there is even some multicolored.
Of the 287 accepted species that there are, 15 are highly appreciated and in demand. They may seem few to you, but you have to bear in mind that with any of them you will be able to decorate your home and / or your garden if there is no frost in the place Where do you live.
Main characteristics and basic care of Calathea
Our calathea They are herbaceous and rhizomatous plants that live in tropical America, especially in Brazil and Peru. They can reach up to a meter in height, although in cultivation it is rare that they exceed 60 centimeters. The leaves are its main attraction, but its flowers, although small, are not far behind.
When it comes to taking care of them it is important that you put them in a bright place, where they receive light but diffusesince the direct sun or light burns them. In addition, the soil must be rich in organic matter, so if you are going to have them in pots, it is advisable to fill them with a mixture of peat, worm castings and perlite in equal parts, or choose to buy universal substrate that contains perlite ( on sale here!).
In the case that you are going to plant them in the garden, make sure that the water is absorbed and drained quickly, since otherwise the plants could die.
If we talk about irrigation, you have to know that they do not resist the drought. For this reason, it is advisable to always keep the soil somewhat humid; but be careful: when watering, you have to pour water until it is well soaked. And, if you add only one glass of water every X time, not all the roots will be hydrated, only those that are closer to the surface. So, depending on the climate and where you are going to have them (indoors or outdoors, and on the ground or in a pot), you should more or less water them about 3 times a week in summer, and less in winter.
Remember they can’t stand frost. If there are in your area, you will have to put them at home or in a greenhouse until spring returns.
Most popular Calathea varieties
If you want to know what they are, take a look:
It is one of the most common in nurseries and garden stores. Native to Brazil, the Calathea crocata It has leaves whose upper surface is dark green and the underside is purple. Reaches 40-60 centimeters in heightand if conditions allow it, it will produce orange flowers of about 2-3 centimeters in diameter.
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The Calathea lancifolia It is another of the most beloved. It is also native to Brazil, and reaches a height of up to 75 centimeters. Its leaves are lance-shaped, with a light green upper with dark green spots, and a purple underside.
The Calathea louisae is a native herb of Brazil that reaches a size of up to 80 centimeters in height. Its leaves are green, but two shades of this color can be clearly distinguished on the upper side, being a pale green in and near the main vein.
The Calathea koyana is a native plant of Brazil that reaches a height of up to 45 centimeters. Its leaves are multicolored: the upper surface is pale green with dark green spots, and the underside is dark purple.
Out of curiosity, you should know that he has won the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Award of Merit in Gardening.
The Calathea orbifolia It is a native plant of Bolivia and eastern Brazil. It grows over 50 centimeters talland has leaves with a light green upper surface with darker veins, and a purple underside.
The Calathea decorated It is a plant native to Colombia and Venezuela. His height is 60-70 centimetersand develops green leaves with very marked nerves, white.
The Calathea roseopicta is an herb native to Brazil that reaches a height of 50 centimeters. Its leaves are rounded, dark green with white or cream lines, and with a dark purple upper surface.
He has also won the Award of Merit in Gardening. Get a copy.
The calathea rufibarba It is a species native to Brazil that does not exceed 40 centimeters in height. Its leaves are narrow, and have a somewhat curly margin. They are bright green on the upper side, and purple on the underside. The flowers are yellow.
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The Calathea veitchiana It is a natural plant from Ecuador that reaches about 50 centimeters in height. The leaves are rounded, dark green with light green lines, and the underside purple.
The Calathea warscewiczii is a plant native to Central America, which can grow between 50 and 120 centimeters tall. Its leaves are narrow, lanceolate, and green on the upper side and purple on the underside. Its flowers are white.
The Calathea zebrina It is originally from Brazil. It can reach a height of 1 meterwith very long stems. the leaves are green, with dark spots on the upper side, and purple on the underside. The flowers are lilac, but they often go unnoticed, as they are usually hidden between the stems.
Which of them did you like the most?