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How to make Calathea thrive!

First, I wanna tell you how I felt in love in Calathea. One day I saw a post of another plant blogger on instagram (House Plant Journal) and it was Calathea lancifolia. I thought this plant so cool, and next day I saw a huge Calathea orbifolia on instagram. I don’t remember who posted it but after I saw that, it was running through my mind, my heart and I said “I want it, I should have it” and I started to search more info about Calathea.

In October 2017 I started my collection of Calatheas includine Calathea orbifolia, C makoyana, C zebrina, C warscawizii, C ornata, C leopardina, C roseopicta and many more. Oh, I spend a lot of my money on them, when I’m in love with plants, I can’t control it, buy more and more, yeah I’m insane!

Every single species of Calathea has different shapes, patterns and colors, so when I have one, I want another one.

Calatheas are the perfect for indoor plant, are made more handsome when paired with a terracotta or ceramic pot. You’ll forget that you have spent so much time sitting with your Calathea, looking into them with a cup of coffee, ah that’s paradise…

The question is, how to grow Calathea and keep them well?


I use  soil mix of:

  • Dried bamboo leaf 60%
  • Husk Charcoal 30%
  • Compost 10%


You can use ceramic, plastic or terracotta pots. There must be holes in the pot:

  • for air movement, the roots also need good air movement to guard from root rot, and
  • for drainage, allowing waste water to leave the pot when watering.


Calathea need medium light intensity, about 40-70% sunlight. Don’t put them in direct sunlight or their leaves will be burn.


In my experience, Calathea need more water than other ornamental plants, so water once every couple of days if outdoors or once a day if indoors.

If some or all of Calathea leaves roll up, it is an indicator that it needs water or that the temperature is to high.

  • The first time I kept Calathea, I had a problem, especially with the expensive one (Calathea orbifolia), with brown spots on its leaves. I thought it was from over watering so I stopped watering for a few days, but a couple weeks later that spot spread wide, and some leaves dropped. I thought my diagnose was wrong, I searched for some references of that case and the answer is, yes I was wrong, it is fusarium spot (fungi) so I cut off all of infected leaves and I sprayed the healthy leaves with Fungicide. A week passed and the spot didn’t come back. Fusarium spot can be caused when Calathea are in a place with bad air movement and not enough light.
  • Bacterial leaf spot (Pseudomonas sp) is a dark green spot that turns black or may have a yellow edge. We can apply bactericide 1 time per 3 days to fix this.


There are some insects that might infect Calathea, Mealybugs, spider mites, parlatoria are common, especially in the dry season. We can apply insecticide twice for a week when infected or one time for a month for guard.

I hope this has been a helpful guide to growing Calathea and good luck!



Fahri Ansori

Fahri is a plant seller, plant consultant and plant designer who grows many different species of orchids, bromeliads and tillandsia in Magelang, Central Java.


  • Suraya

    Hi, I am trying to grow my calathea majestica and repotted them a few weeks ago. Now the leaves are starting to yellow and having dry tips. I really didnt know what was the problem. I always kept the soil moist. How do you grow your so healthy?

  • Janice

    What’s the name of the bright cream Calathea on your left next to your knee? It’s beautiful!

    A few leaves on my Orbifolia have crunchy brown spots along the edges. I wonder if it’s a fungal disease! I also thought it was due to over watering so I eased up on watering but the newest leaf also has a brown spot 🙁 what do you use as a fungicide?

    • Fahri

      👋 Hi Janice, thanks for question, the silver one is Calathea Silver Plate, yes it is, so hard to growing orbifolia here, yellow spotted is ones seriously diseases, I use Fungicide plus bactericide Nordox or Bactocyn.

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