Large, lush, vibrant green leaves mixed with silvery stripes, Calathea Orbifolia is sure to make a statement in any indoor garden. Native to South America, this tropical plant has become a beloved houseplant around the globe. With such a showy presence, it’s easy to see why.
When fully mature, the leaves reach about 10 inches long, creating a full-bodied, bolt plant that thrives in indoor environments. Simple, yet tastefully elegant, it’s one of those plants that brings life to any space and will just make you feel happy.
While there’s no denying the beauty of this plant, it can be a bit fussy, but that doesn’t mean growing and maintaining one has to be difficult. In order for a calathea orbifolia to thrive, it needs to be planted in the appropriate conditions.
About Calathea Orbifolia
- A prayer plant that hails from the South American country of Bolivia, the orbifolia is one of the largest varieties of calatheas.
- The oval-shaped, deep green leaves are accented by silver striations and can reach up to 1 foot across.
- The size of the foliage combined with the color makes a real statement.
- While they can grow flowers, indoors, they usually don’t bloom; however, the absence of flowers really doesn’t affect the beauty of the plant, as the foliage is just that striking.
- The calthea orbifolia is a little bit fussier than other varieties of calathea, especially when it comes to the tips of the leaves.
- It happily grows in containers, pots, and planters, but it does require the perfect conditions in order to thrive, otherwise the tips of the leaves will dry out, become brown, and shrivel up.
- With that said, however, as long as it is housed in the right environment and given enough water and food, it should thrive indoors.
- It would make a beautiful statement as a standalone piece, or add dramatic interest to a collection of indoor plants.
How to Grow Calthea Orbifolia
If you are planning on adding a calthea orbifolia to your indoor garden, here’s a look at some handy growing tips that will help to get the plant started out on the right foot.
When it comes to the type of soil that a prayer plant requires, there really isn’t an exact recipe to follow. With that said, however, like so many other tropical indoor houseplants, you’ll want to plant your orbifolia calathea in a well-draining potting mix. The soil should drain quickly, but it should retain some degree of moisture. If necessary, you can mix the potting soil with coco coir or peat moss to increase the drainage and allow the roots to breathe. Be sure to steer clear of soils that are too wet, muck, sandy, or dry.
Another note about soil: it should also be slightly acidic. A pH between 5.0 and 6.0 is ideal. A bit of organic material can be added to adjust the pH level, but use caution, as adding too much could be damaging for the plant. Your best bet is to choose a pre-made potting soil that has been specially formulated for houseplants, which can usually be purchased at pretty much any gardening center.
During the growing season, use a diluted jungle/tropical plant fertilizer, and apply it to the soil every three weeks or so. Be sure to water the plant the day before feeding it, otherwise you could end up burning the roots.
Calathea orbifolia, as mentioned, does well in pots, planters, and containers. Make sure that the container you choose to house the plant in features a drainage hole to avoid drowning.
As a tropical plant, calathea orbifolia does best in warm conditions.
- The ideal temperature range is between 55 and 70 degrees F, or 15 and 21 degrees C.
- If the temperature outside is between this range, you can safely move the plant outdoors; however, as soon as they start to dip below 55 degrees F or 15 degrees C, it must be brought back indoors, otherwise it will perish.
- Make sure to steer clear of a cold drafts, too, as they can cause serious damage.
- If the temperatures climb to high, the leaves of the calathea orbifolia will begin to curl. As such, it should not be exposed to anything higher than 75 degrees F or 21 degrees C.
- Furthermore, the prayer plant does not tolerate sudden and drastic changes in temperature; make sure that the temperature remains as consistent as possible.
As a plant that is native to Bolivia, the humidity conditions of the room where you place it should be similar to the humidity in the South American country. The average humidity level in Bolivia is approximately 54 percent.
To determine the amount of humidity in the area, we suggest using a hygrometer, as this tool measures the moisture content in the air.
While your best bet is to place your prayer plant in a location that is naturally humid – a bathroom or a kitchen, for example – there are ways that you can increase the humidity levels indoors to accommodate your calathea orbifolia.
One option is to place a pebble tray underneath the plant, which will allow for evaporation, and thus, increase humidity levels. Misting the plant at least once a day is another way to ensure that it receives proper humidity.
Simply use a spray bottle to apply a gentle mist on both the tops and undersides of the leaves until they have a light coating of dew. Misting should be done in the morning so that the leaves can dry out during the day. In addition to increase humidity levels, misting is also an effective way to prevent infestations of spider mites.
Lastly, a humidifier is an effective – and easy – way to achieve proper humidity levels. Once the humidifier is set up, just turn it on and let it doe its magic; otherwise, there’s very little that you will need to do.
- Unique Shape: With its round and broad leaves, the Calathea Orbifolia adds a touch of elegance to any space. The leaves grow in a symmetrical pattern, creating a visually appealing display that captures attention from every angle.
- Low Maintenance: This tropical beauty is surprisingly low maintenance, making it an excellent choice for both experienced plant enthusiasts and beginners alike. It thrives in moderate to bright indirect light, and its water requirements are moderate, allowing for easy care and flexibility in various environments.
- Air-Purifying Properties: The Calathea Orbifolia is not just a beautiful plant; it also acts as a natural air purifier. It helps improve the air quality in your home by filtering out toxins and releasing fresh oxygen, creating a healthier living environment for you and your loved ones.
- Pet-Friendly: If you have furry friends at home, worry not! The Calathea Orbifolia is non-toxic to cats and dogs, making it a safe and pet-friendly choice for households with curious companions.
- Prefers bright, indirect light
- Keep evenly moist, not wet or dry
- Easy to grow house plant
- Trim as needed
- Immediate shipping
Last update on 2023-08-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
In its natural setting, calathea orbifolia grows in partially shaded forests. As such, they should be kept out of bright sunlight, as it will make the vibrant green of the leaves fade and possibly damage them.
The best location to place a prayer plant indoors is in a location that receives medium or low levels of light; however, dim lighting should be avoided. A helpful tip: if you can read without struggling, the light should be sufficient. We recommend a north-facing window, but morning sun from an eastern exposure would also be suitable.
Watering a Prayer Plant
As with any other species of plant, watering plays a major role in the health of a calathea orbifolia. In order to thrive, it must receive the proper amount of water. If you water it too little, it will die, and if you water it too much, it can drown or pests may be attracted to the plant.
As a tropical plant, the soil should be evenly moist; it should never be fully dry. In order to achieve the proper moisture level, inspect the soil. Unlike other types of houseplants, the leaves of the calathea orbifolia won’t wilt when it is thirsty; rather, they will simply start to decline Insert a finger into the soil and if the top inch or so is dry, it’s time to water. By inspecting the soil, you can avoid unwelcomed disease and pests that could potentially ravage the plant.
To water the plant, you can use a watering can or mister to apply moisture to the soil. Alternatively, you could also attempt a self-watering device that is inserted into the soil and slowly releases water as the plant requires it.
Something else that’s important to note is that calathea orbifolia is sensitive to salts and chlorine that are often found in tap water. In order to avoid exposing the plant to these elements and damaging it, using purified water is highly recommended. If the leaves begin to become discolored, even though the soil is properly moist, that could be a sign that the quality of the water you are using is poor.
Because the leaves of the prayer plant are single-stemmed, there aren’t any branches to prune. Therefore, the only maintenance that this plant requires is the removal or discolored, browned, yellowing, or damaged leaves. When removing leaves, be sure to use a sterilized tool and make the cut at the base of the stem.
If it seems like your calathea orbifolia is growing slower than usual, it may be time to repot. The best time to do so is a year or two after the initial growing season. When repotting, make sure that the new container is at least 2 inches larger than the one it is currently housed in, and that it has drainage holes.
With proper care and maintenance, a calathea orbifolia can thrive and add so much beauty to your indoor garden. Follow the above-mentioned tips and you’ll be sure to have a beautiful, lush, tropical plant that will bring you joy for years to come.