ONE of my all time favourite plant is the calathea variety. These houseplants have the most impressive patterns and textures of any houseplant out there.

The top of the leaves usually have striking geometric patterns while underneath some have a deep purple colour. The texture of some calatheas also feel beautiful to the touch, some feel like velvet.

But, there is a reason why I also refer to this plant as the diva plant.

Some calatheas can cause real havoc on our perfect plant sensibilities if the right conditions in the home are not met.

Calatheas are part of the prayer plant family, which means they move with the sun so depending on the time of day these plants close up, which also means they love low light conditions.

Keeping these plants in direct sun causes bleaching of the leaves and even scorching.

The hardest thing to overcome with a calathea is the humidity. Calatheas love humidity, requiring 50 per cent humidity (some varieties up to 60) which can be tricky to get right with our central heated homes.

Another must is water. They love good, clean water which means you might have to have your water standing overnight to get rid of the chlorine or opt for distilled water.

I’ve had many calatheas over the years; some have been the best houseplants I’ve ever owned, others I could have quite happily thrown out of the window.

If you have patience and are bit more experienced in keeping house plants then calatheas are for you.

  • Light. Keep Calatheas in low light conditions. The darker the plant, lower the light.
  • Water. These plants like good, clean water. If using tap water leave it to stand overnight to
  • clear it of chlorine if you can use distilled water that would be better.
  • Humidity. This is the most important. A humidifier would be preferable (and a bonus for you).
  • If you don’t have one, try sitting your calathea on a tray of pebbles and water. The pebbles
  • stop the plant’s roots from sitting in the water while the natural evaporation of the water
  • creates the humidity your plant needs.
  • Cutting back. Don’t be scared of cutting back any brown leaves – it will help promote new growth and keep the look of your plant the way it deserves to look. Calatheas are very resistant to cutting back.
  • Toxicity. Good news – this plant is non-toxic to cats and dogs.

Finally if you end up with the calathea bug and want to own these plants, group them together.

Calatheas love to be part of a gang, which helps promote humidity and strength.

I always have them in the shop and I can offer you advice on which of the calatheas would suit

you best.

Until next time, planters.

Plant One On Me is at 11 Upper Millergate, Bradford BD1 1SX, part of the Sunbridge Wells complex.

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