10 calathea varieties

Calathea plants are all the craze these days, and it is no wonder why! They are strikingly beautiful plants with elaborate foliage that emulate stunning shades of green, making them the perfect addition to liven up anyone’s home. Here are some of my favorite Calathea varieties that I am sure you’ll love just as much as I do!

1. Calathea makoyana (peacock plant)

Calathea makoyana plants have light green leaves accompanied by thin, dark green lines. In some areas, these lines open up into large, deep green ovals – similar to peacock feathers – which is why they are commonly known as the peacock plant. This variety thrives bests in a soil mixture of peat, sand, and perlite. Be sure to fertilize it every 2-4 weeks. When healthy, these plants can rapidly grow and need repotting every couple of years.

Calatheas are tropical plants, which means they typically do best in humid environments under indirect light and in a drainable pot with frequent aeration. Calathea varieties should be watered with distilled, filtered tap or rainwater when the top inch of soil is dry. These plants may be a bit more high maintenance but are worth it for their charm and powerful air purifying abilities.

2. Calathea ornata (pinstripe calathea)

As one of the more colorful Calathea varieties, Calathea ornata plants are identifiable by their long, dark green leaves and thin, pink stripes that splay outward from the stem. The leaves have deep purple undersides that add a lovely contrasting color to the plant. Your Pinstripe plant should get between 6 and 8 hours of indirect light to grow healthy. For soil, two parts peat moss to one part perlite should keep them happy and prevent curling.

3. Calathea lancifolia (rattlesnake plant)

The Calathea lancifolia has long, elegant, light green leaves with dark green spots and purplish-red leaf undersides. Their wavy leaf edges and spotting have given them the nickname rattlesnake calathea, or rattlesnake plant. This calathea species blooms small yellow flowers, but only when in their natural habitat. It is quite rare for them to blossom indoors. As houseplants, they can typically grow about 20 inches tall and need a lot of heat and humidity to thrive.

4. Calathea orbifolia (prayer plant)

This Calathea cultivar has some of the largest leaves of all Calathea varieties. Their medium green leaves are round with thick, white stripes that create a stunning contrast – making this Calathea variety very pleasing to the eye. Calathea Orbifolias love bright, indirect light and well-draining, slightly acidic soil. What makes them even more special, is that they close their leaves at night and open them back up again in the morning!

5. Calathea concinna (Freddie plant)

The Calathea Concinna is one of the easiest Calathea varieties to care for. They are a gorgeous shade of light green with dark green stripes and have large, pointed oval shaped leaves. Unlike some Calathea plants, these indoor plants can tolerate lower light levels but do best in medium, indirect sunlight. Since they are tropical plants, it is best to use a humidifier or place the plant on a tray of pebbles with some water.

6. Calathea musaica (network plant)

This unique Calathea species, also known as the Network Calathea, has light green foliage covered with thin, lighter green crosshatched lines. They thrive in bright indirect sunlight with high humidity between 50-80%. Calathea Musaicas grow at a slower rate, reaching about 2 inches tall and 2-3 inches wide at maturity. Be sure to fertilize it every 4-6 weeks during the spring and summer.

7. Calathea crocata (eternal flame plant)

This Calathea plant can be easily recognized for its vibrant orange flowers, which is why it is most commonly known as the Eternal Flame plant. Its leaves are deep, dark green, making the flowers pop with color. Keep them out of direct sunlight, as too much direct sunlight will fade the plant’s breathtaking vibrancy. Calathea Crocata’s enjoy bright indirect sunlight during the winter months and light shade in the summertime.

8. Calathea zebrina (zebra plant)

The Calathea Zebina, or Zebra Plant, has bright green foliage that can be striped in either dark green, white, yellow, or pink feathering. The leaves are an oval shape, and the entire plant can grow to about a meter in height. Keep it under bright filtered light. If you want it to grow fuller or bushier, you can divide the plant once it’s time to repot it and place the divided growth and its roots in potting soil.

9. Calathea roseopicta (medallion calathea)

This round leaf Calathea is one of the more classic Calathea varieties to add to your home. They have beautiful, broad leaves with a lovely deep purple underneath. On top, their dark green leaves and feathered rings of white and bright green are what make them strikingly distinctive. Calathea Roseopictas also bloom in the summer, growing small white and purple flowers.

10. Calathea white fusion

The Calathea White Fusion is one of the more difficult Calathea varieties to care for. It is pickier than most about its humidity levels, and its white variegation makes photosynthesis a bit more difficult. However, this Calathea species is well worth the effort as it offers a gorgeous display of dark green foliage marbled with white and cream. The leaf undersides are also a pretty shade of lavender, making the plant a true beauty to behold.

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a quintessential Canadian gardener. An engineer by trade, she tends to an ever-expanding collection of plants. In her world, laughter blooms as freely as her flowers, and every plant is raised with a dash of Canadian grit.

Mary Jane is a certified Master Gardener and also holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's also a proud mom of three, teaching her little sprouts the crucial difference between a garden friend and foe.

When she's not playing in the dirt, Mary Jane revels in her love for Taylor Swift, Gilmore Girls, ice hockey, and the surprisingly soothing sounds of bluegrass covers of classic hip-hop songs. She invites you to join her garden party, a place where you can share in the joy of growing and where every day is a new opportunity to find the perfect spot for yet another plant.

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