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Calatheas

Calatheas are the most gorgeous flowers of the Marantaceae family. Besides the lovely colorful flowers, the foliage of Calatheas is also very attractive, coming in varied shapes and patterns.

Image of calathea flowerThe blue and white Calathea flower looks like a small vertical football of glacial ice. Calatheas are one of the easy to grow tropical flowers. Calathea flowers are pollinated mainly by bees and other bugs. Hummingbirds eat the Calthea fruit and disperse the seeds around the forest. Calathea flowers bracts come in various shapes - from Listening Beehive shape flower bracts to Rattlesnake Tail shape.

Kingdom
Plantae
Division
Magnoliophyta
Class
Liliopsida
Order
Zingiberales
Family
Marantaceae
Genus
Calathea

All Calatheas belong to the maranta family-Marantaceae. Calathea genus includes about twenty five species. Calathea are native to tropical Americas. Many Calathea species are popular house plants, and commonly called Prayer Plants or Zebra Plants. Typically tropical, Calathea need heat and humidity and shade from direct sunlight. Each night, Calthea Prayer Plants leaves fold together upwards, mimicking human hands folded in prayer! Calathea leaves are pleated ovate and dark green.

Calathea insignis, also called Rattlesnake Plant, has tapering, narrow, erect foliage, yellow green with lateral ovals, alternately large and small, with maroon underside. Calathea makoyana, Peacock plant, comes with oval shaped leaves with opaque, olive green lines and oval areas alternately short and long, in a translucent field of yellow green. The underside of the leaf is purple red color.

Calathea roseo-picta grows elliptical leaves, in a dark green upper surfaceand purple underside, red midrib, and a red zone fading to pink near the margin. Dark green Calathea louisae leaves are broadly ovate, with light green splotches along the midrib and have a purple underside.

Facts About Calatheas

  • Calathea is generally believed to have been first introduced to Hawaii in the early 1970's. Most Calatheas are native to the dim-lit South American rain forest surfaces.
  • The most commonly available Calatheas for indoor gardens are Calathea insignis - Rattlesnake Plant, Calatheas makoyana - Peacock Plant, and Calatheas zebrina - Zebra Plant.
  • Calathea is usually confused with and closely related to the species Ctenanthe, Maranta and Stromanthe.
  • Calatheas' lovely striped leaves have burgundy undersides, sold sometimes as Sromanthe amabilis or Ctenanthe amabilis.
  • Calatheas are produced by divisions or tip cuttings, with nodes to form the roots. Mist and reduced light are important during the early stages of propagation.
  • Calatheas are ideal for removing toxins from the air, caused by cleaning products, modern furnishings that are made of synthetic materials and so on.

Growing Calatheas

  • Keep Calathea in bright indirect light.
  • Calatheas actively grow from march to october when the soil is moist.
  • During winter allow the top soil to dry between waterings.
  • The ideal temperatures are 60-70 degrees farehheit.
  • Feed Calatheas once every two weeks.
  • Repot during late spring when the plant becomes crowdy in its containers.

Calatheas Plant Care

  • Calathea do tolerate a wide temperature range and do well indoors so far as a high degree of humidity is given.
  • Calathea show brown edges on the leaves if the air is too dry.
  • Humidifiers or pebble trays can be used to maintain humidity around Calathea.
  • Calthea thrive in water controlled containers.
  • Caterpillars, mealybugs, mites, and scales are the major arthropod pests of Calathea.

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