Calathea Orbifolia: Prayer Plant Care

Calathea Orbifolia, also known as the Prayer Plant, is a beautiful tropical plant that can be found in many homes and offices.

It is well-known for its broad, luscious, and patterned leaves.

While it is easy to care for, there are a few things you should know in order to keep your prayer plant healthy.

In this article, we will discuss the proper way to care for your Calathea Orbifolia, including watering, lighting, propagating, and much more.

What Is a Calathea Orbifolia Plant?

Calathea orbifolia is a houseplant that is part of the prayer plant family.

It is a tropical perennial that is native to South America.

It has green leaves that have silver markings and a velvety texture. The plant blooms with small white flowers during the growing season.

Within the botany world, Calathea Orbifolia is also known as Goeppertia Orbifolia. However, it is usually referred to as the “Peacock Plant.”

Native to South America, it is considered a sort of specialty among prayer-plants, as it has grown rapidly popular throughout the world.

You can find it growing in large quantities across regions in Bolivia, which experts believe is its native country.

What Is A Calathea Orbifolia Plant

The beauty of Calathea Orbifolia is maybe the most important aspect that makes it so popular among homeowners and gardeners alike.

The leaves, similar to any other calathea plant, are exquisite and have a strong green hue that extends evenly throughout them.

Furthermore, a leaf can grow up to a foot in length, making it very noticeable.

This greenery’s foliage is relatively uniform and recalls the geometric elegance found exclusively in designer apparel.

Although they aren’t as colorful as most indoor plants, their simplicity is what makes them so elegant.

The height of the Calathea Orbifolia is comparable to that of a medium-sized plant.

However, in comparison to other tropical plants, its appearance and shape make it a bit of an outlier. Its massive leaves, though, make it appear much larger. 

How to Care for a Calathea Orbifolia?

Calathea orbifolia, often known as the Peacock Plant, is a lovely tropical plant that demands specific care.

Because the leaves of this plant are temperature and humidity sensitive, it is critical to maintaining a consistent environment around the plant.

The soil should be kept damp but not wet at all times. You may need to water the plant twice a week to achieve this.

We go into some detail in our Calathea Orbifolia care guide below.

What Climate Does Calathea Orbifolia Like?

Climate For Calathea Orbifolia

Calathea orbifolia is a tropical plant that thrives in warm temperatures.

A healthy Calathea orbifolia enjoys humidity, so it would be ideal to help this plant thrive in a humid area.

Because it dislikes cold temperatures, it is not a good plant to have in your outdoor garden if you live in cold climates.

Calathea orbifolia temperature

Calathea Orbifolia plants like to grow in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

If planted outside, Calathea Orbifolia plants do well in USDA hardiness zones 9b–11.

However, it does not tolerate frost or cold weather and should be kept in a warm, sunny location indoors when temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

High Humidity for Calathea Orbifolia

Plants like Calathea Orbifolia like high humidity; they do not like dry air. Misting is a great way to maintain humidity artificially and emulate mists over the leaves.

Mist frequently or wipe the leaves with a damp cloth at least once a week.

Alternatively, using a pebble tray or humidifier will help increase the humidity in indoor spaces for your Calathea orbifolia plant.

Also, if you place multiple foliage plants together, the plants will increase the surrounding area’s moisture content.

Lighting

Lighting For Calathea Orbifolia

Calathea orbifolia prefers medium to bright light, but it can tolerate low light as well.

As a result, if you intend to keep it as a houseplant, make sure it gets enough sunlight throughout the day.

It may be best to keep it on a balcony with an unobstructed view. It is best to place the plant in an area with indirect sunlight or near a window with morning or afternoon sunlight.

Excessive direct sunlight exposure can cause the leaves to yellow and/or burn.

If your house is in an area with insufficient sunlight, there are a few artificial alternatives to nurture the Calathea Orbifolia, such as fluorescent or grow lights.

Watering

Watering Calathea Orbifolia

A deep watering once per week is the most effective technique to care for a Calathea orbifolia plant’s foliage and flowers.

To prevent overwatering, make sure the pot has sufficient drainage and don’t water the plant if the soil is damp on top.

Watering the plant at the appropriate time of day is also essential.

Watering a Calathea orbifolia in the morning is the best time to do it since it will help prevent overwatering.

Look for drooping leaves or a dry surface in the soil to determine whether or not your plant wants water.

It is always best to avoid overwatering your plants because this may be just as harmful to their health as not enough watering them.

Lastly, to prevent any overwatering, make sure you have well-drainage soil and a pot that has drainage holes.

What Is the Best Soil for Calathea Orbifolia?

Soil Calathea Orbifolia

Calathea orbifolia grows best in rich, dark, and well-draining soil. You may improve the soil’s quality by using soil additives such as perlite or orchid bark.

This will assist in preventing overwatering and maintaining the health of your Calathea plants. The pH should be somewhat acidic, ranging between 5.5 and 6.5.

If you don’t want to make your own potting soil, you can buy pre-made soil or create your own by mixing two parts potting soil with one part perlite or orchid bark.

It is critical to avoid using soils that are too sandy or clay-like while growing this plant since they will not supply the required nutrients and drainage that it needs to thrive.

Fertilizer for Calathea Orbifolia

Give your Calathea Orbifolia a balanced fertilizer monthly at 1/4 to 1/2 strength during the growing season. If your plant can tolerate it and you see it growing, you can add more.

Fertilizer for Calathea Orbifolia is commonly a 10-10-10 combination, which offers the required nutrients for the plant’s continued growth and development.

It’s also a great way to ensure that the soil is rich in nutritional content.

However, it is critical to carefully read the label of any fertilizer you want to use, as various plants have varying nutritional requirements. The worst thing you can do is overfertilize your plant.

Avoid fertilizing Calathea Orbifolia with a high nitrogen content since this can cause the plant to grow excessively leggy as a result.

For Calathea plants, we like to use a slow-release fertilizer. We think highly of this slow-release fertilizer. It’s simple to use, and you won’t need to worry about it for weeks once you set it in the soil.

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Common Pests and Diseases

Common Pests And Diseases Of Calathea Orbifolia

Mealybugs and spider mites are the two most prevalent pests and illnesses that affect Calathea orbifolia.

Mealybugs are little, soft-bodied insects found on the undersides of leaves or in the cracks of plant stems. They feed on the plant’s sap, causing browning and deformation of the leaves.

Spider mites are small arachnids that feed on plant sap. They cause a webbing of fine webs on the undersides of the leaves and sometimes on the tops of stems.

Plants that are infested with pests may not be able to get the nutrients they need from the soil, which could lead to growth problems or even death if the pests keep coming back.

If you notice any browning of leaves or evidence of fungal diseases such as powdery mildew or black spot, most often than not, you can get rid of these pests with a good spray of insecticidal soap or Neem oil spray.

We actually use Neem oil to rid and prevent pest and fungal infestations.

If you are looking for a Neem oil spray, try this Neem oil spray. We’ve used it on our pest infestations and it works well.

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Repotting

Repotting Calathea Orbifolia

It is time to repot the Calathea Orbifolia plant when the potting mix starts to break down and the plant’s roots have completely filled the container.

Repot the plant every 2-3 years into a pot that is approximately 1-3 inches larger than the current pot.

The best time to repot the plant is in the spring, before the plant starts to sprout new leaves and flowers. You have to ensure that the new pot is larger than the old one.

Be careful when removing the root ball and check to see if there’s any decay or root rot.

First, fill half of the pot with soil and plant the plant before you put in the rest.

Water regularly after this process to ensure that it remains strong.

Remove the plant from its present container and loosen the roots before repotting it.

In a new container, repot the plant and fill in around the roots with fresh potting soil.

For the soil, buy this premix fast-draining potting soil. It’s a little pricier than your general potting soil but it’s worth it. We use it for houseplants and it seems to work because they thrive in it.

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Propagating Calathea Orbifolia Plants

Propagating Calathea Orbifolia Plants

Calathea orbifolia can be propagated from seeds or cuttings of mature plants.

The mother plant produces seeds, and they should be fully mature and free of disease.

Root division or stem cuttings can also be used to propagate the plant.

Take a cutting from healthy new growth and remove all but the top two leaves to propagate Calathea orbifolia.

Cuttings should be stripped to reveal white flesh at their base before being coated with rooting hormone powder. For precision, use a sharp, clean blade or pruning shears.

Insert the cutting through a small hole in a wet paper towel or pot mix.

Place the cutting in a warm, moist place until new roots appear.

When the roots have grown sufficiently, they can be placed in a decorative pot or tray. It is important to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

When the cutting begins to sprout new leaves, it should be removed from the soil.

Pruning

Pruning Calathea Orbifolia plants is necessary to preserve the health of the plant.

By pruning your plant, you remove branches or stems from a plant in order to improve the shape of the plant, increase its yield, or stimulate new growth.

You should prune off any diseased branches or overgrown stems you notice.

Prayer plants should be pruned during the growing season in order to promote bushier growth and more flowers.

Prune the oldest and shortest branches from the bottom of the plant.

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FAQ

Why Are My Calathea Orbifolia Leaves Curling?

Calathea orbifolia plant leaves curl in order to conserve water internally. Curling leaves are most commonly caused by underwatering, low humidity, or excessive heat, but they can also occur as a result of root damage caused by root rot, overfertilization, or disease. 

How often should I water my Calathea?

Calathea orbifolia needs water whenever the top inch or two of soil becomes dry. Calatheas require regular watering to keep the soil moist. Make sure to water it thoroughly. However, Calathea orbifolia does not like to sit in water that is stagnant for long periods of time because it can cause root rot. Never allow the soil to become completely depleted of water or nutrients.

Is Calathea Orbifolia fast growing?

Calathea Orbifolia doesn’t grow very quickly, so you should only repot your plant once a year if it grows too big for its pot. If not, leave it alone. Make sure to repot it one size larger than the old pot.

Conclusion

The Calathea Orbifolia, also known as the Prayer Plant, is a beautiful tropical plant that is sure to bring life to any room.

This plant is easy to care for and has a low maintenance requirement. With a little bit of water and some sunlight, it will thrive in any home.

Consider adding one of these plants to your collection and enjoy its beauty for years to come.

Other Calathea Plants to Consider

Calathea Orbifolia is just one type of prayer plant you can grow in your home. There are others to consider when picking out your calathea plant. Read further for more types of calathea plants and general calathea plant care.

References

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  • Chen, J., Henny, R.J. and McConnell, D.B. (2002). Development of New Foliage Plant Cultivars. Trends in New Crops and New Use. pp. 466–472. URL: https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ncnu02/v5-466.html
  • Henley, R.W., Chase, A.R., & Osborne, L.S. (1991). Calathea Production Guide. University of Florida, IFAS, Central Florida Research and Education Center. URL: https://mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/foliage/folnotes/calathea.htm
  • Larlee, A. (2021). Tradescantia vs Calthea. Under the Solano Sun. University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. URL: https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=45719
  • About/mentions: Calathea Orbifolia, calathea, houseplants

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