Calathea beauty star has recently become a popular houseplant, and it’s not surprising at all, seeing as the plant is extremely beautiful and low maintenance.
Calathea beauty star belongs to the Marantaceae family, which belongs to the Calathea Ornata group. It’s native to South America and it has beautiful dark green foliage with pink, white, or silver stripes and a purple shade on the lower portion of its leaves.
You might hear some people call the beauty star “the prayer plant.” This name is attributed to the Marantaceae family in general, as they all have rising leaves in the morning and drooping leaves at night.
Although the plant is low maintenance, there are some rules you need to follow when it comes to growing and caring for Calathea beauty stars.
So, in this post, you’ll find a detailed care guide for the Calathea beauty star. Let’s get started!
Calathea beauty star is quite easy and enjoyable to care for. Here’s a detailed guide on how to care for your beauty star:
Calathea beauty star requires the soil to be moister than other Calathes. However, it can’t stand soggy soil.
The roots shouldn’t sit in water as this causes root rot. A free-draining soil is perfect in this case along with using pots with drainage holes.
The beauty star also needs soil that is rich in organic matter. The commercial mixes used for African Violet are your best option.
These organic matters help with better drainage and retaining moisture. They also release the nutrients slowly and give the soil an airy feeling to prevent root suffocating.
Also, pay attention to the soil’s pH level. Calathea beauty star thrives in slightly acidic soil of pH level around 6.5.
When it comes to Calathea beauty star, you need to find balance with watering. This plant is a tropical plant, meaning that it’s used to having plenty of rainwater.
However, it’s usually shielded by taller trees that reduce the amount of rainwater that reaches the plant. Calatheas need to be watered deeply and thoroughly once you feel that the top inch of the soil is dry.
Stick your finger an inch deep into the soil, if it feels damp, don’t water it and wait for a couple of days and check again. Usually, the beauty star needs to be watered every two to seven days.
It’s better to leave it dry than overwatered to avoid root rot. Experiment with the watering schedule until you find what is best for your plant.
The type of water is something that you need to pay close attention to. Calathea beauty star is sensitive to some minerals. So, using tap water is a terrible choice as it contains harsh minerals.
Filtered water isn’t better either. It won’t kill your plant, but it will cause some browning and your plant won’t look its best. Distilled water or rainwater is the best option.
Keep in mind that if your beauty star is frequently exposed to bright light, it’ll need to be watered more often than if it’s placed in lower light conditions.
Pay attention to the leaves, they can tell you when they need water. When they’re drooping or curling, it means that the plant is too thirsty.
Of course, since Calatheas are tropical plants, they thrive in warmer temperatures. The optimal temperature is between 65°F and 85°F, which is between 18°C and 29°C.
Try to prevent the temperature of the room from dropping below 60°F (15°C). Also, avoid sudden temperature changes as it shocks the plant.
As with most tropical plants, Calathea beauty plant thrives in environments with humidity above 50%. Rooms like the bathroom or the kitchen are constantly humid, so they might be the best home for your beauty star.
A humidifier is the best solution for this issue. As an alternative use a humidity tray, which is made by layering pebbles in a tray, then filling it with water just below the level of the pebbles. Place your pot on top of them and voila you made a humidity tray for your plant.
You can also bring other similar houseplants closer together to create a microclimate which helps with increasing the humidity in the room. But make sure that there’s enough air circulation to prevent any pests or diseases.
And of course, frequent misting is a great alternative. One last trick is to fill a water bottle or jar with a large opening and place it close to your plant. It can help with humidity as the water evaporates.
Since it lives under the canopy of taller trees in its native habitat, Calatheas need indirect sunlight. If you place your beauty star in direct sunlight for more than two hours it’ll cause crispy edges, brown spots, yellowing, and fading of its beautiful patterns.
It’s best to place your beauty star near a western or eastern window to expose it to bright indirect sunlight. Your plant can handle low light conditions better than direct sunlight.
If you have to place it in a room with direct sunlight, make sure to use curtains to soften the light a little. Change your plant’s location until you find the right place for it.
To grow a full, luscious beauty star, you need to feed your plant once a month during summer and spring. This is when the plant is growing.
However, reduce the fertilization during the winter, or better avoid it completely. This is because your Calathes’ growth rate slows down during the colder months.
The best type of fertilizer to use is a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer. Dilute it to half of its recommended strengths. Don’t forget to water your plant thoroughly before adding the fertilizer to avoid burning the roots.
It’s okay to use organic fertilizers instead of commercial ones. You can use commercial organic fertilizers. It’s easier to use compost with your potting mix when potting your plant.
This way, you won’t have to feed your plant with fertilizers until the next repotting. Compost releases nutrients and organic matter slowly in your plant’s soil.
You can make your own organic liquid fertilizer by filling half of a bucket with compost and then top it with water. Let the mixture sit for about a few days, then strain the water and dilute in half.
This is what is called “compost tea” which you can use with all your houseplants.
The easiest way to propagate a Calathea beauty star is by dividing its rhizomes. To do this successfully, follow the following steps:
- Water your mother plant thoroughly the day before the propagation.
- Prepare the pots and soil for your new beauty stars.
- Unpot your mother plant by gently loosening the soil around the root system, then pull it carefully.
- Gently separate the rhizomes with their stems.
- Now, place each new beauty star in its prepared pot.
- Water your new plants well and place them in a suitable environment.
Calathea beauty star hates repotting. However, it needs to be repotted when the roots have outgrown the pots. Also, it’s recommended to repot it every other year.
You won’t need to repot until a year or two has passed after purchasing it. Repotting has lots of benefits, like replenishing the nutrients, ditching accumulated salt, making more room for the roots, and getting rid of pathogens.
Here are some tips on repotting your beauty star plant safely:
- Choose a pot that is larger than the old pot.
- When you unpot your plant, clean out as much soil as you can from the plant.
- Inspect the roots looking for damage or rotting.
- Cut off any dead roots.
- You should have your soil ready in the new pot.
- Repotting is a good time for using fertilizers.
- Repot your Calathea and water it well.
- Always repot your plant during the summer or spring.
This plant doesn’t require a lot of pruning or trimming. You only need to prune damaged or dead leaves. You can do this by using a pair of scissors and cutting the damaged leaves at the stem. The new leaves will grow from the same spot.
As the leaves grow older, you’ll notice that their color changes and turns into yellow or brown and their patterns fade away. You can trim those old leaves too if you don’t like how they look.
All plants face some problems and, of course, this includes the beauty star. Here are some common problems that challenge a Calathea owner:
If you notice that your plant is getting crispy brown edges, then it means there’s a problem with watering. Brown edges indicate either you’re underwatering your plant or using filtered water.
Yes, it’s better to underwater than to overwater your Calathea, but if you’re doing that consistently, your plant will experience some problems.
And if you’ve been getting away with watering your beauty star with tap or filtered water for some time and it suddenly showed brown edges, it means it’s time to start following the rule of no tap or filtered water.
If the entire leaf is turning brown or yellow, then it means your plant is receiving too much bright sunlight. Try placing it in a shadier place and see if it recovers.
Also, brown leaves mean the soil is accumulating too much salt. This is caused by fertilizers. So, opt for organic fertilizers instead of chemical ones.
Another reason that could be causing the browning of the leaves is humidity. Check the humidity percentage and if it’s below 50%, then try any of the solutions listed above to save your plant.
Unfortunately, Calathea beauty star attracts many pests. The worst of them all are spider mites. They sneak onto the leaves of your beautiful plant, especially the underside of the leaves, and suck on its sap and manifest forming white webbings.
Sometimes it’s hard to notice the spider mites. However, your cue is noticing holes or sticky residue on the leaves.
Mealybugs, aphids, and scale are other types of pests that can invade your plant. Also, fungus gnats are a big problem.
Fungus gnats could be a result of overwatering the plant. They’re harmless yet annoying.
Luckily there are ways to fight those demon pests:
- Shower your plant well with water and make sure to wash the leaves from both sides.
- To kill the mites, use a cotton ball soaked in diluted alcohol and clean the leaves.
- Spray the plant with diluted neem oil or an organic insecticide.
- Repeat this process after a week until the pests are gone.
Like most plants, Calathea beauty stars can fall victim to several plant diseases, especially young and malnourished plants. Fungal and bacterial infections are pretty common which causes root rotting.
Leaf spot diseases, such as fusarium, helminthosporium, Alternaria, and pseudomonas leaf spot are all possible diseases. Bacterial blight is rare, however, not impossible to affect your plant.
Prevention is better than treatment here, as most of these diseases are threatening. Make it a habit to inspect your plant from time to time. Always isolate newly purchased plants for at least a week just in case.
Air circulation is important to prevent diseases and pest infestations. Keeping a fan in the room will help with that. When you notice any signs of disease, isolate your plant immediately.
Trim the affected foliage immediately so it won’t spread to the rest of the foliage.
All these instructions to care for Calathea beauty stars might seem a lot in the beginning, but you’ll get the hang of it by the first couple of weeks.
Don’t be scared of making mistakes. It takes a few trials and errors to understand what works best for your plant. Good luck!