Calathea Concinna: Problems, Solutions And Helpful Care Tips

Calathea concinna is a prayer plant that’s part of the Marantaceae plant family, also referred to as the arrowroot family. Calathea concinna, in particular, stands out from other Calathea plants in terms of appearance.

Instead of the red/purple marks in many of its other prayer plant siblings, the Calathea concinna flaunts dark green stripes, hence the name ‘zebra plant.’ The dark green stripes, combined with the light green color of the plant, make for a very unique look.

To take care of a Calathea concinna, there are five things that you need to keep in mind:

  •  Lighting
  •  Temperature
  •  Watering/feeding
  •  Humidity
  •  Soil

So, how do all those elements come together in maintaining the Calathea concinna? Let’s find out

Overview of Calathea Concinna

A Calathea pot

Calathea concinna’s native land is South America, the rainforests of Brazil to be specific. This plant has learned how to survive with very little light, which is why it’s suitable for indoor growth.

Calathea concinna can survive in different levels of indoor lighting, as long as it’s not receiving direct sunlight.

Not to mention that the environment necessary for this plant’s growth, although a bit tricky, is not that difficult to set.

The Calathea concinna is called a prayer plant because of the way its leaves react to light and temperature.

At night, the leaves stand straight up together. But in the morning, the leaves move down. The plant is able to do this by increasing or decreasing the pressure on the nodes of its leaves.

There isn’t a solid reason as to why this happens. Some speculate that it’s to keep water during the night and face as much sunlight during the day. No one knows for sure, though.

So when you buy a Calathea in the morning, don’t panic when the position of the leaves changes during the evening. That’s completely natural.

Buying the Calathea Concinna

It’s important to know what to look for when you examine Calathea concinna at the store before you buy one so that you don’t end up with an unhealthy plant.

The first thing you can do is to try to take the plant out of the pot so that you can see the roots. Be careful not to damage the plant or you’re probably going to get kicked out of the store.

The roots of the Calathea concinna should be white. Note that older roots could be a bit duller in color, though.

Try to also take a careful look at the leaves. At this point, you’re looking for any traces of spider mites that may normally escape your notice. Pests can be a hassle to deal with, so your plant must be pests-free.

Discoloration is also a crucial thing to look for. Make sure that the plant looks as good and green as it should. If it has yellow leaves or weird spots, you should avoid buying it.

Taking Care of the Calathea Concinna

Now let’s discuss the five factors you must keep in mind when taking care of Calathea concinna.


You should never let your plant face direct sunlight. The best thing you can do is have it facing moderate and/or bright, indirect sunlight. If it doesn’t receive enough light, it’ll grow slower.


Calatheas grow in tropical areas. That said, the Calathea concinna would thrive best in a warm environment.

The plant cannot tolerate extreme cold or heat, so be sure to keep it away from air conditioners and heaters. 65°F to 85°F is a good range. If the temperature goes below 60°F, the plant might freeze or die.

Watering and Feeding

This particular plant doesn’t need as much watering as other types of plants do. You don’t need to water it every day, but keep in mind that it can’t survive in a dry environment. So, you need to at least keep it in moist soil all the time, if you want to keep its nifty appearance.

If you leave it for too long without water, then you might have to deal with pests. You can tell that it’s time to water it when the uppermost inch of the soil is dry. You can simply use your finger to check the soil.

Make sure not to water it too much so that the soil becomes soggy. In that case, the root of the plant would rot, so it’s preferable to use a pot with holes at the bottom for easy drainage.

Calathea concinna


The soil you use to grow your plant should have good draining properties. That means that it should allow the water to drain out of your pot with ease. Don’t use soil that would let the water drain too quickly or too slowly.

You can use standard planting soil to maintain this plant, but note that it has the tendency to absorb too much water, which would damage the roots. If you mix it with a little bit of perlite, about 70% soil and 30% perlite, that’ll do the trick and you’ll get good drainage.


Calathea concinna prefers high levels of humidity, as with many other tropical plants. Humidity is crucial because once the air starts to dry out, you’ll start to notice brown edges.

Keeping the humidity level around 50-60% or above is a good range for your plant to grow to its full potential.

If the humidity of the room is too low, you can mist your plant every day with a spray bottle. Do it in the morning. It’ll absorb it through its pores. But, if you’re not planning on misting your plant every day, don’t do it at all.

When you mist it, you raise the humidity for a short period of time, then it goes down. If you miss a couple of days, then mist it again; you’d be raising the humidity for a short while, then it would go down again.

The inconsistent transition between low and high humidity could actually damage your plant. So, if you get busy and might forget to mist a few times, then misting is not the best solution for you.

Problems and Solutions

Here are some of the most common problems that you can face with Calathea concinna, along with optimal solutions:


That could occur in several forms, whether it’s brown tips and edges or the leaves starting to become yellow. If any of these problems occur, then you need to check two things:


Yellow leaves mean you’re using too much water, which can cause the root to rot. The effects of root rot will show immediately on the plant, as black spots will start to appear on the leaves.

If your plant experiences root rot, then it’s time to repot. Make sure you cut the rotten roots. You can identify these roots through their bad smell and black color.

The brown edges and tips are a sign that your water might have high salts, fluorides, or chlorine in it. In that case, you can switch to using water that is distilled or filtered. Rainwater would also do the trick.


If you get brown edges and/or tips on the leaves, you might need to raise the humidity of the room. You can always use a humidifier. If you have money to spare, the Levoit 6L Humidifier might be a good option.

You can also put it in a tray that’s filled with pebbles and pour a little bit of water into it. Make sure that the pot isn’t touching the water. The idea is, when the water evaporates, it increases the levels of humidity.

If you have several Calatheas, it’s common practice to group them together. They can share the humidity and raise it around themselves. Be careful not to group them too close to each other so that they don’t get enough air circulation, though.

Also, grouping them together might be a tricky solution. If one of the plants has pests, there’s always the possibility of getting pests on all of them. So make sure that all the plants are healthy and pests-free.


The Calathea concinna is a sensitive plant. It has the tendency to attract pests if you don’t take care of it right.

Pests are a sign that you’re doing something wrong. You may not be giving it enough water or the humidity might be too low. So, first, you need to identify why you’re getting pests. Otherwise, you’re going to keep facing the same problem over and over again. 

You can always buy a pesticide. Neem oil seems to be a common one to use. Spray the plant two or three times a week and that should be enough to get rid of all the pests.

But, there’s another way that’s more friendly to the environment. Take your plant to the bathroom or bathtub and rinse it off every day for two weeks.

Every time you shower it with water, the pests and the eggs will get knocked off the plant. Make sure to cover the soil when you shower it though. You don’t want to water it every day.

Wrap Up

Calathea leaves

The Calathea concinna has a unique look and it thrives in a pretty easy-to-set environment. This makes it an ideal fit for homes, offices, and other indoor spaces.

Calathea concinna can be a little bit tricky to maintain, but if you do everything right, as detailed in this post, you’ll get a unique piece of greenery with great aesthetic value.