If you want to know more about how to care for your precious Calathea louisae, or if you’re just looking for some information on the go before you get yourself a new one, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, you’ll get to know what sort of plant Calathea louisae is and why you would want to have one. You’ll also learn how to take care, trim, move, and adequately place them. Stick around!
Also known as Thai beauty, or the praying plant, Calathea louisae is an eye-pleasing beauty of a houseplant that’s grown all over the world and boasts remarkable air purification capabilities.
The upper surface of its leaves has color shades ranging from deep green to bright yellow, while its underside is a mix between dark and bright purple shades, making it even more appealing.
Besides being an eye-catcher, Calathea louisae is one of the best air purifying plants out there. It filters a wide range of airborne components that could be poisonous to humans and pets alike.
It’s also non-toxic even if ingested, making it perfectly safe around children, dogs, and cats.
It’s named the praying plant because its leaves blossom in the morning and close in a pray-like position at night, which makes it a great addition to your bedroom.
Here are the factors you must take into consideration when caring for a Calathea louisae.
So you got your new baby plant and you want to pamper it, huh? Your initial concern should be the soil. Generally speaking, Calatheas require slightly acidic soil. For a Calathea louisae, a pH level of 6.5 would be ideal for healthy growth.
This could be easily tested using litmus paper and a pH scale that you could conveniently buy at most stores.
The soil should never be allowed to go dry. The golden rule here is to keep the soil moist but not overflowing with water.
Calathea’s major growth phases are in spring, summer, and fall. Their growth rate reduces in winter when it gets colder.
For an ideal growth pattern, you should use liquid fertilizers at half strength once every month during the growth phases, and once every 90 days or two months in slower growth phases or simply during winter.
Naturally, Calatheas grow under the shade of trees where just enough sunlight passes through. Constant sun rays could be harmful to their leaves; they become pale and lose their color.
Wherever you decide to place your plant, it’s best to try to mimic these conditions as much as possible. Minimum sunlight in a place where it’s mostly shaded.
Calatheas don’t like the cold very much. An ideal temperature for your Calathea louisae is 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit (15-26 degrees Celsius).
While they’re more tolerant to heat than us, Calatheas are much less tolerant to cold. So always keep in mind that if you feel too cold, chances are that your plant is, too.
And while you could consider this a mild discomfort at best, temperatures below the minimum threshold will cause plant cell dryness and, eventually, death of tissue.
Depending on your environment, Calatheas should be watered every 1-2 weeks or an average of every 10 days.
This allows for the water to dry out around half the height of the soil but not go completely dry. Just be sure to avoid using tap water since it contains high amounts of fluoride that could harm your plant.
Calatheas are thirsty plants, but be careful not to soak them. Excess water could drown them or cause rotting of their roots. Use holed pots to help you gauge the correct amount of water whilst getting rid of the excess.
The soil should be kept relatively soggy but never soaking. If you end up adding too much water by mistake, you should remove that surface layer.
Your plant won’t die immediately if you over-hydrate it every now and then, but it could shorten its lifespan in the long run.
A lot can be told from the color and texture of a plant’s leaves. Normally, in the case of Calathea louisae, the color should be yellow-green on top, and purple-black on the bottom.
The texture should be smooth and oily. If you notice a dry, fickle-like consistency on the leaves, take it as a sign that the environment is too dry. You’ll need to gently mist the leaves every few hours to prevent them from chipping.
If you notice a yellow or a brown hue around the edges of the leaves, then the soil has excess fluoride; probably from using tap water. Calatheas are picky when it comes to water content as they’re sensitive to most minerals.
All plants are subject to bugs and mites. Calatheas, in specific, are a bit more susceptible to them since they like moist conditions.
It’s important to keep your plant clean at all times. Make sure the leaves are clean of small dirt particles. The bushy big leaves are easy to clean, but they’re also an excellent source of food for pests.
Should you find your plant infested, isolate it from other plants and clean it thoroughly. Neem oil and insecticidal soap have proved to be effective in dealing with pests. They do take some time to completely solve the problem, though, so be patient.
Calatheas don’t need to be repotted often. It could be anywhere between 1-2 years. Once you start seeing roots coming out of the holes in your container or pot, it’s time for you to move it to a slightly bigger one. You will need fresh moist soil for the new container.
Once placed in a new pot, avoid moving the plant for around 2-3 weeks. It will take some time for Calatheas to adjust to their new environment.
You will notice that the plant won’t be growing or producing leaves during this period. This is to be considered normal.
Since Calatheas produce one leaf per stem, they’re not the messiest of plants. Besides the removal of a couple of yellow leaves, trimming is not a necessity for your plant’s health. It’s usually done just for appearance preferences.
Having bought a Calathea, you’re probably wondering, “Where should I place my Calathea louisae?”
Since they’re easy to care for, most people keep their Calatheas indoors and in pots. Unlike other plants, however, it’s best to keep them away from windows to avoid excessive sunlight.
The ideal location to place them is a relatively humid room, like a kitchen or bathroom. In hot areas, it’s preferable to place a humidifier close by to avoid dryness.
These plants are completely safe should they get ingested by people or animals. No need to worry if they’re left alone with kids or pets playing around.
Placing your Calathea louisae in your garden isn’t an uncommon thing to do. It’s one of the better-looking plants out there, with bright colors that can provide a nice touch to any garden.
However, care should be taken to avoid direct sunlight. If you’re going to place your Calathea outdoors, be sure to place them under trees or shade, where a minimum amount of diagonal sun rays could reach them during the day.
Depending on the size of the pot and the seller, prices could range from $30 up to $50.
On average, a 125mm pot (approximately 5 inches) should cost you anywhere between $30-35, while the slightly larger 180mm pot (7 inches) raises the margin a bit around $40-45.
Not exactly expensive for a plant that could survive up to 70 years with proper care!
Calatheas are tropical plants. They’re able to survive your average winter by placing them near windows for that extra warmth during short daylight periods, but they won’t survive if your home temperature is constantly less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you live in a region like Alaska, for example, and you’re not dedicated to having a constant warm environment around your plant, then a Calathea plant isn’t ideal for you.
There are around 60 different varieties of Calathea, and most of them share the fact that they’re easy to care for. The most common types are Calathea makoyana, Calathea zebrina, Calathea roseopicta, and Calathea orbifolia.
Even though Calathea louisae is a plant that needs minimal attention, it still needs proper care.
This isn’t a plant to be brought and left aside. It has some minor but vital requirements in terms of aspects like temperature and moisture.
It’s also more prone to insects than your average plant since its daily big leaves are considered a rich source of food compared to the leaves of other similar plants.
Providing that these drawbacks aren’t a setback for you, Calathea louisae should make a fine addition to your house.