Calathea Ornata: Detailed Care Guide and Helpful Tips

Calathea Ornata plants are quick attention-grabbers thanks to their pretty appearance. With their rich green leaves that have cute pink stripes, it’s hard not to fall in love with their beauty. You might eventually consider taking one home.

But how to take proper care of the Calathea Ornata? Do they require a lot of effort or are they low-maintenance?

Luckily, this article will have your back, offering you all the information you need on this exquisite plant. So, are you ready to dive in?

A Quick Introduction to the Calathea Ornata

Before we discuss care tips, let’s start our journey by getting to know the Calathea Pinstripe plant better.

The first thing you should know about this lovely plant is that it’s tropical by nature since it’s native to Africa, Central America, and South America. Calathea plants are available in more than 300 varieties, with different color patterns depending on the type and growing location.

Yet, when it comes to indoor Calathea plants, these usually end up with dark green leaves and violet blooms. These plants grow to be around two feet in height and another two in width, making them perfect to keep on a windowsill or counter.

They can also be great additions to your patio, porch, or roof garden.

Besides being referred to as the pinstripe plants, the Calathea Ornata has other names, including:

  • Cathedral plant
  • Peacock plant
  • Zebra plants
  • Pink Calathea plants

Now that you’re familiar with this beautiful ornamental plant, it’s time to learn how to keep it in good shape once you bring it home.

Calathea Ornata Care Tips for a Healthy and Happy Plant

Generally, the Calathea Ornata is easy to take care of, especially for a first-timer. All you’ll have to do is follow these guidelines to ensure that your Calathea Ornata grows into a beautiful, eye-catching plant.

Calathea Ornata Light Requirements

The first question you’ll probably ask yourself before buying a Calathea pinstripe is: “What’s the right location to put this plant in my house?” Well, let’s find out!

As the Calathea is a tropical plant, it prefers brightly lit rooms, but that doesn’t mean that you should place it in direct sunlight. See, the plant naturally thrives in rainforests, where it usually lies in the shade of other trees but still gets plenty of indirect light.

If the leaves are exposed to hours of direct sunlight, they might burn with the intense heat, and the plant may eventually die. On the other hand, too little light will interfere with the Ornata’s growth, which is the last thing you want.

To stay on the safe side, put your plant somewhere with moderate, indirect light, maybe near a window with a curtain. But how to know if whatever location you choose is suitable for your Calathea pinstripe plant?

Easy. Just monitor the leaves every now and then and look for any troubling signs. If they remain glossy and vibrant, you can rest assured that the plant isn’t getting more sunlight than it should.

If the leaves start to lose their lovely stripes, it’ll be time to move the plant to another location.

Calathea Ornata

Calathea Ornata Water Needs

The next thing to do after finding the perfect spot for your plant is to know how the watering schedule will go. The Calathea Ornata doesn’t put up with drought, but it won’t appreciate an overly-saturated soil either.

In other words, make sure that the soil isn’t too wet or too dry. The best way to go about this is to allow the top of the soil to dry out only a little bit between waterings. This way, you should be able to keep fungus or mold at bay without causing the soil to become completely dry.

Again, you might ask, “But how do I know that my plant is getting enough water? How can I tell that the water quality is right for its needs?”

Well, just check how the leaves are faring. If they develop brown coloring, it could be a sign of being left for long periods of time without water. On the contrary, getting too much water will result in wilted leaves.

Keep in mind that crispy, brown leaves can also occur due to the chlorine or other chemicals that may be present in your water. To ensure this doesn’t happen, simply swap tap water with distilled water.

If the leaves restore their shine and color, you’ll know that tap water was the one to blame for the brown leaves.

Calathea Ornata Soil Considerations

As we’ve previously mentioned, Calathea plants like soil that isn’t dry nor soaking. Besides maintaining a balanced watering schedule, the type of pot where you’ll grow your plant should help with soil moisture.

Here, all you’ll have to do is invest in a container or pot with drainage holes. Before putting your plant in the soil, water the soil to the point that excess water will go down the drainage holes. Now, the soil should be perfectly moist and ready for your plant.

As for the soil mix itself, look for something that drains well and holds moisture. Some stores provide mixes tailored for the Calathea Ornata, so it’s a good idea to provide those for your plant.

Another nice alternative is a mixture of potting soil, perlite, moss, and bark.

Calathea Ornata Humidity Levels

Because of its tropical origins, the Calathea Ornata loves humidity that borders on high. So, if you can put it somewhere that’s almost always humid, such as the kitchen or bathroom, it should be more than happy!

If those two locations don’t have sufficient light and you need to place the plant somewhere else, it’s okay. There are other things you can do to increase the humidity around your Calathea Ornata. Here are a few ways to achieve that:

  • Mist the leaves on a regular basis
  • Add an air humidifier next to your Calathea Ornata
  • Surround the plant with other plants
  • Put a tray of wet pebbles underneath the pot

Calathea Ornata Temperature Needs

Calathea Ornata plants thrive in temperatures that we can describe as warm. To make it even more clear, your indoor temperature must always be between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

As easy as this sounds, maintaining a steady temperature may not always be a breeze (pun intended). If your plant sits next to a window, it might face sudden cold drafts, which will lead to a dip in temperature.

For that reason, you should always keep an eye on your plant for any change in leaf color or growth rate. If you notice any signs of trouble, just move it somewhere else.

Potted Calathea Ornata

Calathea Ornata Fertilization Requirements

One of the coolest things about the Calathea Ornata is that it’s not a demanding plant when it comes to fertilization. So, the best thing you could do to your plant is to use a general houseplant fertilizer every month.

The key to perfect fertilization here is moderation. In other words, you shouldn’t over-fertilize your plant or it might become too tall and unhealthy. Instead, only wait until it’s actively growing, and add fertilizer every four weeks.

This schedule is recommended in the spring and summer when the plant naturally grows each year. During the winter, you could wait longer between feedings because the plant won’t grow much in the cold weather.

When it’s time to add fertilizer, dilute liquid fertilizer to half-strength to keep things balanced. You could also use organic fertilizers to give you the same results.

Calathea Ornata Cleaning Tips

This beautiful plant requires minimal care to achieve that lovely look. All you’ll have to do here is wipe away any dust that might gather on the deep green leaves with a soft, damp cloth. And, since the leaves are already glossy, there’ll be no need to use a shining product on them.

Now and then, you may want to be thorough with your cleaning, which your Calathea won’t mind as long as you don’t leave it sitting in soaked soil. With lukewarm water, carefully shower the leaves of your plant.

When you’re done, make sure that all the excess water drains from the pot.

Calathea Ornata Pruning Guidelines

Part of maintaining the well-being and pretty appearance of your plant is knowing when to prune your Calathea Ornata. If you start to notice brown leaves that have nothing to do with water quality or sunlight overexposure, it may be time to prune the plant.

The pruning process is fairly simple. With a pair of pruning shears, or just with your fingers, cut off any brown leaves once they appear. This should help improve the growth of the plant, not to mention that getting rid of dead leaves will keep your Calathea from becoming too tall.

Calathea Ornata Repotting and Propagation

You must wait until your Calathea Ornata has grown a great deal before thinking about repotting it. When the leaves and roots have become too large for the pot to handle, which will likely happen in a year or more after purchase, it’ll be time to repot the plant.

The first thing you should know here is that it’s always better to wait for spring to repot your Calathea Ornata. Since spring is when the plant naturally grows, moving it to a new pot should encourage its growth, giving it more freedom.

When choosing the new pot, make sure it’s larger than the older one so that it can contain the bigger plant and roots comfortably. Stick to the same soil mix that we’ve already mentioned, ensuring that it drains well and keeps moisture.

Furthermore, the best time to propagate your plant is when you’re repotting it. Simply enough, take a few clumps of leaves and leaf stalks as you’re moving the plant from one pot to another. The leaves must have roots attached to them so that they’ll grow quickly.

Once you’ve transferred those clumps to another pot, cover the plant and pot itself with a protection bag until it shows signs of growth.

Calathea Ornata Pests and Diseases

Since it’s technically a low-maintenance plant, the Calathea Ornata doesn’t face a lot of pest issues. Still, nothing is perfect, right?

On occasion, this plant might allure some unwelcome visitors, including:

Most of the time, spider mites will be attracted to your plant more than anything else. If you notice them hanging on the leaves or stems, just spray them lightly with water to knock them off.

To ensure that these annoying pests don’t revisit your plant, spray the leaves with neem oil. It’s a natural pesticide that won’t harm your Calathea Ornata.

Common diseases are usually a result of fungal or bacterial growth, which you can easily control by monitoring the moisture of the soil. Make sure that there aren’t water puddles in the soil and keep the plant in an aerated place to stop mold from making a home of it.

Calathea Ornata Toxicity

If you have children or pets at home, you might be wondering if the Calathea Ornata plant might cause any problems if accidentally ingested by them.

Well, thankfully, this pretty baby is safe to be around kids and furry friends. The Calathea Ornata isn’t toxic to cats or dogs, according to the ASPCA. If you have other animals at home, you could always call the vet to inquire about the plant’s toxicity.

To Wrap It Up

Calathea Ornata in garden

Who doesn’t like to read a book on a windowsill while surrounded by beautiful green plants? Or, what’s better than relaxing on your porch swing next to pots of Calathea Ornata plants? With their glossy leaves and pink stripes, they’re a joy to just be around.

Hopefully, after reading our guide, you now have a better understanding of how to take care of this unique houseplant. With all the information on its water, soil, light, temperature, and maintenance needs at your fingertips, it may be time to take the next step and buy it!