Calathea Propagation and Care in 10 Easy Steps

Calathea is the perfect houseplant for a variety of reasons and calathea propagation is relatively easy with the right guide. In this article I outline ten simple steps for proper propagation and aftercare for your prayer plant.

Calatheas are distinguished by their nyctinasty habits. They’re one of many other species that fold their leaves at night or sleep. Nyctinastic movements are controlled by the changes in temperature and light settings.

This popular piece of indoor greenery comes in a variety of shapes and colors. The most famous is the Calathea Makoyana. It’s known as the ‘peacock plant.’ It adds a beautiful pop of color and is guaranteed to match the interiors of any room.

Now you know more about the shade-loving Calathea and their habits. You’ll also need to know more about growing them. Let’s dive deeper into the process of Calathea propagation.

Calathea Propagation Overview

The most important thing you need to know about Calathea propagation is how to divide them. This process is done during repotting time, which takes place in the spring season. Once you take the plant out of its pot, you’re required to separate its roots. Make sure you’re very careful during this process.

Being as careful as you can is essential for the process. Calatheas have brittle roots; they’re easily damaged. If you apply more pressure than needed, the roots will break into pieces. You don’t want that to happen.

Calatheas need to be repotted once every couple of years. Yet, there are some signs that you shouldn’t overlook. For example, if the roots start sticking out of the drainage hole on the bottom of the pot, you need to move it to a new pot.

When repotting, place the plant in fresh soil in a new clean pot. The new root divisions need to be placed in a warm, humid setting to grow. Give your newly repotted Calathea a dim source of light for the next three to four weeks. Make sure to follow this process every time you repot your Calathea.

Best Time For Calathea Propagation

The best time for Calathea propagation in the year is during the spring season. This is the time where the plants’ new growth period starts. It’s also nature’s timing for plant repotting. It’s also a good window of recovery for your Calathea after undergoing division.

The Reason For Calathea Propagation

Calatheas tend to grow out of their pots; they need more space as they grow. Once this happens to your shade-loving plant, you need to prepare for dividing it. This process gives your plant the chance to flourish in a healthy manner.

woman propagating a plant into a white pot on a table

Dividing your Calathea also gives you the chance to choose the size you’d like to keep it at. It gives you the choice of having a small, medium, or large-sized indoor plant. You can also decide on the size that you’d like as per the size of the room or space you’re planning to keep it in.

Steps For Proper Calathea Propagation

By now, you understand the basics of Calathea propagation. We can easily talk about what you need to do to divide your plant into a healthy, flourishing one. You only need to follow these simple steps:

  1. Have some new pots ready. The cleaner, the better. You’ll also need to consider the size of the drainage holes on the bottom of the pot.
  2. For a quick recovery process for your Calathea, make sure to generously water it a few days before you start dividing. This helps decrease disruption and stress levels for your plant.
  3. Remove your Calathea from its old pot as carefully as possible. Get a coffee filter and place it right over the drainage holes. This allows excess water to exit the pot without reducing the amount of soil.
  4. Start separating the roots away from each other. It’s important that you are gentle during this process. Don’t forget to remove excess soil while doing so.
  5. Remove any rotten roots as disease tends to spread fast in Calatheas.
  6. Place the new offspring roots into your new pots. Fill the pot up with fresh new soil. I recommend that you use some of the old soil to help the new plants feel at home.
  7. Make sure that you’ve placed the repotted division into a good-sized pot. You need to give them enough space to grow.
  8. Add a little bit of water to keep the soil humid, but not too much to make its surroundings too watered down. Any extra water should be drained through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
  9. Create a DIY greenhouse for your little Calatheas by putting a clear plastic bag on their new pot. This way, you’ll be able to regulate the temperature and humidity for them.
  10. Once they start to grow, you can go back to taking care of them like you would with your original Calathea.

Calathea Propagation Aftercare

Make sure to give your newly divided Calatheas just the right amount of light. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight. This can cause them to slowly lose their beautiful vibrant colors. It can also eventually lead to serious damage.

hand holding a plant branch in front of pots placed side by side

Only water your new divisions when needed. Excess water is not good for them. You’ll need to add water when you notice that the top layer of the soil is too dry. Don’t forget to drain the excess water away.

Consider adding some fertilizer. Urea and Nitrogen work best for Calatheas. They help with the speed and the quality of growth of offspring. It’s exactly like giving your plant some extra vitamins to maintain its health.

What Will Your Calathea Look Like After Propagation?

Your new Calathea offsprings have a high chance of looking exactly like your original mother plant. They’ll look almost identical if you maintain the same exact temperature, humidity, lighting, and water levels.

How Many Offspring Calatheas Should I Expect After Propagation?

This depends on the size of your original plant. If the mother plant is large in size, you’ll be able to propagate a number of offspring from your Calathea. If your plant can only be split in half, then you’re only going to propagate one offspring plant.

Issues You Might Face

In order to get the best results from propagating your Calathea, you’ll need to give it enough love and care. These tropical plants can’t survive without indirect light, drained soil, and the right levels of humidity and moisture. Here are some problems you might face and how you can solve or avoid them:

1.   Offspring Doesn’t Grow

This means that you haven’t divided your Calatheas correctly. Each division needs to have the right ratio of plant-to-root. Wilting offspring is also a sign that your plant needs more heat. Regulating their temperature is a sure way to help them healthily flourish. Try moving them to a warmer location.

2.   Closed Leaves Before Nighttime

If your new offspring start closing up their leaves when there’s still sunlight, they need more water. Make sure to give them the amount they need. Drain excess water when needed.

3.   Brown Tips

You might start noticing some brown parts on the leaves of your newly propagated Calatheas. This is an indicator of low moisture levels. You’ll need to make sure to regulate humidity levels.

Don’t lose hope if you face any of the aforementioned problems. Every cloud has a silver lining, with the right aftercare, of course. If you closely follow our instructions, your plant will grow in the most healthy way possible.

Different Types of Calathea

Calatheas are distinguished by their large leaves. This unique feature makes it a pleasant plant to look at. It’s one of few plants that look lovely without having any flowers. They’re commonly admired for their natural mixed-color foliage.

As we mentioned above, Calatheas are diverse when it comes to different shapes and colors. Some of them have stripes, and others don’t. They’re commonly found in different shades of green, purple, and maroon red.

Here is a list of the most popular types of Calatheas:

  • Peacock Calathea
  • Round-Leaf Calathea
  • Jungle Velvet Calathea
  • Rattlesnake Calathea
  • Rosey Calathea
  • Dottie Calathea
  • Furry Feather Calathea
  • Corona Calathea
  • Eternal Flame Calathea
  • Pin-stripe Calathea
  • Zebra Calathea
  • Network Calathea
Propagating multiple succulents from cuttings in small terracotta pots on a wooden table

Wrapping Up

Calatheas are easy to maintain and take care of. You don’t need to be an agricultural expert in order to maintain a Calathea plant at your home. Instead, it’s best to follow all the steps that we’ve mentioned so you can get the best results of Calathea propagation.

Moreover, taking care of your houseplant might not seem easy. Yet, it’s one of the easiest hobbies you could find enjoyment in. Think of it as a form of therapeutic exercise. You’re guaranteed to get immense satisfaction once you see your little Calathea grow and flourish.

It’s best to invest all the time and effort you can give into taking care of your plant. After all, it’s almost like a furry pet; it requires the same levels of safekeeping.