Calatheas are a favorite of plant owners, although they’re not particularly easy to care for. They’re highly demanding, and they’ll throw a tantrum if they don’t get their daily needs met. Well, not a tantrum per se, but you get what I’m saying!
Calathea triostars, in particular, can be a bit too demanding for their own good. They’re not beginner-friendly, but their long pinkish leaves are worth the effort. They’ll look like a piece of art on one of your shelves.
If you want to grow a calathea triostar and don’t know where to start, here’s everything you need to know about the beautiful yet demanding house plant.
Calathea triostar are otherwise called Stromanthe sanguineas. Their leaves are long and full of variegation, and they grow in different pink shades. You can grow them both indoors and outdoors, but they seem to live their best lives inside the comfort of four walls.
The triostar is classified as a prayer plant because of how its leaves fold up when the evening closes in. You may mistake it for other calathea varieties because of how they’re all alike. People often take it mistakenly for calathea ornata because their variegation is similar. The pink shades of the triostar are like no other, though.
The triostar grows relatively fast, but the rate will drop suddenly if the plant isn’t satisfied. It typically grows to three feet long, depending on the surrounding conditions.
A calathea triostar will grow best under partial light and in well-draining soil. You can place it next to a north- or east-facing window for the best results. The plant can survive under low light, but it’ll start showing some signs that it’s not happy.
For example, its variegation will begin fading. You don’t want to lose the variegation since it’s the best quality of calatheas, so it’s easier to find a suitable place.
When you place the plant next to the window, make sure to turn it once every one or two weeks, so its leaves grow evenly. It’s best to place it in the bathroom if you have enough space. These plants love humidity, and it can be hard to provide that in the other rooms.
You can place it in any other room if you have a humidifier. Otherwise, you’ll have to mist it every day to ensure it’s getting enough moisture.
As for the soil, it should be well-draining because calatheas don’t like soggy soils.
Moving on to the temperature, triostars thrive under 65–80 degrees. They don’t react well to cold drafts, and they won’t survive in degrees less than 40.
Generally, calathea triostar needs a lot of attention, and they’re not a suitable option for beginners. If it’s your first time raising a house plant, you may want to go for an easier fellow.
Now that I have given you a brief about the best conditions to grow a calathea triostar, here’s a detailed guide.
Calatheas are pretty whiny. Although they can’t express their distress vocally, they’ll start showing signs of it once their water intake changes. They need to be consistently watered, or else they’ll start complaining.
As a rule of thumb, you should only water calathea triostar when the top inch of the soil is dry under your finger. If it’s wet, it means the soil is still keeping the moisture, and the plant doesn’t need more.
This may take one or two weeks, depending on the surrounding conditions and the soil’s retaining ability. So, only water the plant after putting your finger inside the soil for testing.
In the winter, you can leave the calathea triostar without water for longer than in the summer.
It’s worth noting that tap water isn’t the best option for calatheas because they’re sensitive to chemicals. If you can water your plant using distilled water, it’s the better option.
Calathea triostar is a tropical plant, and tropical plants need partial light to survive because that’s how they get it in rainforests. When triostars are subject to direct, bright sunlight, their leaves will burn.
So, it’s better to place them somewhere with dampened light, preferably near east-facing windows.
Calathea triostars thrive in 65–80 degrees. They may keep surviving in lower temperatures, but once it gets lower than 40 degrees, the plant will likely not hold up for long.
The temperature should be warm, but it shouldn’t be dry. Calatheas also don’t like cold drafts because they cause the leaves to wilt, so you may want to keep the plant away from air conditioners.
Calathea triostar can’t handle soggy soil. Their roots will rot faster than you can blink, and their leaves will start drooping if the soil retains moisture. So you’ll want their soil to be breathable and well-draining. It shouldn’t be heavy, either.
Calathea triostars originally live in warm, humid conditions, and that’s where they thrive. Therefore, you need to ensure your house has enough humidity for your triostar. If not, you can either mist it every day, buy a humidifier, or use a humidifying tray.
To create a humidity tray, grab a tray and fill it with pebbles. Then, pour water all over it, and put the plant’s pot inside. It’ll provide the needed humidity, but it’s generally not the most effective option.
It’s better to place the plant somewhere humid from the start, such as the bathroom.
If it makes that much effort to grow calatheas, propagating them will surely not be easy, right?
You guessed right. Propagating triostars will need some effort on your part because they can’t grow from their stems. The only way they’ll grow again is by division. So to propagate them, you’ll need to take a clump of the rhizomes, which are basically the roots. It’s also better to do it in the summer.
Here are detailed steps of propagating calathea triostar:
The first step in propagating calathea triostar is taking them out of the pot and loosening their roots. Then, simply move them apart using your fingers, but make sure not to move harshly to avoid cutting them accidentally.
Afterward, choose a clump to cut it out. The cluster of your choice needs to have 2–3 leaves minimum. If it’s not growing any leaves, there’s a chance it won’t grow into a new plant. You can use a sharp knife or a pair of shears for the cutting.
Now that you’ve cut some of the plant’s roots, you can put them in a new pot for propagation. Make sure you get fresh soil for the new pot. Then, put the plant and keep the roots covered under the soil.
Next, water the roots, but don’t overdo it. Keep the soil moderately moist, and leave it until the top inch dries, then rewater.
Make sure to keep the new plant under indirect light and keep watching it until the leaves appear.
Calathea triostars grow relatively fast, so it’s unlikely you’ll need a fertilizer. Still, if your plant looks like it needs some extra nutrition, you can use fertilizers all you want.
Make sure to choose a balanced fertilizer and dilute it with some water before applying it. It’s also better to only use it once every two weeks to avoid over-fertilizing the plant.
If the solution isn’t diluted, the roots may rot, and the plant won’t react nicely. If you don’t want to risk it, you can stay on the safe side and get organic fertilizer. It won’t need dilution, and it won’t harm the plant.
Most calatheas are prone to the same diseases. For example, spider mites are pretty common among these tropical plants. Calathea triostars may also get infected with aphids if they’re not getting enough moisture.
Once you notice signs of any of these pests, apply a neem oil spray on the plant. It should eliminate all of them. If you don’t have it, you may use horticultural soap as an alternative.
Keep in mind that low humidity is the primary reason for most pest infestations and diseases, so always make sure the plant is getting enough of it. Misting it every day is also a good idea to drive away potential pests.
Calathea triostar rarely grows flowers, so don’t get your expectations up. Some outdoor plants produce flowers, but it only happens in April and March, and the flowers don’t grow again till the year ends. But that doesn’t apply to all plants; some calatheas won’t grow flowers even in the spring.
The flowers will appear out of the leaves in random clusters here and there. They’ll have reddish-orange buds, and they turn into pink when they’re mature.
As you know, calathea triostar is a pretty needy plant. It doesn’t shy away from expressing its distress, too. You’ll know in an instant when something is wrong because the plant will show some symptoms.
Here are some calathea triostar symptoms to watch out for:
When seeing yellow leaves on your plant, you need to first determine whether it’s a reason for concern. A lot of plants may show yellow leaves when the weather gets cold, and it’s a normal occurrence that doesn’t need treatment.
However, some calatheas may show yellow leaves when they’re getting more water than needed. If the weather isn’t cold, the leaves are probably yellow because you’re overwatering them.
When the leaves of your calathea triostar are curling at the edge or shriveling, it likely needs more water. Dehydration causes similar symptoms, so you can think back to the last time you watered the plant and make sure it’s getting its needs. You can also insert your finger in the soil to feel the dryness.
If it’s not dry, then the leaves are likely curling because of a cold draft. Calatheas don’t like cold drafts, and they get stressed when cold.
Some calatheas won’t show curling leaves. Instead, their leaves will be droopy—having straight edges but flailing down on the stems. Some plants also show droopy leaves only in the morning. In the evening, they’ll return to their normal position, but that doesn’t mean they’re alright. You still need to treat the reason.
If that happens, the reason is most likely underwatering. Test the soil using your finger. If the top inches are dry, you should water it again.
Brown edges are a common symptom among calatheas. They often happen as a result of low humidity. If you see brown edges on your plant’s leaves, make sure it’s placed in a humid room. And if the issue persists, it’s better to use a humidity tray for some while.
Some leaves may also get a brown edge when the tap water is polluted. Calatheas are generally sensitive to bad water. If you notice brown edges, and there’s no apparent reason for them, you can try to water them using filtered or distilled water for some days.
Now that you know to grow a calathea triostar and care for it, here are some additional tips that may help:
- Use a leaf shine on the triostar’s leaves every three weeks or so to remove any dust that may block light
- Use distilled or filtered water for watering the plant to keep the leaves green
- Keep the plant away from open windows and areas of potential cold drafts
- Leave the plant for at least a year before attempting to repot it
- Mist the triostar daily to make sure it’s getting enough humidity
Calathea triostar is a bit challenging to take care of because it’s a needy plant. Whenever anything goes wrong, the leaves will either turn yellow, start curling, or show brown edges. In all cases, you’ll know your plant isn’t happy!
Try to keep the room humid around the calathea triostar, and maintain a warm temperature. If you manage to keep its needs met, its leaves will hopefully stay green.