Calathea Warscewiczii: complete care guide for Jungle Velvet Calathea

When people look for pretty houseplants, Calatheas are always a top suggestion. After all, they’re adorned with brilliant green, patterned leaves and their size is just right. A Calathea Warscewiczii might be just what this empty corner in your living room needs!

On the downside, the entire Calathea species isn’t exactly low-maintenance. So, before you commit to a new houseplant, let’s take a look at what makes the Warscewiczii so special and how to care for it.

Here’s a Calathea Warscewiczii guide that even beginners can follow to a T.

Using Calathea Warscewiczii as an Ornamental Houseplant

The Warscewiczii (pronounced as vark-zeh-wik-ZEE-eye) is an evergreen Marantaceae. It’s a perennial tropical plant. We can see this tropicality reflected in the plant’s temperature, humidity, and light requirements.

Plant Description

Because of its brilliant leaves, Warscewiczii is used a lot for ornamental purposes. It’s also non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about your curious pets getting a bite of its tempting leaves.

On the top, the leaves are a shiny blend of two shades of green. The lighter “fresh” green forms an inner pattern that gives the illusion of double leaves. The leaf’s surface is textured, too. This makes the illusion even more realistic.

The bottom of the leaves is an iridescent purple with a velvet-like touch to it. That’s why the Warscewiczii is also known as the Calathea Jungle Velvet!

Warscewiczii plants are large and bushy. The whole plant can reach a height of around 36 to 48 inches, foliage and all. It’s mostly square in dimensions since the plant’s dense leaves spread to the side.

Other Ornamental Calatheas

While the Warscewiczii is a very pretty houseplant, it’s not the only ornamental Calathea.

Here’s a list of the most common Calatheas to check out:

However, for this guide, we’ll be sticking to the Warscewiczii with its velvety leaves.

How to Care for Calathea Warscewiczii

Calathea Warscewiczii

Caring for a Calathea can be a challenge. Everything from humidity to soil porosity needs to be considered.

Don’t let that discourage you, though! Once you get the hang of it, it’ll be second nature.

Let’s see what a Calathea Warscewiczii needs to thrive:

Water Demand

Watering Calatheas can be a bit tricky. There’s no fixed schedule that suits all. Depending on the amount of heat, sunlight exposure, and the type of soil, the water demand will vary drastically.

What we recommend doing is figuring out your plant’s needs and creating a customized plan. A Calathea Warscewiczii needs the soil to stay moist all the time. Keep an eye on that top layer and water as needed.

You’ll also need to avoid overwatering, it can turn the leaves yellow and droopy. Make sure your pot has good drainage.

Remember that most houseplants thrive with distilled water. You can use filtered water if distilled is too much of a hassle for you. Ideally, lukewarm water works best for watering.


Calatheas are known for being picky when it comes to humidity. They need 50% humidity or higher. Unless you’re putting your Calathea in the bathroom, you’ll have to find a way to pump the humidity.

The most obvious (and hassle-free) way to do that is with a humidifier. AquaOasis makes affordable nozzle humidifiers. We’d recount going for a 2.2 liters capacity if you have larger rooms.

A Pebble tray can also be a nifty way of increasing the humidity. It looks very aesthetically pleasing but it might not be as efficient as a humidifier. Go for a pebble tray if you already live in a high-humidity zone but just want to pamper your plants.

As a last resort, you can try misting with distillate water. It’s the least effective method but it’s definitely cheaper than all of the above.


Calathea Warscewiczii needs a minimum temperature of 60℉. That’s around USDA Zone 11. Lower temperatures stun the plant’s growth and result in crispy, discolored foliage.

While a Jungle Velvet can sometimes survive colder weather, that’s not always the case. We always recommend keeping Calatheas as a strictly indoor plant during the winter.

Light Requirements

In their original environment, Calatheas get medium to high light exposure daily. We recommend indirect light since it mimics tropical shadow.

Strong, direct light might burn the leaves and dry the plant out really fast. Remember, Calatheas love humidity!

On the other hand, keeping the Warscewiczii in low light conditions will stun its growth. Low light can also stun the plant’s natural nyctinasty.

Soil Type

The most important factor to consider when buying soil for a Calathea Warscewiczii is drainage. You’ll be watering the plant (a lot!) and good drainage is crucial to keep root rot away.

Typically, people mix perlite and peat moss at a 1:2 ratio to create an airy texture.

If you’re feeling creative, you can spice up the mixture a bit. Keep the sand to a minimum and add in some granular particles to increase the soil’s porosity. Gravel, charcoal, and shredded leaves can do the job nicely.


Calatheas’ growing season starts in spring and lasts through summer. This is when it needs the most nurturing.

As is the case with other houseplants, over-fertilization can be harmful. It can give your plant crisp and brown foliage tips.

We’d recommend limiting the fertilization to once or twice a month, tops. That’s, of course, during the growing season only. Avoid harsh fertilizers and go for mild ones. Dilution can help you keep things under control, too.

If you feel like you might have gone overboard with the fertilizer, try soil flushing.


Leaf tips turning brown isn’t always a sign that your plant is dying. Older leaves can sometimes wilt and fade. Pruning can easily help you get back some vitality into the plant’s foliage.

Some people prune the leaves if they get too wild for their taste. We recommend watching the technique before you start snipping away, though!

Calathea Warscewiczii in garden


Repotting can be part of a treatment plan if your Jungle Velvet is infected. It can also be necessary if you’re cutting divisions for propagation.

If neither is the case, you’ll only need to re-pot on an annual basis. Sometimes, a Calathea will go two years before it needs repotting.

How to Propagate Calathea Warscewiczii

During the growing season, you can propagate Calatheas by rhizome division. The root sprouts and creates “divisions” that could be separated.

To be viable for propagation, the separated segments must have at least one healthy leaf. The segment could then be re-potted in similar soil and conditions to the mother plant.

However, we wouldn’t recommend it unless you have experience and know what you’re doing. The process can easily disrupt the plant’s stability.

Common Calathea Warscewiczii Diseases and Pests

Jungle Velvets are prone to a lot of the pests that infect other houseplants. Here are the top two infections that you should keep in mind:

Root Rot

Rot root is a fungal infection of the plant’s rhizomes. It happens in high humidity, waterlogged soils with inadequate aeration. Drooping, discoloration, and loss of rigidity are all signs of a fungal rot infection.

Root rot is usually not lethal, as long as you catch it in time. It might take a while for your plant to bounce back, though.

The treatment is a combo of antifungals, drainage, pruning, airing, and finally repotting. Since Calathaes thrive in high humidity, you can’t completely eliminate it. Instead, you’ll have to adjust the other risk factors.

First things first, try to be a bit light-handed with the watering. At least, till the treatment is completed. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t water unless the top part of the soil is dried out. Use a finger or a stick to check the moisture depth.

Moving on, you can use a root treatment. Add a few drops to the water for dilution.

If the infection is really bad, you can simply prune the rotten roots. Do it carefully and avoid unnecessary waste. Once you’re done, re-pot the Calathea with fresh soil and in a well-draining pot.

Spider Mites

A spider mite infestation starts with tiny discolored spots here and there. Slowly, it spreads and leaves a silky-like residue on the foliage.

One way to get rid of spider mites is by rinsing the leaves. It sounds weird, but if it works, it works. Wipe with a damp cloth if you can’t figure the logistics out.

We wouldn’t recommend going with the rinsing treatment alone. Top it up with a topical insecticide. A few drops of a neem oil mist work wonders.

Some people buy concentrated neem and dilute it in a distilled water mist. We prefer going with a prepacked neem mist since moisture can encourage infections.

Spider mites aren’t infectious to humans. It could be transferred from one plant to the other, though. Wash your hands before touching other houseplants.

Other infections like scales, aphids, and mealybugs can be treated in similar ways.

Fun Facts About the Calathea Warscewiczii

The Jungle Velvet is a very aesthetically pleasing houseplant, but there’s more to it than its pretty foliage.

Here are some fun facts that you probably didn’t know about the Calathea Warscewiczii:

Calathea Warscewiczii Is a Praying Plant

The Jungle Velvet is capable of a neat little trick called nyctinasty. Nyctinasty is a plant’s ability to close its leaves together during the night. This motion mimics praying hands. That’s why Calatheas are often called praying plants.

Scientists believe that a complex set of mechanisms are responsible for nyctinasty. Ionic charges are thought to influence the volume of a pulvinus at the base of each leaf.

Remember that only a healthy Calathea is capable of nyctinasty! Any disbalance in watering, humidity, or soil quality can affect the prayer movement.

However, the most common cause of a disappearing nyctinasty is light cycle disturbances. If a Jungle Velvet isn’t getting enough light, it might eventually lose its nyctinasty.

The Jungle Velvet Is an Air Purifier

Besides being awesome ornamental plants, Calathaes work as air purifiers, too.

Keeping a Jungle Velvet in your home can help reduce toxic fumes and irritant gasses. That’s another reason to get a Calathea; they’re pretty and functional!

Calathea Warscewiczii Is Officially Goeppertia Warscewiczii

Earlier, the Jungle Velvet was called Calathea Warscewiczii. Today, the official, scientific name is Geopperite Warscemiczii. Yet, the plant is mostly still referred to by either the older name or by its common name.

Did you know that another acceptable pronunciation for the species name is var-she-VICH-ee-eye?


Potted Calathea Warscewiczii

Here are a few frequently asked questions about the Jungle Velvet Calathea:

Q: What’s up with the name?

A: Calathea species have unusual names. Most plants do. However, the Warscewiczii part might have sparked your curiosity.

Joseph Warscewica is a Polish botanical legend who had a Calathea species named after him. Both Warscewica and Warszewiczii are acceptable spellings of his name.

Q: Are Calathea Warscewiczii plants available online?

A: Like many other houseplants, Jungle Velvet Cathaleas are available for purchase online. Getting a live plant saves you the hassle of caring for a tender seedling. You can skip right to the stable phases.

Q: Are Calathea Warscewiczii plants toxic?

A: Calathea plants are non-toxic to animals and humans. This makes them ideal for ornamental use in homes and offices.

Q: Do Calathea Warscewiczii plants flower?

A: Indoor Calathes rarely produce flowers. This doesn’t mean that your Jungle Velvet is dying or that there’s anything wrong with it. They just don’t get to their full potential when we domesticate them.

This is unfortunate since Calathea Warscewicizzi’s flowers are marvelous. It’s a soft white flower that’s composed of layers and cones. The petals have a purple iridesce that matches the foliage’s underside perfectly.


With shiny green waves on one side and a royal purple velvet on the other, the Calathea Warscewiczii has foliage like you’ve never seen before.

When it comes to caring for the Jungle Velvet, you’ll need medium lighting, high humidity, warm weather, and well-drained soil. In return, you’ll get one of the prettiest air-purifying house plants out there!