Calathea White Fusion: The Ultimate Care Guide

Calathea White Fusions, also known as peacock plants, rattlesnake plants, or zebra plants, are praised for their striking inflorescences and bold markings.

Dubbed as the “Queen” of prayer plants, Calathea plants fold their leaves during the evening, resembling hands folded in prayer.

These tropical plants aren’t particularly difficult to care for, but they do have special care requirements you must be aware of. This article discusses everything you need to know about Calathea White Fusions, including their origins, their care needs, and everything in between.

Origin of the Calathea White Fusion

The Calathea White Fusion belongs to the family Marantaceae, one of the most species-rich families in its order. With over 530 species and 31 genera, the White Fusion is just one among its many flowering brothers and sisters.

Unlike most Calathea plants, the White Fusion was a product of chance discovery. In 2007, Biostock manager Taiyan Yam noted an interesting plant mutation in an unpatented variety of Calathea lietzei, a flowering plant native to Brazil. He discovered this mutation at a commercial nursery in Malaysia.

For two years, he tested and evaluated the stability of the new variegation, during which showed consistent and optimistic results.

Five years later, in 2012, the incredibly rare cultivar was introduced to the world. Its stunning, marbled variegation of light green, deep green, and white, alongside the pale pink underside of the leaves, made it an instant hit among homeowners.

Calathea White Fusion Characteristics

  • Botanical name: Calathea lietzei
  • Common name: Calathea White Fusion, Calathea Fusion White
  • Alternative name(s): Peacock plant, Rattlesnake plant, and Zebra plant
  • Family: Marantaceae
  • Average height: 1-1.5 feet
  • Light requirements: Partial
  • Water requirements: Once every few days
  • Soil requirements: Moist, well-drained
  • Difficulty of care: Medium
  • Hardiness zones: 11-12, USA

Calathea White Fusion Care Guide

Although fairly easy to take care of, the Calathea White Fusion does require precise environmental maintenance.

White Fusions—and Calatheas in general—detest wild shifts in humidity and temperature. Bathrooms and kitchens provide an appropriate amount of warmth and moisture, so White Fusions are best placed in these locations. If you’d rather place them somewhere else, choose a spot indoors with ample shade and partial sun.

The temperature and humidity in your chosen location should remain stable throughout the year, so human intervention might be necessary.

With that said, here are some tips to care for your White Fusions:


Like most Calathea houseplants, White Fusions mustn’t be placed under direct sunlight. Too much light can result in faded marks and curled leaves, so they need to be placed in filtered bright light. If they don’t get enough light, they’ll stop growing and their markings won’t develop as they should.

Native Calatheas thrive under tree canopies with diffused light. Therefore, you must always avoid South-facing windows lest the leaves burn underneath the sun’s intense heat.

If you must place them in a South-facing window, use a sheer curtain to reduce the sun’s intensity.


In the wild, Calathea White Fusions, or, rather, Calathea lietzei, live in tropical areas. So, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to know that these plants thrive in warm locations.

To keep your White Fusions happy and healthy, place them in areas with consistent temperatures of between 65 to 80°F (18 to 27°C).

Areas with extreme heat will dry them out and weaken their development. Conversely, areas with cooler temperatures can damage their cell walls, turning their stems limp, distorted, and blackened.

As much as possible, keep your White Fusions away from air conditioners, drafts, and heaters.

Calathea White Fusion


Calathea White Fusions favor higher levels of humidity. Ideally, they must be placed in an environment with a humidity level of 75 to 85%.

If you live in an area with poor or low humidity, place the plants near a bathroom window so they can absorb the humid steam coming from inside it. You can also improve the humidity by regularly misting the surrounding area and the leaves.

If you’re unsure about the humidity level of your house, it’s worth investing in a humidifier so you can control the atmospheric moisture in your home.


Calathea White Fusions flourish in moisturized soil. However, soggy and waterlogged conditions are their greatest enemies. If the soil is too soggy, you’ll have to combat root rot and all sorts of bacterial and fungal issues.

Therefore, you’ll have to make sure that the pot you’re using has a decent number of drainage holes to prevent these irreversible—and often deadly—issues from happening.

You’ll know it’s time to water your White Fusions when the first inch of the soil is dry. Use touch rather than sight to make sure it’s indeed dry.

When watering, water the plants slowly from above. This allows the water to soak through the roots then tip out any excess.

Keep in mind that White Fusions are extremely sensitive to fluoride in water. For this reason, it’s best to use filtered or bottled water when watering your plant. Rainwater and distilled water are fine, too.


Calathea White Fusions need to be placed in well-drained potting mixes.

To enhance drainage, mix a volume of sand for every five volumes of potting mix into the pot. You can also mix organic perlite and orchard bark alongside the standard potting soil, or simply use commercial soil mix for African violets.


Calathea White Fusions require a monthly dose of liquid fertilizer throughout their growth period. Choose a nitrogen-rich fertilizer like the Miracle-Gro or the Purived, or a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer with a 10:10:10 ratio but diluted in half.

If you’re not a big fan of commercial fertilizer, you can instead make an organic “tea” fertilizer.

To do this, fill half a bucket with compost and dechlorinated tap water. Leave about three inches of headroom at the top so you can stir the “tea” without spilling it all over the place. Then, let it steep for about 36 to 48 hours.

Transfer the tea into a small spray bottle and use it as a foliar spray.

Don’t fertilize your plants after repotting to prevent them from wilting. Wait at least two to three weeks before doing so.

When winter comes, you’ll no longer have to fertilize your White Fusions.

Repotting Requirements

Unlike other foliage plants, Calathea White Fusions aren’t fast growers. Therefore, you’ll only ever have to repot them once a year or once every two years. You’ll know they’re ready to be repotted when:

  • The roots have become too overgrown
  • The soil is shrinking inside the pot
  • The soil is loose and dry
  • The plants have grown too big in the pot
  • The plant surface has a considerable amount of salt or mineral build-up

Ideally, White Fusions should be repotted in a pot a size bigger than the old one. But if you don’t want them to grow too big, repot them in the same pot they were in. 


Pruning your White Fusions comes with a number of benefits. It keeps your plant from getting too big, it gets rid of damaged leaves and stems, and it thins out crowded areas.

If possible, prune your White Fusions during spring or early summer so they’ll get plenty of light to fuel growth and recover. Also, always use a sharp pair of pruning shears as dull tools can damage the stems of the plant.

When pruning White Fusions, remove the leaves that are excessively curled, browned, and damaged. This way, your plants will put more of their energy towards healthy growth rather than sustaining the dead leaves. You may have to cut off more than one, but don’t worry, the leaves will grow back within a few short weeks.

Calathea White Fusion Propagation

calathea ctenanthe plant on a black background
calathea ctenanthe plant on a black background

Calathea White Fusions are propagated through root division. As the name suggests, root division is the act of reproducing plants by dividing or separating roots from the parent plant.

To propagate White Fusions, dig up the entire clump and carefully divide the plant into small segments. You can use your hands or a garden spade. Just make sure the roots are unharmed and fully intact when you dig them up and separate them.

Shake off the excess soil and place each segment in a separate (well-draining) pot. Use the exact same mix you used in the original pot. The newly established plant will soon shoot out new leaves and continue to grow.

Calathea White Fusion Common Pests/Diseases

Calathea White Fusions aren’t overly prone to disease, but they’re still fairly susceptible to moisture-related problems. Here are some of the biggest health concerns of White Fusions:

Root Rot

Root rot is a deadly plant disease that attacks the roots of plants in damp or wet soil.

Since White Fusions have high water requirements, they’re often overwatered. The soggy conditions of overwatered soil “drown” the roots, preventing them from absorbing the oxygen they’re required to live. The oxygen-starved roots will eventually decay and die, spreading their rot to the neighboring roots. If the situation isn’t caught early, the entire plant may die.

To prevent this from happening, avoid overwatering your White Fusions. Only water your plants when the top inch of the soil is dry. If the soil is still damp to the touch, leave them be.

Also, make sure that the pot your Calathea is in has drainage holes at the bottom to allow excess moisture to seep out after watering. Excess soil can likewise cause root rot as empty space can become a waterlogged dead zone.

Signs of root rot in Calathea White Fusions include:

  • Stunted or poor growth
  • Wilted leaves
  • Yellowed or browned leaves
  • Unnaturally slow growth
  • Swollen, mushy stems
  • Smell of decay

Leaf Crisping

Calathea White Fusions with curling or crisping leaves lack water, humidity, light, or a combination of all three. This may also occur when the plant is fed with water filled with chemicals.

If the affected leaves are too damaged, it’s best to remove them so new ones will grow in their place. Yellowed leaves may turn green again, but if the damage is significant, the leaves won’t revert to their normal color and continue to perish.


Since White Fusions thrive in humid environments, they’re highly susceptible to fungus gnats, spider mites, mealybugs, scales, and aphids. If left untreated, these pests can cause major damage to the plant. Plus, they’re unsightly and unsanitary.

The easiest way to eradicate these pesky insects is to apply neem oil or spray the affected area with natural insecticide.

Furthermore, don’t place your White Fusions in overly humid and dry environments as they’re the perfect breeding condition for various insects.

Bacterial Leaf Spot

If your White Fusions have dark, necrotic-looking spots on their leaves, this is a sign of bacterial leaf spot. Bacterial leaf spot is a plant disease caused by fungal or bacterial organisms, specifically Xanthomonas, Corynebacterium, and Agrobacterium.

Bacterial leaf spot spreads faster in warm, humid conditions, which isn’t great news for humid-loving plants like White Fusions.

Since they’re extremely contagious, immediate treatment is imperative to contain and kill the bacteria.

To prevent the spread of the disease, remove the affected leaves and spray a dose of copper fungicide or neem oil onto the plant.

Alternatively, use a baking soda solution of one tablespoon baking soda, two tablespoons vegetable oil, one teaspoon of liquid dish soap, and one gallon of water. Spray the mixture onto the plant every two weeks to stop the progression.

Final Thoughts

Stromanta Triostar (Tricolor)
Stromanta Triostar (Tricolor). The leaves are dark green, with stripes of cream, pink and salad shades. Isolated on white background

Valued for their streaked white-green leaves, Calathea White Fusions are among the rarest tropical houseplants in the world.

With the proper amount of care, these striking beauties can live up to five years. However, keep in mind that these plants are quite finicky in their care.

Calathea White Fusions need to be placed in a controlled, consistent environment for their true radiance to be realized. They need to be watered every few days and situated in a room with a humidity level of 75% and above. In addition, White Fusions must be placed in filtered bright light to prevent their leaves from drying and/or burning out.