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Calathea Louisae, popularly known as Thai Beauty, is grown all over the world. The leaves of these plants have an ornament consisting of deep green and bright yellow stripes. The purple underside makes the leaves even more pleasing to the eye. This species is also called a prayer plant, because every evening they gently lift the leaves, resembling the position of the praying hands.
Care guide highlights: For this descendant of the Brazilian rainforest, you must create conditions similar to the climate of the tropical jungle. The temperature in tropical forests never drops below 64˚F, and the humidity is extremely high. Regular watering, plenty of indirect sunlight, and rich plant nutrition are crucial for cultivating Calathea Louisae. Thrips pests and fungal diseases are among the most common enemies.
This article will introduce you to the following topics:
- Does Calathea Louisae require strong light?
- How to adjust optimal temperature and humidity?
- Calathea Louisae watering needs
- What type of soil is preferred?
- Is propagation complicated?
- Calathea Louisae fertilizing requirements
- How and when to repot and prune?
- Common problems and simple fixes
- Frequently asked questions
Sounds interesting? Wait until you hear more enthralling facts about this Thai beauty!
Does Calathea Louisae Require Strong Light?
To meet the needs of this tropical species, you need to find a suitable place for it, whether you decide to grow Calathea Louisae in your home, garden, or greenhouse. It is not recommended to move these plants from place to place too often.
In nature, they grow in the shade of tall trees, and yet they receive a sufficient amount of light. You should create similar conditions when cultivating this species indoors. Thai beauty can thrive in partial shade and lots of indirect sunlight.
Despite its tropical origins and increased need for light, Calathea Louisae does not tolerate direct sunlight. If the leaves curl up and turn brown at the edges, it means your plant is overly exposed to the Sun and needs to be placed in a better spot as soon as possible. Direct sunlight should be avoided at all costs, as it can roughly burn the leaves.
It is best to grow this species on the west or east window sills, with the protection of gentle transparent curtains. You could also grow them outside, in your garden or greenhouse if you live in a suitable climate zone. Either way, protecting their gentle leaves from direct Sun would allow them to reach their full potential!
How to Adjust Optimal Temperature and Humidity?
These plants prefer tropical or subtropical conditions. It is not so easy to create that kind of climate at home, but you can get as close to it as possible. Thai plant care includes creating a balanced environment regarding air temperature and humidity.
Thai Beauty will expect a warm climate and high humidity levels. This plant doesn’t tolerate cold weather. Temperatures below 60˚F could be fatal for it. The optimal temperature range is from 65 to 85˚F. Sounds like the perfect summer to enjoy all year round, doesn’t it?
The natural habitat of Calathea Louisae doesn’t have significant temperature fluctuations at different times of the year, so it is important to create stable and comfortable conditions. The leaves can dry out due to temperature fluctuations, dry air, or spider mites. The temperature should be relatively stable day and night, while fluctuations of 2 to 4 degrees won’t be harmful.
Calathea Louisae enjoys balanced environment! The warmer the room, the higher the moisture must be. In the tropical forests of Brazil, humidity levels are very high, up to 90%.
It is quite difficult to maintain those conditions at home, but there are some solutions to keep your plant satisfied! Spray lukewarm water around your plant several times a day, or gently wipe it with a slightly damp cloth.
Calathea can absorb moisture on the surface of the leaves, so conditions of high humidity are suitable for it. But it is not recommended to risk fungal infections if too much moisture is retained on the leaves. It is safer to avoid directly spraying the leaves.
Calathea Louisae Watering Needs
Calathea Louisae prefers frequent watering and slightly moist soil. But, watch out! The soil must never be flooded. Adjust the care routine by observing the condition of the leaves. It is the best way to create an ideal environment for the development of this plant.
Equilibrium is achieved by frequent watering to maintain moisture, but also by allowing the soil to breathe. During exposure to higher temperatures, these plants should be watered every two to three days.
In winter, it is necessary to water your Calathea Louisae 3 to 4 times a week. Use less water than usual. After pouring the water into the pot, it should drain freely from the bottom of the pot. Keep the drainage holes clear and open.
Due to excessive watering, brown spots can appear on the leaves. Root rot is another consequence of excessive watering, which I’m sure you wouldn’t want to cause to these gorgeous plants!
Another great tip is to avoid getting water on the leaves when watering. It could cause fungal problems and turn the leaves yellow. It is advisable to pour an adequate amount of water directly into the soil.
If you forget to water this beauty, the soil could dry out more than this species can handle. As a result, the leaves of your Calathea Louisae will begin to lose color and become crunchy around the edges.
For this species, the type of water you are using is very important. Plants from this family are quite sensitive to the minerals found in most tap water. To avoid these issues, use filtered water, rainwater, or simly boil tap water. Chlorine is very harmful to Calathea plants.
What Type of Soil is Preferred?
The quality and health of Calathea Louisae primarily depend on the condition of the soil. Paying attention to the condition of the soil and improving its quality is the basis of Thai plants care.
The soil must have certain traits to encourage the growth and health of this Thai beauty. It should be moist, loose, and rich in nutrients. It should be dense enough to support the roots but allow good air conductivity. For reducing the density, add sand or perlite with peat to your mix. Lack of oxygen can cause root issues, and affect the whole plant.
New gardeners most often procure and use a pre-made soil mixture. It is a quick solution, and if you have access to quality houseplant soil there shouldn’t be any issues. But, to meet all those soil requirements, I would suggest you prepare your mixture!
To prepare the soil, for Calathea Louisae take two sections of leafy soil, one part peat, and one part sand. If desired, add humus from fallen spruce, fir, larch, or pine needles. It is loose, well-draining, and contains enough nutrients. In structure, it resembles leafy soil, but it is even airier. Pieces of bark, charcoal, dry manure are also added.
Last but not least, a drainage layer should be placed in the pot, within 5-7 cm. Excellent material for this purpose is expanded clay.
Is Propagation Complicated?
The easiest way to propagate these plants is by dividing. Propagation by division is done in spring or autumn at the same time as transplanting. Don’t worry if you have never propagated this species before, even beginners can do it! Just follow the instructions and be gentle with your plant.
Carefully, without damaging the root system of the plant, remove Calathea from the pot. When you have removed the plant from the pot, gently divide the roots at the points where you notice that it has naturally created slight separation. Place the young Calathea Louisae plants into separate pots with a previously prepared fresh soil mixture. The soil should match the traits of a parent soil, but contain fresh organic nutrients.
Young plants take a long time to form the roots, up to few weeks. They should be placed in a warm and extremely humid environment. The temperature during cultivation should be maintained around 68-72˚F.
How about adding more challenge to propagation?
On the other hand, the most difficult way to propagate Calathea Louisae is considered to be growing seeds. It can take years for a plant to grow from a tiny seed. In addition, even high-quality seeds may not germinate, and their preliminary preparation takes a long time. Therefore, this method is difficult even for experienced gardeners. But if you are passionate about tropical exotic plants, you can try it!
Before planting, the seeds are disinfected with a solution of 1% potassium permanganate in proportions of 1 gram of potassium permanganate per 100 grams of water. After that, the seeds are stored in a dry and dark place. The seeds are planted practically without deepening.
The temperature should be +77˚F. Sprouted dense shoots are planted in the same soil. Cultivated sprouts are planted in small pots and require the same care, as well as divided shoots.
Calathea Louisae Fertilizing Requirements
Fertilizing Thai beauty is not obligatory, but it can encourage it to grow up to 30 inches tall, and produce lush leaves up to 8 inches long and 4 inches wide. Wouldn’t that be a nice landscape in your garden or living room?
Feeding can be done every two weeks during the period of active growth, which falls from March to September. In autumn and winter, fertilizers are applied only every six weeks.
It is not recommended to feed Calathea Louisae during the dormant season, or if it has been damaged by diseases or pests. If the leaves turn yellow and gradually dry out, top-dressing should be applied regularly. Such issues usually indicate changes in Thai plant care routine and lack of minerals in the soil.
The Prayer plant reacts poorly to the lack of fertilizer, as well as to excessive feeding. When you overfeed your plant, leaves become yellow to brown on the ends.
Fertilizers primarily provide plants with nutrients and also maintain the soil healthy. It is best to fertilize with a mixture of organic nutrients, in combination with lime-free mineral fertilizers, preferably slow-release. You could buy standard houseplant fertilizer in the store, but ensure it contains an equal ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
How and When to Repot and Prune?
Young Calathea plants should be repotted every year in the spring. When the plant is mature enough at the age of four, transplanting can be done every two years. Beginner gardeners often wonder how to safely transplant Calathea Louisae, but actually, the process is not as demanding as it may look!
Before transplanting the plant, purchase a slightly larger pot with drainage holes. Choose pots made of clay or terracotta. If you are good with clay, why not make it yourself?
The roots of Calathea Louisae plants are strong, and they need to be shaken off the old soil for the root system to take root in completely fresh clean soil. The root system of the plant should also be located in the middle of the pot. To encourage this Thai beauty to re-establish itself in a new home, you must water it regularly.
Pruning old or faded flowers improves the appearance of your plant and directs its energy into creating new leaves and blooms. Although the flowers of Calathea Louisae are subtle, regular pruning will give your plant the strength to blossom. Pruning could sometimes save the life of your plant if the leaves were infected with an infectious disease.
Common Problems and Simple Fixes
We must keep in mind that preventive Thai plant care increases their resistance to diseases and pests. If the rules are not followed, the plant can have various problems. Herbal infusions strengthen the plants and encourage overall health.
Calathea Louisae can suffer from fungal diseases. They develop at low temperatures or in hot, humid environments with the plant being watered excessively. Fungus Rhizoctonia can severely damage the leaves. Fungal infections diminish the possibility for further growth of this plant. The plant must be repotted urgently after fungicide treatment into fresh soil, and damaged leaves or roots must be cut off. If the plant is over-watered, the root system can rot and Thrips pests can represent another threat.
Any insects to attack Calathea Louisae?
White spots appear on the surface of the leaves, while the insect itself is located on the back of the leaf and is sucking up the contents. The white stains subsequently dry out, crumble, and holes form in their place. Your Thai beauty ceases to be vital and attractive. It sounds a little sad, doesn’t it?
The fight against these harmful insects starts with good ventilation of the leaves and less watering. After you have adjusted the conditions, apply insecticidal soaps on the back of infected leaves, and repeat application if necessary. You could also use horticultural oil in contact spray, or natural pyrethrins with piperonyl butoxide.
Contrary to Thrips, Spider mites usually appear when the humidity in the room is scarce. Spider mites can also migrate on the back of leaves, and dry leaves represent the first sign that they have settled. In any case, they should not be a huge issue if they are noticed on time.
You will have to raise levels of air humidity, and apply a natural extract of the Neem tree. You could also smother these pests by spraying at least 3 times a day with hydrogen peroxide, one tablespoon per five liters of water.
Related: Calathea Plants: Ultimate Guide
Frequently Asked Question
Does Calathea Louisae need sunlight?
Calathea needs strong but indirect sunlight. They grow on the floor of Brazilian rainforests, where dappled light penetrates through the higher trees. Direct sunlight will burn the foliage of your plant and as a result, its vibrant color will disappear.
Does Calathea Louisae like coffee grounds?
It could be used as an organic fertilizer because it is a rich source of nitrogen. But coffee grounds can also affect the soil acidity, microorganisms, and growth of Calathea Louisae, so you shouldn’t rely on them too much. There is a chance you could upset the current balance of the soil.
Should you mist a Calathea Louisae?
It is not recommended to spray on the leaves, this is especially important for species with velvety soft leaves. An alternative is to simply wipe them occasionally with a damp cloth. You can occasionally spray the air around the plant with a fine spray, avoiding contact with the leaves.
How often should you water Calathea Louisae?
Throughout the year, you must water the plant abundantly with soft water at room temperature. The soil should always be moist, and it is necessary to avoid standing water in the pot. It is watered every other day in summer and once a week in winter, allowing the soil to dry between irrigations.
Can Calathea Louisae grow in low light?
It usually tolerates low light, but in the absolute shade, it will not develop, let alone bloom. If Calathea Louisae is kept in the dark for a long time, it losses the vibrant color of its leaves, and the patterns disappear. When there is a lack of light, Calathea grows more slowly, so it should be placed in brighter places.
Despite the peculiarities of care, the prayer plant will steal your heart with its Illuminative green leaves and delicate flowers. This plant has the power to enliven any interior with its vibrant colors and unique overall look. Calathea Louisae is also considered to bring happiness and well-being to the home, which makes it an ideal gift for your loved ones.
With proper care and attention, every plant collector would be envious of your Thai beauty. Just imagine having more of them, what a pleasant sight would that be! Calathea is not poisonous, so you can place them wherever you want. Of course, be careful if your pets like to chew plants!