Calathea Vittata

Calathea Vittata – How to Care for Calathea Elliptica Vittata

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Don’t know which plant to grow in your home? Here is an article that will not only help you grow Calathea Vittata but will also explain to you why this plant would be good for you.

Beautiful, medium-sized, and pet friendly, this calathea will give you back all the love and effort you put into its growing and nurturing.

Stay tuned to find out about the “personality” of this calathea and its needs.

How to Grow Calathea Vittata

What you need to know is that Calathea Vittata is not as demanding as other plants from the calathea family, but they are also not the easiest ones to grow.

Calatheas live in jungles and tropical forests where it rains a lot, so they need high humidity all the time.

This beautiful plant with light-green elliptic stripes on its leaves are usually short and can grow up to 60 cm. Since they are this small in size, they are not getting any direct sunlight in the jungle so they should not be exposed to direct and too bright light.

The soil in the pot should be moist all the time. They require watering on a regular basis, which means often but not too much (every 2 or 3 days).

The water used for watering should be filtered or distilled because the chlorine, salts, and fluoride don’t suit Calathea Vittata well.

Besides using a humidifier, you can also shower your calathea from time to time, or you can mist it with some water every few days. Make sure you clean the dust and impurities from her pretty leaves.

The leaves should be trimmed or cut off if they become brown, so new healthy foliage can grow out.

I know this sounds like too much for now, but every step is explained and argued so you can easily remember it while reading.

Related: Calathea – The Ultimate Caring Guide

Different Types of Calatheas

All Calatheas originated from tropical parts of South America, thus their living conditions should be as similar to the tropical forests as possible if you want them to grow nicely.

Every calathea has a specific look of its leaves. Their colorful stripes can get anyone’s attention and admiration. And once you see how grateful they can get, you won’t be able to resist buying more calathea types.

Calatheas have many similarities. Some of them have their leaves moving during the day, some of them have similar patterns and foliage, and some of them are similar because of the size.

When it comes to light, temperature, watering, fertilization, and other important matters, calatheas don’t usually develop many differences. Either way, you should read about a specific type if you want to grow it.

Calatheas are also unique because of their names, or should we say nicknames, they got because of their characteristics. Some calatheas are called prayer plants, zebra plants, etc.

For example, some calatheas change their leaves’ position during the day because they are trying to follow the movement of the Sun. This process looks like people praying, so that is where they got this name from.

Here are some different types of Calatheas:

  1. Calathea Rubifarba
  2. Calathea Zebrina
  3. Calathea Lancifolia
  4. Calathea Medallion
  5. Calathea Leitzei
  6. Calathea Beauty Star
  7. Calathea Makoyana
  8. Calathea Roseopicta
  9. Calathea Network
  10. Calathea Ornata
  11. Calathea Orbifolia
  12. Calathea Fasciata

Believe it or not, there are some more beautiful calathea types you would want to see if you decided to grow and nourish one.

It is interesting that they are so similar yet so unique. Also, they are usually called by their nicknames and not by their Latin names.

Some people refer to them as office plants, because some calatheas are not so hard to be taken care of.

Watering Calathea Vittata

All calatheas have similar demand for watering. Since Calathea Vittata is originally from Colombia, it requires high humidity and lots of water.

The water you are supposed to be using for watering this calathea should not have salts and minerals in it since they can be rough on the delicate and thin roots of Calathea Vittata.

Filtered and distilled water is the best for this calathea, but in case you are not able to get enough of it, you can just use tap water. The tap water should sit for about 24 hours so the chlorine and fluoride can evaporate in total.

Calathea Vittata is a demanding plant when it comes to many things, and watering is one of them.

In a tropical forest (which is its natural habitat) it is receiving water from the rain. Since it is an area in which it rains a lot, calatheas are used to having lots of water.

This means that you should water your Calathea Vittata pretty often.

Of course, it isn’t always every day so you should learn how to listen to your plant.

You can also fill the pebble tray under the pot with water, so your calathea can take it whenever she needs it.

As one of the solutions you can also get watering spikes that will water your plants more often than you can, or remember to.

If you don’t have the time or patience for this kind of nursing, then Calathea Vittata is not the plant you would want to get. Calatheas are pretty much needy in this way.

You don’t want your Calathea to be in soggy soil, so do your best to water it only when it needs it.

Your calathea will forgive you if you forget to water it from time to time, but if you neglect it and make a dry environment for her, she will get brown edges and tips on her leaves.

Another important thing about watering your Calathea Vittata is that it needs less water during the cold winter months.

The excess water should be drained while watering and if you are not sure whether to apply more water you can check the soil’s humidity with your finger.

Related: Best Plant Humidifiers and a Buying Guide.

Light and Temperature Requirements for Calathea Vittata

Since Calathea Vittata is a small plant that can grow up to 60 cm tops, direct light can’t really get to it in its natural habitat.

In the tropical forest, it can get as much light as branches and leaves of the bigger plants allow it to get. The light it gets is usually indirect and bright. These are the conditions Calathea Vittata prefers wherever it is.

If you put your Calathea Vittata in direct sunlight, its beautiful leafage will turn brown and dry. Once the foliage turns brown there is no way in saving it. All you can do is cut the leaves or parts of the leaves if this happens, to save the rest of the plant.

Direct sunlight can also cause the leaf color to fade, so try to keep your Vittata in a place where it will be getting diffused sunlight.

Bottom line is, Calathea Vittata needs to be in a bright room that does not have direct lighting. The darker the leaves – the less light it needs.

If you are not sure about whether the lighting is good enough for your Calathea Vittata, just imagine you are reading a book and if the lighting suits you for reading, then your plant is going to feel comfortable there, too.

When it comes to temperature Calathea Vittata prefers, it should be in a range of 18 to 24 °C, which is 65 to 75 °F.

Calathea Vittata does not tolerate sudden temperature changes, so be careful when you choose the right room for it.

Temperatures above 15 or 16 °C are dangerous for Calathea Vittata because they can cause it to freeze. Calathea Vittata originated from tropical climate so it needs higher (but not too high) temperatures, high humidity, bright and indirect light, and the absence of sudden temperature changes.

Soil Requirements for Calathea Vittata

As you could probably guess, calatheas like their soil warm and moist.

On the other hand, make sure the soil is not soaked because it can damage the roots. You also don’t want the soil to be soggy.

Soil is very important because it provides the plant with all the necessary ingredients. But since the plant is sucking with its roots everything from the soil, including minerals, you have to make sure that the soil are you using for this Calathea Vittata is proper.

If you are propagating, you should use fresh soil for both the mother plant and the new plant after you separate them and put them into new pots.

When you are growing your calathea indoors, the best solution when it comes to the soil is mixed soil because it is the only right soil that has the nutrients your plant needs in order to be pretty and healthy.

If the soil is not good for calathea you will be able to tell by the look of its leaves.

The recommended soil is the mix of potting soil, orchid bark, charcoal, and perlite in a 50, 20, 20, 10 percent relation.

Charcoal is especially good for the plants because it improves the pH of the soil, it helps the absorption of the water and kills bad toxins in the soil. It also supports the number of positive bacteria and fungi that are necessary for the plant’s growth.

Fertilizing Calathea Vittata

Calathea Vittata is very sensitive when it comes to synthetic fertilizers, so you should get organic ones for it. It would be best to use natural fertilizers for Calathea Vittata.

And, well, every other plant, if I may.

They can react badly because they are sensitive in that way, but they still need fertilizing.

You can also use synthetic fertilizer if you run out of the organic one or can’t get it for some reason. In this case, you should use a half or even a quarter of a regular measure for fertilization of your Calathea Vittata.

This calathea should be fertilized once a month during the warmer months, preferably from April to August.

Keeping your plant healthy, clean, and happy is important because it can manifest all the dissatisfaction throughout the foliage. This way she won’t be pretty anymore and the leaves will be turning brown rapidly.

Whatever fertilizer you decide to use, make sure you read its content and instructions as you wouldn’t want to stress out or suffocate your plant.

Once you start using a fertilizer, pay attention to the plant’s reaction. You can also use the fertilizer twice a month during the growing season if it turns out she likes it.

Nitrogen-rich fertilizers are proven to be the best for Calathea Vittata and its foliage, but you can also use a general houseplant fertilizer if you are growing some other plants.

Balanced liquid fertilizers improve the beauty of calathea’s leaves, thus giving them shine and vivid color.

Calathea Vittata pruning

Calathea Vittata pruning

Calathea leaves tend to brown out due to different reasons. It can be that they have aged or that something is wrong with their nursing. Leaves can also wilt due to bad and uneven watering.

If you notice your Calathea Vittata’s leaves are turning brown too often, it means that they are not getting old, but they lack adequate care.

Once you see the foliage started to brown out in the edges, take sharp scissors and trim the leaves a bit. There are cases when the whole leaf is darker and that means that the leaf has aged or has died. Either way, you should cut the part where it is connected to the main stalk with a pair of scissors.

Besides scissors, you can also use a sharp knife that will cut the skinny stalk of your calathea.

You can do pruning on a regular basis so your Calathea Vittata can focus on growing some new and healthy leaves.

If the foliage is turning yellow or if the color is fading away, change the place of your plant since it is probably getting some direct sunlight. Also, prune the discolored leaves so the plant can flow its energy into growing pretty green leaves.

Some people don’t know that the edges of the leaves are going to grow back once you cut them following the leaf curve, so trust this article when we say that this is the right way to maintain the beauty and well-being of your Calathea Vittata.

However, don’t forget to use clean, sterilized tools.

Plant surgery has to be done neatly and precisely as well.

Renewing your plant is always going to work well for her.

Calathea Vittata Propagation

The best period for the propagation of Calathea Vittata is March, right before the growing season begins. Another important thing about propagation is that they are best propagated by division.

The process of propagation is easy and anyone can do it, even the amateur gardeners. Before you gently take the calathea out of its pot make sure you had already prepared the adequate pot with the soil you were going to plant the part of Calathea Vittata you want to propagate.

After you gently dug a bit of soil around the mother plant you can take it out and see if there is a stem to be cut off and grown separately. Remove the roots that are in-between and put the separated stem in the prepared pot with fresh soil.

Mother plant should also be put in a proper-sized pot with fresh soil since her anatomy changed a bit.

The separated stem requires a bit different conditions than the regular Calathea Vittata. It should be put in a smaller pot with fresh soil, as said. But some other things also differ.

This stem should be in lower light that the mother plant because it needs some adjusting to the new pot it was put into. Since the humidity also plays an important role in calathea’s growth, you should cover the separated stem with a thin and clear plastic bag.

I know it sounds odd but this bag is supposed to keep as much humidity as possible for the new plant, so it can grow in healthy and jungle-like conditions.

Once you see that this new stem started growing and thriving you can put it with its mother plant or with the rest of calatheas if you own more of them.

Re-potting Calathea Vittata

When you are growing Calathea Vittata you are facing different problems and various difficulties that your plant is fighting with. Once you see her thrive, no matter the issue, you will be proud of yourself and her.

It is not enough to just make your calathea grow, you also have to enable it to live healthy and safe. Once it became too big it is time for you to do some repotting.

The process is quite simple. All you need to do is take a bigger pot and fill it with moist and mixed soil your calathea likes.

Carefully move some soil around her and gently pull it out. Then plant it in the new pot, the way it was planted in the previous one.

In case you don’t have the bigger pot and have no intention of buying it because you have so many small or medium ones, you can propagate your Calathea Vittata by division in the small pots, as described above.

Repotting is very important because the roots of your plant can get tangled and damaged because they are thin and gentle. Since the roots are necessary for absorbing the nutrients from the soil your plant needs you should take care of them.

Calatheas need repotting every 2 or 3 years in early spring before they start growing again.

Calathea Vittata Problems and Solutions

Calathea Vittata Problems and Solutions

One of the main problems that occur when you have Calathea Vittata is the discoloration of its leaves. Due to underwatering, overwatering, or bad lighting (too bright or direct), its leaves start turning yellow and brown.

Some of the leaves turn brown because of the age, but the yellow color is pointing on a different problem.

As you already had the chance to read – brown and yellow foliage are supposed to be cut off or trimmed.

The same goes for wilted edges and leaves that are the result of low humidity. If you improve your watering routine, increase humidity, and enable indirect lighting, your Calathea Vittata will be more than fine.

Another often seen problem that appears in calatheas are pests and fungus gnats. These gnats look like mosquitos but are more dangerous to your plant. They can bite its leafage and they typically form swarms. 

Moist soil is what keeps them around your calathea. This means that you can have an inch or so of dry soil on the top of your pot. That way, ends of the roots will be in a moist environment where you want them to be, and the dry soil on the surface will scare away the gnats.


Which pots are the best for Calathea Vittata?

In terms of material, both terracotta and plastic will do, as long as the size of the container is suitable.

Don’t repot them too often, or their progress will slow down, as they will be overly stressed. Make sure they have adequate drainage system.

Which are the most common pests that attack Calathea Vittata?

Calatheas are usually infected by red spider mites, fungi gnats, and scale insects which are highly contagious and dangerous to the plants.

Therefore, inspect your plant on a regular basis, to ensure it’s not infected.

Is Calathea toxic to cats?

Calathea Vittata is safe for cats, so if you are both passionate gardener and cat owner, you won’t have to worry.

Still, find some smart place so that your curious feline wouldn’t trip over the container with plant.

Is Calathea toxic to humans?

The answer is no, this plant is safe for humans as well. If small amount is ingested by accident, no harm will be done.

This is of particular importance for those who have small children.

Does Calathea Vittata clean the air?

Aside from being extremely decorative, this plant is also purifies the air. It will make your home look prettier and healthier as well.

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