Calatheas are popular houseplants and for a good reason. Calatheas, or Prayer Plants, are a true eye-catcher in anyone’s home with stunning patterned leaves that move with the day-night cycle in a process called nyctinasty.
The genus Calathea has numerous varieties, each stunning in its own way. There are Calathea varieties with leaves that appear to be painted with stripes, colors, and unique shapes.
Even the underside of the leaves will often add an interesting visual, as these may be a deep burgundy-red color.
Below are 26 different types of Calathea that will surely bring a spark into your living room. Each beautiful houseplant has unique features that make it stand out from the others on the list, so if you want to add a new Prayer Plant to your collection, go ahead and read below!
Table of Contents
Fun Facts About Prayer Plants
‘Prayer Plant’ Refers To The Plant’s Movement With Light
If you own a Calathea, you may notice that the plant looks slightly different during the nighttime compared to the day.
Calatheas are a genus of plants that raise and lower their leaves with light, resembling praying hands. This phenomenon is known as the nyctinastic cycle.
Although there is no concrete answer as to why Prayer Plants portray this unique movement, a study by Biologist Peter Minorsky from Mercy College may suggest that the plants move their leaves to protect themselves against herbivores that may eat the plant’s leaves.
The idea is that the plants raise their leaves to make it easier for predator animals to find and hunt herbivores, protecting the Calatheas from becoming a meal!
Some other speculations on why Calatheas portray nyctinasty say that the plant may do it to obtain more light, prevent water loss, and improve temperature regulations.
Whatever the reason for Calathea’s movement may be, I think it is such a unique feature that makes these wonderful plants even more interesting!
Certain Calathea Varieties May Bloom Indoors
While most Calatheas can bloom as indoor plants, it is a rare sight! But, different Calathea varieties will bloom as mature plants, even indoors. These include the Calathea Crocata (Eternal Flame Calathea) and the Brazilian Star Calathea.
Like all plants, Calatheas require plenty of sunlight, nutrients, and moisture to bloom. You will find more information about these special Calatheas in the list below!
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase ‘turning over a new leaf’ before, which means ‘to start over.’ Calatheas are said to symbolize new beginnings and starting fresh.
Since the Prayer Plants quite literally turn over a new leaf as they move with the day and night cycle, this symbolism is utterly fitting.
Caring For Prayer Plants
If you have ever owned a Calathea, you will know these are fussy plants. But once you learn their requirements, their striking foliage will be worth all the time and effort!
Below are some tips to ensure your Calathea plants will thrive.
Calathea Light Conditions
Calatheas grow under the canopy of large trees in partial shade in their natural environment.
In our homes, they will appreciate a spot where they receive bright but indirect light. The plant can grow in medium to low light, but its foliage will lose vibrancy.
Keep your Calathea’s delicate, thin leaves out of direct sun! Harsh sunlight may scorch the sensitive foliage and cause unsightly brown patches and burnt leaf edges.
Calathea Watering Requirements
Calatheas are thirsty plants. They will appreciate constantly moist soil and do not tolerate drought well. Ensure you water your Calatheas thoroughly whenever you notice the soil has dried.
Water your Prayer Plants with rainwater rather than tap water if possible. Tap water contains minerals and chemicals that can burn the roots of your poor Calathea, causing brown edges and yellow leaves over time.
Calathea Soil and Potting
Since these plants need constant moisture, using a well-drained soil mix is crucial! To enhance drainage, you can amend a standard potting mix with equal parts perlite and orchid bark.
Further, using a planter with holes in the bottom will help keep your roots healthy by allowing excess water to drip from the pot.
Calathea Temperature and Humidity
Calatheas originate from tropical, warm, and humid environments. They are native to the tropical jungles of South America, where they thrive in the tropical climate. If the plants are exposed to dry air, their leaves will soon curl and shrivel!
Consider offering higher humidity to keep your tropical plants looking green and lush. A humidifier is a foolproof way to increase the humidity level. Other options include a pebble tray, frequently misting the plant, or grouping plants.
Your Calatheas will appreciate living in a temperature range between 65F and 85F. They are not tolerant of cold or extreme heat, so avoid putting the plant in hot, sunny windows during summer and keep it out of dry air vents or cold drafts during winter.
Calathea Fertilizer Needs
Since Prayer Plants are mainly grown for their foliage, feeding them with an all-purpose plant fertilizer will do the trick.
They are not particularly heavy feeders, so it’s best to lay low on liquid plant food to prevent the plant’s delicate foliage from burning.
A 10-10-10 NPK ratio in fertilizer will work perfectly fine. If you use a liquid fertilizer, dilute it to half the strength recommended on the bottle and apply once a month from March to October. Avoid fertilizing during the winter, as this will surely burn the roots!
A slow-release fertilizer may be applied yearly in early spring to promote fertile soil. The granules will release nutrients into the soil with every watering, providing the plant with the necessary nutrients throughout the growing season!
If you’re a pet owner and a plant enthusiast, we have good news: all different species of the Calathea genus are reported as non-toxic.
Still, you’ll probably want to keep your furry babies out of your plant’s foliage for the plant’s safety! The leaves are very thin and may rip and tear easily.
Common Problems with Calathea Varieties
Perhaps the biggest downside of keeping a beautiful plant collection at home is the potential pests that come with your green friends.
Calatheas, in particular, are prone to a pest called spider mites. These microscopic spider-like insects drain your plant of nutrients as they feed on the sap inside the leaves.
A Spider Mite infestation is easily diagnosed, as the bugs leave tiny webbing on your plant. If you find webs on your Calathea, you can treat the mites by rinsing the leaves thoroughly in the shower and applying a neem oil solution to your plant. Repeat this every two weeks until the infestation is banished.
Brown, Curling Leaf Edges
Calathea care can be tricky, especially for beginners. One of the most common issues people face with Calatheas is that they will quickly develop brown, dry leaf edges if their needs aren’t met. This is usually caused by underwatering, low humidity, or harsh tap water.
To fix this problem, ensure your plants are living in humid conditions. If unsure, you can purchase a hygrometer that measures air moisture.
Aim for at least 60% humidity to keep your Calatheas thriving. Switch your tap water for rain or distilled water if you know the water in your area is hard.
Since these plants need constant moisture, many people habitually overwater these poor plants. Doing so will inevitably drown and suffocate the roots, eventually leading to the rotting of the root system.
If this happens, you’ll have to trim off all the brown, mushy, and rotten roots from the plant’s root system and repot it into fresh, well-draining soil.
Make sure to allow the top inch of soil of your Calathea plants to dry out between waterings slightly, and use a pot with drainage holes to prevent overwatering and root rot.
Leaf Patterns and Colors are Fading
If your Calathea’s beautiful variegation is beginning to lose contrast, or new leaves may appear pale and bland, your plant will likely not receive the light it needs.
Consider moving your Calathea to a location where it gets more bright light, and watch the color and boldness of the foliage come back swiftly.
The bolder and more vibrant type of Calathea needs more light than one with dark, muted colors.
26 Stunning Calathea Varieties to Grow at Home
1. Calathea Ornata (Pinstripe Calathea / Pinstripe Plant)
Probably the most common variety of the Calathea collection, the Calathea Ornata, nicknamed ‘Pinstripe Calathea,’ can be found in many homes.
The plant has distinct features, such as its strikingly dark green foliage, painted with bright pink stripes that will turn cream-white as the plant matures.
This plant originates from the tropics of South America and will do best if its environment mimics its natural habitat.
2. Calathea Makoyana (Peacock Calathea Plant)
Calathea Makoyana, also called the ‘Peacock Plant, ’ thanks its nickname to the beautiful leaves resembling a peacock feather.
This plant makes a gorgeous addition to any home. Native to Brazil, this tropical plant can be high-maintenance as it prefers to live in a humid and warm environment.
When provided with optimal care, this non-toxic plant can grow up to 2 feet tall!
3. Calathea Lancifolia or Geoppertia insignis (Rattlesnake Plant)
Known for its stunningly patterned leaves and dark red underside, the Rattlesnake Calathea, or its botanical name, Calathea Lancifolia, will enhance any room you put it in.
This plant may be a great pick if you’re a beginner Calathea owner.
I’ve found this plant to be the easiest Calathea to care for.
4. Calathea Orbifolia (Round Leaf Calathea)
Calathea Orbifolia is one of the more common Calathea plants.
This plant has some of the largest leaves among the Calathea varieties. Its’ remarkably striped, rounded foliage will make a beautiful addition to any collection.
The thin leaves of this variety are very prone to dry leaf edges, so ensure you give it adequate humidity and avoid watering with tap water to prevent salt and mineral buildup in the soil.
5. Calathea Zebrina (Zebra Plant)
This beautiful Calathea got its common name, ‘Zebra Plant,’ from its striped foliage. Calathea Zebrina originates from Brazil, where it thrives in the warm and humid environment of the rainforest.
When you give it the right conditions, this plant will reward you with striking leaves, making your living space feel like a jungle.
As the plant closes its leaves at night, it reveals a beautiful velvety red underside.
6. Calathea Roseopicta (Rose Painted Calathea)
Known to be one of the fussiest of the Calathea varieties, the Calathea Roseopicta, commonly known as the Rose-Painted Calathea, originates from the tropical rainforests of South America and will only thrive if its environment closely mimics its tropical origins.
The foliage is identical, with feathery-like markings in all shades of pink and a gorgeous deep purple-y red colored underside of the leaf.
The Calathea Roseopicta has several subvarieties, including the ‘Corona,’ ‘Jungle Rose,’ and ‘Cynthia.’
Each variety shares the same leaf shape characteristic of the Roseopicta genus, but their foliage has different colors and patterns.
7. Calathea Vietchiana (Calathea Medallion)
Calathea veitchiana, commonly known as Calathea Medallion, is a gorgeous variety with unique leaf markings.
This plant will add a touch of personality to any room you put it in, with its beautiful, deep green patterned leaves and red undersides that become visible as the plant raises its leaves during the night.
8. Calathea Warscewiczii (Calathea Jungle Velvet)
Do you love dark leaves? So do I!
The Calathea Jungle Velvet is one of my favorite Calathea varieties, as it has some of the darkest leaves I’ve seen on a Calatha.
Originally from the tropics of Costa Rica, the Jungle Velvet Calathea owes its name to the velvety texture of its dark green, striped foliage, further adding to the unique look of this beauty!
9. Calathea Crocata (Eternal Flame Plant)
The Calathea Crocata is one of the few Calathea varieties known for its flowers. These bold, bright orange or yellow colored blooms have called this plant “Eternal Flame.”
This plant naturally occurs in the tropics of Brazil, but sadly, it is increasingly hard to find in the wild due to the destruction of its habitat.
This rarity makes the Eternal Flame even harder to find as a houseplant, and if you do manage to find one, you can expect it to be pricey.
But in my opinion, the mesmerizing yellow flowers of this plant make it worth the price.
10. Calathea Rufibarba (Velvet Calathea / Furry Feather Calathea)
Unlike most Calathea Species, this plant lacks boldly colored and patterned large leaves. But it makes up for it with a unique feature: fuzzy, narrow leaves.
The Velvet Calathea is a slower grower than other varieties, but the uniquely beautiful, velvety leaves are worth the wait!
11. Calathea White Star (Geoppertia Majestica)
Are you looking to add an authentic statement plant to your interior?
The Calathea White Star is your guy with its highly contrasted and striped foliage.
In the plant’s original environment in South America, the natives have used the colorful foliage of this non-toxic beauty as food wrappers, baskets, or other useful items for centuries!
12. Calathea Musaica (Goeppertia Kegeljanii)
The Calathea Musaica, sometimes nicknamed “Network Calathea,” is one of the less widely available Calathea types discovered in Brazil in 1875.
This plant will stun you with its peculiarly patterned, mosaic-like foliage.
Plant enthusiasts say the Network Calathea is one of the less fussy varieties.
13. Calathea Leitzei (Calathea White Fusion)
Calathea White Fusion is perhaps the most widely sought-after rare Calathea on the market.
Even though this plant is considered very high maintenance and not recommended for beginners, its beautiful cream-white variegation will be worth all the extra effort.
Calathea Leitzei does not naturally occur in the wild, but it was made in a greenhouse lab in 2007 by Taiyan Yam in Malaysia.
14. Calathea Merak
If you’ve never heard of this Calathea, you would hardly believe it is real. This Calathea’s leaves have a unique pattern that resembles a chessboard.
This Calathea is a special plant because the variegation from the top of the leaves is also seen on the red undersides.
If you are a Calathea collector, this variety is indispensable to your collection.
15. Calathea Dottie (Prayer Plant Dottie)
A unique Calathea variety with leaves so dark green they could be mistaken for black, it is marked with bright pink variegation and patterns.
As this plant matures, the color will darken.
This plant is created through tissue culture via a Roseopicta Calathea, meaning the Dottie does not occur naturally. It was made around 2000 and has become a popular houseplant since then.
16. Calathea Albertii / Misto (White Tiger)
A stunning variety, the Calathea Albertii grows dark green leaves with feathery-like markings in different shades of light green.
The more light this plant receives, the more vibrant its leaves will appear. As the White Tiger Calathea is a dwarf variety, it is very suitable for small spaces.
17. Calathea Pavonii (Red Star Calathea)
A very uncommon Calathea, The Red Star Calathea shows distinctive patterns on its leaves in the shapes of blended spots in shades of green, pink, and brown.
This rare variety is native to Brazil and will do best if its environment mimics its natural habitat.
Bright indirect light and high humidity are critical factors in keeping this plant’s foliage bright.
18. Calathea Silvia
A darker variety of Calathea Roseopicta, this plant has stunning light-colored foliage surrounded by dark green edges.
As the leaves emerge, they will appear a light shade of pink. As the leaves mature, you will see how they will turn into a soft silvery green with hints of pink variegation.
Like Roseopicta Calathea, this plant will thrive under tropical conditions.
19. Calathea Fucata
Unfortunately, this plant is one of the rarest of the Calatheas, and if you’re looking to buy one, you’ll have to break the bank a little.
However, I’ve enjoyed seeing one of these beauties in real life, and photos do not do it justice.
The leaves are silvery, soft, dark green with pale green stripes and burgundy undersides.
If you ever have the pleasure of owning one of these beauties, you’ll be rewarded with stunning foliage that will make any visitor jealous.
20. Calathea Loeseneri (Brazilian Star Calathea)
One of the larger Calathea varieties, this plant (as the name suggests) is native to Brazil. Unlike other Calatheas, the leaves are lush and bright green without markings or patterns.
One glance at this plant, and you will understand why it was named Brazilian Star.
If you give this plant optimal conditions, it will reward you with stunning, pinkish-white, star-shaped flowers that may appear from late spring to summer.
21. Calathea Concinna / Leopardina (Calathea Freddie)
With shiny, vibrantly colored, and silvery striped foliage, the Calathea Freddie will surely stand out in your collection.
It is a compact grower, so it is an excellent option for people who like to keep their plants smaller to save space.
During summer, Calathea Freddie produces small, white flowers, specifically if placed outside during the warmer months.
This plant will not disappoint if you see it in real life; its stunning leaves are outstanding!
22. Calathea Louisae Maui Queen
The Maui Queen Calathea is a unique specimen made through cross-breeding Calathea Louisae varieties.
The plant originates from Brazil but was later introduced to the isle of Maui in Hawaii, where it gained its name.
This variety has stunning dark-green foliage with cream or white markings in the middle of the leaf. The undersides of the leaves are a deep red shade.
Besides the Maui Queen, the Louisae Calathea has several other cultivars, including the stunning ‘Thai Beauty’ and ‘Freddy.’
23. Calathea Flamestar
Are you looking for a plant with mesmerizing variegation? Then Calathea Flamestar will be right up your alley.
The name ‘Flamestar’ refers to the yellow, flame-like pattern decorating this plant’s oval leaves.
To bring out the best in this beautiful plant, ensure to provide it with plenty of bright, indirect sunlight, which will help to intensify the boldness of the pattern.
24. Calathea Elliptica Vittata
The Calathea Elliptica will surely steal the show in your home decor with pointed, dark green leaves covered in tiger-like white stripes.
The plant can reach 2 feet in height, with leaves growing as big as 12 inches, which makes it suitable for people with limited room for their plant collection.
25. Calathea Fasciata Burrosica (Beauty Star)
This plant is a favorite of those who love glossy, big, oval-shaped leaves. Sometimes, people may mistake the Fasciata for the Orbifolia, which has a similar leaf shape.
However, the Fasciata’s leaves have a much darker color with higher contrast.
The leaves are also glossy, whereas the Orbifolia’s leaves are matte, muted green.
26. Calatha Silver Plate (White Jade)
A plant that is incredibly hard to come by, but when you do, you will not forget it. This plant features pale, silvery leaves that are surprisingly plain.
But make no mistake, the lack of pattern is made up for with a shimmery finish with hints of silver and green and a dark burgundy underside.
This Calathea is considered a true collector’s item, as you will likely not find them in local garden centers and plant shops.
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