Calathea elliptica ‘Vittata’ (Prayer Plant Vittata, Calathea Vittata)
We chanced upon this lovely plant slightly more than one and a half years ago in April 2014. Simply irresistible and we happily decided without hesitation to add to our garden collection.
We have no regrets whatsoever as it had grown so marvellously with least care and added many new plants that emerged easily from its rhizomatous roots.
Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :
Calathea elliptica ‘Vittata’ [syn.: Calathea/Maranta vitttata, Calathea elliptica (Roscoe) K. Schum., Goeppertia elliptica ‘Vittata’, Phyllodes vittata, Phrynium elliptical Roscoe].
- Common Name: Calathea, Calathea Vittata, Prayer Plant Vittata, Bastard Paloeloe (in Suriname).
- Family name: Marantaceae.
- Etymology: The genus name, Calathea comes from the Greek word, kalathos, meaning a basket, in reference to the inflorescences borne by some species. The species epithet, elliptica is from Greek elleiptikos, pertaining to elliptic in shape.
- Origin: Native to Southern America including Brazil, Bolivar, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela and Colombia. On the other hand, the cultivar ‘Vittata’ is of horticultural origin.
- Plant type: A herbaceous and ornamental perennial plant.
Features: Calathea elliptica is a species of the genus Calathea that comprises of about 300 species and many cultivars and hybrid that are popularly grown
for their exquisitely colored and patterned foliage.
‘Vittata’ is an attractive horticultural cultivar with a moderate growth rate.
It is a low rosette herb with evergreen, leathery, glabrous and simple leaves that are elliptical in shape and up to 30 cm long and 13 cm wide.
The upper surface of leaves is medium green and attractively marked with white lines running parallel to the lateral veins. The underside is light green. Its downy petioles or stems, emerging from rhizomatous roots are of varying heights, reaching up to 35 cm tall.
This cultivar does produce an inflorescence with a short ovoid and densely bright-green bracted spike born on a scape among the leaves. The flowers are pale cream in colour. Unfortunately our plants have yet to flower to delight us.
Like many species of the Marantaceae family, Calathea elliptica ‘Vittata’ has the characteristic feature of folding up their leaves at dusk to dawn by means of the tiny geniculum, an angular knee-like joint connecting it to the petiole, resembling hands put together in prayer, hence the other common name, Prayer Plant.
And, in the morning the leaves will return to normal position, that is, almost perpendicular to the petioles.
Culture (Care): Calathea elliptica ‘Vittata’ is quite easy-growing and needs minimum care.
Light: Grows best in semi-shade to full shade. Can tolerate light or filtered sunlight but avoid direct sun that will scorch its leaves.
Require lots of water regularly but not waterlogged.
Soil: Humus enriched, moist and well-drained loamy soils.
Others: To keep plant tidy, cut off brown and withered leaves, together with petioles and spent flower heads if any. It likes to be pot-bound, so only repot when the need to propagate arises. It does not tolerate dryness in the air and requires high humidity to prevent browning of leaf margins, hence mist it regularly to maintain humidity as well as to keep it dust-free. Feed once monthly with a liquid fertilizer for foliage plants. Generally free from serious garden pests. Chewing and sucking insects may be a problem though.
For subtropical and temperate regions:
Hardiness: USDA Zone 10-12. Since it’s not frost tolerant, advisable to grow indoors as a houseplant or in a green house with sufficient bright light and accepted temperatures.
Alternatively, you can grow it in a pot, outdoors during the hot seasons and overwinter indoors during winter with reduced watering and stop feeding.
- Propagation: Easily by division of clumps.
Calathea elliptica ‘Vitttata’ is most suitable for container gardening, located indoors or outdoors. Plant it as a gorgeous variegated foliage houseplant for interiorscape or to decorate inside your home. An attractive plant to be added into a greenhouse or conservatory. It’ll look lovely amongst other foliage plants at the courtyard, patio or deck. Excellent for small gardens in beds and borders. An ideal eye-catchy plant to be grown under trees and sheltered from the blazing sun.
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What a wonderful surprise! Calathea elliptica ‘Vittata’ finally decided to flower to reward us for our tender-loving-care.
We grew this beauty since April, 2014 and it never bloomed.
Appears that we had to wait more than 3 years for it to finally bloom.
Last edit: September 5, 2017