Calathea warscewiczii (Prayer Plant, Calathea, Calathea Plant)
Truly mesmerising and captivating!
We had no intention whatsoever to get a pot of Calathea warscewiczii for our garden though we love variegated foliage plants.
It will be overcrowded for our small garden paradise and somewhat too many to receive our tender loving care in our golden years.
Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :
- Botanical Name: Calathea warscewiczii (syn.: Maranta warscewiczii, Phrynium warscewiczii).
- Common Name: Prayer Plant, Calathea, Calathea Plant.
- Family name:
- Etymology: The genus name, Calathea comes from the Greek word, kalathos, meaning a basket, in reference to the inflorescences borne by some species.
- Origin: Native to Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Brazil in tropical South America.
- Plant type: An ornamental, evergreen and tropical perennial.
- Features: Calathea warscewiczii is a captivating species of the genus, Calathea that consists of about 300 species that are valued for their decorative foliage.
It is an evergreen perennial that grows moderately to between 0.5 to 1 metre in height.
A low rosette herb and clump-forming plant that reproduces vegetatively by underground rhizomes.
Calathea warscewiczii produces lanceolate leaves that are velvety and dark green with bright green veins and a purple to maroon colored underside.
Like many species of the Marantaceae family, Calathea lancifolia is no exception. It has the characteristic feature of folding up their leaves by means of a tiny joint in the leaf stalk, from dusk onwards or on cloudy days, like hands held upright in prayer.
And, in the morning till early evening, the leaves will return to normal position, that is, almost perpendicular to the petioles. It produces a white cone-like inflorescences that fade to yellow or pink.
- Culture (Care): Calathea warscewiczii can be somewhat easily grown with the right conditions.
Light: Bright indirect light or partial shade. Direct afternoon sun tends to scorch the foliage.
Moisture: Moderate water requirement. Water moderately and to keep soil evenly moist. Overwatering can cause root rot. At lower temperatures, water sparingly and allow soil surface to dry slightly between watering. It is a humid-loving plant and benefits from being misted regularly or use a humidifier. Try to avoid too hot, dry and windy conditions.
Soil: Humus-enriched, loamy and well-drained soils.
Others: Prune the plant to encourage bushiness and offsets and increase flowering. Spray the plant regularly to keep its leaves dust-free. Feed once monthly with a balanced liquid fertiliser for foliage plants. It is sensitive to salt accumulation from unabsorbed fertilizer salts that will cause leaf margins to curl, so flush the soil occasionally with water to neutralize it. Excessive wind can also cause curling of leaves.
Calathea warscewiczii is intolerable of dryness in the air and requires high humidity to prevent browning of leaf margins. For an indoor plant, use a room humidifier and mist it regularly. To keep plant tidy, prune off brown or withered leaves and spent flower heads.
Re-pot only when it is overcrowded or the need to propagate arises as it likes to be pot-bound. Do watch out for infestation by spider mites, otherwise relatively free from serious pests and diseases.
For subtropical and temperate regions: Hardiness: USDA Zone 11.
Feed the plants with a water soluble fertiliser that can be given monthly in spring/summer and every six to eight weeks in fall/winter. Keep Calathea lancifolia plants in a draught-free location and ensure constant moderate-to-high temperatures as draughts may cause leaves to curl. Water and feed sparingly in winter but water well during summer and maintain high humidity by misting. Brown leaf margins is a sign of insufficient humidity. Provide bright light at all seasons but avoid direct sunlight that will burn the leaves. To propagate new plants, best to divide the crowded clumps when you repot them in late spring.
- Propagation: By dividing the crowded clumps. Separate the plants carefully and ensure that each division has a few leaves and strong roots intact.
The Calathea warscewiczii are stunning plants. With bold leaf markings as well as the bonus of the purple underside, they are a great choice for a shady room. In warm climate condition Calathea warscewiczii is a beautiful plant for shady areas in a tropical themed garden. It can be planted on the ground or as a container plant, located indoors as a houseplant, and outdoors in the garden, porch, deck or patio.
Excellent too, when placed amongst a crowd of other variegated foliage plants.
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