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    How to Grow and Care For Calathea Ornata

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    Calathea Ornata (Calathea Sanderiana var. ornata) is a tropical foliage plant with dark-green leaves and colorful, light-pink stripes across the leaves giving it its common name, Pinstripe plant. Oftentimes, calathea ornata gets confused with the prayer plant due to similar foliage and leaves that rise and fall with day and night. However, prayer plants (maranta leuconeura) are very different in plants!
    Pinstripe calatheas can be grown as a houseplant or outdoors during the summer months but needs to be protected from frost. Their ornamental foliage makes them a great centerpiece for any well-lit room in the house much like other calatheas like Peacock Plant, Zebra Plant, Calathea White Fusion, or Calathea orbifolia!
    Read on about how to best care for your calathea ornata.

    What is a Calathea Ornata?

    Calathea Ornata, now known as Goeppertia ornata is a tropical perennial plant in the Marantaceae family. Native to the amazon jungles of Columbia and Venezula in South America, it’s a popular choice for an indoor plant for plant parents due to its ornate, light-pink striped leaves. Calathea ornate can be a finicky plant but with the right care, it gives you dramatic foliage producing large dark green leaves with the tops painted with light pink stripes from the stem to leaf edges and purple undersides. In the home they can grow up to two feet tall and wide making them outstanding plants to fill spaces and bedroom corners.
    Calathea ornata can commonly be confused with Calathea Beauty Star, a variety/cultivar of a calathea ornata. Unlike calathea ornata, Calathea beauty star has lighter and more slender green leaves.
    This plant is primarily grown for its decorative foliage as it rarely blooms flowers and is a favorite among collectors and hobbyists due to its interesting shape and vibrant color.

    Calathea Ornata (Pinstripe Plant) Care Guide

    Calathea Sanderiana var. Ornata
    Pinstripe Plant, Pinstripe calathea
    Neotropical, rhizomatous herbaceous perennials
    Up to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide
    Balanced, water-soluble liquid fertilizer (10-10-10, 20-20-20 diluted)
    Bright indirect light, partial & dappled shade. Usually 6-8 hours of bright light.
    Moderate - keep soil lightly moist - 1-2x a week watering
    Well-draining, slightly acidic
    From rhizome division, no seeds or cuttings
    65-75 degrees Fahrenheit
    South-facing, West-facing preferred. East-facing ok.
    USDA 10-11 hardy
    Aglaonema, Bromeliad, Spider Plants, Arrowhead
    Not toxic to pets or humans
    Botanical Name
    Common Names
    Plant Type
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Sun Exposure
    Soil Type
    Soil pH
    Temperature (Ideal)
    Window Locations (Ideal)
    USDA Hardiness Zones
    Companion Plants
    Where to Buy
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    How to Grow Calathea Ornata Plant

    Much like other calatheas, Calathea Ornata is not for the faint of heart and is quite a finicky plant. In the native jungles of South America, ornatas grow in warm, humid environments under the dappled shades of jungle tree canopies.  They thrive in bright indirect light and with plenty of water to keep their soil consistently moist.
    When you first bring your calathea home, you may want to consider quarantining it for two weeks to let it adjust to your new environment. Make sure to select a spot in your home that receives bright light (avoid direct light)  so that the calathea has the best chance to grow and thrive. 

    Growing Calathea Ornata In Your Garden (Outdoors)

    Calathea Ornatas are most commonly grown as indoor houseplants, but can be grown as ornamental, bold foliage in your landscape or garden outdoors. They grow well in areas that are dappled in shade/part shade but still receive a few hours of bright light a day. If they get overexposed to light, their beautiful patterned foliage will start to fade.
    If you’re growing outside of USDA hardiness zones 10-11, you’ll need to overwinter the plant when temperatures drop below 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit as they are not frost-tolerant. You can either bring the plant indoors and grow as a houseplant or you can attempt to cover the area in mulch to help shield the calathea from cooler weather. 
    When you’re planting, allow 18-24 inches between your calatheas to allow space for growth. 
    They plant well with peace lilies, arrowhead, spider plants, bromeliads, and other tropical foliage plants. 

    How to Care For Calathea Ornata

    Calathea Ornata plants, like many other calatheas, require specific water and light conditions to thrive. This gorgeous tropical plant entices all levels of plant parents, but we do not recommend it as your first plant due to its finicky nature. Calathea Ornatas grow best in warm, humid environments with at least four hours of bright, indirect light. It is critical to water them lightly and maintain evenly moist soil, but don't over-water them as this is why it's critical to put your Calathea Ornata in damp, moisture-retaining soil. The plant care tips will help your Calathea Ornata thrive!

    💧 Water

    Like other calatheas, proper water care is one of the most critical aspects in ensuring your Calathea Ornata grows well. Being tropical plants, Calathea Ornatas love consistently, but lightly moistened soil.
    During their active growing season, you’ll likely want to water your calathea once or twice a week. However, since calatheas go dormant in the winter months, you should reduce your watering frequency during colder months 
    Calathea ornatas are a bit more vulnerable to overwatering than other plants because of their need for moisture. It is critical not to overdo on watering with your calathea since it can cause yellowing of the leaves and root rot. Calathea prefers to live in soils that are well-drained and retain moisture. To prevent fungal diseases such as root rot, plant your calathea in well-draining, aerated soil. You can improve the drainage and aeration of your soil by adding perlite, pumice, or vermiculite. 
    Pro Tip Icon
    Pro Tip: Use distilled, bottled, or filtered water!
    The pinstripe calathea is sensitive to chemicals like fluoride in tap water. A build up of these chemicals can cause root burn and other issues. If you’re regularly using tap water to water your plant, we recommend flushing your soil fully with rainwater, distilled water every once in a while to drain out these chemicals.
    Calathea ornata foliage.
    Image Source:Photo by wahid hasyim asyari on GettyImagesCalatheas require lightly moistened soil. Be cautious of overwatering or waterlogging the soil which can lead to root rot.

    ☀️ Sunlight

    In the wild, Calathea Ornatas grow under the canopy of tropical jungle trees and vines which provide them with dappled shade and indirect sunlight throughout the day. To mimic this, it’s best to grow Calathea Ornata in bright indirect light to medium light where it receives at least 4 hours of bright light a day.
    You can also place your calathea near west or east facing windows. North-facing windows receive the least light, so we don’t recommend planting there. Without enough light, your Calathea will start to lose its beautiful foliage pattern. 

    🌡️ Temperature and Humidity

    Calathea Ornatas are tropical plants and thrive in warm temperatures and high humidity environments similar to those of the Amazon jungle. Most ambient room temperatures will do, but calathea will thrive in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Ornatas are sensitive to changes in their environment including temperature. If it’s too hot, you may notice calathea’s round leaves curl up. If it’s too cold, calathea’s leaves will start to droop.
    Keep Calathea ornatas away from cold drafts, such as near exterior doors, windows, and air conditioners, because they are sensitive to environmental changes. 
    The lowest temperature Calathea Ornatas can tolerate are 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit, but we recommend you bring your plant indoors if it drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. 
    Like other calatheas, ornatas love high humidity levels – an average humidity of 50% or more is most ideal. If your home doesn’t have much humidity, you can use a small humidifier, group your tropical plants together, or place your plant on top of pebble tray filled with water.

    🌱 Soil

    Calathea Ornata needs to grow in well-draining and moisture-retaining potting soil. Most commercial houseplant potting mix will work but you can supplement with perlite, pumice, coco coir, or peat moss to encourage moisture retention and drainage while aerating the soil. Coco coir and peat moss help retain moisture while keeping the soil airy and light, while perlite and pumice help improve drainage wicking away excess moisture.
    African violet potting mix is also a great match for calatheas because African violets require similar soil conditions. 
    For DYI potting mix, you can mix 2 parts potting soil, 1 part peat moss or coco coir or orchid bark, and 1 part perlite. Adding organic mediums like orchid bark can help retain moisture and nutrition in your soil!
    It’s important to make sure you plant your calathea in a pot with drainage holes to encourage excess water to drain from the pot.

    🌻 Fertilizer

    Calathea Ornatas aren’t heavy feeders. In its active growing season during spring and summer, you can fertilize with liquid, balanced houseplant fertilizer (10-10-10, 20-20-20) to boost foliage growth and enhance color. We recommend diluting in quarter to start and see how your plant responds first. Overfertilizing can lead to leaf-tip burn and stunt the growth of the plant! (Opposite of what fertilizer is intended to do ironically).
    Coffee grounds are also an option but you have to be careful due to their acidic nature. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen (the N in NPK fertilizer ratio). We don’t recommend placing coffee grounds directly on the soil, but rather adding coffee grounds to compost or soaking coffee grounds in water for one to two weeks and mix with water like you would apply a regular liquid fertilizer.

    😎 Pruning and Maintenance

    Calathea Ornata doesn’t require frequent pruning. You may need to prune off any dead, brown or yellowing leaves to upkeep its healthy, glossy appearance on occasion. Trimming dead or discolored foliage helps direct your plant’s energy towards healthy growth. If you need to prune your plant, make sure to use sterilized garden shears and wear gloves! 
    On occasion, you can wipe the Pinstripe calathea’s leaves to remove any dry dust or extra moisture that accumulates.

    How to Propagate Calathea Ornata

    Unlike other houseplants, you can’t propagate Calathea Ornata through stem cuttings. They can only be propagated by rhizome division similar to Calathea orbifolia, Elephant Ear/Alocasia plants. The best time to propagate is while repotting and during its active growing season so the plant has best chance at recovery.
    When you’re ready, follow these propagation steps:


    Softly remove the plant from the pot and detangle the root ball. 


    Using sterilized gardening shears, make a shoot cutting off of the mother plant. You want to make sure that the cutting has roots, stem and leaves (like a mini plant’). You will want to find a rhizome that has a separate root system and at least one leaf.


    Plant your new cutting in a pot with drainage holes and fresh well-draining potting mix. 


    Deep water your new plant and keep it in a humid, warm and lower light area.


    Once your plant has settled in and you start to see new growth, you can move it into a brighter area and let your plant adjust.

    When and How to Repot Calathea Ornata

    Calatheas shouldn’t be repotted frequently as they are sensitive to environmental changes and prefer to be rootbound. On average, you should repot your calathea ornata every two years.
    You’ll know you need to repot when you see roots coming out of the drainage hole of your pot. If you’re seeing stunted or slow growth, these are also symptoms your plant doesn’t have the space it needs to breathe. 
    When you’re ready to repot, follow these steps:


    Prepare a new, larger container than your last. Generally 2 inches bigger.


    Wearing gloves, fill your new container with Calathea Ornata friendly soil mix recommended above. You want to fill it up to roughly ⅓ of the pot. 


    Gently remove your old plant and softly release the root ball and the rest of the soil.


    Now is a good time to inspect the roots and do some root pruning. If you see any dead or mushy roots (sign of root rot), trim them with sterilized garden shears. 


    Place your plant in the new container and backfill with soil. Deep water the plant to let it settle in.

    Common Calathea Ornata Pests and Disease

    Calatheas love warm and damp climates which make them susceptible to common pest attacks and fungal diseases. Improper watering is the most common reason plant parents run into issues with Calatheas. Improper watering can cause leaves to droop, turn yellow or brown, and cause leaf spot, and root rot. Calathea Ornatas can attract thrips, aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs.
    Below, we’ll cover how you can identify and treat these common issues.

    Calathea Ornata Leaves are Curling

    If your calathea ornata leaves are curling, this is usually a sign if dehydration. Calathea’s leaves curl up as a defense mechanism to reduce transpiration rate and retain more moisture within the plant. Make sure you’re following proper water schedule to keep the soil consistently moist while growing your calathea in a high humidity environment. To increase your humidity, you can use a small humidifier, group plants together, or use a pebble tray filled with water.

    Calathea Ornata is Drooping

    Calatheas droop when they aren’t receiving enough water or moisture in the air. Check to make sure your humidity is high enough. This may also be a sign of dropping temperatures. Make sure to keep your calathea away from cold drafts that can come from exterior doors and windows as well as air conditioners. 
    If your soil is consistently dry, drooping leaves can be a sign of underwatering. Your leaves might also start to have brown, crispy edges. In this case, make sure you’re giving your calathea enough water and increase your watering frequency.

    Calathea Leaves Are Turning Yellow

    Yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering your calathea. Your soil is either soggy, waterlogged and too moist. You will want to adjust your watering schedule and make sure the topsoil is dry in between waterings. We also recommend that you plant your calathea in well-draining soil supplemented with coco coir, peat, or perlite. 

    Calathea Leaves Have Brown Edges or Spots

    Calathea ornata leaves with crispy brown edges.
    Image Source:Photo by Elena Grishina on GettyImages.Crispy brown edges on your calathea ornata are usually an indicator of a lack of moisture or underwatering.

    If you are seeing your calathea ornata develop brown crispy leaves rather than spots, this is a sign that your environment is too dry (low humidity) and that your plant isn’t receiving enough water. We recommend making sure you’re following the appropriate watering schedule and keeping soil lightly moist between waterings (only letting topsoil dry).
    Another common cause of brown spots is fungal leaf spot disease. In this case, you’ll see spots that have a yellow halo surrounding them in uniform size. Sometimes these spots can grow and merge into what are called “blights”. This is often caused by having too much moisture on your plant leaves. If you’re misting, we recommend you stop misting the plant as water that’s left on the leaves creates an attractive environment for fungus. 
    To treat, we recommend you prune and trim diseased leaves and spray with a fungicide like neem oil or baking soda (1 tablespoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon of liquid, non-detergent soap, and 1 gallon of water). Ensure that you have good air circulation and don’t mist your calathea frequently. 

    Root Rot

    If this is your first time experiencing root rot, read our full guide on root rot.
    Root rot is a common issue with most houseplants including Calathea Ornata. It’s usually caused by moist or waterlogged soil for prolonged periods of time. Symptoms can include rapidly yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and a rotten brown base. If you’re seeing these symptoms, here’s how to treat root rot.


    Remove the plant from the pot and gently remove the soil so you can see the root system. If the roots are brown and mushy, you must take action immediately.


    Clean off the roots with sterile water. Take sterilized scissors and trim any mushy roots.


    You can use a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution to disinfect the roots.


    Once cleaned up, repot your plant in fresh houseplant soil mix.

    Fungus Gnats

    Fungus gnats are tiny fruit-fly-sized insects that infest moist soil, potting mix, and other mediums. They are gray to black-gray in appearance and their long legs and antennae can give them a mosquito-like appearance. Because Calatheas love humid environments and moist soil, they can be particularly susceptible to fungus gnat infestations. Although harmless to humans, fungus gnats love to feed on the plants’ thin roots. 
    How to spot fungus gnat infestation on my calathea ornata?
    You’ll find them primarily on the surface of your potted soil. In an early infestation, fungus gnats are unlikely to do much damage. But because fungus gnats reproduce rapidly, laying up to hundreds of eggs on the soil surface, what was once a small infestation can turn into a severe infestation fairly quickly.
    Symptoms of a fungus gnat infestation include stunted growth, and yellow, or dropping leaves.
    The best way to rid of fungus gnats is to use sticky card traps, cider-vinegar traps, or flypaper. These are similar methods to contain fruit flies. 

    Spider Mites

    Spider mites are ectoparasitic arthropods that feed on plants. They prefer hot weather along with dry conditions, and they feed on a wide range of plants. Spider mites can be red, yellow or orange, depending on species. They are tiny, but they can be seen with the naked eye.Spider mites attack plants through their leaves, sucking the nutrients out of them. They leave stalks behind as they feed. While feeding, spider mites create webbing, and drain the life from plants causing leaves on infested plants to turn yellow and brown. They can cover and kill an entire plant within a week or two if left uncontrolled in your garden.
    If this is your first time managing spider mites, read our in-depth guide on how to get rid of spider mites on indoor plants.
    How to spot a spider mite infestation on my Calathea Ornata?
    Spider mite damage is different from that of cutting insects. There won’t be a hole in a leaf, but rather large discolored areas made up of tiny dots or stippling. You may notice that your plant leaves are covered in a web-like substance as previously stated or you may notice small specks on the leaves, or if the infestation has gone further you might see leaves or whole portions of your plant start to curl and wither.
    To treat spider mites, quarantine your plant to prevent spread. You can wash your plant with water to clear our some of the infestation initially and then use insecticidal soap or neem oil to spray your plant and wipe off spider mites. Repeat this process daily until the infestation is gone.
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    FAQs on Calathea Ornata

    Should I mist calathea ornata?
    Although you can mist your calathea ornata, we advise against it because build up of moisture on the leaves can make Calathea ornata susceptible to fungal diseases and leaf spot. If you do mist, make sure that the water evaporates throughout the day.
    Misting can temporarily increase humidity but isn't an effective long-term solution. We recommend using a small humidifier or a pebble tray filled with water.
    Is Calathea Ornata a prayer plant?
    Technically not really, Prayer plant is more commonly known as Maranta leuconeura. They are two separate plants! However, folks will often times bucket all calatheas as common, general umbrella of prayer plants.
    Where do I put my Calathea Ornata?
    Place your Calathea ornata in a spot where it can receive 6-8 hours of bright, indirect light. They are shade tolerant, but their leaf patterns can fade away without enough light. Placing them near south-facing or west-facing windows is recommended.
    Why do calatheas close at night?
    All calatheas close their leaves at night. It's called a nastic movement. Although we don't know exactly why, we believe that calatheas close up their leaves at night to conserve energy during their less active periods and when they're exposed to lower light levels.

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