Calathea, Houseplant of the month September
Dynamic leaves that reach for the sun
The patterned Calathea leaves are often found nestled in the soil, but as soon as the sun breaks through and shines on the plant, they stretch to catch the light. In the evening they retreat back again with a soft rustling sound.
From the jungle to the living room
Calatheas originate from the deep jungles of the Amazon in South America. Growing beneath the shadowy and rich layer of overgrown vegetation, they thrive in humid environments with limited daylight, meaning they are content with living in dark and warm areas like living rooms, bathrooms, halls or bedrooms.
Enjoying the leaves for longer
In its element around temperatures between 15-23 degrees Celsius, and with little or filtered sunlight (for example from a west facing window), the Calathea is a wonderfully easy plant to care for. The exotic leaves require moisture a couple of times a week and a regular spray of water on its sumptuous leaves.
• On some varieties of Calathea it looks like there are eyes on the leaves, just like peacock feathers. That is why Calathea is also referred to as the Peacock Plant
• Are the Calathea’s leaves turning brown and rolling up? Then the air is too dry. You can help this by spraying it with water, or placing it on a saucer of damp gravel
• Did you know there is also a flowering Calathea? This is the Calathea Crocata which has yellow/orange flowers
• As well as leaves in a range of green shades, the Calathea also sometimes has purple-red or silver coloured accents
• Calathea is a symbol of a new beginning. This meaning has come from the English saying ‘turn over a new leaf’, which is what the plant does when it becomes dark
• Did you know that plants like music? They are especially fans of sound waves with low frequencies, under 1,000 Hertz
• In the Amazon, the leaves of the Calathea are used as a roof covering, to weave baskets and as a medicine
• The Calathea is known as a really air purifying houseplant, which makes it a healthy house guest
• The Calathea isn’t as thirsty in the winter, so you don’t have to give it as much water
• The Calathea can’t cope with draughts or smoke, so don’t put it in the smoking room
For more information see www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Published on: 28 August 2014