Calathea Care in Winter: 3 Dos and Don'ts
Calatheas are tropical plants beloved for delicate wide leaves and gorgeous patterns. But they’re also known for hating winter. For those of us who love these plants, but live in temperate environments where we close the windows and crank up the heat in winter, our relationships with these plants can quickly stray south.
The best signs that your Calathea needs help are: 1) Curling leaves in the shape of a rolled tongue and 2) Leaf tips and edges drying brown. If you see this, read on!
Here are three dos and three don’ts that will lean your relationship with this plant toward love, not hate. For a visual supplement to this article, check out the video below from Tula co-founder Christan Summers. And for specific care for your Calathea, head to our Plant Library.
- Don't put a Calathea near a heater, heat vent, or hot, sunny window. These are understory plants, meaning they thrive beneath canopies that provide shade and dappled sunlight. Too much heat or sunlight could cause these plants to curl or crisp up.
- Don't put a Calathea near a cold, drafty or open window. The chilly, dry air from outside could cause leaf damage as well.
- Don't let the soil dry out very much between waterings. Soil that is very dry will result in curled, crispy leaves on a Calathea. Instead, water thoroughly when the top of the soil is dry but still moist and inch or two beneath the soil.
- Get a humidifier. This is the best step to creating an environment that is beneficial to a Calathea and many tropical plants. In the winter, heaters dry out the air in our homes, and tropicals suffer as a result. Building up humidity will decrease the chances of leaf damage.
- Make a quick humidity tray. Line a saucer with pebbles or monto clay and keep it wet. Place pots on top of the wet rocks. As the water evaporates, it will provide the plant with humidity.
- Mist daily. It really does help! Spritz the leaves thoroughly in the morning or midday, not at night. At night, the chill from a drafty window or cold water could cause damage and fungus.
Don’t stress! Even a perfect environment can lead to leaf damage on a Calathea. Leave, sculpt, or snip off the leaf and come spring, new growth will replace any leaves that were lost.
Start with a resilient Calathea! Calathea lancifolia (or Rattlesnake Plant) is known as an easy-care Calathea with stunning burgundy leaf undersides that rise and close up at night.