If you have ever seen a Calathea Vittata plant, the chances are that you thought it was a hand-painted ornament. A lot of people have made the same mistake, thanks to the beautiful patterns and lines on its leaves. The species of Calathea Elliptica Vittata, just like all the others in its family, tend to “open and close” their leaves according to the time of the day. During good sunlight exposure in the morning, the leaves open up, while they fold and curl up during the night. But as beautiful and unique as they are, their maintenance and care do not take a lot of effort, time, or money. Thus, it is not surprising that houseplant enthusiasts are a huge fan of this particular species.
- Family: Marantaceae
- Genus: Calathea
- Species: Calathea Vittata
About the Genus Calathea
With several dozens of species lying under its umbrella, Calathea is a popular genus pot-plants with beautiful leaves often used as ornaments. Sometimes, they are also referred to as “prayer-plants.” Not only are these plants gorgeous to look at, but they also have a fascinating nature. They fold up during the night and unfurl in the morning. Some say they are “looking for the morning sun.” This feature is a result of a tiny joint between the leaves and the stem. The genus has been widely cultivated and includes several beautiful cultivars including Calathea Beauty Star, Calathea Fasciata, Calathea Corona, and Calathea Misto.
Origin and Distribution
Typically, the genus is native to Brazil, Columbia, and Thailand. The plants are found in tropical areas, so they like to grow in such environments. Unfortunately, because of the vast destruction of habitats, some of its species have been endangered with extinction.
Calathea Vittata Plant Features
Foliage and Stem
As mentioned earlier, these plants have beautiful white lines on their green leaves which make them unique and allow them to stand out of the crowd. Their patterns make them look like hand painted masterpieces, majorly increasing demand in the ornamental industry. The leaves can grow as tall as 50 to 60 cm, and they are long and pointy in shape.
Good news for people who want to buy this plant for decorative purposes: its leaves are evergreen. This means they stay beautiful all through the year and the passing seasons will not affect them negatively. Thus, you can display them anywhere and flaunt their beauty as you want.
In total, the plant is capable of growing up to 24 to 26 inches tall and wide in the same measurements. Because of its small size, a Calathea can be a beautiful table plant or shelf ornament.
The plant prefers warm and high temperatures, and it can grow well in temperatures as minimum as 15 degrees celsius. Thus, the plant has an overall good temperature tolerance.
Calathea Vittata plants love humidity, so make sure that you give it lots of it. You can install humidifiers and mist the plant now and then to make sure it is well-hydrated.
Even though you can find blooming Calathea plants in the wild, this is a rare occurrence for indoor plants.
This plant is not drought resistant. Give it proper water and an adequate environment to live in because dry and water-deficient conditions will quickly make it sick.
These plants are fairly pressure-resistant because of their tough leaves. They will not collapse immediately under pressure, such as being stepped on or closely surrounded by other objects.
Disease and Pest Resistance
The plant is prone to two types of leaf spots, namely Alternaria leaf spot and helminthosporium leaf spot. They are both fungal and result from excessive moisture on the surface of the leaves for longer periods. To prevent this from happening, make sure that you wipe the plant clean regularly and that the plant dries completely in a few hours after misting or watering it. However, in such a case, you can separate the plants from the rest of your collection. Then, apply fungicides to get rid of the problem.
These plants are fast-growing. Under the proper Calathea Vittata care, they can quickly grow to their full size.
Great news for owners who have pets and children in the house, these plants are not toxic. Hence, they are safe to be kept around children and animals. However, plants tend to have all kinds of harmful substances on their surfaces, such as fertilizers, pesticides, and bugs. So, it would still be best if you kept them away from children’s reach and prevented them from being ingested.
Because these plants are evergreen, they can be very durable. Just give it the proper care and make sure it is growing in the right environment. You will not have to worry about replacing the plant for a good, long while.
Since they do not ask for much, Calathea Vittata plants are fairly low maintenance. Thus, they are great for beginners or people who don’t have much time on their hands for plant care.
Calathea plants tend to go dormant in winters. For those few weeks, it is best if you don’t propagate them or mess with them a lot. Just keep the soil moist and let it “rest.”
Calathea Vittata Care
Calathea Vittata prefers low, diffused lights and moist soil to live. It likes warm temperatures ranging from 18 to 23 degrees Celcius and can live in high amounts of humidity. You can feed it every month and groom it properly to remove unwanted materials from the plant.
Calathea Vittata loves moisture in the soil. Hence, you must make sure that the substrate remains damp. However, the plant is especially prone to root rot, so excessive amounts of moisture in the soil can also be harmful. The proper way to maintain this water level is to opt for the little-and-often policy. This means that you give the plant little amounts of water but in higher frequencies. Also, check the soil texture before you water it. If it still seems to be wet, wait for a few more days before you water it again. On average, these plants require watering every 5 to 6 days, so you don’t have to keep checking every few hours. Also, it is suggested that you use rain or distilled water because the leaves are quite sensitive to tap water chemicals.
Ideally, you should use a mixture of peat and half that amount of perlite. The texture of the soil should be able to grab moisture and hold it, but should also be well-draining. You must replenish the upper surface of the soil during the spring season. This will help the plant grab onto the fertilizer and nutrients.
The plant loves light, but you must make sure that it is all filtered and diffused. Put the plant behind sheer curtains or in well-lit rooms instead of under direct exposure to the sun. The direct sun will not only damage the leaves and burn them, but it will also fade the color and the beautiful markings. If you must put them outdoors, opt for shade cloth to mellow the light hitting its surface.
Being of tropical origin, Calathea plants are more comfortable with warm climates. The plant can live well under a temperature range of 18 to 23 degrees Celsius. For lower temperatures, it can manage to tolerate a minimum of 15 degrees Celsius.
For these species, high humidity is essential. If you live in drier areas of the world, opt for an indoor humidifier. If not, you can put the potted plant in a pebble tray filled with water. Just make sure that the pot is not sitting directly on top of the water. Putting it in the washroom while someone takes a shower is a good way to give it a boost of humidity in the air.
A low-dose session of nitrogen fertilizer is optimum for these plants twice every month or as appropriate to your understanding. This is especially important in the growing season of the year, i.e., spring and summer.
The species is overall small, but it grows quickly, so you will have to shift the plant into a larger pot after a certain amount of time. You can guess when it is time to change the pot by looking at the drainage holes. If the roots have started to come out of it, or the soil is not draining properly, it is probably time to re-pot the plant. You can also divide the plant into several parts and then report them separately.
Grooming and Pruning
You can wipe and clean its leaves with a damp cloth or by misting the plant. This will remove any dust and bacteria on the surface, ultimately helping the plant breathe freely. Do this regularly every week to avoid the growth of bacteria and other pest attacks.
Cultivation and Propagation
You can propagate the plant via division. The following steps will make the whole procedure easier for you:
- Select the plant that you want to propagate, and make sure that it is healthy and clean.
- Remove the plant from the pot and separate its stems according to how many plants you wish to grow from it. Each stem will grow a separate plant.
- You can water the plants after re-potting them. Just make sure that you do not over-do it because the plants are susceptible to rotting.
- Patiently wait for the new plants to grow.
Week 1-3: Make sure that the plant receives optimum levels of hydration and food. Overdoing it, however, can quickly kill the plant.
Weeks 4-6: Small roots may start to grow.
Month 2-3: The roots will be of visible length by now.
Month 3-6: You will see new growth, ready to be re-potted.
Displaying Calathea Vittata Plant
Vittata plant looks beautiful on its own so you can display it in almost any setting, with or without the company of other plants in your collection. Put it in a large corner and let it peacefully grow to its full potential. But apart from being used for ornamental purposes, the leaves of Calathea plants are used for several other purposes around the world. People use unprocessed Calathea leaves to wrap up fish before it is transported in Brazil. In Columbia, they are used by handicraftsmen to make containers. Also, they are very popular decorative rice containers in certain villages in Thailand.
Calathea Vittata for Sale
The best way to buy such a plant is by first making sure that it is completely healthy. Check the plant for any signs of pests, infections, and diseases. Taking a sick plant home can infect the rest of your plants as well, so this part is especially important.
Calathea Elliptica Vittata is a beautiful potted houseplant. It is well known for the beautiful leaves that have white lines on it, almost looking like it is hand-painted. The plant is easy to care for and maintain throughout the year. Thus, it is not hard to propagate indoors either. All in all, if you are a beginner with house plant keeping, are you are a busy person who does not have a lot of time for taking care of their plants, this species is perfect for you.