One of our all-time favourites here at Bloombox Club, the Calathea genus includes about 25 varieties. Belonging to the Marantaceae family, they are native to the deep jungles of the South American Amazon where they grow in humid conditions and shaded by other vegetation. This limited need for light is what makes them the perfect houseplant, especially for those lacking south or west-facing windows.
Their main attraction is the beauty of their foliage - various shades of greens, pinks and purples in a myriad of patterns and shapes. The leaves open up in the day and close at night, which is where the common name Prayer Plant comes from - they resemble praying human hands. This closing of the leaves has also led the Calathea to become a symbol of new beginnings, of ‘turning over a new leaf’, making it the perfect gift for someone starting afresh.
The leaf movement and the Calathea’s great ability to purify toxins from the air means we’ve placed it in our Restore plant section. It’s inbuilt circadian rhythm mimics our human cycles, making it the perfect plant to live alongside.
Care-wise, keep Calatheas out of direct sunshine to avoid scorching their leaves. Their growing season is between March and October when their soil should be kept moist. During the dormant period you can leave the top inch or so of soil to dry out between waterings. And to keep the leaves looking at their best, regular misting is required.
Our three favourite Calatheas:
Calathea Roseopicta ‘Dottie’
Deep purple/green oval leaves with bright pink outlines make this one of the more dramatic Calatheas out there. It’s leaves emerge from the middle, in rolled cigar shapes and unfurl into big, glossy leaves almost overnight.
Calathea Musaica ‘Network’
The bright green leaves of this Calathea need to be viewed up close to get the full extent of their beauty. The glossy leaves have an intricate, lace-like light green and yellow vein pattern, resembling a mosaic.
Calathea Lancifolia ‘Rattlesnake’
Striking is probably the best term used to describe this variety of Calathea. Sometimes referred to as the Painted Calathea, it has deep green brush-stroke-like markings on its elongated, wave-edged leaves.
We’ve always got at least a few varieties of Calatheas in stock, so check our shop for more of these tropical beauties.