Calatheas are popular house plants thanks to their impressive foliage. There are many species and cultivars to choose from with the shape, size and pattern of the leaf varying for each. This fun foliage give Calatheas the common names Peacock, Zebra or Rattlesnake Plant.
Botanical name: Calathea
Common names: Peacock Plant, Zebra Plant or Rattlesnake Plant
Potential height: around 60cm
The ideal position for Calatheas
Native to tropical America Calatheas don’t like the cold. Position this indoor beauty in a well-lit spot but out of direct sunlight that can burn the leaves.
Calatheas can be planted outside in warm climates (they don't tolerate frost) and are typically planted as part of a tropical landscape. They need shade, like in their native environment, where they're sheltered beneath the tall rainforest canopy.
Keep the soil moist but not wet throughout warmer periods and in winter you can afford to let the soil get a bit drier between waterings. Help create their native humid environment at home by misting the leaves with water weekly, especially around drying heaters and air conditioning. If you notice dry, brown tips on your Calathea foliage it's mostly like due to dry air so mist more regularly.
Your Calathea will appreciate a liquid feed once a month and wipe the leaves down with a damp cloth regularly to keep the foliage looking amazing.
Its clumping form can mean that they need re-potting from time to time but thankfully Calatheas are easy to divide to create multiple potted plants.
Pests and diseases to watch out for
Calatheas are rarely attacked by pests or disease. If in a low-light position or overly dry soil you could find sap-sucking mealy bugs. This insect hides under a white, mealy cover that looks like small pieces of fluffy cotton wool. Improving growing conditions by moving your plant into a position with more light and increase watering. Treat with an oil- or soap-based pesticide.