Calathea Orbifolia Care and Growing Guide

Ralph Astley is a retired gardener from Philadelphia who specializes in outdoor plants and trees. With years of hands-on experience, Ralph not only cares for a diverse range of outdoor flora but also shares his extensive knowledge through well-written articles and social media posts. A trusted authority in arboriculture, he's committed to helping the community grow healthier, more robust gardens.
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Calathea Orbifolia is a stunning specimen which makes it a must have indoors. This guide will help you with all its growing requirements.

Calathea Orbifolia

Calathea Orbifolia is a popular indoor plant known for its striking foliage and low maintenance requirements. With proper care, this plant can thrive and brighten up any living space!

Have a look at the best Calatheas here

Calathea Orbifolia Plant Information

Calathea orbifolia is a stunning herbaceous perennial that belongs to the Marantaceae family and is native to the tropical rainforests of South America. As one of the many species in the Calathea genus, it is commonly known as a prayer plant. This houseplant is prized for its lush, light green foliage with striking silvery-green stripes, which can reach up to 15-18 inches in length.

The leaves are round with slightly wavy edges, giving the plant its botanical name, ‘orbifolia,’ which means round leaf in Latin. Like many prayer plants, Calathea orbifolia’s leaves move throughout the day and curl up at night. Although this plant produces white, star-shaped flowers, it rarely blooms when grown as a houseplant.

How to Propagate Calathea Orbifolia?


Propagating Calathea orbifolia plants can be challenging, as their roots are sensitive and prone to damage. If you want to attempt propagation, ensure the mother plant is healthy and wait until late spring. It’s best to propagate the plant during a repotting session to minimize any additional stress.

Keep in mind that division is the most common propagation method for Calathea orbifolia, but it can be risky. Therefore, proceed with caution and handle the roots gently. With patience and care, you can successfully propagate your Calathea orbifolia plant.

  1. To divide Calathea orbifolia, start by identifying the natural divisions in the rootball and carefully separate the roots at these points.
  2. Use your fingers to gently work the roots free without breaking them. Trim off any damaged or diseased roots, and only divide the plant into two unless it is large enough to create additional divisions.
  3. Place the roots of the Calathea orbifolia division into new pots and fill them with soil up to the same level as the original plant.
  4. To reduce stress on the calathea division, consider using some soil from the mother plant.
  5. After planting, water and allow any excess water to drain away.
  6. To create a greenhouse-like environment, cover divisions with a clear plastic bag until new growth appears. This will help to retain heat and humidity.
  7. Once new growth appears, remove the plastic bag and continue caring for your Calathea orbifolia offsprings, as you would the original plant.

Requirements for Growing Calathea Orbifolia

Calathea Orbifolia 2


Calathea orbifolia prefers bright and shaded areas that replicate its natural habitat. This plant requires ample indirect light but cannot tolerate direct sunlight.

Hanging the plant behind a sheer curtain can also help create the necessary humidity. Remember to avoid exposing your Calathea orbifolia to direct sunlight to prevent any damage to the leaves.


When choosing a growing medium for Calathea orbifolia, opt for a light, well-draining mix that retains moisture effectively. A great option is a combination of two parts, peat or coco coir and one part perlite, which provides adequate drainage and moisture retention.

You can use commercial houseplant potting mixes, but it’s recommended to add perlite or a similar drainage amendment to enhance drainage.


Consistent moisture is crucial for the well-being of Calathea orbifolia, making regular watering an essential part of its care routine. Water the plant once the top 1-2 inches of soil dries out, preferably with low-lime water such as rainwater, for optimal results.

Ensure that the plant is not left sitting in water, and remove any excess water about 15 minutes after watering.

During the winter months, when temperatures are low, and daylight is limited, it’s best to water Calathea orbifolia less frequently. However, it’s important to avoid allowing the root ball to dry out entirely.

Temperature and Humidity

To maintain the health of your Calathea orbifolia, it is important to keep it in a temperature range between 65-75 F (18°C to 26°C) throughout the year.

Ensure that the temperature does not drop below 59 F (15°C) during the winter months, as this can be detrimental to the plant’s growth.

Calathea orbifolia also needs a high level of humidity, which can be achieved by placing the plant in a bathroom or other areas with high moisture levels.

One effective way to increase humidity levels around your Calathea orbifolia is to place its pot on a saucer filled with expanded clay and water. This allows water to evaporate into the plant’s immediate surroundings, creating a moist and humid environment in which the plant thrives.

Calathea Orbifolia Care



Calathea orbifolia is not a heavy feeder, but it benefits from light and regular fertilization during its growing season. Organic fertilizers are a good option as they are gentle and do not harm the plant’s sensitive roots.

To provide the plant with essential nutrients, a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer is recommended. Mix the fertilizer at 1/4 of the recommended strength and apply it once a month from spring to fall. It’s best to avoid fertilizing during the winter months.

Remember to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package carefully and avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to root burn and other issues.


Remove brown, yellowing, or damaged leaves from Calathea orbifolia by cutting near the base close to the main stem. Sterilize your tools before and after use with rubbing alcohol. Regular maintenance promotes healthy growth and keeps the plant looking tidy.

It is not essential to prune this plant as it is a set of single-leaved stems and no branches to prune.


Repotting can stress out Calathea orbifolia, so be gentle. While some plants can live for years without repotting, fresh soil or a larger container may be needed every 1-2 years.

Slow growth may indicate the need for repotting. Avoid disturbing the roots too much, and lightly pat down the soil to retain fluffiness. Also, do not use a pot that’s larger than 1 inch as compared to the old container.

Pests and Diseases

Calathea orbifolia is susceptible to various pests, such as mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, aphids, and whitefly.

If you notice any signs of infestation, promptly treat it with neem oil or insecticidal soap. Isolate the affected plant to prevent pests from spreading to other plants.

Common fungal diseases include powdery mildew, leaf spot, fungal root decay, and white soil mold can affect the plant. To prevent fungal diseases, ensure proper watering, adequate airflow, and appropriate temperatures. If an outbreak occurs, treat it with a fungicide according to label instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Calathea Orbifolia Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

No, Calathea orbifolia is not toxic to cats or dogs, and you can easily grow it in the home without worrying a bit about your pets!

2. Where to Find Calathea orbifolia for Sale?

Calathea orbifolia is often available for sale online through various retailers. You can also find it for sale in some local nurseries, plant shops, and garden centers.

3. How to Solve the Problem of Calathea orbifolia Yellow Leaves?

  • Check for overwatering: Calathea orbifolia is sensitive to overwatering, which can cause the leaves to turn yellow. Make sure the soil has had a chance to dry out between waterings.
  • Check for underwatering: On the other hand, underwatering can also cause yellow leaves. Check the soil to make sure it is moist but not soggy.
  • Check the light levels: Calathea orbifolia prefers bright, indirect light. Ensure it is not in direct sunlight, as this can cause its leaves to yellow.
  • Check for pests: Pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids can cause yellow leaves. Check the plant for any signs of pests and treat it accordingly.
  • Check the humidity levels: Calathea orbifolia likes high humidity levels. If the air is too dry, the leaves will yellow. Use a humidifier or mist the plant to increase the humidity.

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