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The 27 Best Care Tips For Calathea Setosa – You Need These!

Calathea Setosa is a tropical, moderate-to-difficult-to-care-for plant that can brighten any indoor garden. This houseplant is popular among plant collectors because of its unusual appearance and texture.

People who work with Calathea Setosa will tell you the most essential things you need to know about how to care for one of them.

Our cheap options will help you decide if this is something you want to buy for yourself. Continue reading to understand more about this Ctenanthe’s fascinating characteristics.

What Is Calathea Setosa?

The Calathea Setosa is a perennial from the Marantaceae family. It is characterized by dark green and silvery stripes with purple or maroon underside oval leaves and is prized for its attractive foliage.

Also known as Never-Never Plant, Ctenanthe Setosa, and Compact Star Plant, the Calathea Setosa grows well in east or north-facing windows as a houseplant.

Like many plants from Marantaceae, this beautiful plant is also considered a Prayer Plant. This is due to nyctinasty, a plant behavior of folding up and down in response to temperature and light. During the day, they fold up and appear to rest, or fold down at night, as if they are praying. These plants can be pretty sensitive too, but the Never-Never Plant is less sensitive than the other prayer-plants.

Most of this article discusses how to grow this plant indoors, but you can keep this Ctenanthe plant outside in hardiness zones 9-12.

Origin And Family

While known for its common name Calathea Setosa, this specific variety is not a member of the genus Calathea. The plant actually belongs to the genus Ctenanthe, which is still a member of the family Marantaceae. It comes from the rainforests of Brazil.

This tropical plant, first described in 1902 by Charles Jacques Édouard Morren and Karl Moritz Schumann, has become a favorite among houseplant collectors. Most summers, you’ll get to witness it blooming.

Where To Buy

Calathea Setosas are very affordable on average. You can get one for yourself by visiting your local plant stores, but there are cheaper deals and more comprehensive selections on online sites such as Etsy.

Calathea Setosa Plant Size

Indoors, the Calathea Setosa reaches a height of 3-7 feet and 16 inches. This Ctenanthe grows at a moderate rate and beautifully thrives when placed east or north-facing.

Calathea Setosa Care Needs

When properly cared for, your Calathea Setosa will thrive like any other houseplant. With its attractive foliage, this plant adores humidity and wants evenly moist soil throughout the year.

You should water your Ctenanthe when the top two inches of soil are dry. For most people, this is when they should do it. Allow enough time for the water in the pot’s drainage hole to drain. This appealing plant needs bright indirect light to thrive in terms of lighting.

We have a detailed care guide below that you can read to get more specific help.

Care Difficulty

The Ctenanthe Setosa is often regarded as moderate to difficult to care for. The suitable soil and amount of light are essential to growing this plant.

Growth Rate

The growing speed of a Compact Star Plant is typically moderate. Indoors, it reaches a mature height of 3-7 feet.

With the proper pruning during the spring and summer, you can keep this plant from getting too tall.


You can go for a medium-sized pot made of plastic, terracotta, or clay for potting requirements. An essential requirement is that the container contains at least one drainage hole to drain excess water.

Too much water and leaving your Never Never Plant in wet soil for extended periods could kill your plant.


As your plant grows and expands, you might consider upgrading from your current pot to a more enormous container on an as-needed basis. Typically, the need to repot occurs every one to two years because this plant grows at a moderate pace.

When repotting, you can use a new batch of standard commercial potting soil, the ideal growing medium for your Calathea Setosa. Do take special attention when transferring to the unique pot. This plant hates its roots being disturbed or touched.


Ctenanthe Setosa thrives on regular commercial potting soil. This plant’s roots like a uniformly moist environment, so choose components with the appropriate moisture-retention characteristics for your soil. To get the ideal soil mix, combine peat, perlite, and sand.

With proper drainage, root rot and other diseases can be avoided. To promote aeration, consider adding chunky and gritty items to your soil.

These are some excellent substrate options for your plant:

Photo Title Price Buy
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting...image Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix 6 qt., Grows beautiful Houseplants, 2-Pack $10.99 ($0.03 / Ounce)
Burpee, 9 Quarts...image Burpee, 9 Quarts | Premium Organic Potting Natural Soil Mix Food Ideal for Container Garden-Vegetable, Flower & Herb Use for Indoor Outdoor Plant $12.99 ($0.04 / Ounce)
Sun Gro Horticulture...image Sun Gro Horticulture 8-Quart Black Gold 1310102 Purpose Potting Soil With Control, Brown/A $14.98 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)
Miracle-Gro Potting Mix,...image Miracle-Gro Potting Mix, Potting Soil for Outdoor and Indoor Plants, Enriched with Plant Food, 2 cu. ft. $34.54
FoxFarm Ocean Forest...image FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix Indoor Outdoor for Garden and Plants | Plant Fertilizer | 12 Quarts | The Hydroponic City Stake $23.99 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)


For the Compact Star Plant, you’ll want your soil to have a neutral to acidic pH, approximately between 6.1 and 7.1. In general, you don’t need to be too worried about a standard commercial potting soil with a pH level close to that.

Change the soil’s pH by adding wood ash, calcitic lime, or dolomitic lime. You can do this to raise the pH and add baking soda or wood ashes. If the pH level is too high, there are ways to make it less acidic. Use sulfur or aluminum sulfate to do this, but you can also use baking soda.

To figure out the soil’s pH level, use soil moisture meters that double as pH testers.


In other words, the amount of water your plant needs will depend on the temperature and humidity in the place where it grows. Generally speaking, your Never Never Plant prefers an evenly moist growing medium.

Avoid overwatering your Never Never Plant. Your plant needs water when the top two inches of soil are dry. Soak the soil with water, but be careful not to wet the leaves. This will help you avoid fungal diseases. Calathea plants prefer distilled water as they are sensitive to some of its compounds, and this variety is no different. Tap water can be left out overnight or for up to 24 hours before watering your plant.

Water should run through the pot’s bottom. It’s important to remember to empty the collection tray if your plant is in one. This plant doesn’t like sitting in wet soil.


This houseplant needs bright indirect sunlight for about 6-8 hours a day. It’s not easy to care for, but it’s not impossible either. If there’s too much direct sunlight, the leaves may lose their color. If there’s a lack of light, it may lose its variegation and may get leggy.

A lot of people don’t give their plants enough light. You can move them closer to a window or buy LED grow lights if they don’t get enough sunlight. I think you’ll like these:

Avoid putting your Calathea Setosa in direct sunlight, which could severely damage or even kill it. On the other hand, this plant can also thrive under medium light conditions, and you can find a low light spot in your home for this plant. The Never-Never Plant can also tolerate lower light conditions or partial shade to a certain degree.


Ctenanthe Setosa thrives with a well-balanced liquid fertilizer. For example, Expert Gardener All Purpose Fertilizer would work. Feed your plant once a month during the spring and summer.

Because growth naturally slows down in the winter, you don’t need to fertilize.

Propagating Calathea Setosa

A Never-Never Plant can be grown if you know how to do it correctly. There are many ways to develop this tropical houseplant.

Stem Cuttings In Soil

Stem cuttings planted right into the ground are a simple way to grow your Never Never Plant. Plant this plant in the early spring when it is in full bloom.

1. Cut. Find a healthy part of your plant with new growth, and make a cutting that is at least 3 inches long and has some visible nodes. Make sure your scissors are clean to avoid getting sick from bacteria.

2. Plant. Make sure the cutting is in wet soil with the nodes buried. To hold the cutting in place, press the dirt around its stem.

3. Maintain. To help the plants grow faster, keep the soil moist regularly. Keep the plant near a window that gets a lot of light but not direct sunlight.

4. Wait. Soon, you should see buds on the top leaves, which means that your cutting has now grown roots!

Stem Cuttings In Water

Here are the steps in successfully developing Ctenanthe Setosa cuttings in water:

1. Cut. Cut the stem below a node with a strong knife. Remove the flower stalks and lower leaves from your cutting, so they can put their energy into making roots.

2. Submerge. Take a cutting and put it in an old glass bottle. Fill it with water and shake it. Any part of the stem that isn’t above the water should not have any leaves.

3. Maintain. A window with a lot of light and good airflow is the best place for your new plant. If you have a humidifier near them, the leaves will stay green, so keep one nearby.

4. Refill. 3-5 days: Check the water every few days to make sure it’s clean

5. Transplant. When the roots are about an inch or longer, your cutting is ready to be potted in soil.


Compact Star Plants can be grown through a process called “divide.” This method is used to plant things like bulbs and tubers for vegetables, and it can also be used for houseplants with stems that grow together in clumps.

1. Dig. Remove the plant from its pot. Wear gloves when you work with plants and soil.

2. Separate. The roots and stems should split up, and as you gently move them apart with your fingers, they will come apart. In this case, cut off the roots where the sections come together.

3. Repot. Each section should be put in a new pot filled with the same soil.

Humidity And Aeration

High humidity levels (around 60% or higher) are best for your Calathea Setosa.

Lack of humidity in houseplants is often characterized by crispy leaves and browning edges. Consider getting a humidifier or placing your plant in well-lit spaces naturally higher in moisture (bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms). A pebble tray of water can help your plants grow.


Your Compact Star Plant will prosper in a warm area, so keep the temperature between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Like most Ctenanthe plants, this tropical houseplant likes to stay at the same temperature all year long. When you water your plant, don’t use hot or cold water. If you leave your windows open in the winter, you could get cold damage. People who have furnaces and vents should keep them away from them. People who live in challenging places should keep it away from them (like open windows).


The Calathea Setosa can produce insignificant white flowers most summers.


Ctenanthe Setosa is not thought to be harmful to humans, dogs, or cats. Whether or not you have pets, this is a good thing to have in your home. Although, it’s best to keep it out of reach of children and energetic pets to keep it safe.

Soil Care Specifics
Botanical Name Calathea Setosa
Common Name Never Never Plant, Ctenanthe Setosa, Compact Star Plant
Plant Family Marantaceae
Origin Brazil
Plant Type perennial
Leaf Shape oval
Leaf Color dark green and silvery stripes with purple or maroon undersides
Recommended Home Placement east or north-facing window
Growth Rate moderate
Light bright indirect light
Soil standard commercial potting soil
When To Water Water when the top two inches of the soil is dry.
When To Fertilize once a month during growing season
Preferred pH 6.1-7.1
Humidity Range 0.6
Toxic To Pets? No
Common Pests & Diseases spider mites, brown tips, white flied, scale insects, yellow leabes, root rot, aphids, mealy bugs, drooping leaves

Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems

The Calathea Setosa is not a disease and pest-resistant plant. Here are some of the common problems, infections, and pests, along with how to treat them.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are a common problem, particularly among Compact Star Plant plants. It begins with small, brown, or yellow spots on your plant’s leaves. Check your plant, too. It could be that it has slowed down or not grown at all.

Begin by spraying down your Compact Star Plant with something that can be used to wash dishes. Getting rid of spider mites isn’t the only thing you can do. There are many ways to do this, and you can also use your garden hose. In addition, you can spray the leaves with neem oil or insecticidal soap. Make sure to spread the leaves on all sides, including the underside.

It’s also possible to use beetles called “Spider Mite Destroyer.” They can be used to get rid of spider mites, too! You can also get ladybugs and lacewings and Stethorus picipes beetles if you want them. If your plant has spider mites, these bugs will eat them.

White Flies

Whiteflies are minor, grayish-white bugs that look like tiny moths. They fly around like that, and the sap they get from your Never Never Plant can damage the leaves.

A vacuum can get rid of whiteflies and their eggs. You must empty your vacuum bag outside before bugs have a chance to grow inside of it.

Spray the leaves with insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil in a severe infestation. These products will cover the eggs, larvae, and adults, suffocating them, so they can’t move. Reapply for the chosen treatment when it’s time.

Scale Insects

There is a waxy coating on the scales, but they will give birth to tiny crawling bugs that will move around independently.

When you remove the armored scales, you’ll have to be very careful because you could hurt yourself. A piece of paper, like an old ID card, can be used to scrape them off. If you don’t want to rip up your plant’s leaves, be careful not to do it.

They can be killed with insecticide soap, horticultural oil, or neem oil, used to kill bugs. It’s best to spray your plant with a general pesticide when you see crawlers moving around, so they don’t spread. Try again in a week. We have some ideas for you below:


Minor bugs called aphids will eat the sap from your Ctenanthe Setosa if you let them. Some aphids crawl, and some have wings. Some can be brown or black or red or green or white, and they can also be a lot of different colors!

It’s possible to find aphids on the underside of leaves and on weak stem parts. If you find these bugs, act quickly before they spread to other plants in your home!

Do this first to protect the soil. Then, wash your plant with soap and water. It’s also good to use sponges when you clean your house because you don’t want to miss any places. Ensure your plant isn’t too hot and has a lot of airflows after you wash it, so its leaves don’t get burned by the soap.

If the aphids come back, spray your Ctenanthe Setosa with neem oil, horticultural oil, or rubbing alcohol. Remember to dilute these products first.


Mealybugs are white, fuzzy insects that suck the nutrients from plants and are basically the botanical equivalent of head lice on humans. These pests can stunt plant growth or even kill your Compact Star Plant.

To send these nasty crawlers packing, you can directly spray them with neem oil (but remember to dilute it in water first). Another option is to take a cotton ball, soak it in Isopropyl alcohol, and rub it over the leaves and stem.

If you have several houseplants, you may need to quarantine your infected Compact Star Plant until there are no more signs of mealybugs.

Brown Leaf Tips

If the tips of your Never Never Plant’s leaves start to turn brown, you might want to check on a few things.

It’s essential to make sure that the humidity in your home is not too low. Curtains can block the sun if it’s too bright for your plant. Fertilize your plants in the right amount, but not too much. To get rid of extra minerals and salts, let the water run through the soil for a while.

Drooping Leaves

Leaf drooping can be caused by mealybugs and other pests that infest the Calathea Setosa. Underwatering, a lack of humidity, and a lack of nutrients can all contribute to this issue.

Yellow Leaves

A variety of reasons might induce yellowing leaves on Ctenanthe Setosa. A lack of light might deplete your plant of nutrients and cause its leaves to turn yellow. Alternatively, there could be an issue with underwatering, overwatering, or a general uneven watering schedule.

Remove fading leaves so that the plant can concentrate its efforts on developing new green leaves.

Root Rot

A typical cause of death for the Compact Star Plant is root rot when you overwater your plant. Remember that you should use only water when the top two inches of the soil are dry.

People who don’t water their plants well can also get root rot. This Ctenanthe needs standard commercial potting soil that drains well.

You should look for drainage holes when choosing a pot for your plant, which will let any extra water drain away. The clay pots and unglazed ceramic planters can also help the soil hold on to water and slowly release it into the air.

Similar Plants

Love Never-Never Plant? Other plants you should try:

Calathea Ornata: This tropical plant has shiny and bright stripes on its leaves. It’s also known as the “Pinstripe Plant” and the “Peacock Plant.”

Calathea Makoyana: This tall, slender-stemmed plant has leaves with many details. If you have an indoor garden or a plant collection, this is sure to be the show’s star.

Calathea Beauty Star: Who can resist this beauty? With stunning, dark green leaves with silvery stripes and a deep purple underside, this gorgeous plant is a sight to behold.

Calathea Orbifolia: This stunning indoor plant has massive leaves with exotic-looking white/silver-green bands. If you are a lover of vast and beautiful plants, this is the perfect plant for you.


If you’re looking for a charming plant with a bit of flair, the Calathea Setosa is an attractive choice, and its beautiful foliage is a true treat.

You can’t get enough of Ctenanthe plant guides, can you? Check out these other posts from Two Peas In A Condo and see what else we have to offer!

Let’s grow together! This article has affiliate advertisements, which means that if you click on a link and buy something that we recommend, we get paid. However, all of our opinions are our own, and we do not accept money for good reviews.

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