The Ultimate Calathea Vittata Care Tips You Should Know
Calathea Vittata is a tropical plant with a unique appearance that makes it an excellent choice for indoor gardeners. They have bright green leaves with distinctive white stripes that are truly stunning. And beneath those leaves is a lovely burgundy-purple that makes this plant genuinely stands out.
In this detailed care guide, we’re diving into the how’s, why’s, and when’s of everything your Calathea Vittata needs to stay healthy.
Read on to find out where you can buy this Calathea, its attractive attributes, and common pitfalls to avoid.
What Is Calathea Vittata?
The Calathea Vittata is a perennial and a member of the Marantaceae family. It is characterized by elliptical leaves that are bright green with sleek white stripes and prized for their stunning variegation.
Also known as Prayer Plant Vittata, Maranta Vittata, and Calathea Elliptica, the Calathea Vittata grows the best when it has bright indirect light – if possible, I recommend you grow this plant in an east-or west-facing window.
As a member of the prayer plant family, Calathea Vittata is also called a “prayer plant.” Their folding up and down habit depends on light levels and time of day. Known as nyctinasty, this circadian rhythm is why these prayer plants raise and drop their leaves at different times of the day.
While this post focuses on indoor growth, this Calathea plant may be grown in hardiness zones 9-11.
Origin And Family
The Prayer Plant Vittata belongs to the Calathea genus in the Marantaceae family, and its natural habitat is the rainforests of Brazil and South America. This plant has become popular in recent years, thriving in most households with high humidity.
Where To Buy
Calathea Vittata is available for purchase at a nursery or a big box home improvement store in your area. It’s usually a better idea to buy one on Etsy, though, where you’ll find more reasonable prices. Etsy also allows us to buy directly from plant lovers who grow this variety in their homes.
The Calathea Vittata’s very affordable price range is from $10 for small plants to $30 for larger or more mature ones.
Calathea Vittata Plant Size
A houseplant Calathea Vittata grows 10-15 inches tall and 3-5 inches broad. This gorgeous perennial favors an east or west-facing window and grows moderately.
Calathea Vittata Care Needs
Like all tropical plants, Calathea Vittatas are humidity-loving plants that need evenly moist soil throughout the year. During the summertime, water your plant When the soil’s top 2 inches are dry. Keep pouring until water flows out of the drainage hole. Be sure to empty the catch plate to avoid root rot.
Check out this more detailed guide to care for your Calathea Vittata!
In terms of care difficulty, the Maranta Vittata is typically moderate-to-difficult to care for. The main growing considerations are the well-draining soil and the amount of light this plant has.
The growing speed of a Calathea Elliptica is typically moderate. Indoors, it reaches a mature height of 10-15 inches.
You can manage this plant’s height with proper pruning during the growing season in the spring and summer.
Like many indoor plants, Calathea plants, in general, prefer a well-draining pot. A medium-sized plastic, terracotta, or clay pot is recommended for your Prayer Plant Vittata.
One of the primary killers of houseplants is lack of drainage, which leads to root rot. To allow for proper drainage, you should ensure your pot has at least a single hole in the bottom.
It’s important to repot your Calathea Vittata you see its roots pushing out of the drainage hole. This plant grows at a relatively moderate rate, and therefore, you can generally expect to repot once every two years.
Calathea plants are extra sensitive; they don’t like their roots touched or disturbed. It’s always good to take extra care when repotting this plant to ensure its roots remain intact and undisturbed.
While repotting, you can give your Calathea a nutrient boost by adding standard commercial potting soil to replace the old material.
Maranta Vittata grows well in a standard commercial potting soil mix, and you can also choose to make your own potting mix by adding peat moss, perlite, orchid bark, and charcoal. This plant likes its soil to stay evenly moist.
Additionally, adequate drainage is critical to avoid fungal diseases, root rot, and other issues.
These are some soil options we recommend:
You’ll want a neutral to acidic pH, somewhere between 6.5-7.5. A standard commercial potting soil will have a pH level already close to this range, so you shouldn’t need to worry too much.
Proper watering is crucial for houseplants. Too much might cause root rot and fungal infections. Too little, and the plants’ leaves would turn brown. Prayer Plant Vittata loves uniformly wet soil.
Stick your finger in the pot to check for moisture. When the top 2 inches of soil are dry, water your plant.
Prayer Plant Vittata requires drainage holes and aerated soil. You don’t want your plant in water for too long.
While most house plants don’t have water preference, these Calathea types are a different story. They can be quite sensitive to chemicals like fluoride and calcium, compounds found in tap water. If you are using tap water to quench these plants, the best way is to let it sit overnight for up to 24 hours to allow the chemicals to evaporate. Likewise, you can use distilled water or rainwater as alternatives, and filtered water is another option.
Coming from the rainforests of Brazil and tropical Americas, this plant’s light requirement is bright indirect light. In an indoor setting, 6-8 is the recommended hours of exposure for your Calathea Vittata.
If the light is too bright for your plant’s liking, its decorative leaves will get scorched. When this happens, move your plant away from the window, or use curtains and blinds to filter the light coming in.
On the other hand, if your Vittata is not getting as much light as it needs, it may get leggy, and its growth and leaf color may be affected. In this case, you can move your plant closer to a window and supplement it with grow lights. We recommend the following artificial lighting products:
This plant can also thrive in medium light conditions, so you can place it in any low light spot in your home. It can also tolerate low light conditions to a certain degree. Avoid putting your Calathea Vittata in direct sunlight or exposing it to too much bright light, which could severely kill it.
Feed your Maranta Vittata if you want to give it some extra nutrient boost. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during its growing season in the spring season and summer.
Here are some plant food options you can use:
In wintertime, when growth naturally slows down, you don’t need to fertilize.
There's a certain childlike joy I experience when getting my hands dirty working with soil. I do have gloves in my gardening kit but meh that's no fun. Repotted the Calathea Vittata as she was beginning to get rootbound. I can't get over how pretty her leaves are. pic.twitter.com/cDse9upHbg— ビカス (@PabloVikasso) October 10, 2020
Propagating Calathea Vittata
Perhaps you’re impatient to see your Calathea Vittata sprout new leaves. In that case, you can prune back the stem to encourage new growing points. The cuttings you’ve pruned back can then be propagated to grow a new plant!
We’ve laid out various propagation methods for you to choose from.
Calathea Elliptica can be propagated through a process called division. While this method is used for vegetables that have distinct bulbs, tubers, stolons, rhizomes, and suckers, it can also be used for houseplants with stems that grow in clumps.
1. Dig up. Take the plant out of its pot. Remember to wear gardening gloves when handling plants and soil.
2. Separate. You should be able to see where the roots and stems spontaneously separated. Gently pull them apart with your fingers. Cut the roots where the sections connect.
3. Repot. Put each section in new pots filled with the same soil they’re used to.
Humidity And Aeration
Calathea Vittata is an interesting plant that loves high humidity. Keep the humidity level between 60%-70% at all times.
Use a simple hygrometer to check the air moisture level in your Calathea Vittata’s area. If the reading is too low, you can improve the humidity through the following methods:
• Plants release moisture from their leaves through transpiration, so they’ll benefit from each other if you keep houseplants closely together.
• Place pebble tray and water underneath your plant’s pot. The evaporating water provides some nourishment to the plant.
• Purchase a humidifier for your plants, and this will constantly release steam and raise the humidity in a room.
Generally, warm temperatures or the tropical climate are best for your Calathea Elliptica plant, ranging between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
You should always keep your plants clear of both warm and cold drafts of drafty areas. So watch out for open windows in winter and vents.
The Maranta Vittata is not hazardous to children or pets. According to the ASPCA, it will not hurt dogs or cats if consumed, and there are no elements in the plant that are toxic to humans. As these are sensitive plants, it’s good to place them out of reach of pets and small children.
|Botanical Name||Calathea Vittata|
|Common Name||Prayer Plant Vittata, Maranta Vittata, Calathea Elliptica|
|Origin||Brazil and South America|
|Leaf Color||bright green with sleek white stripes|
|Recommended Home Placement||near an east or west-facing window|
|Light||bright indirect light|
|Soil||standard commercial potting soil|
|When To Water||Water When the soil’s top 2 inches is dry.|
|When To Fertilize||once a month during growing season|
|Toxic To Pets?||No|
|Common Pests & Diseases||spider mites, brown tips, fungus gnuts, scale insects, yellow leabes, root rot, aphids, mealy bugs, drooping leaves|
Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems
This beautiful plant is not resistant to several bugs, issues, and diseases. In the sections below, I’ll lay out some of the common problems for the Calathea Vittata and some tips and tricks in treating them.
Unfortunately, spider mites are widespread, particularly for plant collectors with a Calathea Elliptica. You will know your plant has spider mites if there are brown or yellow patches on its leaves, silky webbing between branches, and leaves that take a long time to unfurl.
To fight a spider mite infestation, bring your infected plant to the sink, the tub, or outdoors and thoroughly wash all the leaves with a strong water spray. Repeated application of neem oil, horticultural oil, and insecticidal soap can also help you get rid of spider mites.
Ladybugs, lacewings, and minute pirate bugs can help control your spider mite population if you want a non-chemical approach.
Fungus gnat larvae consume plants’ roots, not the fungus gnats. These pests love moisture, and your Prayer Plant Vittata is particularly vulnerable because it favors evenly moist soil.
Other than sucking the nutrients from the roots, fungus gnats are appropriately named for their tendency to invite fungal infections to your plant. You can put up yellow sticky traps to detect these bugs’ emergence and catch them as they fly.
You can also lure gnats with a cider-vinegar trap. Fill a cup with equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar, and add a few drops of liquid soap to serve as an emulsifier. Place the trap near the affected plant and watch these pesky bugs drown!
Aphids are usually found as a cluster of bugs on your Maranta Vittata, and they could be colored green, black, red, brown, yellow, orange, or white. They multiply extremely fast and can weaken your plant within days!
Aphids are particularly attracted to new shoots, flower buds, and areas of fresh growth. They will leave behind unsightly black and white splotches as they feed on the sap.
If you spot these icky crawlers, immediately isolate your infected plant from the others. Give your plant a strong water spray to dislodge the aphids, but remember to cover the soil with plastic to catch any falling bugs and their eggs. Dispose of the plastic somewhere far away from your garden.
A spray of insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil can take care of the problem. Still, you may need to repeat this several times until you’re sure that the aphid population has been completely eradicated.
Mealybugs can potentially infest your Calathea Elliptica. They leave a white powdery film, and they secrete honeydew which causes black sooty mold on the leaves. Plants infested with mealies will have yellow dropping leaves.
Remove adult mealies using a cotton bud dipped in rubbing alcohol, and they usually die and turn an orange color upon contact. Proceed to spray the rest of the leaves with diluted alcohol.
There are so-called root mealies that will bury themselves and target the roots. Dehydrate them by sprinkling Diatomaceous Earth powder on the topsoil in between waterings. You can also add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide when you water.
Brown Leaf Tips
If you notice browning tips on the leaves of your Prayer Plant Vittata, you might need to double-check on several factors.
Make sure the humidity in your home is not too low. Filter the sunlight with curtains if it’s shining too harshly on your plant. Don’t apply too much fertilizer. Let the water flow through the soil for several minutes to flush out excess minerals and salts.
A wilting, droopy appearance on your Calathea Vittata indicates distress. Possible causes of drooping leaves are overwatering, underwatering, excessive light exposure, lack of light, and low humidity.
If you see yellowing leaves on your Maranta Vittata, you might need to consider several factors to determine the culprit. Are you watering your plant too little or too much? Is your plant getting enough light? Did you fertilize your plant recently? Are there sudden changes in the weather?
Of course, bottom leaves that turn yellow can also indicate that your plant is growing and the leaf’s energy has been spent. In this case, simply pluck off the yellowing leaves so the plant can focus on growing new green leaves.
Root rot is a very common issue for Calatheas, and the main causes are poor drainage and overwatering.
Plant your Calathea in standard commercial potting soil and keep it evenly moist for best results. Water only When the soil’s top 2 inches are dry.
Tomás said to manifest a plant and it was there!!! Calathea vittata (prayer plant) pic.twitter.com/nWEBj3fW7B— rainb0w fish (@RiemannNUN) October 19, 2020
With its stunning variegation and beautiful patterns, this Calathea Vittata is a gorgeous ornamental plant that looks stunning indoors. If you follow our proper care instructions, you’ll have no trouble growing this plant!
Have you got a Prayer Plant Vittata? We want to see it! Please submit photos to [email protected] so that we can share them on our blog.
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