Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ Care: 36 Must-Know Growing Secrets
Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ is a spectacular variety of the ornata cultivar. It has stunning, dark green leaves, silvery stripes, and even a deep purple underside. It’s a truly ornate houseplant that is relatively easy to grow with some quick tips.
In this article, we’re providing the full scope of Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ care, as well as information on where to buy this tropical plant – and how to get the best price.
Let’s dive into the ins and outs of successfully growing this increasingly popular prayer plant.
What Is Calathea ‘Beauty Star?’
The Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ plant, also called the Peacock Plant, zebra plant, and prayer plant, are herbaceous perennials that grow well near a north-facing window or east-facing window as a houseplant.
Their oblong green leaves with white/silver stripes leaves rise up in the daytime and lower in the evening. This has earned it the name prayer plant, as it looks like the leaves are opening and closing like hands in prayer.
Botanical Name: Calathea Ornata ‘Beauty Star’
Origin: Tropical Americas, but specifically South America
Interesting Quality: Pet-friendly plant
Origin And Family
The Peacock Plant belongs to the Calathea genus and is part of the Marantaceae family. The ‘Beauty Star’ is actually a variety of calathea ornata. It comes from the Brazil Rainforests. Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ has become a popular indoor plant in recent years, thriving in most households with high humidity.
The actual discovery of this plant is unknown, but there are hundreds of Calathea varieties common to South American rainforests. Unfortunately, several Calatahea species are losing their natural environment, which is threatening them with extinction.
These plants are known to symbolize new beginnings – likely connected with the genus’ ability to open and close its leaves, as if in prayer.
Where To Buy
You can likely find Beauty Star Calathea with ease at a local nursery or garden center. Etsy is also a great alternative that I like to use. We can get some fantastic plant options there.
That said, the best place we’re shopping these days is Icarus Plants, which ships plants directly to your home.
This prayer plant is a reasonably affordable option, with smaller plants costing anywhere between $12-20 and larger plants costing around $30 or more. If you’re having the plant shipped in colder regions – or in the winter – request that it comes with heat packs to keep your ‘Beauty Star’ safe from frigid temps.
There are also very similar varieties, such as the ‘White Star Majestica’ and some variegated options that might interest you.
Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ Plant Size
As a houseplant, the Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ reaches around 2 feet in height and 2-3 feet in width when mature. Because of its height and size, an ideal spot is near a north-facing window or an east-facing window. It also makes sense to place this plant, as it loves high humidity levels near a window in the kitchen or bathroom.
Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ Plant Care Needs
Your Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ only thrives under proper care. This prayer plant, with its lovely decorative leaves, likes to grow in relatively moist soil.
In most situations, you’ll want to water your Calathea when you notice the top inch of the soil is completely dry. Water thoroughly, allowing it to escape through the pot’s draining holes.
Similarly, in terms of lighting, this lovely plant needs bright indirect sunlight to grow well.
Check out our thorough care guidelines below for more information.
The Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ is moderately difficult to care for. It’s not as easy to grow as, say, a purple waffle plant, but it’s certainly possible to grow if you give it the attention it desires.
You don’t have a green thumb? No worries. We have the main considerations below.
Having the right amount of indirect light and well-draining soil are the most important considerations for this tropical beauty.
Most Calathea species, including the Beauty Star’, have a slow-to-moderate growth rate. The Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ plant grows to around 2 feet in height. Their growing season is from spring to fall.
During the winter, growth may slow or stop altogether.
Gasp! My new #calatheabeautystar and #calatheavitatta arrived yesterday and are GORGEOUS. Potting then together until they get a bit bigger… then they can be individual like the White Fusion. pic.twitter.com/PLoWR2HmNL— Leni (@LeniSnails) May 17, 2020
For most growers, a glazed ceramic pot or plastic pot will work well for Calathea ‘Beauty Star’. Some reports say that a terracotta or clay pot can sap the water from the soil, which this prayer plant needs.
In terms of sizing, you typically want to use a medium pot that’s at least 1″ larger in diameter than the plant. As long as it has several drainage holes in the bottom of the pot to release excess water, it should be fine.
The aesthetic and cost of the pot are important, as well. Here are some good considerations to think about before purchasing a pot:
- Look and aesthetic for your home
- Strength and durability
- Suitability for the plant’s needs
- Drainage holes (super important for Calathea plants)
As your Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ grows and expands, only consider upgrading from your current pot to a new pot on an as-needed basis. These plants don’t like to be repotted, and it can cause them unnecessary stress if you’re not careful.
Typically, this will occur every 2-4 years because prayer plants grow at a slow-to-moderate pace.
Between repotting, you can refresh your plant’s old soil with new potting soil to freshen up your Peacock Plant each year.
The Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ does best in a cactus and citrus potting soil, an African Violets potting mix (African violet soil), or you can mix orchid bark with a standard commercial potting soil.
Use part perlite, pumice peat moss, coco coir, orchid bark, and other organic material to construct your own or simply purchase one online. Because ‘Beauty Star’ prefers a relatively moist growing environment, your soil should be able to accommodate it.
You can fend off root rot and other diseases with efficient drainage, supported by the soil type. For best results, use a well-draining soil or potting mix with this striking plant. You should never create a situation where your Calathea has “wet feet.”
You’ll want to aim for a very slightly acidic to neutral pH, somewhere between 6.5 and 7.0. A cacti and citrus potting soil or a standard commercial potting soil will already be close to this point.
If you are seeing some trouble with your plants and are doing some troubleshooting, you could do a pH test on the soil to see if this is the culprit.
Peacock Plants are humidity-loving plants that need relatively moist soil throughout the year.
During the spring to fall, water your plant when you notice the top inch of the soil is completely dry. If you’re concerned about this, a moisture meter can be an excellent option to help you gauge your water levels.
Tap water can sometimes cause issues, so if you’re using it, I recommend leaving it out in a jar or watering can for 24 hours. This will give the water enough time to release fluoride and anything else in the tap water.
Water deeply until it drains out the hole in the bottom of the glazed ceramic or plastic nursery pot. Be sure to toss out the water collection tray to fend off root rot.
In the winter, you won’t need to water as much. Water your plants deeply but less frequently.
Often called a low-light plant, this houseplant prefers bright indirect light for approximately 8-10 hours a day. Too much light and its leaves may develop brown tips or burnt spots. You can use sheer curtains to lessen the direct light of a south-facing window.
If you don’t have enough light, the plant’s growth will slow or even stop.
If you’re worried your Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ or other house plants aren’t getting enough light, you may need to move them closer to a window – or change locations altogether.
Avoid putting your Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ in direct sunlight, as this could severely damage or even kill it.
During this plant’s growing season – the spring to fall – fertilize your Prayer Plant once a month using a basic slow-release organic(half the recommended dose on the label) fertilizer.
In the non-growing seasons, when plant development naturally slows, you don’t need to fertilize this plant.
Propagating Calathea ‘Beauty Star’
The primary way to propagate Calathea “Beauty star” is through separating its rhizomes. Each rhizome has a few leaf stalks, making it pretty easy to tell them apart.
Separate the rhizomes with their attached leaves and divide the mother plant into two or more plants. Each of these root divisions is baby Calathea plants, which should be placed in their own pot. It’s so easy to be new plant parents when you have easy propagation methods.
Propagating via rhizome separation is a straightforward way to produce more plants. Here are some basics to help you make it through the process with ease.
Humidity And Aeration
Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ or Prayer Plant is a flamboyant herbaceous perennial that prefers high humidity – often between 60-70%.
If you’re concerned about your humidity or see brown edges on your plants, consider these options for increasing humidity.
- Use a humidifier to increase the humidity.
- Group your houseplants to create a more humid microclimate through transpiration.
- Place your pots on a tray with an inch of pebbles and water. This is called a pebble tray.
Warm-to-temperate temperatures are preferable for your Peacock Plant plant, but it can thrive in a temperature range of 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can survive around 60, assuming there isn’t a cold draft. Ideally, though, it wants a warm temperature.
They do, however, like a constant temperature, so keep them away from vents and openings that may allow chilly air in.
The Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ rarely produces small white flowers. That said, this prayer plant isn’t known for its flowers; it’s known for its ornate leaves. If you want a flowering plant, consider an Anthurium andraeanum or something similar.
Calathea cultivars in all shapes and sizes aren’t toxic to cats, dogs, or humans. Some varieties are even considered edible.
We have cats, though, and while it doesn’t poison them, they seem to enjoy the taste of a Calathea leaf. If you have some fur-ever friends, I recommend putting your Calathea up high where they can’t be reached. For more information, check out our article on how to keep your cats out of plants.
You might notice that older leaves crinkle, turn yellow or become brown. Primarily for aesthetic reasons, I recommend you prune those with sterile cutting shears or scissors. A good pruning now and again can stimulate new leaves as well, leaving your plant looking better overall.
Pests, Diseases, And Common Problems
The Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ is a plant resistant to several bugs, issues, and diseases. But things still happen, unfortunately, and you may need to call upon all of your gardening knowledge to fix it.
In the sections below, I’m laying out some of the common issues for the Peacock Plant, as well as some tips and tricks for treating them.
Leaf spots and blighting symptoms caused by Pseudomonas bacteria. It commonly causes reddish-brown spots on the leaves of the ‘Beauty Star’ and other Calathea and ornamental plants.
Leaf wetness and high humidity can increase the issue.
If you see the spots on a single leaf, it’s usually recommended to remove the leaf. If the spots keep coming back, use a copper spray or other topical products to treat the plant.
That said, there comes a time when you need to destroy the plant to keep the bacteria from spreading. Also, consider getting rid of the soil, as this can hold traces of Pseudomonas as well.
I also recommend that you quarantine your infected plants so they don’t infect anything else growing in your home.
Why Are My Calathea Leaves Curling?
Curling leaves on a Calathea can be a sign of a few things. It commonly means your plant is getting too much light and needs to be moved to an area with less direct sun. If that doesn’t do the trick, it may be that your plant isn’t absorbing enough moisture from the soil. You may need to water more or change your soil mix to better support these tropical beauties.
There is some potential for spider mites when growing ‘Beauty Star.’ These voracious eaters are a pain. The larvae will not be visible, but the little mites will. During the larval stage, neem oil can help eradicate them. Home growers can also use an organic pyrethrin spray to get rid of these annoyances.
Here are some tips on how to use Neem Oil to kill spider mites and other pests:
Honeydew and black sooty mold are signs that you might have scale. Once scale insects have latched on to a plant, the tiny bugs, which come in green, gray, brown, and black colors, usually stay put.
While neem oil or horticulture oils will not kill everything, they will certainly cause some damage. Another alternative is to introduce scale insect predators, such as the ladybug or other types of beneficial insects.
Mealybugs may infest your Calathea ‘Beauty Star’. If you come to find these little parasites with their white fluff, act promptly. With a cotton swab bathed in rubbing alcohol, the bugs will release their grip on your plant. Neem oil also works well as a prophylactic spray.
Aphids can eat the leaves and leave a mark on them, resulting in black and brown patches.
Use an insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat aphids, or prepare your own with a dish detergent. Look for a product that is free of fragrances and other ingredients that could harm plants. Combine the soap and water in a weak concentration (starting with one teaspoon per gallon and increasing as necessary). Spray the plants, paying particular attention to the undersides of the leaves.
If you notice your Calathea has sudden wilting, yellowing, or poor growth, it may be a sign that you have fungus gnats. You’ll also usually see them flying around your plants. Adults look almost like small mosquitoes, and their larvae have shiny black heads and transparent bodies. They are common in damp soils high in organic matter.
This could be a sign that you’re overwatering your plant. Instead of waiting until the top inch is dry, wait until the top two inches are dry before watering again. This should kill some of the larvae toward the top of the soil. Similarly, Gnat Nix is a product that has been proven to reduce fungus gnats. Another option is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the top of your potting mix.
We’ve used yellow sticky traps when we’ve had these gnats on our hydroponics systems. They work pretty well.
Brown Leaf Tips
If the tops of your Peacock Plant start to turn brown, it could be an indication that it’s getting too much sunlight – or that your home isn’t humid enough. This is sometimes called “edge burn.”
Mealybugs are known to affect the Calathea ‘Beauty Star’, can cause this. These problems can also be caused by overwatering and fertilization issues.
Root rot is a prevalent killer for Peacock Plant. Indoor gardeners get a little overzealous with their watering – or don’t provide potting soil with adequate drainage. These are the two main ways that root rot is caused. Because root rot, like many other plant diseases, is difficult to treat, prevention is the best option.
The most straightforward strategy to avoid root rot in Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ is carefully monitoring how much water it receives. The leading cause of this irritating and often fatal illness is an excess of water.
If you notice that your prayer plant has light green leaves, it may be a sign of Chlorosis. To control this, increase your fertilizer, and make sure that it has both nitrogen and iron in its make-up.
Slugs And Caterpillars
Most of our readers are growing Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ as an indoor plant, but if you’re growing it outside, you may have trouble with caterpillars and slugs.
To combat these crawling pests, start by removing any plant debris from the soil. You can also use sprays or baits on the moist soil
Love the Peacock Plant? Here are some other similar plant options you should try:
Calantha ornata – This is the ‘Beauty Star’s’ cultivar. Also called the Pinstripe plant it is known for its brightly colored leaves and white/silver lines or pink stripes.Calathea orbifolia – There’s some debate on whether this should actually be called the Goeppertia orbifolia, but most nurseries continue to name it Calathea. It has large green oval leaves with white stripes.
Calathea Makoyana – Also called the Peacock Plant, the Makoyana looks quite a bit more like the stunning bird. Its leaves have a dark green outline and veins and light green centers, and a feathery shape.
Calathea crocata – Commonly called the Eternal Flame, this is a unique Calathea with stunning orange/yellow flowers. It has almost metallic green leaves and purple undersides, though its leaves aren’t as ornate as other Calathea varieties.
Calathea Zebrina – The Zebrina looks a bit similar to the ‘Beauty Star,’ but with green stripes instead of white silver stripes. It also shares the name zebra plant, also due to its unique stripes.
Indoor growers everywhere agree that the Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ is a fantastic choice for any home. With some light care, you can keep it growing and thriving for years to come.
Are you growing Calathea ‘Beauty Star or anything else in the Calathea family?’ We want to see them! Send pictures to devr[email protected], and we may highlight them in on our blog!