Calathea is a popular houseplant because of its beautiful, large leaves. Calathea propagation can be done by root division and seeds. In this article, I will discuss the steps on how to propagate Calathea by root division and seeds. I will also list down some Calathea care tips to make sure that your plant is thriving in no time!
What is a Calathea Plant?
Calathea plants belong to the Marantaceae family of plants, known as the “prayer plant”.
The term “prayer plant” comes from the nyctinasty, or daily movement, of the plant’s leaves.
Various plants in this family have a circadian rhythm in which they raise their leaves at night and drop them during the day.
They move their leaves up the leaf stalk by adjusting the water pressure in their pulvini, the swelling nodes at the base of the leaf (petiole). These motions follow the sun’s path across the sky to optimize light absorption.
Their large, green, and dazzling leaves are well-known. Because of their big leaves, they’re popular in low-light situations. Plants that thrive in low-light environments have wide leaves that absorb and utilise all available light. In nature, they can be found in jungles and at the base of trees.
The Calathea plant is a popular choice for office decoration. It’s popular in both households and businesses. Calathea enjoys indirect sunlight, making it ideal for use in offices and other confined areas. Calathea plants are famous for interior use since they are often easy to maintain and look wonderful, providing vibrant green plants to brighten up small rooms.
Some varieties of calathea plants are:
1. Calathea Orbifolia
2. Calathea Warscewiczii
3. Calathea Makoyana
Calathea Propagation by Root Division
Calatheas propagation is best done in the spring. You can divide the plant where it has produced its natural separations in the roots when you remove it for repotting. Because many calatheas have sensitive roots, you should handle them with care to prevent harming them and affecting the growth of the divisions.
Plant them in fresh soil in new pots, and keep them as warm, moist, and humidified as possible. Reduce the quantity of light you expose yourself to until active development restarts, which should take two to four weeks. Every few years, your Calathea should be divided and repotted in fresh potting mix.
Steps To Propagate Calathea by Root Division
- To lessen stress and encourage faster recovery, water your plant the day before you want to divide it.
- Pick out some new pots. Ensure that the new pots have adequate drainage holes. The root ball of the divided half of the plant should be a couple of inches broader than the root ball of the pots.
- Cover the drainage holes with a paper towel or a coffee filter to allow for excellent drainage without losing dirt from the bottom of the pot.
- Fill the pots approximately a third of the way with the proper potting mix. I use two-thirds peat moss and one-third perlite.
- Slide your Calathea out of the pot by gently tipping it on its side.
- Brush away any loose soil and split the roots slightly.
- Look for natural rootball divides and carefully separate the roots at these points. With your fingertips, gently work the roots free.
- Remove any roots that are damaged or infected. Unless the plant is enormous, you’ll generally need to divide in half.
- Allow excess water to drain away from your Calathea seedlings.
- You may wish to cover your Calathea divisions with a clear plastic bag until you observe new growth. It will help keep heat and humidity in a while, simulating greenhouse conditions.
- Once your Calathea babies begin to grow, remove the bag and continue to care for them as you would your mother plant.
- Backfill the pots with dirt up to the same soil level as the roots of the offspring plants. To decrease stress on the progeny, you may wish to utilize some of the mother plant’s soil.
Calathea Propagation from seeds
Calatheas may be reproduced from seed, though it is more challenging. Buying seeds from a reputable source is your best bet. Online retailers are probably the best alternative because your local plant nursery is unlikely to sell Calathea seeds.
Here are the Calathea propagation steps from seeds:
- You can use small pots or propagation trays to cultivate seeds. Use a seed-starting potting mix or a 1:1 mixture of peat and coarse sand to start your plants.
- To prepare the soil, moisten it first. The majority of Calathea seeds should be sown at a 0.5-1cm depth.
- Use a propagation tray cover or cover the pots with plastic. It will keep the seedlings warm and humidified.
- Consider utilizing a heated seedling pad to increase the success rate of germination.
- Maintain adequate moisture level in the soil and set the pots in bright, indirect light.
- Seedlings can be transferred into individual pots after reaching a height of 3-4 cm. When doing so, be careful not to disrupt the tender new roots.
How to care for a Calathea plant?
Calathea plants are attractive indoor plants because of their simple maintenance requirements. They may be cultivated in many different containers and locations. Some of the most important needs for most Calathea species are as follows:
- Calathea plants thrive best in indirect light, bright but not direct. This is due to the fact that they grow on the forest and jungle floors, where they receive very little light from the treetops. Direct sunlight, on the other hand, will burn the leaves of a Calathea plant, causing it to lose its vibrant colours.
- Calatheas grow well in potting soil that drains well. Compost, pine bark, coco coir, worm castings, and perlite are some components to look at. These give nutrients and aid in moisture retention (but not too much).
- To water Calathea plants, use distilled water or rainwater. Calathea prefers damp but not soggy soil or planting materials. They do not want a lot of water because it may cause them to drown. When watering a Calathea plant, don’t overwater it to the point that the plant sits in standing water.
- Temperature – Calathea plants thrive in a warm environment. They’re from the tropics and love temps between 65 and 80 degrees. Temperatures above and below can harm the plant, with the curling of the leaves being the first sign.
- Calathea prefers humid environments. The large, green leaves typical of the plant may absorb moisture from the air.
- Fertilizing your Calathea might encourage new growth and even blossoms. Liquid fertilizer is an excellent choice. You may also use seaweed, fish emulsion, or worm castings as soil amendments during repotting. Fertilization during the growing season of Calathea will be beneficial to the plant.
- Calathea does not require pruning, except for removing any brown or yellowed leaves.
A common problem when growing Calathea
- Wilting, curled leaves, and a lack of moisture in the potting mix indicate dehydration or a lack of humidity. Water and mist plants regularly.
- Overwatering can result in yellowing or withering of the foliage. The roots of Calatheas become rotted when the compost is too wet (you may notice that the base of the plant is blackened). Before re-watering, let the compost dry up and always allow excess water to drain away.
- Curling leaves indicate that the plant is overwatered. After you’ve watered your plant, it should immediately recover. After that, make sure any surplus water drains away.
- Spots on the leaves indicate fungal infection or mineral buildup from tap water. Use distilled water and water directly into potting soil.
- Fungus gnats might thrive in this plant due to its high moisture in the soil. Instead of watering it from the top, soak the bottom of your Calathea’s container with water. Alternatively, you may address the problem by adding some diatomaceous earth to the pot.
In conclusion, we can see that there are two ways for Calathea propagation and they all have their own benefits and drawbacks. The best way to do so is by dividing the root system of the plant into sections. This provides a maximum yield for the least amount of effort needed.