Calathea (lat.Calathea) is a genus of the Marantovy family. Homeland - tropical forests of Central and South America. This is a large representative of its family, about 130 species are known.
The name of the plant comes from the Greek mlathos, which means "basket", indeed earlier the leaves of the bush were used for weaving baskets.
Nowadays, an attractive flower is grown for aesthetic pleasure. It is mainly used as an ornamental deciduous plant, because the flowering does not look very beautiful, only some species are distinguished by cute spike-shaped flowers.
The peculiarity of calathea is beautiful, large, oval-shaped leaves with an original, which is surprisingly, geometrically correct pattern, each species has its own pattern, which is unlike the others. For its incredible foliage design, the plant is highly valued by professional florists and fascinates novice florists. In appearance, it is very similar to its relative Maranta.
Another advantage of the flower is that in some species (Calathea Roseopict, Calathea Varshevich) in the evening, the leaves fold and rise up, like hands for prayer, and in the morning they drop and open again. It grows from 20 cm to 1.5 meters in height and up to 65 cm in width.
Other names for calathea: prayer flower, praying grass, prayer book.
Calathea - popular varieties:
Calathea makoyana - most often found in the forests of Brazil. Oval leaves 20 cm long and about 10 cm wide. The light green leaf plate seems to depict another leaf of a dark green color. Flowers are small, inconspicuous.
Calathea crocata - grows in the wild on the shores of the Amazon. Leaves are matte, velvety with a purple tint. Orange bracts and yellow flowers, which appear closer to the beginning of spring, give the plant a special charm; it looks bright and contrasting against the background of green leaves.
Calathea Ornata is a dwarf, ornamental plant native to Colombia. The green leaves with a yellow tint are decorated with pink and silver lateral lines. Below is a purple-red leaf plate. It blooms with white or purple flowers on spike-shaped inflorescences.
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Calathea requires increased attention. Quite a capricious home flower, you can grow it only if you adhere to the rules of care. They are not so difficult, they boil down to balancing all the needs of the flower. The soil should have a slightly acidic pH reaction and be sure to maintain high moisture around the flower. Maintaining the balance of light, humidity, warmth and light, you will have the opportunity to admire this charming guest from the tropics at home for a long time.
The flower will perfectly fill empty corners in a room or office, and will bring a tropical mood. Several kalata, located next to each other in the living room near the sofa, will create an ideal place to relax. An elegant tropical guest with chic bright leaves is a great home decoration.
Lighting. The prayer book is shade-tolerant, but you shouldn't place it in the darkest side of the room. So that the plant does not lose its decorative effect, keep it in partial shade, protected from bright sunlight. The ideal option is the western side of the apartment, a short distance from the window. If the calathea is on the north side, use phytolamps for additional lighting.
Temperature. Reacts poorly to temperature changes. Place the flowerpot away from frequently open windows and doors. In summer, the acceptable temperature is 16-24 ° С, in winter 16-19 ° С.
Air humidity. In summer, it is imperative to spray the plant at least 3-4 times a week, if possible, every day. This requires room temperature soft water. Species with velvety leaves should not be sprayed, it is recommended to place the flower pot in a tray with damp pebbles and humidify the air around them. To do this, place a humidifier in the room. The required humidity level near the plant is 80-90%.
Watering. Use soft, settled water, preferably rain or thawed, preferably warm. Watering with cold water will provoke rotting of the root system. Water 2-3 times a week during hot seasons. Pour water carefully so that large drops do not fall on the leaves. Avoid stagnant water. In winter, limited watering, no more than 1 time per week, after the soil has dried.
Top dressing. During active growth, once every two weeks. Poorly tolerates calcium and nitrogen, use a weak (0.5 of the norm) liquid solution of mineral fertilizers.
Transfer. Held in the spring, in the month of March. Young plants need a transplant every year, adults every 2-4 years, when the roots begin to show from the drainage hole. Choose a pot not deep, the root system of the calathea is superficial. Gently sprinkle the soil, do not carefully crush it, so that the roots have free access to air.
An important condition for transplanting is good drainage and the absence of lime in the ground. Use a special potassium-rich soil mix that contains all the nutrients needed for the growth of Calathea.
Bloom. The most attractive flowers in Calathea crocata are small, less elegant, the color is white, yellow, orange, it depends on the species. The flowering period is spring-summer.
Reproduction. Propagated by cuttings, dividing the bush, as well as seeds. The most convenient way to divide the bush.
When transplanting, carefully divide the rhizome into two or three parts so that each plant has several leaves and formed roots. Never cut the roots with a knife.
Place the pots with young seedlings in a pallet with wet expanded clay and leave in partial shade. Successful rooting depends on proper care. Small calatheas need to be fertilized every three weeks, sprayed, watered and protected from sunlight.
Diseases and pests. The most dangerous pests are thrips and spider mites, scale insects. To combat the tick, special chemicals are used - acaracides. To get rid of other pests, systemic insecticides are suitable. Pest prevention - sufficient humidity in the room where the plant is located.
Calathea in winter. Moderate watering is important, to prevent drafts, the temperature should be maintained at about 16-19 ° C. Since calathea belongs to heat-loving plants, a violation of temperature norms can have a bad effect on its growth and development.
Interesting Facts. An exotic flower lifts its leaves because in the wild it has to turn and pull them in search of sunlight, because it grows in the shade of large plants. Therefore, even when there is enough light in the room, all the same, with the arrival of the evening, calathea will raise its graceful leaves up.