Many plants are used for indoor decoration and to give the environment a facelift. They adorn offices, hotel lobbies, and even windowsills. Very few do it like the Calathea.
Calathea plants are tropical plants with boldly-patterned, wide leaves which can thrive in areas with low lighting. This is what makes them a great choice as houseplants.
Caring for Calatheas is very easy. If you want to know how often to water a Calathea plant, you’ve come to the right place!
Read all the way for the complete guide to watering Calathea plants. You’d be surprised by how much you don’t know yet.
Types Of Calathea
There are a lot of Calathea species, including:
1. Calathea orbifolia: This species shows silver and green stripes on its broad leaves.
2. Calathea ornata: This type is also known as the pinstripe plant because of its deep green leaves with pink stripes.
3. Calathea makoyana: This is widely known as the peacock plant. This species features leaves of dark green, cream, purple, and pink shades with red stems.
A few others worthy of mention are Calathea zebrina, Calathea crocata, Calathea Leopardina, Calathea ‘Whitestar’ and Calathea ‘Eternal Flame’.
Does Calatheas Need A Lot of Water?
If you want to know how often to water a Calathea plant, just know that Calatheas don’t need a lot of water, but they do need it frequently. Too much water can easily harm a healthy plant much more than having none.
Discoloured leaves, root decay and fungus gnats are some of the problems that can occur when Calatheas are overwatered. Avoid overwatering your Calathea to prevent root rot.
Keep your plant healthy by watering only when needed. A few inches of water every week is more than enough as long as you keep the soil moist.
How Many Times a Week Should You Water Your Calathea?
Giving water once a week is ideal when it comes to watering Calatheas. Nonetheless, this can vary depending on the time of year and other environmental factors such as humidity.
So, if the humidity is very high, you will need to water less often and increase the frequency of watering in the summer months when humidity is low. Equally, decrease the frequency in the winter months when humidity is high again.
Reduce watering to once every 10 to 14 days in winter. The summer months generally call for higher watering needs of up to 2 watering sessions per week while less watering is required in the winter months–only once every 2 weeks.
Experiment with your plant to find the ideal water requirements for your area.
Can You Water a Calathea Every Day?
How often to water a Calathea plant? Not daily. You should not water a Calathea plant every day to reduce health hazards to your plants.
First, Calatheas need to dry out the soil a bit between waterings because excessive wetness can cause root rot and fungal infections. If you live in an area with high humidity, it is of utmost importance that you do not provide water daily.
This is because elevated humidity causes the soil to stay moist longer than normal. Overwatering in these conditions can drown your Calathea.
You may need to take extra steps to dry out the soil to avoid health problems if you live in a high-humidity area. Consider increasing drainage by placing a layer of pebbles underneath the soil in the Calathea container.
The container in which your Calatheas are grown should also have holes drilled into them so that extra moisture can seep through.
What Kind of Water Do Calatheas Need?
Calatheas are finicky plants when it comes to their water needs. They usually do not react well to tap water or water that is not pure.
Watering Calatheas is all about finding the best water at an affordable price. Let’s talk about the benefits and drawbacks of watering Calathea along with inexpensive tips for quality water.
Can You Water Your Calathea With Tap Water?
Do not give your Calathea plants tap water especially if you reside in the United States. Tap water in most US cities often contains fluoride, to which Calathea plants respond badly.
Fluoride lowers the pH of the water enough to harm a Calathea and treating a Calathea that has been provided with water that contains fluoride may require routine intensive plant care to save it.
It’s best to avoid it in the first place to keep your plants healthy. If you need to save a Calathea that has come in contact with fluorine water, ask your local nursery centre for plant care tips.
Common signs that your Calathea is suffering from fluoride toxicity are yellowing leaves and burnt tips. This can also suggest sunburn.
Do Calatheas Need Distilled Water?
Calatheas require relatively pure water with no extra additives, chemicals or minerals. Distilled water can certainly work well for Calatheas, but it’s far from the only option available.
You can get a reverse osmosis system to distil tap water into pure water. It may be an expensive alternative but it gives the best results.
Filtration systems that remove fluoride, while effective, can be expensive. An inexpensive way to provide water for your Calathea is to install a rain collection system to collect rainwater.
Then you can use this clean rainwater to spray your Calatheas from time to time. Knowing how often to water a Calathea plant is crucial to its overall well-being.
Calathea Water Requirements
Calatheas are delicate plants that have quite demanding water requirements. These tropical plants need frequent watering for the soil to be damp consistently.
However, you also need the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot and other plant ailments. Let’s look over the complex water needs of the Calathea plant again:
1. Water the Calathea about once a week.
In the summer months, increase watering to twice a week.
2. In winter, reduce the watering frequency to once every 10 to 14 days. When humidity is high, it can reduce your Calatheas water needs.
3. Water Calatheas only when the first 5cm of the soil has dried.
4. Avoid giving your Calathea tap water as the fluoride it contains can kill your plant instead use distilled water or rainwater to nourish your Calathea.
5. Calatheas require a lot of care when watering. Always keep an eye on the soil moisture and try to provide enough moisture for the plant.
The soil should be moist but not wet and when it is allowed to dry out between waterings, your plant will thrive to its optimal capability.
How Do You Know When a Calathea Needs Watering?
Calatheas need frequent watering. The surest sign that it’s time to water the Calathea is when the top 2 inches of soil where the Calathea is planted is dry.
This applies to Calatheas in pots as well as plants growing in a garden. There are several methods you can use to determine when it’s time to water.
The first one is the finger test. To perform the finger test, just stick your finger into the soil to determine if it is wet or dry.
Based on this, you can choose when to give water to your clothes. When the soil feels dry, it’s time to water.
If you have moist soil, you can wait a little longer before you water.
Secondly, you can make use of a moisture meter to get accurate measurements in case you don’t want to get your hands dirty. A moisture meter can be inserted into the soil to determine the correct level of moisture.
For a Calathea plant, keep the watering needle in the “wet” calibration area and water as it lowers into the “dry” area.
A third one is the weight test. Another possible solution is to weigh the Calathea in the pot when you water it.
Continue to weigh the plant over time to control evaporation from the soil. Once the weight has dropped enough, it’s time to water it.
It is time-consuming and can be counterproductive. Calathea plants store a lot of moisture, so their weight doesn’t usually deviate enough to provide a reliable test.
Make sure to keep your Calathea soil moist by following a regular Calathea care routine by watering Calathea plants at least once a week for the best results.
Is Calatheas Easy To Care For?
Calatheas are typically plants that you can easily maintain but there are some familiar problems you should look out for:
1. Symptoms: Wilting, curling leaves, dry potting mix
Causes: Underwatered, or low humidity levels
2. Symptoms: Yellowing leaves, rotting roots, black base, wet potting mix
3. Symptom: Leaf spots
Causes: Fungal infection or mineral build-up from tap water—use distilled water and water directly into surrounding potting soil
4. Symptoms: Plant pests
Causes: Houseplant pests like mealybugs, fungus gnats, and spider mites can strike. Treat them as soon as they appear with weekly sprays of a natural pesticide like neem oil and regular cleaning of the plant.
Calathea plants do not require regular pruning. The only maintenance you need to do if this nature is cutting back brown, wilted leaves as they will die off naturally and only so that the plant looks nice and neat since the leaves will eventually fall off by themselves if they are left alone.
Because Calathea plants prefer a humid environment, they are vulnerable to fungus gnats which thrive when there is moisture. They generally do not impact the plant’s health and can be eradicated by using neem oil.
Other common pests include aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale. Many of these issues can be treated with several applications of organic oil or insecticidal soap.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Calathea Need Sunlight?
Calathea plants need a minimum of 8 to 10 hours of bright, indirect light with 8 hours of full shade for the best results
Where Should I Place My Calathea?
Calatheas do best in bright, indirect light but will tolerate a bit of shade.
How Often Should I Water My Calathea If It Has Been Overwatered?
You should stop watering your Calathea plant immediately.
How Often Should I Humidify My Calathea?
Once or twice every week is enough.
It is very important to know how often to water a Calathea plant and to do it properly or else, a host of problems can spring up–like yellowing leaves and decaying roots.
Calathea plants don’t need to be watered every day but only once a week on normal days, two times per week during the summer and once every 10 to 14 days in the frost season.
The best thing to do is to let the top 2 inches of soil partially dry out before giving water again. When you give water, let the soil be moist but don’t let it be saturated or give water room to gather.
Be sure to use a soil mix that drains well or amend the potting soil to ensure the appropriate moisture levels.
Also, it’s best to avoid using tap water to water your Calathea plant because it almost always contains fluorine which has been proven to be toxic to Calathea plants.