How to Grow and Care for Calathea Orbifolia

How to Grow and Care for Calathea Orbifolia

The Calathea Orbifolia, also known as the “Round-Leaf Calathea,” is a tropical plant.

Calathea Orbifolia leaves feature broad, silver-green stripes alternating with dark green margins, creating an eye-catching appearance.

This popular houseplant is native to South America and is a favorite among plant lovers for its beauty and relatively low maintenance requirements.

If you’re looking to add some greenery and elegance to your home or office, this guide will provide all the information you need to successfully grow and care for Calathea orbifolia.

What is Calathea Orbifolia

Imagine waking up to the sight of vibrant, green foliage that instantly brightens your day.

Calathea orbifolia can bring that touch of nature’s beauty indoors with its large, round leaves and contrasting patterns.

Not only is it visually appealing, but it also serves as an air purifier, improving the overall air quality in your living space.

It typically grows to a moderate size, with mature plants reaching a height of around 2 to 3 feet.

In this article, we will explore the various aspects of growing and caring for Calathea orbifolia, from providing the ideal growing conditions to addressing common challenges that may arise.

Botanical NameCalathea Orbifolia
Common NameOrbifolia Prayer Plant
Native toSouth America
USDA Hardiness Zone10-11 (typically grown as a houseplant)
Mature HeightApproximately 2 feet
FoliageLarge, round leaves with silver-green stripes and dark green margins
Light RequirementsBright, indirect light; avoid direct sunlight
WateringKeep soil consistently moist; water when the top inch of soil feels dry
Soil TypeWell-draining potting mix with organic matter
HumidityHigh humidity preferred
TemperatureWarm temperatures; avoid drafts and temperature extremes
PropagationDivision, stem cuttings
Common IssuesSensitivity to tap water; susceptible to pests like spider mites
Special FeaturesOrnamental foliage, air-purifying
How to Grow and Care for Calathea Orbifolia

Right location of Calathea Orbifolia

Like any other plant, Calathea orbifolia blooms in the right environment. Before diving into the specifics of care, it is crucial to select the perfect location for your plant.

This will set the stage for its overall well-being and growth.

Indirect Light: The Ideal Setting

Calathea orbifolia prefers bright, indirect light. Placing it near an east-facing window or a few feet away from a north or west-facing window is suitable.

Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, leading to unsightly browning and potential damage.

Temperature and Humidity

This tropical beauty prefers warm temperatures ranging between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C). Avoid exposing it to temperatures below 60°F (15°C) as it can suffer cold damage.

Additionally, Calathea orbifolia thrives in high humidity. If the air in your home is dry, consider placing the plant on a tray filled with water or using a humidifier to create the ideal conditions.

Soil and Pot Selection

Calathea orbifolia appreciates well-draining soil. A mix composed of peat moss, perlite, and coarse sand provides the perfect balance of moisture retention and drainage.

When choosing a pot, opt for one with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.

Watering and Hydration

Proper watering is crucial to the health of your Calathea orbifolia. Maintaining the right moisture levels will ensure it thrives without the risk of root rot or dehydration.

The Finger Test

One effective way to determine when to water your plant is by using the finger test. Insert your index finger into the soil up to the first knuckle.

If the top inch of soil feels dry, it’s time to water. Otherwise, hold off until the soil has dried out a bit more.

Water Quality Matters

Calathea orbifolia prefers filtered water or tap water that has been left out overnight to allow chlorine to dissipate.

Avoid using hard water, as the mineral content can cause leaf discoloration and hinder the plant’s overall growth.

Mist and Maintain Humidity

As a tropical plant, Calathea Orbifolia benefits from regular misting. Spraying the leaves with water helps increase humidity levels and prevents them from drying out or developing brown tips.

Additionally, grouping plants can create a microclimate that promotes a higher humidity environment.

How to Grow and Care for Calathea Orbifolia

Nurturing Calathea Orbifolia’s Growth

Now that you’ve established the perfect environment and watering routine for your Calathea orbifolia, let’s explore additional ways to ensure it thrives and flourishes.


During the growing season, which typically spans from spring to summer, fertilizing your Calathea orbifolia can stimulate healthy growth.

Apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every two to four weeks, following the instructions provided on the package. Avoid over-fertilization, as it can cause salt build-up in the soil, leading to root damage.


Pruning is an essential aspect of Calathea orbifolia care, as it helps maintain the plant’s shape and removes any damaged or yellowing leaves.

Use sharp, clean pruning shears to make clean cuts just above the stem base. Regular pruning can also encourage new growth, making your plant appear fuller and more vibrant.

Propagation for Expansion

If you want to expand your Calathea orbifolia collection or share the beauty with friends and family, propagation is a fantastic option.

This can be achieved through division or by taking stem cuttings. Both methods involve providing the new plant with the ideal conditions and ensuring it has access to the right amount of light and water.

Troubleshooting Common Challenges

Even with the best care, you may encounter a few challenges while growing Calathea orbifolia. Don’t worry, though—most issues can be addressed with relatively simple solutions.

Overwatering and Underwatering

Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering can cause the leaves to wilt and develop brown tips.

Remember to follow the finger test and adjust your watering routine accordingly. Additionally, ensure the pot has proper drainage to prevent water accumulation.

Fungal Issues and Pests

Calathea orbifolia is susceptible to fungal infections, such as leaf spots, and may attract common houseplant pests like aphids or spider mites.

Regularly inspect your plant for any signs of trouble, and if necessary, treat it with appropriate organic solutions like neem oil or insecticidal soap.

How to Grow and Care for Calathea Orbifolia


Growing and caring for Calathea orbifolia can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. By providing the right conditions, watering appropriately, and nurturing its growth, you’ll have a stunning plant that adds a touch of elegance to any space.

Remember to maintain good air circulation, avoid drafts, and keep your eye out for common challenges. With a little love and attention, your Calathea orbifolia will thrive and be the envy of all who behold its beauty.

So why wait? Start creating your urban jungle today with this magnificent plant!


Are Calathea Orbifolia hard to care for?

Calathea Orbifolia can be moderately challenging to care for due to its specific requirements for humidity, light, and water.

How much light does a Calathea Orbifolia need?

Calathea Orbifolia prefers bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can damage the delicate leaves.

Where do you put Calathea Orbifolia?

Place Calathea Orbifolia in a location with bright, indirect light and high humidity. Avoid drafts and extreme temperature changes.

Is Calathea Orbifolia an indoor or outdoor plant?

Calathea Orbifolia is primarily grown as an indoor plant, as it thrives in the controlled environment of homes.

Is Calathea Orbifolia toxic to cats?

Calathea Orbifolia is considered non-toxic to cats, making it a pet-friendly houseplant.