Calathea Orbifolia Care 2021 Guide

Calathea Orbifolia
Calathea Orbifolia

Calathea Orbifolia. This plant is a species of prayer plant. The Calathea Orbifolia plant is a native to Bolivia. It is commonly grown as a houseplant in temperate zones.

The Calathea Orbifolia plant profile

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The Calathea Orbifolia plant is a beautiful houseplant. The plant is highly desirable due to the elegance and beauty of its large, round leaves and its ability to purify the air.

This beautiful leaf is subtly striped with pale silver-green markings. Also with the undersides of the leaf also being a pale silver-green.

The Calathea Orbifolia plant’s purpose is to add spectacular interest to your houseplant collections. The plant is very much on-trend.

Common name

Scientific Name: Calathea Orbifolia. Common Name: Prayer plant.

Growth and size

The leaves can reach between 15 to 35” or 30 cm wide. The plant can reach up to 100 cm or several feet tall. This height can be reached while in its native environment.

The Calathea Orbifolia plant is a moderately fast-growing houseplant. The plant grows slower and smaller indoors.


The Calathea Orbifolia plant is very easy to grow that need little care indoors or outdoors. Their usage is to add a wonderful accent to any window-sill, living room, front door, sunroom or patio.

The Calathea Orbifolia plant is happy to be grown in pots, containers, and planters.

How to grow the Calathea Orbifolia plant

Light requirement

The Calathea Orbifolia plant is best if grown in zone 10-11 outdoors. The plant thrives best with indirect sunlight.

The happiest location is in a bright spot with indirect sunlight. A filtered sun area is best.

These plants should be relocated indoors during the winter months (December to February). A potted plant will flourish over the summer months.

Direct bright lighting will fade the color of the leaves and damage the leaves.

Soil requirement

The best soil for the Calathea Orbifolia plant is a well-drained but moist, rich organic mix soil. Soil is the most important part of the plant in keeping the right moisture level.

Stay away from wet, mucky or dry, sandy soils. The soil should drain rapidly but still keeps some water. To include organic fertility for best results.

The soil pH should be slightly acidic between 5.0 to 6.0. Be sure to measure the acidic level of the soil before growing the plant.

To make sure the soil has good drainage, you can mix soil with peat moss or coco coir. This element will retain moisture while allowing the roots to breathe.

It adds enough drainage elements to avoid wetness or sogginess.

Mixing soil with perlite and pumice are good for drainage also.

Mix two parts peat moss or coco coir, one part perlite or pumice.

You can also include compost to the soil. It provides a nutritious medium and helps the soil to retain moisture as well as drainage.


The best temperature condition for the Calathea Orbifolia plant is between 55°F to 70°F or 15°C to 21°C. If the temperature drops to below 55°F, they must be relocated indoor.

The average temperature is similar to its native Bolivia. The plant can not be at an area with cold drafts.

Hot temperatures above 75°F cause the leaves of the Calathea Orbifolia plant to curl. The plant will not tolerate a sudden change in temperature.


The best humidity condition for the Calathea Orbifolia plant is similar to its native Bolivia. The average annual percentage of humidity in Bolivia is 54.0%.

You have to make sure to have a hygrometer to measure the humidity level of the area.

There are several methods of rising humidity levels.

Placing in a humid location

One natural way to get enough humidity level is to place the Calathea Orbifolia plant in a humid location. With the right lighting, the bathroom is the right location for getting enough humidity.

The other place is the laundry room or the kitchen with the right light setting.

Pebble tray

Placing a pebble tray under the plant will raise moisture through evaporation. That would give enough humidity level to the plant.


One regular way to raise humidity levels is to mist the plant in the morning using water and a sprayer. The leaves have a chance to dry out during the mid-day.

Mist on the underside and top of the leaves. A light dew look would do just fine.

Make sure to only mist plants in the morning. This way will allow the leaves to dry before nighttime. Another benefit of misting is to help to prevent spider mite infestations.


The fastest and easiest way to get the right humidity level is by using a humidifier. It will cost money but with only very little effort.


The Calathea Orbifolia plant grows well in indoor pots or containers and patio. The right size pot would be 8″ to a 10″ diameter to allow enough room for growth.

A 10″ pot is a better choice to get started. If the root is looser, the healthier and taller the plant will be.

A root-bound plant will grow slow.

Use a pot that has drainage holes. Plastic pot or terracotta pot with drainage holes is fine to use.

How to care


The Calathea Orbifolia requires regular feeding. Feed the plant with a general liquid houseplant fertilizer with iron.

A ratio of 3-1-2 NPK formulation should be good to use. Be careful to use a high potassium fertilizer, this can cause leaf spotting and reduce color intensity.

Provide the plant one every month. The best time to fertilize the Calathea Orbifolia plant is during its growing season from April to October or from spring to fall.

Stop feeding the plant in the winter months. Do not use a fertilizer that has a heavy dose of salt (usually cheaper ones). These fertilizers will harm the roots and can kill the plant.


The best way to water the Calathea Orbifolia plant is to keep the soil from drying out completely. Good regular water help keep the plant healthy during the growing season.

Water more regularly in spring and summer and very little in Winter. Just retain the soil moisture.

Use your finger to feel the first inch of the soil. If it feels dry, then give it a drink.

For better results, use rainwater or purified water. The root is sensitive to chemicals and may affect the foliage.


The Calathea Orbifolia plant does not really require to be pruned. However, if you see crispy or brown leaves, you have to cut them off.

Be careful to always use sharp hand pruner or scissor and have them sterilized. Use alcohol to sterilize pruning tools before use.


The best time to repot the Calathea Orbifolia plant is in one or two years after the first growing season. Re-pot the plant to 2 inches larger than the current pot or container.

When you notice the plant has slower growth, it can be a sign of root-bound. It may be time to re-pot the plant.

Prepare an 8 or 10 inches diameter pot with drainage holes. Fill the pot with potting soil. Mix with peat moss or perlite.

When repotting, try not to press the soil too firmly.

How to propagate the Calathea Orbifolia plant

The fastest, easiest and most successful way to propagate the Calathea Orbifolia plant is by rhizome division. Do the division practice in the spring month.

Step 1

Prepare a pot filled with potting soil. Mix potting soil with perlite or peat moss.

Step 2

Divide the plant by half.

Step 3

Dig a 2-inch hole in the soil. Place the new section into the new pot with fresh soil.

Step 4

Relocate the divisions in a shady, warm location.

Step 5

Prepare a piece of plastic. Moist the new pot by covering them with plastic.

Step 6

Once you see new growth is starting, get rid of the plastic. Grow them without plastic and as normal.

Pests and problems

Bacterial problem

If the leaves turn dark green to black, this could be a sign of infection by Pseudomonas leaf spot (P. cichorii). To fix this, do not overwater the plant. Water only when the soil is dry.

That is how to reduce conditions for infection and spread of the pathogen.


The Calathea Orbifolia plant does not have serious pest problems. However, spider mite, Aphids, mealybug, and scale can be an issue.

Control of all these pests problems is accomplished with soil drenches with an insecticide.

To control these pests, you can apply Neem oil. Spray the laves that have those pests.

Frequently ask question

Why the plant has brown edges?

Actually, brown edges on leaves are common with Calathea Orbifolia. This is the result of feeding the plant when the soil is dry. It can also the cause of overwatering or underwatering. You do not have to cut off the entire leaf. If you have fixed the watering, it will continue to grow even after trimming.

Why the leaves turn yellow?

If the leaf yellowing is widespread, it may be the cause of overwatering. Another possible cause is excessive sunlight and pest infestation. Fix those causes and the plant will be back to its normal look. Be careful for chlorinated or fluoridated water. The plant’s root is sensitive to those water.

Why the leaves are limping?

Limp leaves or rotting stems can be caused by overwatering. The more likely cause is by cold temperatures or exposure to cold drafts. Keep them far away from cold temperatures below 55°F. The damage will not be reversible. Make sure to relocate the plant to a warmer spot immediately.

Why the leaves are drooping after repotting?

Drooping leaves after repotting is the result of underwatering. The plant is in stress level. If the plant has been given a good amount of water and still drooping after repotting, add more water. You can relieve the stress on a plant that is already drooping by watering the base of the plant where the remaining roots are, completely.

Why the leaves are curling?

The leaves of a Calathea Orbifolia Plant can curl under when the temperature is too warm. The leaves may curl because of the plant receiving too many bright lights. Another cause may be the water has too many chemicals or too many fertilizers, lack of humidity, and plant diseases. Avoid those causes immediately to fix the problems.

Recommended accessories

Calathea Orbifolia live plant


Potting soil


Peat moss


Henry Kaswandi, SS, M.Kom.

I had been doing gardening for the last 18 years. I enjoy writing reviews of many products and about gardening to give better experiences and accurate information.