Calathea Ornata Care 2020 Guide

Calathea Ornata. Have you ever been gifted a Calathea Ornata plant? These plants are easy to care for and they are beautiful. The care guide is here. Every plant care tips and guide you will ever need.

Common names

The scientific name is Calathea Ornata. Pinstripe Calathea plant or Pinstripe plant (striped Calathea) is the common name. Other names are the peacock plant, zebra plant, or cathedral plant. It has similarities to Prayer plant, so do not be confused. It is not peperomia plants or similar to the Chinese Money Plant.


It is a tropical plant and evergreen perennial. Found many varieties of species in Thailand, Africa, South America, Central America, and the West Indies. There are more than 300 species of Calathea plants.

It is known to be cultivated all over the world and has numerous hybrids plants.

The leaves have beautiful and purple or red color underside. The leaves have colorful patterns on the side. Buying Calatheas are a great addition to your decor.

The combination can vary depending on the growing location and species. Sometimes the underside is violet with green leaves when grown indoors.

The plant can be grown outdoor with some special care to keep looking healthy. Place the plant in the right growing condition and proper outdoor climate.

Place them outdoors to your garden, porch, walkway, deck, front door and near the fence.

This plant is suitable to be planted in USDA zones 10 and 11. But the best location for cultivation is indoors.

You can grow them in the living room, bathroom or kitchen with enough bright light not low lighting.

Calathea Ornata is a house plant that has the ability to purify the air. Besides being an appealing interior contributor, the plant provides a healthier and much better indoor climate.

It opens the leaves in the morning and closes the leaves at night. This is where the strength lies. Its abundant green foliage can do the job very good at converting CO2 to oxygen.

The plant is easy to care for, so they are suitable plants for beginners. It is not a fast growing plant.

How do you take care of Calathea Ornata (Calathea care)?

Light requirement

First of all, the plant prefers to receive bright but indirect light. Calathea Ornata has originated from South America’s rainforest.

In the forest, the plant is to being shaded by other tall plants. So the right environment would be to avoid direct sunlight.

Direct sunlight may get the leaves sunburn or burns the leaves. But it has to get bright indirect light not low lighting or it will prevent growth.


Its ideal temperature is between 65 – 80°F (18-26°C) with high humidity. The lowest temperature the Pinstripe plant can tolerate is as low as 60°F (15.5°C).

The only way to care and grow this plant is to watch carefully the right temperature it can tolerate.

Drafts and sudden climate change must be avoided.

Site location

As mentioned before, the best location for this plant is an area with bright but indirect light. When there is little to no light, it can stop growing and die. The delicate leaves will get a sunburn if there is too much direct light.

If you do not have an area with indirect light outdoor, you can still grow the plant by using sunshades for providing the right condition.

Usually, you can determine if the plant gets too much light by seeing that the plant is beginning to lose its distinctive stripes.

For indoors, just make sure the plant is receiving plenty of indirect or moderate light. A short distance away from an east-facing window with a shade or curtain is a good spot.


Since the plant loves moist areas, you can leave a tray under the pot with small stones to retain moisture. This will trap the escaped water from the drainage hole of the pot so the plant remains moist.

Another idea is to use a humidifier for keeping moisture and not too dry. Misting the leaves every single day during summer months is also advisable.


The plant requires a peat-based potting mix. It is often made with sedge pat or reed. The pH of the soil is being adjusted by lime.

Mostly the soil is improved with water-retention crystal and fertilizer. The plant could rarely thrive for a long time using this type of potting soil.

After the plant reaches its growing season, the plant will no longer look vibrant and strop growing.

This is because peat-based soil decomposes rapidly. It is not like any other organic material that decomposes over time. Peat is decomposed faster than any other.

There are a few ways to solve this problem.

Repot the plant

The fastest and easiest way is to re-pot the plant every year. The majority of growers, who grow in peat-based potting soils, do re-potting every year. So you should re-pot the plant every year to have healthier, more productive plants for a long time.

Improve the soil

This is a short term solution. You can improve on peat-based potting soil by mixing it with perlite. The ratio should be 2 parts of the potting soil and 1 part perlite. By practising this, will increase aeration. But it still will not slow the decomposition rate of the peat.

Wick the pot or container

Insert a wick through the drainage hole of the pot or container located at the bottom. This practice will wick away excess water in the container or pot. When the water is out, this just helps drainage and reducing any chance of root rot.

Making your own soil

To avoid using peat-based potting soil, you can make your own soil. Prepare composted bark, lime, coconut coir, peat, perlite, vermiculite, and pumice. Mix them together to build a soil that will last for two or more seasons.

The pot or container


If the pot is too large for the Calathea Ornata plant, the soil may dry out slowly. This may be the cause of root rot. The larger pot has a tendency to tip over the plant.

If the pot is too small, soil dries rapidly and you have to water the plant frequently enough. This could result in stunted growth and become root-bound.

The new pot must be the same size as the previous pot. For transplanting a plant, prepare a pot 2 to 3 inches larger in diameter. A bit larger size pot is for plants that grow quickly.


The most suitable pot materials for Calathea Ornata plant are plastic and terracotta, or even clay.

Choose plastic pots because they are colorful, low cost, and lightweight perfect for a light plant. Plastic pot keeps the moisture of the soil, so the watering is less frequently.

Choose terracotta pots but they are heavier, provide various beautiful patterns and cost more than plastic. These pots are porous, so you need to water the plant more frequently. It is suitable for dry or well-drained soil.

Drainage holes

Make sure your pot has drainage holes because the plant requires frequent watering. But If you decide to use a pot without drainage holes for decorative purposes, use it as a cachepot.

Put in plastic or terracotta pot into a bigger but beautiful container. This double potting technique does not need drainage holes. But the double potting is not recommended.


As mentioned before, re-pot the Calathea Ornata plant once a year if you use peat-based potting soil. The best time to re-pot is during the spring months (March to June).

Step 1

Prepare a plastic or terracotta pot with at least 2 drainage holes. Purchase 2 or 3 inches larger than the current pot.

Step 2

Mix 1 part composted bark, 1 part lime, 2 parts coconut coir, 2 parts peat moss, 2 parts perlite or vermiculite or pumice, and 1 part potting soil in a plastic bucket.

Step 3

Sprinkle water onto the mixture while mixing them together. Keep stirring and add water until the mixture is evenly moist and the same appearance.

Step 4

Place a paper towel on top of the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. The paper towel will keep the soil from washing away. Fill the soil with one-third of the pot with the soil mixture. Just firm it with your fingertips.

Step 5

Gently remove the pinstripe plant from the current pot. Put your hand over the opening with the stems between your fingers.

Step 6

Gently flip the pot upside-down. Jiggle the pot to make the rootball less firm. Guide the plant gently from the pot without pulling the leaves or stems.

Step 7

Split and break about one-third of the soil from around the roots. Gently pull into separate strands the roots with your fingertips. Make them hang freely.

Step 8

Look at closely the rootball. Use sharp scissors to cut out any damaged or black roots. The scissors or other cutting tools are clean and sterilize. You can sterilize by dipping into Pine-Sol or Lysol between cuts.

Step 9

Hold Calathea Ornata plant in the new pot. Its roots must touch the surface of the soil or top of the soil. The base of the stems rests below the top edge of the new pot.

Step 10

Fill in the new soil around the roots until they are completely covered. Mist the soil with water regularly to settle it.

Step 11

Add the mixture soil until the plant’s rootball is buried completely. Gently firm the soil using your fingertips to strongly anchor the plant. Water well. Relocate the new plant in the same spot where it was.


Because Calathea Ornata plant is native to the rainforest, you have to keep the plant wet and damp at all times. Wet does not mean soggy or too wet, do not let the plant sit in water.

Keep the plant watered during the winter months (December, January, and February). Allow the soil to dry out between watering.

During summer months (June to September), water the pinstripe plant when its soil begins to dry out. You have to retain or keep the top of the soil lightly moist.

During its growing season (between May to August) water the plant frequently.

Calathea Ornata is known to dislike tap water. The plant would love to be watered with distilled water.


Calathea Ornata plants are low-maintenance in terms of fertilizing. As a house plant, it gets the benefit of good all-purpose house plant fertilizer (plant food).

Feed the plant every four weeks or so during its active growing stage. If it is dormant, fertilizer might burn the plant.

Applying fertilizer is essential during the spring months (March to June) and the summer months (June to September).

Do not fertilize during winter months (December to February), because the plant will not grow during colder weather.

Don’t over-fertilize, or the plant will become tall and lanky. Dilute liquid fertilizer to half strength or use compost tea for the best results. Fertilizer is to encourage the foliage to look attractive healthy. Feed once a month from March to September.


You can propagate the parent plant during repotting. Do this by first removing the plant from the pot. Divide the stems or clumps of leaf stalks and leaves with roots for each new plant you wish to produce.

Water the new plants after repotting. Give time between watering to prevent problems.

You can encourage new growth by covering the plant and pot with polythene. Once you see a new growth remove the polythene.

Pest and diseases

Calathea Ornata pinstripe is hardy but can get infected by pests or diseases.

They include spider mites, mealy bug, scale, and aphids.

For diseases include bacterial and fungal growth.

Spider mites

The biggest pests are Spider Mites. The pest suck sap from leaves, that will cause the plant to die and fall off.

If you see the mites, spray your plants’ leaves directly with neem oil as a natural pesticide. It will kill the Spider mites.


While mealybugs are scale insects that suck the sap from the leaves and stems. The leaf will be stunted or yellowing of the leaves, and leaf drop.

Usually, the cause of mealybugs to come is by bringing home a new plant, contaminated potting soil, putting the plant outside during the summer months, comes from fresh flowers, fruits or vegetables brought in from the garden, and Ants bring mealybugs to the living plants.

When you first spot mealybugs, treat them immediately. Quarantine the affected plant to prevent mealybugs from infesting other plants.

Use organic pest control products to kill mealybugs. Do not use synthetic pesticides, because mealybugs are usually resistant to chemical pesticides.

Scale bugs

To get rid of scale bugs, just prune and remove of infested branches, twigs and leaves. Put the removed branches in a plastic bag so the bugs will not run away.

If the amount is low, you can pick them off the plants by hand.

Another way is to dab the bug with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab or neem oil. Azamax contains azadirachtin (in Neem oil), which is the key insecticidal ingredient to kill the bug.

You can kill the larvae using organic pesticides like insecticidal soap and d-Limonene.

Other horticultural oils are safe to control all bug stages.
You can also use fast-acting botanical insecticides.


Aphid infestations develop rapidly. The insects are a highly mobile and fast mover. Aphids spread between indoor plants by flying or crawling.

Aphids suck sap from new growth on plants. The new foliage looked crinkled or stunted.

If the infestation is worst, the leaves will begin to drop.

The safest and easiest way to kill Aphids is by using Neem oil. It is derived from the neem tree and it is organic. According to the Environmental Protection Association, neem oil is safe on humans and pets (like cats and dogs or pet safe plants) for use on indoor house plant like the Calathea Ornata plants.


If you notice the plant has brown leaves, it is a signal that it is time to prune back the plant. Use a pruning shear to remove the brown leaves or with your fingers.

Cutting out the dead brown leaves will help maintain a good growth pattern. It also keeps the overall height of the plant at the right measurement.

Dust the plant by brushing any dust off the leaves with a clean, wet cloth. Do this before misting the leaves for adequate humidity.

After finishing the dusting and wiping down, remove yellow leaves to promote a healthy plant.

Recommended accessories

Live plant


Peat-based potting soil


Plastic pot with drainage holes

Distilled water


Hand pruner shear

Neem oil

Insecticidal Soap

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.