With broad, oversized dark green leaves highlighted with soft pink and white stripes that draw the eyes in, the Calathea Ornata is another extremely popular houseplant that can prove to be a little fussy versus other calatheas.
However, it is worth the effort. Once matured, these gorgeous plants can add spectacle and wonder to any indoor or outdoor living space. Here is everything you need to know to grow and care for your Calathea Ornata.
Introducing the Calathea Ornata
Calathea Ornata, a perennial plant, is a member of the Marantaceae family like its calathea counterparts and has recently been reclassified as the Goeppertia Ornata.
Also known as the Calathea Pinstripe or Pinstripe Plant, it is native to South America, originating from places like Columbia and Venezuela.
Being a tropical ground cover plant, it grows best in warm, moist forests. Therefore, trying to replicate similar temperatures, humidity levels, and light to that of a warm tropical forest will be vital for successful growth.
The Calathea Ornata grows to be around 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Another beautiful element of this plant is that the leaves will rise and fall with the sun.
During these cycles, a pronounced purplish hue will present itself from the undersides of the leaves, further adding to the dramatic display the Calathea Pinstripe is renowned for.
It is important to note that these plants are sensitive to the cold. It is highly recommended to keep them in pots regardless of whether they are going to be placed indoors or outdoors, on a patio or deck perhaps.
This way you can move the plant inside during the winter months to ensure it survives. Provided with the correct growing conditions, these plants are known to be slow-growing.
How to Grow Calathea Ornata
Location is key when growing this plant. It prefers bright, indirect sunlight with high levels of humidity. Zones 10 and 11 seem to be ideal. This is the reason most people keep their Pinstripe Plant indoors; it is far easier to manage these conditions this way.
Another important aspect when growing the Calathea Ornata is the type of container it is planted into. The container or pot should be big enough to encourage the roots to grow and should also have draining holes to ensure the soil stays well-drained so that your plant does not suffer from root rot.
Here are the preferred growing conditions and mediums for Calathea Pinstripe.
As with most tropical houseplants, the Calathea Ornata thrives in consistently moist and well-draining soil. Using heavy soil that compacts when watered is not recommended as the soil should still be able to breathe after watering.
A peat-based potting mix should do the trick. Two parts peat and one part perlite is a good starting point for your planting soil.
Watering Calathea Ornata
Because this plant loves moisture and humidity, the soil should always be moist but not wet. It is also important not to overwater the plant or let it sit in water.
This is why a well-draining container is so vital. Check your soil regularly to see if the plant needs water. The top one or two inches of the soil should feel dry before watering.
During the winter months, you can cut back on watering and let the topsoil dry out in between waterings. Whereas in the summer months, keep the soil moist as much as possible.
The Calathea Ornata thrives in bright conditions without any need for direct sunlight. Place your Pinstripe Plant in a well-lit location near a window or thin curtain with plenty of indirect light throughout the day.
Temperature & Humidity
Ideal temperatures range from 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity of around 60%. To help increase humidity you can always use a small room humidifier, a pebble tray underneath your pot, or you could mist the leaves during hotter days.
Calathea Ornata Propagation
This plant is best propagated using division. This should be done during spring when you are repotting. Here are the steps you can take to propagate using division:
- Gently remove the plant from its container and slowly shake the roots so that the old soil falls off and you can see the structure of the plant.
- Look for where the plant has naturally made separations in the roots and stems.
- Using sharp scissors or your hands, gently cut or divide the plant into pieces with leaf stalks, roots and leaves.
- Once you have your divided plant, you can repot it into its new container. Consider adding a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer to help the plant re-establish itself.
- Water well for a few days after repotting.
Repotting Your Pinstripe Plant
When considering repotting, it is recommended to repot every two years or when the plant has outgrown its current container. This should be done in spring. Repotting will encourage new growth and allow your Calathea Ornata to mature and grow beautifully broad leaves.
It is recommended to only increase the pot size by around 1 to 2 inches each time and to always use a well-draining container and potting mix.
- Gently remove the Pinstripe Plant from its current pot or container.
- Place a small layer of pebbles at the bottom of your new container then add a decent layer of your potting soil on top.
- Transfer the plant to the new container where you should try and keep the top of the roots towards the top section of the container. This will leave space in the soil beneath the roots in the new pot which will encourage further growth.
- Fill with the remaining soil and water lightly after repotting.
- Make sure the plant is sitting snug in its new home but the soil should not be overly compacted.
- Try increasing humidity for a couple of days after repotting to ensure the foliage keeps while the roots re-establish themselves. Moving the plant to the bathroom occasionally can also do the trick.
Calathea Ornata Care Tips
As mentioned earlier, this plant can be a little fussy so taking a few extra steps in caring for the plant can go a long way. Here are some extra care tips for your Calathea Ornata.
What Fertilizer to Use
This plant can benefit from being fertilized. It is recommended to use a general houseplant fertilizer with a balanced 10-10-10 ratio every 4 to 6 weeks.
Fertilizing should be done mostly in the spring and summer months when natural growth is at its highest. During winter, the plant will enter a dormant phase where growth will be stunted so you don’t need to fertilize much during this period.
Be cautious with fertilizing as too much can burn the roots and cause a lot of damage. Only fertilize during growth cycles and consider diluting liquid fertilizers to half strength to prevent any damage from being caused.
Pruning Your Pinstripe Plant
Light pruning can be healthy for your Pinstripe Plant and motivate the plant towards new growth. Prune dead or damaged leaves away using sharp shears (see the best pruning shears available online here) or a sharp knife.
Cleanly cut the leaf near the stem at the soil level and discard the damaged leaf. You can also trim browning edges from the calatheas leaves.
Calathea Pinstripe Pests, Problems & Diseases
Generally, the Calathea Ornata is relatively hardy. Unfortunately like most houseplants, they can also fall victim to pests and diseases.
Spider mites can be common pests with calatheas. They drain the sap from the leaves which then die and fall off. We don’t want that happening to your new plant baby.
As soon as you notice that the plant may be under attack from mites, spray the leaves directly with your garden hose or showerhead. If this doesn’t knock them off, treat your leaves with a natural pesticide or neem oil.
Root Rot/Fungal Growth
Should you notice the roots and stems of your plant starting to turn dark brown, this could indicate that you have root rot. The texture of the stem could also change from being firm to being mushy.
Other signs would be fungal growth beginning to appear on the plant. This is all a sign that the plant is being overwatered or that the container is not draining water sufficiently.
Cut back on watering and in severe cases, repot the plant and be more cautious with watering.
If you notice your leaves have started spotting or curling, this should indicate that the plant is receiving too much harsh light. You will need to move the plant to a more suitable location with more shade and indirect light.
Calathea Ornata FAQs
Is Calathea ornata rare?
It is certainly a rarer variety than most of the 300 calathea specimens. This is why many people struggle to get their hands on one. If you have one, keep it moist and humid and in indirect sunlight or low to medium indoor light.
Why are my Calathea Ornata leaves curling?
Curling leaves is a response to dehydration. This condition can be caused by several factors including underwatering, low humidity, high temperatures or over fertilizing.
Why is my calathea losing its purple?
This is most likely caused by too much direct sunlight. This plant loves more ambient light versus direct light. Too much harsh, direct light will burn your leaves and cause them to lose their saturation.
For more calathea growing guides, be sure to see our list below:
Wrapping Up Our Calathea Ornata Guide
A delicate yet utterly desirable plant, the Calathea Pinstripe is a great option to add some wild lusciousness to your home. Mesmerizing the eyes with its vivid pink and white striations, and breathing with the sun to expose its purple hues, the beautiful Calathea Ornata is a must-have for plant lovers.