The Calathea plant, also called "prayer plant" (Calathea's relative), is a very popular indoor house plant due to its attractive, attention-grabbing leaves.
Calatheas belong to the family Marantaceae and it is native to South America. There are over a dozen calathea varieties, each with a different color and pattern. Some of the species are flowers, yet rarely indoors.
Sumo Gardener have listed some of the most popular and most beautiful Calathea types, and how you can care for them in your home and why they are so popular.
How to Take Care of Calathea Plant
Calathea care is not too complicated regardless of the variety. You should keep it in a bright room but avoid the direct sunlight as it can make the leaves yellow and pale so the colorful and vibrant patterns will not be seen.
You should also mist the foliage every day because Calatheas are tropical plants and like environments with high moisture (ideally over 50%). Water the plants when you notice that the top layer (about an inch, or 2cm) is dry.
Keep the soil moist, but well-drained, and chose a blend of soil, peat moss, and perlite. Room temperatures between 18 and 29°C (65°F- 85°F) are perfect for Calatheas.
Different Calathea Types
Calathea plants differ in shape, pattern, and color of their foliage. Besides this, what makes them interesting is that the leaves curl during the night and unfold in the morning.
Some are rare to find even in the native habitat because they are endangered while others are quite common.
1. Calathea Roseopicta
Calathea Roseopicta (or Rose painted Calathea) is one of the most eye-catching types of calathea plant, and it itself has several varieties from those with barely an indication of pink shades to almost full leaves of bright pink color.
Roseopicta has a large, oval, light, or dark green leaf with a purple underside. It also has a pattern of an outline of another leaf. The outline can be cream-colored while the stem has a pinkish shade.
The more attention-grabbing varieties are ‘Dottie’ and ‘Rosey’. In both varieties (cultivars), the underside of the leaf is purple while the top pattern is different.
‘Rosey’ has a full pink or pink and cream pattern on an otherwise dark green leaf, while ‘Dottie’ has a bright pink leaf outline on a leaf so dark that it is almost black.
Roseopicta shows its best when it is placed in a very bright room but away from the direct sunlight. It is an evergreen perennial and grows up to half a meter tall.
Check out our complete Calathea Roseopicta growing guide for more details.
2. Calathea Makoyana
Calathea Makoyana is one of the most interesting Calathea types due to its pattern resembling a peacock's tail feathers. Because of its pattern, it is also known as Peacock plant or Cathedral windows.
The leaves are egg-shaped and of light green color while the oval patterns resembling the "eyes" of a peacock's feather are dark brown surrounded with a cream "feather".
The underside has the same pattern with the difference of it being purple where the top side is green. The leaves are thinner than in many other types of Calathea. Here is our comprehensive guide on growing Calathea Makoyana.
3. Calathea Warscewiczii
Named after a Polish scientist who found it, Calathea Warscewiczii is also known as Jungle Velvet. The name is quite fitting as it has a rich velvety green color, with a distinctive fishtail pattern of lighter green along with the stem.
The underside is of deep purple shade. Its leaves have a lance shape and each leaf can be up to 12in tall (30cm) while the entire plant can grow up to 3ft (1m).
This beautiful species is tender so keep away from draught and cold, as well as too much sunlight as it can burn or make the leaves yellow.
4. Calathea Orbifolia
As the name suggests Calathea Orbifolia has round leaves. They range from 15in to 35in, especially when grown outdoors and can be up to 2.5-3ft tall and wide.
Its size is what makes it one of the most commonly sought-after types of the plant. The leaves' size is not the only thing that makes it striking.
Its color, dark green with wide, paler stripes gives it a slightly metallic look that captures the eye of anyone around. Keep away from places that are too dark since the plant can become leggy and it is not specific to this large type.
To learn more about this amazing cultivar, see our complete Calathea Orbifolia grow and care guide.
5. Calathea Ornata
Calathea Ornata grows leaves as long as one foot. It has long, oval foliage of dark green and purple color. It is called "Ornata" (ornate), or Pin-striped because its feathering looks like it has several sets of pale and pink pins alternating on both sides.
There is an interesting cultivar of Calthea Ornata, and it is called Calathea 'Sanderiana". The difference with its mother plant is mostly in the shape of the leaves that are a bit more round in 'Sanderiana' than with its mother plant.
The leaves are waxy and thick in both plants. Get to know more about this plant by checking our Calathea Ornata grow and care guide.
6. Calathea Zebrina
Zebrina is inspired by zebras as its pattern is distinguished by dark green stripes on a light green leaf. The plant grows up to two feet tall and wide and the striped leaves can reach 12 inches in length.
The underside of the leaf is purple as is the case with all the plants of Marantaceae family. Grow Calathea Zebrina like a pro with the help of our complete Calathea Zebra plant guide.
7. Calathea Lancifolia
Calathea Lancifolia, or the "Rattlesnake plant" has long, lance-shaped foliage. It is light green with dark green spots. The combination of the shape and the pattern creates the similarity with the rattlesnake pattern, and so it got its name.
The underside is reddish-purple. The plant is one of the largest ones as the leaves can reach the length of 18 in. Grow luscious Rattlesnake plant by referring to our Calathea Lancifolia plant guide.
8. Calathea Veitchiana (Near-Threatened Conservation Status)
One of the rare types to find outside its native Ecuador is distinctive and beautiful because it shows the burgundy purplish color (usually found on the underside) on the top side of the leaf.
It has alternating feathering of pale and dark green on the oval leaf. It grows up to 4ft tall, which makes it one of the largest species, but it is its color that sets it apart from other types.
"With love and a bag full of pleasure, Sara talks about plants and more often - writes. She is the founder of indoorgardenook.com, an indoor gardening blog, at service to those who need help growing plants in these urban life times.
She often says that a plant a day keeps bad spirits away."