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Calathea ‘White Star’ Growing and Care Guide

The Calathea ‘White Star’ is a high-maintenance, yet visually appealing plant that brightens whatever space you grow them in. Since the plant is quite particular about what it requires, we hope this guide helps you grow the Calathea ‘White Star’ with ease wherever in the world you are.


What is the Calathea ‘White Star’?

What is the Calathea White Star

While the origins for the Calathea ‘White Star’ are traced back to the humid, dense climate of the Amazon, they can be grown with relative ease in most climates.

These plants may be accustomed to high levels of humidity that you may not find in your area, but creating the environmental conditions isn’t a difficult proposition.

Calathea ‘White Star’ like some other types of Calathea, are high-maintenance plants. Their vibrancy and unique foliage make them a great favourite of many plant owners. 

Called Calathea majestica and also Goeppertia majestica, the ‘White Star’ has white stripes extending from the centre to the leaf blades, in various patterns. 

Some plants also have a light pink shade among the white stripes. You should know how to distinguish between the Calathea ‘White Star’ and the Calathea ornata

The major distinguishing factor is that the Calathea ‘White Star’ has stripes covering the entirety of the large leaves, while the Pinstripe has fewer in number. The Calathea ‘White Star’ is also not the same plant as the Calathea ‘Vittata’.

How to Grow Calathea ‘White Star’

Calathea White Star Care Guide

Ideal Conditions for Growing Calathea ‘White Star’

Light Conditions

The light conditions required by the Calathea ‘White Star’ are quite specific. The first thing to keep in mind is that too little light might reduce chlorophyll production and turn the plant yellow and sickly.

Too much light leads to leaf burn and scorches the tops of the leaves through over-evaporation. So what exactly is the right lighting in which to place your plant?

The right answer to this question is any place that receives filtered, angled and indirect sunlight. So, step number one is to keep the plant indoors, away from the bright sunshine that’s all too common in the summer months. 

Any window that is angled toward early morning sun, but doesn’t receive midmorning and afternoon sun, is the best place to keep your Calathea ‘White Star’.

If such a place isn’t possible, and the alternate locations are in too much shade, draw a sheer curtain over the window receiving direct sun to reduce the intensity of the direct sun.


The plant is also quite particular about the level of humidity it requires to grow properly. For Calathea ‘White Star’, the premises where the plant is kept have to have a humidity level of 50% or more.

This requirement is difficult to create in most places that have less humid conditions, so you might need to curate an indoor space or have a greenhouse for the plant.

The more sensitive variety of Calathea ‘White Star’ may even need humidity levels of higher than 60%, given their Amazonian origins. There are some inexpensive ways beyond greenhouses that you can keep the plant in sufficiently humid climates. 

Firstly, you can use a humidifier (see the best humidifiers here) in the region near where the Calathea ‘White Star’ is kept. The second way is to place the plant over a tray filled with stones and water. The evaporation of water from the tray will keep the plant’s surroundings sufficiently humid.

If such a space cannot be created indoors, you can also group your Calathea ‘White Star’ with other plants that have higher degrees of water evaporation.

The close proximity of such plants to the Calathea ‘White Star’ may create a degree of humidity sufficient for the plant to thrive in.

Calathea ‘White Star’ Propagation

How to Grow Calathea White Star

Growing Calathea majestica ‘White Star’ from seeds is an unnecessarily long and tedious process, so you should instead look at propagation. Since the Calathea ‘White Star’ is also expensive, propagating the plant frequently means you can grow it cheaply as well.

The best method to use for propagation is division. Since the plant does grow out to be quite large, this controls the spread of the plant and ensures maintenance.

The ideal season for propagation is spring, so the plant gets to take advantage of all the ideal conditions of the blooming season to grow.

To propagate Calathea ‘White Star’, prepare pots or containers beforehand, according to the number of divisions you want. Use your hands to dislodge the plant from the container, making sure not to loosen the roots.

Identify the healthiest looking stems after using your hands to divide the plant- select the most promising ones to use for propagation later.

Use sterile gardening knives or secateurs (see our review on the best secateurs here) while cutting off the selected stems. This is to prevent cross-contamination between plants and to prevent germs from being introduced into the plant.

Next, look carefully at your selected stems, and mark them, taking special note that the root ball attached to the stem is still healthy. Separate the stem and the root with the knife and carefully detach them from the plant.

Next, place the segment into a pot/container with fresh potting soil, and backfill with said soil. The plant should take root in a few weeks, after which you can transplant it into an area in your garden.  

Growth and Environmental Factors

Calathea majestica ‘White Star’ can be a picky and high-maintenance plant, because you have to keep in mind the suitability of a lot of environmental factors.

Mostly, you should look out to prevent over-watering, under-watering, and look to maintain the correct temperature, especially humidity. At the end of the day, should you take care of whatever the plant needs to thrive, you will have luscious, large-leafed, plants. 

Since the humid environments and indirect light are the optimum conditions for the Calathea ‘White Star’, you can use the plant for indoor décor and as ornaments.

Work spaces and indoor spaces are greatly brightened by the unique foliage of the Calathea ‘White Star’.

Calathea ‘White Star’ Care Guide

Calathea White Star Propagation

Fertilizer Requirement

Among the most drastic things you can do to your Calathea ‘White Star’ is to give it too much fertilizer. The plants don’t naturally need additive plant foods, because they extract what they need from the plant mulch.

If you do see the plant looking a bit worse for wear and want more vibrancy, mild and diluted fertilizers are the route to take. The indications that your plant may need fertilizer is if it has leaf distortion and discolouration.  

Use fertilizer extremely infrequently, as little as once a month, to achieve more visibly vibrant leaves. The best mechanism to adopt while fertilizing your plant is to use slow-release, or water-soluble fertilizer containing zinc, manganese, potassium and sulfur.

To prevent salt deposits in the soil make sure to dilute all fertilizers you use. Nitrogenous fertilizers are ill-suited to the Calathea ‘White Star’, since it leads to soil deterioration.

Water Requirements

With watering requirements, too, the Calathea ‘White Star’ will keep you on your toes with regards to ensuring correct hydration. Under-watering is disastrous for the plant, and the effects are noticed instantly with the plant starting to dry up and shrivel.

The most important indication that your plant needs immediate watering is when the top of the soil is dry to the touch. Ensure that when you are watering, the soil isn’t waterlogged and mushy, but rather moist and peaty.

With Calathea ‘White Star’, you also don’t always keep your plant healthy by following the guide on the soil packet or the general rules of things.

This is especially true for watering, since the frequency with which the Calathea ‘White Star’ requires watering may differ per the size, soil and time of year.

Observe your plant closely to see what seems to be working out for your Calathea ‘White Star’, and then continue with that same routine. The Calathea ‘White Star’ is also particular about the type of water you give it. 

Water with too many minerals, and general tap water can cause leaf burning on the plant. The recommended type of water your Calathea ‘White Star’ should be receiving is distilled water or rain water. 

If there are no options besides tap water, you should leave it out overnight to have some of the chlorine dissipate. Two other things to keep in mind are to prevent over-watering by using well-draining soil, since the Calathea ‘White Star’ is prone to root rot.

The second thing is to prevent over-watering during winters, even if your plant seems a little less vibrant. This is because the Calathea ‘White Star’ is conserving energy for the growing season next year.

Pruning Calathea ‘White Star’

An advantage of the Calathea ‘White Star’ is that it doesn’t look shabby even months without pruning. The plant can grow to become larger than 5 Ft. tall if left unpruned.

However, if your Calathea ‘White Star’ has yellowing or browning leaves, you should use sharp, sterilized gardening shears to trim those off the plant.

An advantage of this is that it allows for a redirection of sunlight to the leaves that need it.

Common Calathea majestica Problems

Called Calathea majestica and also Goeppertia majestica, the White Star has white stripes extending from the centre to the leaf blades, in various patterns

In this department, however, the Calathea ‘White Star’ remains largely unproblematic. This is largely owing to the humid conditions surrounding the plant, which keeps away most common pests like aphids, mealybugs and spider mites.

(Here is our article on how to identify and control aphids.)

The pests that are commonly found on the Calathea ‘White Star’, however, are leaf scales. These often remain unnoticed because they attach themselves to the underside of the leaf, an area not generally visible.

The first thing to do when you notice your plant looking limp and sickly is to inspect it thoroughly, especially under the leaves. Should you find any pests, the procedure to get rid of them is simple.

First, apply any mild insecticide that is compatible with calatheas, or use organic anti-insect solutions like neem oil and extract.

To prevent any pests at all, be habitual of flushing out your plant with water or spraying diluted alcohol on the insects you do find lurking around immediately. 

Prevent fungal diseases like leaf spotting by never over-misting your plant, and prevent root-rot by always leaving soil well-drained.

Goeppertia majestica Toxicity

If you have a cute pooch who is a member of the family, yet tries to snag your plants, you have nothing to worry about. The Calathea ‘White Star’ is entirely non-toxic to both pets and humans.

People with allergies can also keep these plants quite safely, since they don’t contain any irritants that could trigger allergies either. If, however, a reaction to eating the plant is negative, you need to immediately consult with a vet.

As a general rule of thumb, keep pets and small children away from your plants.

Other Common Issues and How to Mitigate them

Curling leaves 

If the leaves are curling and shrivelled from the tips, there can be 2 potential reasons. Firstly, the plant needs to be watered and also needs to be pruned.

If this reaction is occurring during winter time, it probably is in a temperature that is unsuitably cold. If the plant is outdoors, now may be a good time to bring it indoors and keep it near warmth- don’t shove it too near a fire or a heater, either.

Yellow leaves 

The Calathea ‘White Star’ shows indications of overwatering when its leaves turn yellow and limp. The first thing to do is to trim all such leaves to make space for healthy, green ones.

Next, ensure that there is some draining mechanism on the soil. Cut down on watering for a while, observe the plant and then resume watering at the appropriate time.

Drooping leaves 

These indicate that your Calathea ‘White Star’ is under-watered. To ensure that such a thing doesn’t happen again, you should check the soil frequently.

The soil must always be moist in between watering, and never completely dry. However, if during morning time you are noticing that the leaves on the Calathea ‘White Star’ are droopy, that’s natural.

The leaves are bent during the morning and curl upward at night- hence the plant being sometimes called the “prayer plant”. 

Calathea White Star Growing and Care Guide

Immerse Your Garden with the Beauty of Calathea ‘White Star’ 

Calathea ‘White Star’ isn’t the easiest plant to grow and care for, but the vibrancy of its large leaves brighten and freshen any space you grow them in.

We hope this guide has given you a thorough kickstart into caring for this finicky, but beautiful plant. You may need to do more leg work to keep the Calathea ‘White Star’ in top shape, but its visual appeal and other benefits make the effort worth it.

About the Author Mabel Vasquez

Mabel has enjoyed a long career as a horticulturist, working in nurseries and greenhouses for many years. Although she loves all plants, Mabel has developed a particular passion over the years for herb gardens and indoor plants. Mabel has since retired from her horticulture career and loves sharing her many years of experience with our audience here at Sumo Gardener.

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