Calathea Orbifolia

Calathea Orbifolia: Profile & 10 Tips & Guides To Care It

Calathea orbifolia has huge leaves that are striped with silvery bands that are, in a simple way, pretty.

It’s one of those plants that makes you want to buy it right away, but taking care of Calathea orbifolia might be hard if you want your plant to look nice.

This post will tell you how to take care of a Calathea orbifolia plant so it stays the beautiful tropical plant you fell in love with.

Calathea orbifolia does best in soil that drains well and never gets too dry or too wet, in medium sunlight, and in high humidity.

It grows best at temperatures between 65°F (18°C) and 75°F (24°C), and a balanced fertilizer given once a month at 1/4 to 1/2 strength works well during the growing season.

Calathea Orbifolia Overview

Orbifolia is one of the biggest Calatheas, and its crisp, designer-quality leaves make it one of the most sought-after plants. It has big, oval leaves that can grow to be more than a foot wide, which makes it a great plant for making a statement.

Calatheas are known for being difficult to grow, and the Orbifolia is no different. Its beautiful leaf and well-balanced shape draw devoted owners, some of whom have to watch the beautiful plant slowly change and die. Why? because love isn’t enough.

Orbifolias need high humidity and wet soil to grow. When Orbifolia owners talk about how easy they are to take care of, they often forget to mention that they live in a tropical climate. If your house is dry, you are at a disadvantage.

Calathea Orbifolia

There is no need to be afraid of a Calathea orbifolia; simply comprehend it. Give it a warm, wet environment that feels like a jungle, and you’ll both be happy.

It’s safe for children and pets to eat, but if they do, they’ll be more at risk from you. Although Calathea orbifolia can be difficult to find, this is changing as their popularity grows.

Calathea Orbifolia Care Requirements

  • Scientific Name: Calathea orbifolia ( Now officially Goeppertia orbifolia)
  • Origin: Bolivia
  • Light Requirements: Medium, filtered light
  • Watering: Maintain moist soil with regular watering, but do not let the soil become soggy. Use filtered, distilled or rainwater ideally.
  • Soil:  Well draining potting mix. A good mix is two parts peat/coir and one part perlite. Here are some ideal pre-made Calathea mixes.
  • Temperature:  65°F (18°C) to 75ºF (24ºC)
  • Fertilizer: Monthly while actively growing with 1/4 strength, balanced fertilizer. Flush the soil several times per year.
  • Humidity: Needs high humidity to keep foliage looking well.
  • Pruning: Minimal pruning requirements. Prune old or yellowed leaves.
  • Propagation: Propagate by division in late spring/early summer. Can be tricky.
  • Re-Potting: Calathea orbifolia doesn’t like to be repotted too often. Only once root-bound.
  • Diseases and Pests: Damp conditions can promote fungus, powdery mildew & leaf-spot, but their most deadly vulnerability is root rot. Thrips and other leaf suckers can present at times.
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to humans and animals.
  • Where To Buy: Buy Calathea orbifolia online at Etsy (I buy most of my houseplants from Etsy).

Calathea Orbifolia

Calathea Orbifolia Care

Orbifolia Characteristics

Orbifolia is a perennial that grows on forest floors in its native Bolivia.It is a member of the Marantaceae (Prayer Plant) family and does best in semi-shade. It can handle low light but not direct sunlight.

Each stem is strong, and the rounded oval leaves have sharp stripes of silvery grey and green.

The bottom of their wings are a light green colour. When grown inside, the plant can reach about three feet in height and width.

If you notice anything unusual about the plant, it’s most likely not your imagination. As a prayer plant, the leaves of the Orbifolia are very active and move throughout the day.

Orbifolias can be grown outside in USDA Zones 9b–11, and they also make great houseplants.

It can also spend the summer outdoors and be brought inside in the autumn, but it cannot withstand even brief periods of cold without being damaged.

Its growth rate changes depending on the environment, but it never grows quickly and goes into a semi-dormant state when it gets cold.

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The roots of the Orbifolia are rhizomes, and it is easy for it to get sick. It needs a rich soil mix that drains well, but it can’t stand soil that is too dry.

Calathea Orbifolia Light Requirements

Orbifolias do best in the bright shade of a forest and should not be kept in direct sunlight. Light that is too bright will fade and possibly destroy their leaves.

They work well in low to medium light, but should not be used in dim light. You can tell if the light is good enough by how easy it is to read.

Calathea Orbifolia

Usually, a window facing north is best, but a window facing east might let in some moderate morning light.

How To Water Calathea Orbifolia

To keep your orbifolia healthy and looking good, it is important to water it. Because it comes from the tropics, it likes soil that is always damp and never fully dry.

To get the right amount of water in the soil, check it and water it again when the top inch or two are almost dry. This helps keep away pests and diseases that thrive in damp places, but don’t let it dry out too much.

The leaves won’t fall off because they’re thirsty; instead, they’ll get worse. You can check by hand, or you can use a moisture meter for more accuracy.

Knowing when and how to water indoor plants, especially calatheas, is an important and undervalued skill.

Note: If your plant’s leaves start to move less or don’t fold up at night, this could mean they need more water.

The soil might dry out too quickly in a terra-cotta pot. One option is to put a plastic pot that keeps water inside a decorative pot with no drainage holes.

Add a layer of stones to the bottom of the outer pot to raise the inner planter. This allows water to drain while also adding moisture to the air around the leaves.

When you water, just lightly wet the soil, but every so often give the pot a good soaking and let it drain for about 10 minutes. This helps clean the soil and keep the peat at the same level of moisture.

Some owners have found that self-watering systems that slowly release water into the soil work well. When they work right, they are controlled by the amount of water in the soil and slowly release water to keep the mix evenly moist.

Calathea orbifolia is sensitive to water salts, chlorine, and fertilizer buildup, so it is best to use filtered or purified water. If you see leaves that aren’t the same colour, it could be because the water isn’t good.

Calathea Orbifolia

Calathea Orbifolia Needs Jungle Soil

The soil around your Calathea orbifolia is very important if you want to maintain the right level of moisture. It should drain quickly but still be able to hold some water. For the best results, it should also use organic fertilizer.

Peat or coco coir will keep water in while letting the roots breathe. Just make sure there is enough drainage material to keep the soil from getting too wet. Perlite and pumice are great materials for drainage, but vermiculite holds way too much water.

The right amount is two parts peat or coir to one part perlite or pumice. You can also use orchid bark for organic drainage, but it loses its effectiveness over time.

If you want to make the soil rich, it is safer to use organic additions than synthetic fertilizers. When inorganic wastes are present near the roots of Orbifolia, they do not like it.Consider adding compost.

It not only gives plants a healthy place to grow, but it also helps the soil get the right amount of water and air.

Calathea Orbifolia Temperature Needs

Our typical indoor temperatures, which range from 65°F (18°C) to 75°F (24°C), are perfect for this delicate tropical plant.

They can handle a few degrees above that, but when their leaves start to curl, it’s too hot. They can’t take much more than 60 oF (15 oC).

Even a small amount of cold can hurt the plant’s leaves. They don’t like drafts and short dips that take them out of their best range. They don’t like sudden changes either.

If you want to grow orbifolias outside for the summer, bring them back inside before the temperature drops below the mid-50s.

Fertilizing Calathea Orbifolia

Orbifolia doesn’t need a lot of food, but it does benefit from a small amount of fertilizer every few weeks during the growing season. Organic feeding is a good alternative because it protects their roots, which are very delicate.

I make a mixture that is well-balanced and can be mixed with water at 1/4 the strength needed. I use this once a month from spring to fall, but not in the winter. To be safe, put dry fertilizer a few inches away from the root of the plant.

High Humidity

High humidity of 50% or more is also important for the health of orbifolias. The plant will be able to survive in drier air, but it won’t look as good, so what’s the point?

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A cheap hygrometer is a good way to make sure the right conditions are met. Here are a few ways to raise the humidity:

Nature uses this tried-and-true way of putting things together. Keep the plants close enough to each other so that they can share water, but not so close that they can share pests or block the flow of air.

Bathrooms give you a steam treatment every time you take a shower, and if the lighting is right, they are great places to be in high humidity. There are also kitchens and laundry facilities to think about.

Tip: Hanging your clothes to dry in the same room as your orbifolia is a great way to add 5–10% more humidity for a couple of hours.

Putting small pools of water around your plants makes the air around them moister because the water evaporates.

Calathea Orbifolia

It’s not a big deal, but it always happens the same way. Pebbles can also be used to raise their pots above the water level on a saucer or tray.

Seashells: Add some shells with holes on top of the dirt to extend the idea of water evaporating. Fill them with water to keep the plants’ leaves from drying out.

Spraying: Make a schedule for misting to help with humidity. Use a spray bottle with small drops of clean or filtered water. It’s best to spray the plant in the morning to give it a boost for the day.

Humidifier: Getting a room humidifier for your plant is a great example of the saying “beauty takes work.” Even if you live in the desert, you can have healthy Orbifolias if you buy the right unit and put in the time.

Forget Flowers

Calathea orbifolia is grown more for its beautiful layers of leaves than for its flowers. Some people say that the plant grows a white flower on a stem in the wild, but you can safely ignore them.

No Pruning Necessary

This plant is mostly made up of single-leaved stalks, so there are no branches to cut back. All they need is to have any dark, yellowing, or damaged leaves taken off. This won’t change how things grow in the future.

Cut the main stem close to the base. Always clean your tools before and after you use them. A quick wipe with rubbing alcohol is enough.

Propagating Calathea Orbifolia

Even though it is popular and interesting to collectors, the Orbifolia is still hard to find, in part because it is hard to grow. Not all plants can be grown from seeds or cuttings; rhizome division is the best way to do it.

Orbifolias don’t like being moved around, so be careful. You could hurt the plant if you keep going, so be careful!

Propagation should be done early in the growing season so that the divisions have time to heal. Don’t hurt the plant’s roots.

Calathea Orbifolia

  • Take the mother plant out of the pot and gently pull the rhizome out of the soil.
  • Cut a piece off the tuber with a clean knife, making sure to keep at least one stem and some roots.
  • Repot in suitable soil.
  • Keep the plants warm and moist while they heal. Spray the new plant(s) often and put a clear plastic cage around them.
  • When you see new growth, you can take off the plastic cover. As the plants grow, be careful when you water them.

Calathea Orbifolia Planting Tips

Orbifolia might not do well in conditions that other plants can handle. Here are some tips to avoid getting into trouble:

Water Quality

Orbifolia’s roots in the tropics are sensitive to chemicals, and if they react badly to pollution, it shows in their leaves.

It is best to use rainwater or water that has been cleaned and then dechlorinated. The same is true for water mist.

Let A New Plant Rest

This plant is in a jar, so try not to move it more than you have to. Put it in a good spot, water it as needed, and let it rest.

Don’t prune it, repot it, or take a picture of it on your bed. Bring it up to a normal schedule of feedings slowly.

Keep The Same Pot

Even if an orbifolia is used to its environment, it likes to have strong roots and soil. You can put it in a prettier pot if you want, but unless the soil is really bad, you should wait a season before repotting.

Re-Potting Calathea Orbifolia

Repotting an Orbifolia could be very stressful for it, so be careful. Some plants can live for years in the same soil, but you don’t have to go to that much trouble. Every year or two, give it new soil or, if necessary, move it to a bigger pot.

If your plants are growing slowly, it may be time to move them to a new pot. It doesn’t like being stuck in one place.

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For most indoor plants, a pot with a diameter of 8 to 10 inches is enough. Try not to mess too much with the roots. You want to press the dirt down gently but firmly because you want the mix to stay fluffy.


There are many different kinds of Calathea, but only one kind of Orbifolia. It is known as a Goeppertia or a Maranta orbifolia, but it is the same plant.

Diseases And Pests

Orbifolia needs to be in a wet environment, which can lead to diseases that like moisture, like fungus, powdery mildew, and leaf spot.

However, root rot is their most serious and fatal weakness. A good way to prevent this from happening is to let the topsoil dry out a bit before watering. Keep an eye out for potential issues.

Aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, and thrips are naturally drawn to the plant’s lush, large leaves. Check often for spots or webs that have changed color. Use neem oil or a horticultural spray as prescribed at the first sign of unwanted guests.

Thrips, in particular, can kill off all the life in your showcase very quickly. When there is an infestation, the leaves get brown and yellow spots, and the undersides look bruised.

Their eggs are too small to see, but they can be put in the soil, so when you treat them, change the top two inches of the mix.

If sprays don’t work, predatory mites might be a good choice. Determine what is consuming your plants and choose the mites that see them as prey. Mites live on plants and in the soil. They are not dangerous to people or pets.

Soil gnats are attracted to damp soil. The easiest way to keep this from happening is to let the topsoil dry out between waterings.

Some owners cover the top with 14 inches of sand to keep bugs away. The sand dries quickly. Another option is to mix food-grade diatomaceous earth into the topsoil. This silica-based substance kills larvae and interrupts their life cycle.


Calathea orbifolia is safe for both people and dogs. That doesn’t mean they’ll make a good salad, but if you eat them, the worst thing that can happen is that your stomach will hurt.

Calathea Orbifolia

Common Questions About Calathea Orbifolia Care

Why Does My Calathea Orbifolia Have Brown Edges On The Leaves?

Most of the time, Calathea orbifolia leaves turn brown in patches or along the edges because they get too much water or not enough humidity.

Underwatering can sometimes cause problems that last for a long time. Peat is common in Orbifolia soils, but as it dries, it can stop absorbing water, leaving parts of the mix dry.

Putting in a wooden chopstick before watering is a good way to check without hurting the plant.

Remove the chopstick from the wet mixture and inspect it to ensure that it is all the same amount of wet.

Brown leaves could also be caused by low humidity. You could also water or sprinkle the plant with unfiltered tap water. If there is too much fertilizer, the tips might turn brown.

Why Is My Calathea Orbifolia Drooping?

This could be hard to handle. The main idea is that the plant isn’t getting enough water, but you should check for root rot first.

If that’s the case, watering is the last thing you should do. This could be caused by insects, but if there are insects, the leaves will usually turn yellow.

Sometimes drooping leaves are just a sign that the plant is getting old. It could be that they are just reacting to the light. If you can’t figure out why, keep an eye on the plant to see if the leaves have any damage.

Why Are My Calathea Orbifolia Leaves Curling?

The most common reason is a lack of water, so check the soil and humidity levels in the area. Orbifolia leaves will curl if the temperature is too low.

Why Is My Calathea Orbifolia Drooping After Repotting?

After being moved to a new pot, an orbifolia will need some time to recover. Make sure the soil is always wet and that there is a lot of humidity and a medium amount of light but no direct sunlight.

If you want to see results right away, don’t dig it up again, trim it, feed it, or move it. This plant may do well even if it isn’t cared for, as long as it gets enough light and water.

How To Prevent Yellowing Leaves On Calathea Orbifolia

Yellow leaves are often caused by watering problems, like too much or too little water. When the plant is stressed because of changes in temperature, drafts, or a recent move, the leaves will also turn yellow.

As a beautiful new Calathea orbifolia gets used to your environment, its leaves may turn yellow. Focus on creating the best conditions, and the plant should get better.

See more articles in this category: Outdoor Plants

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