Keeping up with your Calathea Orbifolia
Words by Georgie Sinclair
Illustrations by Camilla Perkins
Latin name: Calathea Orbifolia
Nickname: Peacock Plant, Zebra plant
Native to: Tropical Americas
Spotted in: any dedicated plant lover’s home
Life Cycle: Perennial
Soil: Light soil such as vermiculite or perlite
Special Feature: Dramatic patterned leaves
Ensure your plant has moist soil at all times. It will need watering nearly every day, especially in the summer.
Your Calathea will happiest in a bright spot with indirect sunlight.
The orbifolia needs consistent humidity levels for its good health. If you don’t live in a tropical climate or own an air humidifier, there are other ways you can create this artificially. Try placing the pot on a pebble tray with a shallow pool of water and spraying it regularly with lukewarm water.
It will react badly to sudden temperature changes. Place it in a comfortable spot in your apartment and don’t move it. Keep it away from radiators or other unstable sources of heat or chill. You can keep it on your balcony if you live in a warmer climate with temperatures consistently above 18 degrees. It will not survive in temperatures below 12 degrees.
Multiply your plant
Repot your orbifolia every year or two in the springtime by moving it into a larger pot with fresh potting mix. Take this opportunity to propagate your plant by what we call ‘division’. This involves dividing the plant into two or more parts from its roots. Water it well the day before to loosen up the soil and gently tease the roots apart until they are fully separated. Repot the plants immediately by covering the entire root with fresh soil.