Calathea plants are some of the most beautiful houseplants around. This guide will help you learn all about the different calathea varieties.
Calathea can be very polarizing in the houseplant world—people seem to either love them or hate them. And that’s understandable, because a calathea can be a bit of a diva. But once you figure out what they need to be happy in your home, they can be relatively straightforward to maintain. We’re going to talk about the most popular calathea varieties today, but first, let’s review some basic calathea care tips!
Calathea Care 101
For a full rundown of caring for calathea, check out our calathea care guide.
Calathea Care Quick Guide
- Calathea Plant
- Well-draining potting medium
- Container with a drainage hole
- Wooden chopstick for aeration
- Mister bottle (optional)
- Avoid direct light. Bright direct sun will fade and burn your calathea. Stick to medium, indirect light.
- Water thoroughly. Water when the top inch of soil is dry, and slowly add water until you see it coming out of the drainage hole of the pot.
- Use the right water. Calathea is sensitive to the quality of its water. Stick with distilled water, rainwater, or filtered tap water that has been dechlorinated.
- Aerate often. Gently poke a wooden chopstick into the surface of the soil before watering on a regular basis. This will help air and water circulate and reach all of the roots.
- Keep it humid. Calathea thrive in humidity, and the leaves will curl or brown if the air is too dry. Use a humidifier, put the pot on a pebble tray, or group your plants together to boost the humidity.
- Mist regularly (optional). Misting doesn't do a ton to boost the humidity, but it does knock off pests that are trying to make your calathea home.
To dechlorinate water, allow it to sit on the counter in a clear container for at least 24 hours before using.
What is the easiest calathea to care for?
Calathea Freddie is often recognized as one of the lowest maintenance calathea, but I have also had great luck with the Calathea Rufibarba. The thicker, fuzzier leaves are less delicate than those on a lot of the more intricately patterned varieties (plus, who doesn’t want a super soft houseplant?).
What is the hardest calathea to care for?
The Calathea White Fusion is notoriously one of the fussiest calathea plants out there. The white variegation makes photosynthesis more difficult, for one thing. Plus, the White Fusion is especially picky about its humidity levels.
11 calathea varieties
Let’s talk about some of the most popular varieties of calathea!
Calathea Lancifolia (Rattlesnake plant)
The thin, wavy leaves of the rattlesnake plant have maroon undersides. The tops are light green with dark green spots. We talk all about how to care for them on Growfully.
Calathea Ornata (Pinstripe Calathea)
The calathea ornata, or pinstripe calathea, is easily recognized by its thin, parallel, pale pink stripes on dark green leaves with purple bottoms. We have everything you need to know about taking care of pinstripe calathea here on Growfully.
Calathea Musaica (Network)
Also called the Network Calathea, the foliage of Calathea Musaica is covered with an intricate pattern of thin, crosshatched lines.
Calathea Roseopicta (Medallion calathea)
The classic Roseopicta “Medallion” has broad, round leaves with deep purple undersides. The tops of the foliage are dark green, with concentric feathered rings of white and lighter shades of green radiating outward.
Calathea Roseopicta ‘Dottie’
Calathea “Dottie” is the purple-pink variation of the Medallion. Its foliage is a purple that is so deep, it can appear almost black, and it is ringed in hot pink.
Calathea Makoyana (Peacock plant)
The leaves of the Calathea Makoyana are light green and patterned with thin dark lines, interspersed with larger ovals. They are almost reminiscent of peacock feathers, which is where the plant gets its more common name from, the peacock plant.
This is the calathea cultivar with the largest leaves. Broad and round, the medium green leaves have even stripes that radiate out from the rib of the leaves.
Calathea Zebrina (Zebra plant)
Sometimes referred to as the zebra plant, the calathea zebrina has light green foliage with medium green feathering.
Calathea Rufibarba (Furry feather)
By far one of the softest plants you can add to your houseplant collection, the calathea rufibarba is known for its velvety, furry, lance-shaped leaves.
Calathea White Fusion
As you might imagine from the name, the Calathea White Fusion foliage has white or cream variegation. Instead of the darker purple undersides that many other calathea display, the White Fusion leaves have pale lavender undersides.
Calathea Concinna (Freddie)
One of the easiest calatheas to care for, the Calathea Freddie has large, pointed oval-shaped leaves. They are light green with darker green ovals.
Whichever calathea you choose to add to your indoor plants collection, don’t forget to read up on calathea care to make sure you can help your plant thrive!