In this guide you'll learn: How to care for your plant, how & where to buy the calathea crocata, how to propagate it, and answers to FAQs to keep your plant happy
The Calathea crocata is less known for its leaves like other Calathea and is more well known for its beautiful bright fire-yellow blooms. In fact, it’s these flowers that give the plant its common name the eternal flame plant. The crocata is perfect for those who want a plant that adds flair to a room.
Crocata eternal flames are perfectly suited to living indoors owing to their rainforest origins. You’ll find their original home in the jungles of Brazil and up to countries of the Central Americas. It’s also known as being one of the easier to care for Clathea plants, but will still require a lot of attention to keep it happy.
The Calathea crocata’s leaves hold deep green on top and like some other Calathea plants, a secret deep purple underside. Also like other Calathea plants, the leaves slowly fold to point upward at night. It’s this movement that earns them the nickname of ‘living’ plants, or prayer plants.
Calathea crocata In The House & Office
To ensure the Calathea crocata’s beautiful yellow flowers look perfect in your home and office you should carefully consider where to put it. Keeping your Eternal flame plant happy will ensure you get to enjoy the beautiful blooms.
Calathea live on a shaded jungle floor and prefer bright but indirect sunlight. To replicate this in your office or home space you should place it within five feet (1.5m) of a north, east or west facing window that recieves light for half of the day. Place over the above amount for south facing windows, as these windows receive too much direct sunlight. You can adjust the position based on how the plant reacts. brown crispy leaves or wilting indicate too much light, while a loss of leaf colour, dropping leaves and stunted growth could equal not enough light.
Another important aspect for Calathea crocata is humidity, and this is because it comes from the high humidity environments of the rainforest. You can find the naturally humid areas of your home or office space are the kitchen or the bathroom which are perfect for the plant. For other types of rooms, you may need to help the crocata with its humidity requirements.
Popular Cultivars of Calathea crocata
One popular cultivar (bred variation) of the crocata is the “Tassmania”. This makes its full name Calathea crocata “Tassmania”. This cultivar is not as bushy and the flowers tend to be more of an orange colour.
Calathea Crocata Size
Height: 50-60cm / 19-24in / 1.5-2ft
Spread: 50-60cm / 19-24in / 1.5-2ft
Calathea crocata Care
Light: Calathea Eternal Flame require bright indirect light. In an indoor setting, this means placing near a window that gets direct sun for around half of the day. Usually, this is an east, west or north facing window. For a south facing window you should place it further away, over 1.5m (5ft).
If you need to change the light levels then you can reposition the plant closer or further away from the window. Alternatively, for too much sunlight you can limit the light using net or sheer curtains, or supplement with grow lights for too little.
Too much light can damage the leaves so if you notice brown spots or edges to the leaves it could be best to move the plant further away, it’s also a sign of low humidity.
Too little light and your Calathea crocata’s leaves may start to lose their pattern or colour, and the foliage could start to reduce.
Soil: You can use a regular well-draining potting soil/compost for your crocata. Specialist house plant compost/soil is also suitable.
Ensure that the Calathea crocata does not sit in water and that the soil does not hold the water. If you need to increase drainage then you should add more holes to your inner pot. Additionally, you can add perlite to the compost mix or add stones to the bottom of the pot.
Watering: Watering your Eternal Flame plant should be done around once per week, but you should first check that it is required. To check, use your finger to check the top couple of centimetres (1in) of soil to see if it’s dry. If it is then water, if not then you should leave it and water once dried.
If you wish to make the task of watering the crocata easier then you can invest in a moisture metre. This relatively low-cost device can be inserted into the soil and will tell you if it is wet or dry.
Humidity: Humidity is important to Calathea and the crocata is no exception. You should try and place the plant in a naturally humid room or space such as a kitchen or bathroom.
For drier spaces, you should help your plant out a little. The easiest method is to group plants together, a slightly more involved method is to spray, or mist, your plant with water daily. Other less hands-on methods include placing the pot onto a tray of wet pebbles which naturally evaporate around the plant. Finally, you can invest in a humidifier, but this will be expensive.
Important note: When misting the crocata with water be sure not to spray any flowers.
Feeding: You can feed your Calathea crocata can be fed with regular plant feed. You should mix the fertilizer/feed up as instructed to do so on the packaging. You can begin to feed your plant from spring onwards and until the end of summer or early autumn, stopping feeding when the plant stops producing new vegetation. Avoid feeding over winter. Be sure not to over-water your crocata as this can lead to root burn and will prevent the plant from taking up nutrients.
Temperature: Keeping the right temperature is relatively straightforward for Eternal Flame Plants. Keeping room temperature around 18-24°C / 64-75°F is the best for the plant, but it can survive with it being slightly colder. You should avoid any temperatures below 15°C / 60°F.
Ailments: While owning a crocata you may come across some issues and even pests that you’ll have to deal with.
Spider mites are common pests that can inhabit most Calathea plants. These can be both tricky to get rid of and to spot. The Spider mites are very small you will likely notice the fine spider-like strands of cobweb across the soil and leaves. The damage to the leaves may also be a notice that they are present. Carefully check under the leaves and you may see tiny white dots, which sometimes move. In order to rid the plant of these pests, you will need to mix up a solution in a spray bottle, or use an off-the-shelf product. When mixing your own solution take a spray bottle of around 500ml. Add a couple of drops of dish soap (washing up liquid) or olive oil, then fill with water. Then thoroughly spray the plant until dripping and ensure all leaves and stems are covered. You should repeat this every three days until all mites are gone and repeat for a few times after to ensure they are gone.
If you find that your Calathea crocata has brown leaf tips then this could be an indicator of a number of issues. A likely cause will be a lack of humidity or underwatering. You can increase the humidity of a plant by grouping it with other plants, spraying with water daily, standing the pot on a tray of wet pebbles, or using a humidifier. Another cause can be because of too much water and not enough light. To solve this you should position closer to a window and let the soil dry before watering. A final cause for brown leaf edges can be nutrient deficiency or too much. If you are using tap water you may be building up nutrients, try using filtered water. To increase nutrients you can either feed your plant or change the soil.
Further care: If you’ve got your Calathea crocata or are thinking of purchasing one then you can find all the in-depth details on how to look after the Eternal Flame plant here.
Where To Buy a Calathea Crocata Online
- Ebay (UK) / (USA)
- Bloombox Club (UK) / (USA)
- Local Facebook Groups
- Other online sellers
You can easily find places to buy an Eternal flame plant online, but there are some considerations that you should make before making a purchase.
When buying through an online marketplace such as Etsy or eBay you should always pay close attention to the seller or store feedback and take time to look at any reviews they may have. To understand what your going to get it’s best to read any descriptions in full to avoid any surprises.
Similarly, online websites and shops are also good to buy from, but as with online marketplaces, it’s best to research if the website is any good. Take a look at review sites or check out a company’s social media to find any issues before you buy.
If there are any pictures you should inspect them closely if they are of the specific Calathea crocata you’ll receive. Some listings use generic images of the plant so if it’s not specified you should message the seller. It’s also best to contact the seller if you have any further questions before committing.
Another place you can buy is from Social media sites such as Facebook. You can join a variety of groups where fellow plant lovers buy and sell. Although most people are genuine there are some people that you’ll want to avoid. Try to look for sellers who are active in their community or look at any comments. While social media is riskier to buy plants from, you are able to get them cheaper or find rarer and more mature plants.
When receiving your plant you should thoroughly inspect it. Make sure that there are no pests on your plant, although it’s best to isolate it from others for 2 weeks. Also, check for any damage. Remember some small damage can be expected when a living thing is being sent through the mail or via courier. If you discover excessive damage to the plant, especially due to bad packaging, then you should contact the seller. Many online stores and marketplaces will offer buyer protections and refunds, however, you won’t get this with social media purchases.
Is the Calathea crocata perennial?
Yes, the Calathea crocata is a perennial and you can expect it to live for many years providing you look after it.
How do you propagate Eternal Flame plants?
Propagation of Eternal Flame plants should be done at the roots. In order to propagate you will need to divide your existing plant up so it will need to be in a large enough state that you can do so. To start propagation remove the plant from its pot and carefully remove all soil from around the root of the plant. Next split the plant up from the roots, you can split it up multiple times if large enough and splits can differ in size. It is best to ensure the split has enough healthy leaves and a good amount of roots. You can now pot the different splits back up into their own pots.
How do you make the Calathea crocata bloom?
The Calathea crocata should naturally bloom for 4-5 months at a time. In order to get it to bloom, you should make sure that the plant is meeting all the care requirements that we’ve listed above.
The Eternal Flame Plant can also be tricked into blooming by stimulating the lighting conditions that it would expect to find before blooming. To do this you should cover the plant so it is in darkness or place it in a dark place. Do this around 18:00. The following day, at around 8:00 remove the plant from the dark space or remove the cover. You should do this daily until you see signs of the flower buds. This process is best done around August in order to provide the best chance of induced flowers.
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