Calathea orbifolia care guide

In this guide you'll learn: How to care for your Calathea orbifolia plant and
answers to FAQs to keep your plant happy

About the Calathea orbifolia

The Calathea orbiofolia is a tropical, south american plant famous for its incredibly large, bold and luscious oval leaves. Featuring stripes of silver, and pastels of light through to dark green foliage, it’s a handsome statement piece wherever it’s grown.

Often grown as a houseplant and a good option for well-lit offices, the orbifolia, sometimes called the prayer plant, is relatively easy to care for, and is a somewhat good option for beginners if you can provide regular watering, a little extra humidity and bright, indirect light.

This tropical plant will give your home an exotic feel and modern, classy look, while also zapping dust from the air, releasing humidity and producing fresh oxygen to keep the air clean and healthy.

Easy to care for with once weekly watering, requiring no special equipment or growing mediums, if this is the plant for you, see our buyers guide below, and our full care guide here.

Calathea orbifolia in the House & Office

The Calathea orbifolia houseplant needs warm temperatures and bright, indirect light. Typically it will need to be located within a few feet of a window that isn’t south facing (and a little further back from a south facing one), so a well-lit room is ideal.

This tropical plant grows on the rainforest floor and will naturally see bright, but indirect light that is filtered by trees, so while it does need a good amount of light, it doesn’t need to be in full sun.

This can be ideal in homes and offices with plenty of natural light, but being next to a south-facing window will subject it to too much direct light, and around five feet or so from that window will be bright, indirect light which is perfect for your indoor plant.

A few feet from north, west and east facing windows is also appropriate.

We often recommend to invest in artificial lights to supplement the natural light your plant receives if the room is too dull. If you have a light meter, the ideal range for bright, indirect sunlight is 10,000 to 20,000 lux.

The plant’s large leaves help to increase the level of humidity in its immediate surroundings, produce oxygen and trap dust to keep the air fresh, which is often an issue especially in office environments.

Calathea orbifolia Size

Height:  80-100cm / 31-39in / 2.6-3.3ft

Spread: 50-60cm / 19-24in / 1.6-1.9ft

Calathea orbifolia Care

Light: Bright but indirect light that is within 5 feet of most well-lit windows is optimal. Do not place any closer than 5 feet from a south-facing window, as the direct light may scorch its leaves. If the plant loses its lustre or leaf pattern, try moving it a little further away. Aim for 10,000 to 20,000 lux on a light meter.

Soil: Your Calathea orbifolia likes well-draining, fertile, organic soil that is moist but not wet and waterlogged. Add perlite or other rocky-material to the grow pot if the moist soil gets too damp and needs more drainage.

Watering: You can water it when the top inch of the soil is dry, about once per week being ideal. Due to calcium and other contaminants, it does not like tap water too much and will do best with distilled water. Keep the soil moist and don’t let it dry out completely.

Humidity: As it likes high humidity, you can sit the pot in a pebbly tray of water, keep it close to other plants, invest in a small humidifier or mist the plant regularly to increase the moisture content of the surrounding air.

Feeding: Don’t feed your plant outside of the growing season, but feed it twice per month during spring and summer once growth starts. Stop feeding when growth significantly slows down to a stop.

Temperature: Your orbifolia won’t like temperatures below 15°C / 60°F, but is fine at room temperatures of 18-24°C / 64-75°F, which will keep your plant happy enough to sprout new growth.

Ailments: Browning leaves suggest that your plant needs a higher level of humidity, while leaf pattern loss could be due to overexposure to sunlight.

Further Care: To help your plant thrive, read our full guide detailing everything your plant needs to grow into an impressive part of your collection, see our full care guide to the Calathea orbifolia.

Where to Buy Calathea orbifolia Online

  • Ebay (UK) / (USA)
  • Etsy
  • Bloombox Club (UK) / (USA)
  • Local Facebook Groups

Finding the perfect Calathea orbifolia online shouldn’t be too difficult as it is fairly commonly available and not too expensive.

We recommend that you either buy from a reputable website that specialises in houseplants, or if you want to choose the exact plant, marketplaces such as Ebay and Etsy can be great options with plenty of choice available.

If you do buy from a marketplace, you should ensure that the seller is reputable, with plenty of well-rated reviews and clear photos of the plant you will receive. If you are unsure, you can contact the seller for more information.

If you are unhappy with the plant you receive you should never settle for what you have. Lodge a complaint if your plant is damaged, has root rot or burned leaf edges, or is in otherwise poor health.


Is the Calathea orbifolia toxic to animals or humans?

Like all calatheas this plant is not toxic to you or your pets. However, we still don’t recommend to go munching on their leaves if you want a beautiful, healthy plant. 

How much humidity does it need?

While this house plant will be happiest with the humidity level around 50-60%, it can still do well with less.

If your plant doesn’t seem happy in its environment and the humidity is a little low, try increasing it using a humidifier, a pebble tray of water or keep your plant together with other plants (as each plant will raise humidity levels).

Does it flower?

The orbifolia will flower irregularly, but this is not going to be a large or impressive display. Keep in mind that this plant is well known for its strikingly beautiful leaves, and not for a bouquet.

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About the Author

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Plant-lover with a life-goal to buy land across the UK to plant his own forest, James specialises in horticulture and botanical research, and has been growing and rewilding forests with trees, including endangered species, for over 15 years. He is an avid gardener, allotment owner, and aids in the running of a carbon neutral initiative in companies across the UK.

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