Calathea ornata care guide

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

In this guide you'll learn: How & where to buy the calathea ornata, how to care for your plant and answers to FAQs to keep your plant happy

About the Calathea ornata

There is but one thing you’ll notice about the Calathea ornata: the gorgeous white pinstripes that adorn its wide glossy leaves. These thin white and pink markings almost look like they are carefully drawn on and earn the ornata its nickname, the Pinstripe plant or sometimes the Pinstripe Calathea.

As with many Calatheas the ornata originated from tropical climates specifically Columbia and Venezuela. Because of this it likes to be watered weekly and prefers areas of higher humidity just like in the rainforest. In some scenarios and locals, this might require a little extra care compared to other house plants, but the added work will earn you a beautiful striking plant that keeps your room’s air clean and your spirit uplifted.

Most of the Calatheas ornata’s basic needs can be met with no specific equipment (although it can make life easier). If you’re looking to get your pinstripe plant right away read our buyer’s guide down below, or for more on how to look after it check out our full Calatheas ornata care guide here.

Calathea ornata In The House & Office

The Calathea ornata can be a great choice for both in the home or office but you will need to be sure that there is a place that it can inhabit.

With the plant being a floor forest dweller it enjoys the cover of other plants and bright but indirect sunlight is what it’s used to. In most rooms, this can mean placing a few feet or just over half a meter from west, north or east-facing windows. South facing windows usually receive a lot more light and thus placing the ornata should be done at over five feet or 1.5 meters.

Houseplants like the Calathea ornata can attract dust and provide oxygen which can keep the air clean and healthy. In addition, its looks help to bring nature inside and create a calm and welcoming atmosphere.

Calathea ornata Size

Height: 50-100cm / 20-39in / 1.6-3.2ft

Spread: 10-50cm / 4-20in / 0.3-1.6ft

Calathea ornata Care

Light: The Calathea ornata requires bright indirect light, which is what it receives in its naturally shaded jungle floor environment. You can replicate this in your room by placing the plant within 1.5 meter (5ft) of a north, west or east-facing window. Place over that distance if placed in a room with a south facing window. Just be certain that your plant does not sit within direct sunlight as this can cause burns to the leaves.

Soil: Regular potting soil/compost will be fine for your Calahea Ornata. It should allow good drainage. Test when watering to make sure that the water drains from the holes in the bottom of the pot. If water is being held in the soil then you can add perlite to the potting mix. Alternatively, add stones or gravel to the inside of the bottom of the pot.  Furthermore, if your plant is held within a plastic pot then you can add extra drainage holes.

WateringWatering the ornata can be done around once per week, you should always first check that it does need it. You can test the top few centremitres or inches of soil with your finger. If you want to make life easier, and to not have to stick your finger in the soil, then you can invest in a moisture meter. When watering it’s best to take out the inner pot from the decorative pot. You can then place this in a sink or tray and let the water run through before placing back into the decorative pot. YOu should also consider the type of water that you use. Tap water can be okay but sometimes when the water is too hard it can cause issues. Using filtered or distilled water can help when problems occur, or even rainwater can be used.

HumidityHumidity is rather important for Calathea ornata due to their rainforest origins. If you notice that the leaves are starting to brown on the edge then it’s likely that humidity is low in the area you place the plant.

You can do a number of different things to increase humidity. An easy method is to group plants together. Another method is to regularly mist the plant with a spray bottle and water. Furthermore, you can stand the plant on a tray of wet pebbles or in extreme cases invest in a humidifier.

Feeding: Feeding can be done within the spring and summer months. You can use regular house plant feed, and you should follow the instructions labelled. Slow feeding toward the end of the summer (which is the end of the growing season), when the plant stops new growth stop feeding. Feeding should be avoided during the autumn and winter.

Temperature: With the ornata hailing from hotter climates it will require a temperature of around 18-24°C/64-75°F. It can handle a little lower but it’s best to not let it drop lower than 15°C/59°F.

Ailments: There are a number of pests that can affect Calatheas with one of the more common being spider mites. Spider mites are very small and hard to see. You can usually see their presence first by the small spider-like webbing that they leave behind, as well as sometimes the damage to leaves. To ride the mites from the plant you will need to regularly spray with either purpose-made formula or make your own by combining a drop of washing-up liquid (dish soap) or olive oil in a spray bottle. Spray the plant around every threes day, and continue to do for a few more times after the bugs seem to have gone.

Another issue you may come across with most Calatheas is brown leaf edges and tips. The likely cause of this is due to the room environment being too dry. Although you can’t reverse the browning leaves, you can take action to prevent it from happening further. The easiest way would be to move the plant to a more humid room like a kitchen or bathroom. You could also mist the plant daily, this does require some work. Placing the plant together with others also helps increase humidity but be careful of spreading pests.

Further careAlready got your plant and want to find out even more information on how to look after it? then be sure to check out our full Calathea ornata care guide.

Where To Buy Calathea ornata Online

  • Ebay (UK) / (USA)
  • Etsy
  • Bloombox Club (UK) / (USA)
  • Local Facebook Groups
  • Instagram
  • Other online stores and shops

Finding a Calathea ornata online is far easier than finding one at a local shop or garden centre. However, if you plan to buy online then you should always do some research to find a reputable seller, that has reviews and feedback. 

When using an online marketplace like Etsy or eBay you have a little more of a safety net with their various buyer protections. You should still take a look at a seller’s feedback or reviews prior to purchasing to avoid unnecessary inconvenience later on. Also, be sure to closely inspect any pictures and descriptions, and you can always ask the seller questions if you are unsure of something.

Less safe options for buying house plants are via social media, such as Instagram or Facebook. Buying this way could help you find a bargain, or let you buy a more mature plant. Most sellers will be completely honest, but sometimes you may find plants that don’t arrive or individuals that ghost you after taking payment.

Sending plants through the mail isn’t ideal and sometimes you can expect a small amount of damage or a sad-looking plant due to the stress of shipping. Most of the time love and care will help the plant bounce back. If you discover the plant has been neglected or is damaged badly due to poor packaging then you should take it up with the seller to ensure a refund or replacement.

FAQs

Is Calathea ornata easy to care for?

The Calathea ornata is a relatively easy-to-care for plant with the only difficulty being maintaining the increase in humidity that it likes. If the edges of the leaves are brown then it’s best to increase humidity by placing in a room like a bathroom or a kitchen. Other ways that you can increase humidity is by grouping with other plants, spraying regularly with water, standing the pot on a tray of wet stones or buying a humidifier.

How often should you water Calathea ornata?

Watering should be done weekly, but only if the plant needs it. Check if the top inch or a couple of centimetres of soil is dry and if so water. If it is moist soil then you should wait until it drys before watering. Ideally, it’s best to use filtered tap water, but tap water can be suitable in most places.

Is Calathea ornata an indoor plant?

Unless you live in its native habit of Columbia or Venezuela then it’s probably best to keep your ornata indoors.  It won’t handle temperatures below 15°C/59°F and does not like dry environments, and instead like high humidity

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About the Author

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A passionate plant lover and houseplant connoisseur with a rich family background in horticulture. With experience in plant nurseries and garden centers, Jonathan has cultivated a diverse collection of leafy friends and explored native flora on adventures such as trips to South America. His mission is to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for plants, creating a greener and happier world for all.


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