By Karen Weir-Jimerson, Costa Farms
Photograph courtesy of Costa Farms
Add a little exotic color to your indoor decor with the daring stripy leaves of Calathea. This flashy houseplant is a little like a Rorschach test; look deeply into the bold splashy patterns of its large leaves and you'll see an endless array of interesting shapes. The leaves are dotted and dashed with pink, green and white, making them an eye-catching way to add interest to any room. And here's a surprise: depending on the species, the underside of the leaves are totally maroon or purple.
This South and Central American native bears some of the prettiest leaves of any houseplant so it's ideal for indoor plant lovers who are looking for something different. Calathea is sold in garden centers by descriptive common names such as rattlesnake plant and peacock plant (thanks to its range of showy foliage). Plants are ideal for tabletops. Calathea grows slowly and, depending on the species, will reach 3 feet tall.
Caring for calathea is easy. Grow plants in medium to low light. This beautiful tropical doesn't like much sun on its leaves, so shield it from direct light to prevent sunburn. Water calathea enough to keep the soil moist, but not wet or saturated. This isn't a drought-tolerant houseplant, so take care to keep it hydrated. Extended periods of dryness will turn the tips or edges of the leaves brown.
If you haven't tried calathea, give it a whirl. As the Rorschach-test leaves prove, it's always a good day to add a little flash of color and pattern to your indoor décor!
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