Houseplant of the Week: Calathea ornata ‘Sanderiana’

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The pinstriped Calathea ornata is a fancy version of the prayer plant, notable for its variegated leaves that can be golden or a light pink. This is a statement plant, particularly the Sanderiana cultivar, which is a larger version and has shorter, broader leaves.

This is a plant of the tropics which means it loves its heat and humidity. It does not love direct sunlight – in fact took much direct sun can cause those lovely pinstripes to fade or can burn the leaves.

When watering, you are trying to walk the line between keeping the soil damp most of the time without allowing the plant to sit in water or overly wet soil, which can cause root rot. You’ll know you’ve overdone it if the plant starts to wilt.

While sitting in water is not good, surrounding it with humidity is a positive. Try a humidifier or sitting the plant on pebbles to increase humidity. If you really want to give your Sanderiana a treat, bring it into the bathroom with you when you plan to enjoy a long, hot shower.

For a planting medium, you can use a mix or peat moss and perlite, but if you want to make it easy for yourself, trying some African violet mix.

Finally, remember that this plant likes it nice and hot, and while it will tolerate cooler temperatures in the home, make sure it’s not near any A/C vents and avoid drafts.