Calathea, commonly known as Peacock Plant, Zebra Plant or Rattlesnake Plant, is a genus of popular houseplants you can grow in your home. These plants got those names because of the characteristic leaf markings on their glorious foliage.

The botanical name of these plants is Calathea. These plants make excellent house plants but there are some specific conditions you need to provide to them in order to make them thrive. Since these are tropical plants, they have very specific requirements for high humidity, temperatures and water.

What is the Difference between Calathea and Maranta Plants?

Sometimes, people refer to Calathea plants as “Prayer Plant”. However, this is misleading since “Prayer Plant” is a name for Maranta plants (belonging to the Marantaceae family). However, it is important to note that, strictly speaking, Marantaceae family also include the whole Calathea genus. In other words, the Maranta and Calathea plants are very closely related.

Because of this, it is not surprising to learn that they often have very similar care requirements. If you learn how to take care of one, you will likely know how to grow the other. This is why tips on this page can work for Maranta plants as well. However, if you are interested in growing Marana plants exclusively, it is best to seek information about how to care for them. This is the only way to ensure that you are giving the best care to your houseplants.

Gorgeous Foliage

The leaves of Calathea plants come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. They typically have ornately patterned leaves – sometimes, the patterns are so complex that they look almost artificial or painted on! The foliage of Calathea plants is also known for its rich colors. The undersides of leaves are often colored in very bold colors, such as purple.

The leaves are strong and stand stiffly away from the main plant. They also change position slightly during the day. This slight movement happens because of the changes in humidity, temperature, moisture and other factors.

Keep in mind that Calathea plants rarely flower indoors. This is ok: the main reason you will want to grow these beautiful plants is the foliage. There are many different varieties to choose from. However, if you really love flowering plants you may choose a specific variety: Calathea crocata. This plant is known as the “Flowering Calathea”. It gives gorgeous orange flowers so it looks very attractive. Unlike other Calathea plants, it has plain-looking foliage but the flowers are so gorgeous so this plant is very attractive. It is also expensive, so keep this in mind when deciding on the best variety of Calathea to grow in your home. If you want a more affordable variety you can grow for its foliage, you may choose among the numerous varieties, such as Calathea makoyana, Calathea zebrina, Calathea insignis / Calathea lancifolia and Calathea leopardina. These are the most popular Calathea varieties you can grow in your home.

Photo credit: starmilky new via photopin (license)

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