Calathea (Prayer plant) - Care tips

Calathea (Prayer Plant)

The Calathea is part of the ‘prayer plant’ or arrowroot family Marantaceae. Prayer plants thank their nickname to the unique movement of their leaves, called nyctinasty. They fold their leaves upward (resembling praying hands) when they go to ‘sleep’ at night and open their leaves again in the morning.

Due to her human-like daily circadian rhythm, the Calathea is even nicknamed the ‘Living Plant’. All Calatheas move their leaves to some extent, but some do it more dramatically than others. When it is reeeeally quiet and you’re lucky, you might even hear rustling sound when your Calathea plant moves her leaves!

Calathea Plant Care Tips

Regardless of the variety, Calatheas are relatively easy to care for. The Calathea is a very expressive plant that quickly makes it visually clear when she is unhappy.

Is your Calathea not uncurling her leaves anymore or is she no longer closing her leaves at night? Then she is probably not feeling too well. The Calathea follows the movements of the sun in order to absorb the correct amount of light, but when she gets too much sunlight, she closes her leaves to reduce the amount of sun she is exposed to.
Leaf curling can however also be temperature-related: if she gets too cold, the Calathea will close her leaves to keep herself warm. Aww, that’s actually pretty cute, isn’t it?

Light and placement

The Calathea originates from Brazil and appreciates warm, humid ‘tropical’ conditions. Being used to grow at the base of trees in the dense tropical rainforest, the Calathea can tolerate low lightning conditions pretty well, but thrives best in bright indirect lightning. Direct sunlight can permanently damage and fade her delicate leaves, so be careful not to place her too close to a sunny window.

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The Calathea likes to sit in moist – but not soggy – soil. She doesn’t like wet feet for too long, so it’s best to give her small amounts of water regularly and not too much at once. You can let the top layer of the soil dry out slightly between watering, but when you stick your finger deeper into the soil, it should never come out completely dry. Too little water can make her leaves dry out and curl up.

She absorbs moisture through her big, wide leaves so you can boost humidity by misting her leaves. Keep in mind that the leaves of the prayer plant are quite sensitive, so make sure to adjust the nozzle to the finest mist setting.


You can boost your Calathea with some plant food every one or two weeks during summer. In winter, she hibernates and and does not crave any plant nutrition.


The Calathea plant is a non-toxic plant, so she is the perfect match if you are into both plants and pets!

Calathea plant for sale

At you can buy different types of Calathea prayer plants, like the Calathea Zebrina, the Calathea Orbifolia and the Calathea Medallion. With so many varieties to choose from, there is a Calathea for everyone!

Whether you like your Calatheas big from the start or prefer to grow them from tiny BabyPLNTS into full-grown PLNTS - we’ve got you covered!

Hi, I'm Emma, your guide!

Hi, I’m Emma, your guide!