Calathea Orbifolia: Care and Propagation

Calathea Orbifolia

Calathea Orbifolia, or the Geoppertia orbifolia (Scientific Name: Calathea Orbifolia), is a tropical South American plant that is also one of the largest members of the Calathea family. The leaves and the gorgeous foliage, which are large and oval in shape, make the plant stand out and provide it its overall size. These plants make for excellent and adorable houseplants. Similar to any other calatheas, Orbifolia tends to be fussy. Despite this, they provide an attractive outlook of home and gently brush the eye of plant lovers.

Calathea Orbifolia

Orbifolia loves moisture and warmth. So, trying to grow a gorgeous pot of this plant in a dry climate region can be a massive waste of time. Similarly, keeping the Cata-folia plant in your house away from pets or kids is necessary, despite it not being toxic. Despite their growing popularity in recent times, they are still relatively uncommon among common plant parents. Though they provide an excellent aesthetic for your house, it is necessary to remember that they can get droopy, have root rot and require proper care and propagation.

Name: Calathea Orbifolia

Genus: Calathea

Family: Marantaceae

Calathea Orbifolia Flower

The primary aspect of the plant that usually gets noticed is its extensive and outstanding foliage. However, Orbifolia can also produce flowers. These are pretty rare and can generally be seen in the wild. They have white flowers, which are pretty tiny and smaller than their leaves.

 

Also Read:- Calathea Setosa: Plant Care, Common Name And Propagation

Calathea Orbifolia Care

From the outside, caring for the plant might seem like a big deal. But, once you start with it, it is straightforward to fulfill its requirements. If you do it right, caring for them would be something you’d actually look forward to. See below for more details on the process.

Light

As mentioned previously, Calathea Orbifolia prefers medium lighting. They grow well in locations with shades and when kept out of direct sunlight, as they can fade if kept in bright light. Bright light can also damage their leaves over a certain period of time after prolonged exposure.

However, despite other lighting needs, light morning sun exposure can benefit the plant. And, you can read if the plant is getting sufficient sunlight by studying its leaves by yourselves.

Temperature

Geoppertia orbifolia are sensitive to chilly and cold temperatures. So, try keeping it away from cooler areas of your house during winter. Average room temperatures (65F to 75F or 18C to 24C) work well for these plants. To avoid surprises, try limiting the sudden change in temperature for these plants.

Soil

As mentioned previously, a normal potting mix with good draining as well as moisture-retaining ability works well for them. A balanced mixture of 2 parts potting peat-based soil with one part perlite and one part orchid bark would be suitable. Peat provides nutrients that help calatheas thrive.

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Water 

Regularly check if the soil has gotten dry or too moist. A simple way of keeping it well watered is by sprinkling sufficiently if the top of the potting soil gets dry. Try using filtered, distilled, or even rainwater for Calatheas. Tap water can show an adverse effect on their growth.

Do not overwater your Calatheas as they do not withstand overwatering. Comparatively, they can better withstand periods of dryness rather than overwatering.

Fertilizers

Monthly use of fertilizers is sufficient for the plant’s healthy growth during the spring and summer growing seasons. A balanced indoor plant fertilizer would be the most ideal.

Humidity

They prefer growing under humid conditions. Relatively dry air would not immediately kill them but could harm them. Calathea orbifolia thrives well under humidity levels higher than 50 percent.

If you live in a dry region, a simple hygrometer can be a lifesaver for your plants. Other ways of increasing humidity are regular misting, pebble-filled waters around the pot, sea shells on the topsoil with the hollow side facing upwards, and placing the plants close but not overcrowding them.

Pruning

For Calathea orbifolias, pruning is unnecessary. Due to its build with sets of single-leaved stems, there are no branches to prune off. However, if the leaves get damaged, they might need to be removed.

 

Calathea Orbifolia Propagation

Calathea Orbifolia

Due to these plants being relatively uncommon away from their native land, propagating can provide a lot of meaning as an orbifolia keeper. The most suitable way of propagation for it is via the division method. Unlike other Calathea plants, this species cannot be propagated through the technique of stem cutting or general root cutting. Though the division method of propagating Calathea Orbifolia can be tricky, this can provide positive results. The following steps can help any plant parents properly propagate these plants by yourself:

  • Properly sanitize all the tools for the propagation process. Make sure that you use proper gloves, glasses, and other equipment.
  • Find a healthy root section with a tuber and one or more healthy leaves after gently and adequately removing it from the pot.
  • Carefully separate the section of a root and use an appropriately sized pot to repot it.
  • Do not overwater the potting soil mix, and keep it moderately moist. Also, keep the pot in indirect medium lighting.
  • Due to its nature, keep the plant in a humid location, and if not possible, humidify the area near the plant.
  • Be patient and let the plant grow into a gorgeous addition to your plant family.

Do these plants droop, and why?

Calathea Orbifolia’s leaves and even the whole body can get droopy if proper care is not maintained, especially the watering factor. Under watering as well as over-watering your Orbifolia can cause its leaves to look dull and droopy. In such a case, feel the moisture in the potting mix using a moisture meter or even just your fingers. After a thorough examination, make sure you adjust your caring process (water more or add drier soil).

 

Root Rot

Similar to the drooping of the plants, one of the crucial factors to keep in mind about houseplants is root rot. Along with watering complications, root rot can also be the reason why Orbifolias droop.

 

Root rot occurs after prolonged exposure to soggy and overly damp potting soil. The root gets mushy and loses its ability to function correctly. In such a case repotting the plant in a drier, the more suitable potting medium would be the best course of action. Also, it is necessary to prune off the dead parts of the root.

Common Problems

Their preferable growing conditions make Calathea orbifolias privy to fungal diseases, insect infestations, and other problems. Leaf spots, white soil mold, and mildew can affect them if they’re not looked after well.

Pests such as Mealybugs suck the sap of the plant from under the leaves and stem, thrips lie on the underside of the leaves, and the tiny translucent aphids stick to the plant-like honeydew and slowly damage the plant.

Solution

  • Spray the plant with a high-pressure water hose to get rid of aphids.
  • Using neem oil and insecticide soaps is most effective against most pests infestation.
  • Wipe the leaves of the plant with a cotton ball or paper towel dipped in rubbing alcohol.
  • You can also prepare a mixture of rubbing alcohol and dishwashing liquid and spray it on the plant. This would get rid of the pests by suffocating them.
  • The alcohol-water mixture is also a solution to the spider mites problem.

Other problems

  • An incorrect method of watering can cause the yellowing of the silvery green leaves. On the other hand, temperature change could also lead to yellow if everything in the watering process is done correctly. If cared for well, this should not be a problem.
  • Lack of water and low humidity can introduce brown patches on the leaves. Similarly, Thrip infestation can also be a cause of such problems.
  • Leaves of the orbifolia can curl up if the plant experiences a cold temperature. To counter this, mist them regularly and move them to a warmer yet shady location.
  • Furthermore, the plant can start wilting once it is repotted. It could be due to the stress of readapting to a new environment. To prevent this, place the plant in a humid location and avoid pruning, fertilizing, or further repotting until the plant returns to its beautiful appearance.

What are the different names for Calathea orbifolia?

They are often referred to as Round-leaf plants, Orbifolia prayer-plants, or Goeppertia orbifolia.

Where does Calathea orbifolia belong?

They are native to the nation of Bolivia and are found commonly throughout South America in the wild. They can be kept as ornamental plants in temperate areas.

Price

You can purchase this plant from most online plant-selling websites or other general locations. The price for a pot of Calathea orbifolia can range from $15 to $35.

Pros 

  • If the basic caring needs are met, they grow well and do not require extensive expenses.
  • They can be a good beginner plant as well as an excellent addition to an already existing plant family.
  • It does not require large space.

Cons

  • It is difficult to report and does not thrive well when done so.
  • Does not prefer sunny locations.
  • Rarely flowers.

Conclusion

Well-kept Calathea Orbifolia presents us with beautiful green foliage and can grow two to three feet in height. It consists of a moderate growth rate when healthy. The large gorgeous leaves on these plants make for a great addition to your home, and you’ll always feel the positive energy when near them.

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