Calathea and Ctenanthe Care Guide

Calathea and Ctenanthe plants are known for their stunning foliage and unique patterns. These plants belong to the Marantaceae family and are native to the tropical regions of Central and South America. With their vibrant colors and intricate leaf patterns, Calathea and Ctenanthe plants are popular choices for indoor gardens and plant enthusiasts.

Here are some essential care tips to help you keep your Calathea and Ctenanthe plants thriving:

Light Requirements

Calathea and Ctenanthe plants prefer bright, indirect light. They thrive in medium to low light conditions, making them perfect for indoor spaces. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight as it can scorch their leaves. If you notice the leaves turning yellow or brown, it may be a sign that the plant is receiving too much light.

Temperature and Humidity

These plants thrive in warm and humid environments. Ideally, the temperature should be between 65°F and 85°F (18°C to 29°C). Avoid exposing them to cold drafts or sudden temperature changes. To increase humidity, you can place a tray of water near the plants or use a humidifier.


Proper watering is crucial for the health of Calathea and Ctenanthe plants. They prefer moist soil but not soggy conditions. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. It's important to maintain a consistent watering schedule and avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.

Soil and Fertilizer

These plants thrive in well-draining soil that retains moisture. A mixture of peat moss, perlite, and potting soil works well for Calathea and Ctenanthe plants. Fertilize them once a month during the growing season with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Be sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for proper dilution.

Pruning and Maintenance

Regular pruning helps to maintain the shape and appearance of Calathea and Ctenanthe plants. Remove any yellow or brown leaves to promote healthy growth. You can also trim leggy stems to encourage bushier growth. Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and keep them looking vibrant.

Pest Control

Calathea and Ctenanthe plants are generally resistant to pests. However, they can occasionally attract spider mites or mealybugs. If you notice any signs of infestation, such as webbing or tiny insects, treat the plants with a mild insecticidal soap or one of our at home recipes.  You can find more detailed pest information on our Pest ID and Treatment pages. Regularly inspect the plants to catch any pest problems early.

By following these care tips, you can enjoy the beauty of Calathea and Ctenanthe plants in your home or office. Remember to observe your plants closely and make adjustments to their care routine as needed. Happy gardening!