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Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

Posted by Toynewb none (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 3:30

So I have a calathea ornata that I got maybe a month ago. The leaves are withering and drying up.

I am giving it bottled water as I read in some forums that tap water can be too harsh for these plants. I have it in the kitchen far away from any direct light, but the closest light source is a southern facing sliding door about 20 feet away. I'm watering it about once a week with bottled water and was given some liquid Miracle-Gro plant fertilizer to add to the water, but I'm afraid it's going to shock the plant. I just started to spray mist onto the leaves to help with humidity and have a pebble tray. Temps in my condo I'm guessing have been at high 50s at the worst of it. I don't have the heater running, but my place is still pretty dry.

In the picture you can see what the plant looks like. Any ideas on what I should do? Use plant fertilizer or spray with mist every day? Any advice? Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

I'm not speaking from experience on this particular plant, but very few plants are able to do well in such low light, and this plant isn't known for being one of those, at least not that I've ever read/heard. Twenty feet from a window is hardly any light at all, even for a "low light" plant.

When temps are low, plants use water much less quickly. The plant I got is in a 4" pot, I set it in an east window for a few hours of morning sun, and it has not needed a drink yet since I brought it home a week ago. When you add more water, has the soil dried at all?

You might get a kick out of the strange people article about this plant.


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

Ok, so I moved the plant from the kitchen to my bathroom. The plant right now is sitting about 3 feet from a southern facing window now. I might move it 10 feet away from that window eventually, because right now it's in a weird spot.

I'm beginning to mist it every day once to twice a day. There was this white fungus (i'm guessing it's fungus) covering the top soil. I removed that for now. I cut off all the dead leaves because there was no saving some of them at this point. I do believe 1-2 more leaves may be dying off soon too. My plant is in a 6 inch pot right now.

I'm watering the plant once to twice a week, but using half the water I initially used when I first watered it. The soil did dry a little initially when I tried to not water it as much. I haven't used fertilizer yet... but am wondering if i should. some other leaves don't seem to be looking as nice as they once did either. there is one new leaf, but it doesn't look very vibrant and I'm thinking it may already be dying.

i read that "strange people" post and felt exactly like that... haha. enticed by it's beauty, but am getting frustrated by her needy habits...

i'm trying to figure out this plant, but it seems like it might still be going down hill. any other thoughts? what was the white stuff on the soil?


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

The white stuff could have been mold, which would indicate that the soil is staying too moist. If that's what it is/was, misting could cause this to increase/continue. If it was more crusty, it could be hard water/salt deposits. Either would make me feel like repotting is probably necessary. Can you show a pic of the whole plant?


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

Also, Calathea are HIGH humidity plants. Which does NOT mean that you have to soak their soil. They need water in the -air-. You might try making sure it's not near a vent, misting it. Or just purchasing a small humidifier to put in that room--if you love the plant enough :)


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

Yea I guess I was overwatering it at first and the white mold is an indication of that. I'm using 1/3 to 1/2 the water. So yes, I'm hoping that misting it once to twice a day helps. Also being in the bathroom hopefully helps too. it's not near a vent right now and I haven't really been running the heater anyways.

I've been giving it some cheap bottled water because I read somewhere that it doesn't always do so well with tap water... and Los Angeles tap water is pretty bad.

I attached a semi full pic of the plant. I already clipped ~6-8 dead leaves and there's another one that's already gone. In the back you can see one is kind of turning yellow, while another two are turning more of a light purple. One of those is the new leaf that came up.


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

Sure is a pretty thing! I wish we had a window that big in our bathroom. Can't see it but the amount of light - it's a nice size, convenient ledge too.

Some bottled water is just tap water. Even if not, unless it says it is filtered with reverse osmosis, it may still have fluoride, chlorine, chloramine in it. Bottled spring water, or distilled are good choices. Rain, when it's warm enough.

If you could say generally where you are, the details would be easier to discuss. Folks way up north really shouldn't repot for a few months. But I plan to start for the year in the next couple weeks, plenty of sun and warm days here.

Some of the damaged leaves could have been from getting cold between the store and your house, if it's cold where you are...

The mold isn't entirely your fault. It's the stuff in the pot, can't see it but would bet it's mostly peat. Looks very dark. Most soils of mostly-peat will turn much lighter brown, even before it's really dried out.

Ideally you want something better in the pot, but getting the plant stabilized first would be the best thing, if possible. Do you have other plants you could group with it? A group of plants makes a little humidity bubble when the air isn't moving much.

I got the plant below on the 21st of this month and the soil was wet. It hasn't needed a drink yet.


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

I just took that pic above, and this one of the soil so you can see the difference in color. It looks a lot drier, and feels a lot lighter when I pick it up, but I can still see and feel moisture. I won't let it get bone dry, but until it at least feels dry at the surface, it's not time to add more water yet.

When I decide it is time for water, I will take the plant to the sink and water so it runs out of the holes. Check in about 15 minutes and see if it really got wet throughout. Probably not - it's peat. Water it again. When it stops running out, leave it tilted so one of the holes is at the bottom, let it drip until it stops.

I've killed too many plants in peat adding more water too soon, never letting plants dry almost completely. At least if I kill this one, it won't be the same old drowning that I and everyone else who kills a plant is usually guilty of. We can do this!


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

Your plant looks nice and healthy! I attached a full pic of the plant that will hopefully give you a better view of what I have. I am giving it some cheap bottled spring water. I know some of it is just tap, but i'm sure most things will be LA tap water.

The weather here in LA has been normal, but one of the weeks after I got this calathea it was pretty cold for LA standards. in the night it was getting to the 30s outside, and I'm guessing it was in the 50s indoors (i don't run my heater I just wear more clothes).

unfortunately I don't have any more plants to put it near. I do have a new coffee plant that's 5 feet tall and that's about it. i was hoping the daily misting would help.


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

here's a pic of the soil. when I water it... I guess the soil doesn't stay completely wet. i think i watered this plant on tuesday, the 29th.

i too was thinking about repotting it, but yes i want to stabilize it first. i also noticed the roots were growing out of the bottom of the plant so I snipped the end of those as instructed to me by the nursery ppl.


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

and just to give you an idea where the plant is sitting right now. it's 3 feet from a big southern facing window in my bathroom. getting lots of light right now compared to when it was about 20 feet away in my kitchen.

many of the leaves also have black, grey, or yellow tips. i want to say that there are really only 4 leaves left that look completely fine without flaw.


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

Hello there. From what I'm seen first if you keep in your bathroom that's the wrong place to have it at,and second I think your not giving it the right humidity it requires but the bathroom is not the place try and keep it away from the direct light some were a north window 5 ft away and tray you have is great but your plant is to big for it try a humidifier like I do with mine I keep mine 5 ft in a northwestern window and there do pretty good. Good luck hope this can help he is picture of one of mine I have 5 of them.


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

I would think the bathroom would be quite humid, at least at times. Instead of misting (which are drops of water big enough to fall to the ground,) hanging a damp towel in there and closing the door should increase the humidity. Rick, I'm curious why you would recommend against having this plant in the bathroom? My plant is not showing any signs of sunburn from getting a couple hours of morning sun, east window.


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

well i'm hoping that the plant has stabilized some more... i had to cut out one more leaf that was dead. It does appear that one more is yellowing slowly and i hope it doesn't end up like the other ones. The other leaves have black/brown/yellow tips too. i guess only time will tell. soil is still moist right now though. I am still adding water to the pebble tray to keep the humidity up too.

i did notice a little nat or fruit fly looking insect when I was misting the plant. should i be concerned with those?


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

oh and just to add to the comment about direct sunlight. it's never in direct sun as it's next to a southern facing window. sun never shines directly in my condo here.


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

Toyn try and repot your plant looking at the picture I think is the soil. It's time for a soil change and if you do give it a flush in bowel with water in sink and try some other kind of all natural potting soil , I use Black Gold for me is the best out there except miracle gro that contains to much junk specially bugs which is no good potting in doors and the bottle water it's okay just let it sit at room temperature ,if you decide to repot ones you you flush just leave it alone for a couple of day with out watering but check soil let it come to almost dry and then give it a good watering and let it drain out before putting back in its spot and try they'd trays the work with all my plants and there drainage . P.S hope this helps here is a picture of what I mean.


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

I'm surprised that no one has remarked about the temperature. Prevailing temperatures in the 50s are too low for this plant.


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

About the temp: Yea after researching more and more I realized that the temps were too low. But is temperature what would cause the yellowing of the leaves and the black/brown tips?


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

As the temps get lower, plants use water much less quickly. Often while gardening outside, if winter is fairly dry or one can manipulate the conditions in that direction for a certain plant, the zone can be cheated. It's not necessarily cold that kills plants on the verge of hardiness, it's being cold AND wet.

I've never had any plant damaged by temps in the high 50's, but do put a lot of faith in other people's experiences. Is this plant really THAT sensitive?


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

Very true on that I completely for got that pat in winter you have to reduce the water


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RE: Calathea Ornata Leaves are Withering

Toney,hello there from the look of your plant it's just going threw a life cycle right now. First that bottle water you giving it is not good the PH is very low and if you believe me give it test with a water kit and you will see that the level is below 6 and that's why the foliage on your plant is drying up and curling is the water your using and most important change that soil repot to a organic soil and just water it with water it and you will see the difference see I have bin growing Calatheas for the pass three years and trust me I have come to understand them the water, soil and moist are the most important things a calathea needs and that Mirico grow will not do. Me the soil I use is Black Gold all purpose organic soil is the best for these plants, you get this on line threw amazon trust me is the best for these plants, here is one of mine and you can see. For yourself what I mean, P.S good luck keep me posted if you need further assistance.


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