If you’re thinking about growing calathea, you’ll have your work cut out for you – not because these plants are necessarily troublesome or cumbersome to grow, but because there are so many types of calathea plants to choose from!
From the peacock to the zebra, pinstripe to the prayer plant, this diverse group of plants has hundreds of species to choose from.
Calathea is a large genus with many cultivars and every one of them is unique with their own beautiful, bold designs.
As soon as you know how to care for calathea, here are some popular varieties of Calathea that will make a nice addition to your indoor collection:
1. Peacock (C. makoyana)
Otherwise known as Cathedral Windows, Peacock calathea is one of the popular Calathea species for both outdoor and indoor landscaping. The leaves are stunningly patterned with shades of green, white, pink, and silver on the top surface, resembling a peacock’s tail feather. The underside is equally beautiful, with contrasting green and deep purple patterns.
Peacock calatheas originated in Southern Brazil. They are not the most robust and would grow best in shaded areas with high humidity and slightly acidic soil.
Peacock calatheas are perfect as potted indoor plants, border plants, groundcover, or as an accent in the garden.
2. Zebra (C. zebrina)
Zebra plants can be distinguished from other calathea species by its ovate, light green leaves that are silky, patterned with dark green stripes coming from the midrib like a zebra.
The leaves are silky to the touch and grow horizontally from long stalks, concealing its undersides that are colored a rich reddish-purple.
3. Pinstripe (C. oranata)
Calathea ornata, also known as Pinstripe calathea, is a group of various plants with line markings on their leaves. This calathea originated from Western-SouthAmerica, particularly in Colombia.
They feature luscious leaves that are green with stripe markings on top and purple on the underside. They grow up to 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide, making them perfect as container plants. You might also hear them referred to as Goeppertia ornata.
4. Rattlesnake (C. lancifolia)
One of the common species of calatheas, C. lancifolia or Rattlesnake plant originated from Brazil. The species name is derived from its lance-shaped leaves.
The top surface is light green with dark green patches, alternating in size, like a reptile skin. The underside is a rich burgundy color. They grow in clumps with leaves growing vertically atop long pedicels.
Rattlesnake plants can grow up to 2 feet in height and 1 foot in width. As with most calatheas, they love shady areas with high humidity and are perfect indoors.
5. Medallion Calathea (C. veitchiana)
Out of all calathea species, none can take the place of Medallion in its value for ornamental use. Endemic to Ecuador, these rare calathea types feature large, green, oval leaves, marked with a dark green crescent shape pattern on opposite sides of the midrib and along the margin. The underside of each leaf is colored a deep purple.
C. veitchiana is considered a near-threatened species in its home country of Ecuador and can rarely be found in local garden centers.
6. Rose Stain Calatheas/Rosy (C. roseopicta)
Out of all the many calathea species, the Rose Stain calatheas have the most cultivars. This plant has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
With its beautiful large, rounded leaves patterned with varying shades of green, white, silver, and pink, it is one of the most sought-after indoor plants. Some of cultivars worth considering for indoor collection are as follows:
This variety features leaves with a dark green, almost black center and margins. A thin band of bright pink circles the center of the leaf and runs along its midrib. The underside of the leaves is a bright pink color too.
Another popular cultivar is ‘Rosey.’ It grows in clumps and has large ovate leaves that are cream and pink with green borders. The leaves fold up at night on this purple-foliage plant.
var. Princess Jessie
This was discovered as a mutation in a tissue culture of unpatented C. roseopicta plants in the Netherlands. This variety looks very similar to Dottie but the leaves are black and the pink bands are wider.
This variety looks the closest to the parent plant except its leaves are colored differently. The foliage is gray-green with dark green margins and dark purple underside.
Other calathea varieties and species worth considering include:
7. Fusion White (C. leitzel ‘Fusion White’)
‘Fusion White’, sometimes referred to as ‘White Fusion,’ offers an eye-catching display of lilac, white, and green variegated leaves. The undersides have light purple-pink hues that run down the stems. It can be a bit more particular in regards to its care than other calathea types, yet it’s still worth growing nonetheless.
8. Freddie (C. concinna ‘Freddie’)
‘Freddie’ is a Brazil native that is one of the few to produce visible, fragrant blooms. These flowers are white and sweetly-scented, opening in the springtime under the right conditions. It grows a couple of feet tall and, as is the case with many varieties of calathea, is nyctinastic with leaves that fold up overnight and open up again come morning.
9. Network (C. musaica)
This is a variety of many names. Its botanical name is Goeppert kegeljanii but it is also referred to as the network plant and calathea bella (though the latter is considered incorrect nomenclature for many reasons).
A Brazilian native, this plant is referred to as the network plant because of its fine, intricate floral patterns.
10. Misto (C. ‘Misto’)
‘Misto’ is an elegant hybrid calathea variety that looks wonderful even when it doesn’t have flowers. Its leaves’ edges are scalloped with silver brush marks. The leaves are a gorgeous shade of burgundy underneath. They grow to three or so feet in height but are slow growers, making them wonderful floor plants or perfect when grown on plants that stand low to the ground.
11. Saturn (C. picta ‘Saturn’)
Not much is known about ‘Saturn,’ a relatively new and distinct cultivar. It was selected and created by inventor Ann Lamb in 1993 and is known for having dark green leaves with silver-green centers. Unlike other cultivars, it has no pink markings. It stands tall and upright with few branches, making it suitable for larger pots.
12. Eternal Flame (C. crocata)
Crocata, also known as Eternal Flame, is another one of the best calathea varieties to consider growing. It has robust, eye-catching flowers and while it’s often found growing wild in the jungles of Brazil, it, unfortunately, is not as common as it once used to be.
Track it down, though, and you’ll benefit from a plant that produces stunning flowers that each last two to three months at a time!
13. C. orbifolia
This type of calathea is absolutely stunning and is sure to help you make a bold statement in your home. It is attention-grabbing, with large, robust leaves and a metallic-like pattern. It has green leaves that are round and leathery with mature plants browning to more than two and a half feet wide and tall.
Despite the fact that there are more than 300 different cultivars of calathea, there’s only one orbifolia. You might also hear this plant referred to as goeppertia or maranta orbifolia but the plant is one and the same.
14. C. ornata
C. oranta is an ornately striped plant, which makes the name of this plant make a ton of sense! Also known as the pinstripe plant, it is native to Ecuador and Columbia and is often grown as a houseplant.
Of all the varieties on this list, this one can be a bit fussy – so make sure you do some reading on how to grow and care for it before you bring it home!
This cultivar of C. ornata has striped foliage and leaves that are more elliptical than a typical C. ornata. It is tropical and elegant with broad glossy leaves that have feathery pinstripes tinged in cream and rose.
15. C. warscewiczii
Native to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, this is one of the more popular varieties of calathea and is also known as Jungle Velvet.
The name is quite fitting when you realize that the leaves are velvety, dark green, and absolutely lovely to behold. They’ll bring a taste of the tropics to your home! At night, the leaves close up just like those of prayer plants.
16. C. rufibarba
This plant is not quite as showstopping as some of the other varieties on this list, but it still offers plenty of benefits to the average grower. Also known as velvet calathea or furry feather, it has furry leaves that grow in a spear-like shape. It requires extensive amounts of fertilizer and humidity.
What is the Most Beautiful Calathea Plant?
When you’re trying to choose the right houseplant for your home, you might be wondering which of these plants will offer the most beautiful display of color.
The short answer is that none of them is more beautiful than the rest. Each type of calathea offers its own unique beauty and elegant flair, so pay attention to the growing requirements and individual attributes of each to decide which one is right for you.
As you can see, there are plenty to choose from! We hope this guide gives you more tips when it comes to calathea identification.
*image by tza_x.hotmail.com/depositphotos