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How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Calathea Ornata Indoors

calathea ornata

The Calathea Ornata is a unique, beautiful plant with large green leaves and pink stripes. The stunning Calathea is the perfect plant to add to your collection if you’re a prayer plants fan. This fabulous fussy plant can be somewhat difficult to take care of.

It can be hard to figure out how to take care of this tropical plant at first. But read this guide to learn exactly what to do, and once you start to properly care for your Calathea Ornata plant, you’ll be rewarded with vibrant colors and the delicate motion of the leaves.

Botanical Name: Calathea Ornata

Common Name: Pin-stripe Calathea or Pinstripe Plant

Family: Marantaceae

Plant Type: Perennial, evergreen

Hardiness Zones: 10 to 11 USDA

Sun Exposure: Bright and indirect sunlight

Soil Type: Moist but well drained

Soil pH: Neutral

Height: Up to 3 ft if grown indoor

Bloom Time: Spring to summer

Flower Colors: Green with pink stripes

Calathea Ornata Intro

The Calathea Ornata Plant (also known as Pin-stripe Calathea or Pinstripe Plant) is a highly ornamental plant that makes a unique addition to your houseplant garden. This plant is an excellent choice for more experienced plant owners.

This fabulous plant is naturally found in Colombia as some of the most popular houseplants like Anthirum Andreanum, Tradescantia Zebrina, and Philodendron gloriosum. This plant can also be found in other parts of South America, like Venezuela, but in North America, it grows in woodland, forests, and scrubland as part of the undergrowth.

The Calathea Pinstripe’s foliage is characterized by pronounces, silvery-pink leaf veins that look like pinstripes. This evergreen perennial grows in a clumping manner and can reach about 3 feet in height. Like other prayer plants, such as Maranta Leuconeura or Calathea Orbifolia, the Calathea Ornata closes up its attractive leaves when the night falls and opens back up at dawn.

Besides all these unique and amazing characteristics, the Pinstripe Calathea can remove toxic volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde and benzene from the air.

Calathea Orneta varieties

There are some ways to distinguish this plant’s varieties. Although their appearance might change, their care requirements are identical. 

Calathea O. ‘Sanderiana’: Extremely dark green leaves with light pink veins.

Calathea Orneta Sanderiana

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Calathea O.’ Beauty Star’: Dark green foliage with clear green vein area and silver leaf veins.

Calathea Orneta Beauty Star

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Calathea O. ‘Roseolineata’: Dark green leaves with silvery-pink leaf veins.

Calathea Orneta Roseolineata

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Calathea Ornata Care

In the South American rainforest where this plant originates, it is used in a humid and warm environment where it grows under tree-filtered sunlight. This plant’s care consists of providing it with the close approximation to its natural growing conditions as possible. Besides its unique colors, the plant’s leaves arch elegantly, creating an amazing visual impact for everyone that comes access with it.

Good Calathea Ornatain care means keeping in mind two things: humility and light. You gotta keep your plant in a warm environment with consistently moist air and soil – similar to tropical climates.


As any of the genus Calathea plants, the Calathea Ornata plants are underground cover plants of South America’s tropical forests, so they thrive in a warm site with filtered sunlight under the shade of trees. Although this is ideal sunlight exposure for this plant, they can thrive under low to medium/indirect sunlight throughout the day in your house.

Keep your plant in a bright room under some shade to keep your Calathea happy. If you want a more specific place, place your plant near a south-facing window -or an east-facing window if it’s not possible- with a thin curtain or where it can get bright indirect light.

If you expose your plant to direct sunlight, its leaves will start to fade and lose their pattering and color. So, if your plant begins to show any of these signs, move it into a more sheltered area and keep it away from ac units.


It’s important to have a regular watering schedule with this plant. You’d want to keep your plant’s soil moist enough but not soggy during summer. To ensure you’re watering your plant right, poke the top inch of the soil with your finger and feel the soil moisture before you water it. If it feels wet, let it dry to avoid root rot or fungal issues. Water your Calathea Ornata 1-2 times a week, but test the soul first before doing so. During winter or cold, when the plants are not in their active growing season, reduce watering frequency and use room temperature water.

As with most plants, drainage is an essential part of this plant to thrive. Ensure that whatever container your plant is in, there are drainage holes to allow excess water to drain the pot. Keeping the right watering balance and making sure your plant’s container has enough drainage should be enough to keep your plant happy and healthy.


Mixed with a regular watering schedule, the right soil mix for your plant can help prevent waterlogging or drying out issues. Like most tropical plants, Calathea Ornata requires excellent drainage and water retention as well. You can mix your own soil to create a more suitable potting mix for your plant.

To create your own mix, you need two parts of high-quality houseplant potting soil for your soil base, 1 part perlite that acts as the drainage-enhancing element, and 1 part sphagnum moss or coco coir to act as a water-retaining element. The Calathea Ornata loves moist soil, so make sure you have water-retaining soil to keep adequate moisture levels.

Temperature & Humidity

Calatheas, in general, thrive in high-humidity environments. So, the Calathea Ornata can easily die in dry environments or near heaters, draughty windows, or aircon in the house. You can increase your plant’s humidity by placing it near other plants or in the bathroom, using pebble trays, or using a humidifier. It’s important to keep your plant in a moist environment cause when its leaves get too dry, it can become prone to pests.

Location plays an important role in keeping your plant healthy as well. Being a tropical plant, the Calathea Ornata appreciates warm temperatures that hover around 65-85º Fahrenheit. Remember that all houseplants, especially tropical ones, are susceptible to sudden temperature swings or cold drafts.


This tropical plant -and houseplants in general- needs regular doses of fertilizer to stay healthy and look their best self. The best time to fertilize this plant is when it is in its active growing season (during spring and summer). Fertilize your plant once every two weeks.

Dilute your fertilizer according to its package instructions, then pour it ONLY over the plant’s soil; avoid the plant’s leaves, as they can get burned. The use of liquid fertilizer is recommended as it is much easier to control and can prevent the overfertilization of your plant.

Calathea Ornata Care

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Calathea Ornata Propagation

Unfortunately, this plant cannot be propagated through cuttings, only by division. This means that you simply need to divide two or more plants from one pot and repot the separated parts.

  1. Remove your Calathela Ornata from its pot and find pieces to divide, making sure they have their own separate root system and at least one leaf.
  2. Gently separate and untangle the roots and keep them as intact as possible (you can use a clean knife to coot the roots away if necessary).
  3. Pot up the separate pieces into their own pots. Keep an adequate watering schedule and continue to keep the plant’s soil moist as you normally would.
  4. Place your plant in the same light level as the original plant and provide your new plant with adequate humidity levels.
  5. Your plant might experience some shock, but it will grow again once it has adjusted to its new environment.

Calathea Ornata’s Common Problems

Because of the Calathela Ornata’s rather finicky growing requirements, it’s possible that you may come across some of these problems. The best way to avoid this plant’s problems is by taking the time to meet its care requirements well right from the beginning. Keep an eye close to any of the following signs and symptoms to catch any problems early.


The Calathela Ornata is not prone to pests, but it might be prone to common pests like spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs if they’re not receiving the right care. There are many in-depth methods to deal with different pests, but insecticidal soap should be enough to get rid of them.

Yellow leaves

Yellow leaves are motley caused by overwatering. Make sure you’re feeling the potting mix before watering to determine whether your Calathela plant needs water or not.

Brown crispy edges

Brown, crispy edges on the leaves are mostly caused by very dry air. Give your plant more humidity by using a humidifier or one of the previously mentioned methods.

Curling leaves

This is a sign that your plant might be too dry, water your plant thoroughly, and your Calathea Ornata will perk back up.

Calathea Ornata Pruning and Maintainance

You may notice that your Calathea Ornata occasionally has brown leaves. This is a normal sign that simply means it is time to prune back your plant’s large leaves. To do so, all you have to do is remove the leaves as they appear with a light pair of pruning shears or with your fingers. Removing your plant’s death growth will help maintain a healthy growth pattern and the overall plant’s height.

It would also make sense to dust your plant from time to time. Simply brush off any dust that the leaves may have with a clean, damp cloth before gently misting the leaves and wiping down your plant -if your plant has any yellow leaves, make sure to remove them to provide vigor and rejuvenation to your plant.

Calathea Ornata’s Toxicity

Most houseplants can be harmful to pets and humans, but luckily Calathea Ornata is not among them. Calatheas are safe and non-toxic for pets and humans, so their ingestion won’t harm them. Unlike many houseplants, you can safely place this plant wherever you want without worrying about your four-legged friend and little ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Is Calathea Ornata rare?

This type of Calathea is a rare variety than most, so if you come across one, don’t doubt to acquire one, as most plants collector find it difficult to get their hands on one. If you’re lucky enough to get one, make sure you have a humid setting with indirect sunlight for your Calathea Ornata.

What is the easiest Calathea to care for?

Also known as Rattlesnake Plant, the Calathea Lancifola is the easiest member of the Calathea family to take care of.

Is Calathea beginner friendly?

Calatheas are said to be one of the easiest prayer plants to take care of, and with their unique pattern and color variegation, these plants are a must-get for plant collectors. Although, this plant is not recommended for those with a ‘brown thumb.’

Why is my Calathea growing so slowly?

Anything that prevents your plant from getting enough nutrition, energy, or water can slow or stop its growth. Poor sunlight levels or hydration deny your Calathea Ornata the resources it needs to produce new foliage.

Why did my Calathea Ornata die?

This plant usually dies because the soil goes dry around the root ball due to poor watering, which causes the plant’s leaves to droop down and turn crispy and brown with a dying appearance.

How big does a Calathea Ornata get?

The Calathea Ornata can reach 3-9 feet in height if it’s grown in the wild. However, if it’s grown as an indoor plant, it probably won’t exceed 3 feet.

When to repot Calathea Ornata?

It is probably a good idea to repot your Calathea once every one or two years to give it fresh soil and nutrients.

How to prune Calathea Ornata?

To prune away dead leaves from your plant, start by removing any withered leaves by snipping them at the base of their stems with sanitized and sharp shears. Then clean up the crisping edges or tips – you don’t need to cut the entire leaf if only one part is dead.

Other Houseplant Guides from Planet Natural:

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Calathea Plant Indoors

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Calathea Makoyana Indoors

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Calathea Orbifolia Indoors

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