How To Care For Calathea Ornata aka Pinstripe Calathea Prayer Plants

Pinstripe plant, Calathea ornata (ka-LAY-thee-uh or-NAH-tuh) is a member of the Marantaceae or arrowroot family.

Plants in this family are also known as prayer plants.

Mature pinstripe calathea with white stripes

Calathea is a Greek word meaning basket, in reference to the shape of the plant’s flower.

Ornata is a Latin word meaning ornate referring to the plants’ splashy appearance.

The jungle plant pinstripe Calatheas grow wild in the tropical Amazon rainforests in South America of Brazil, Peru, and southern Columbia.

Calathea plants in their lush, natural tropical setting, these rainforest plants are perennials and may die back during the dry season only to return after the monsoon season.

Calathea Ornata Care Instructions

Size & Growth

Growing as a house plant the potted pinstripe plant produces leaf stalks reaching about 1′ or 2′ feet high and the plant growing just as wide.

The leaves are colorful and beautifully patterned. Typically, young dark green leaves are topped with striking bright pink lines located between the lateral veins.

The undersides of leaves are purple. As plants mature, the lines lose their pink color and become white.

Fully mature, flowering plants usually do not have lined leaves. Alternately, the white lines may disappear, and yellowish green brush patterns may take their place.

Mature plants may also lose the purple hue of the leaves’ undersides, which may transition to a deep green.

NOTE: Another attractive Calathea with interesting leaves is the ‘Rattlesnake plant‘.

Flowering & Fragrance

Calathea ornata is grown for its attractive, colorful foliage.

When mature plants do flower, the blossoms are colorful and attractive but are secondary to the brilliant leaves.

The orange flowers are oval-shaped and grow on spiral bracts.

Light & Temperature

Because these are understory plants in their natural settings, Pinstripe Calathea naturally prefers a shady location and plenty of humidity.

Bright indirect light enhances the colors of the foliage, but extended periods of direct sunlight are intolerable.

Calathea ornata needs protection against high winds and cold drafts. The best temperature for this plant is between 65° and 75° degrees Fahrenheit.

Never allow the temperature to drop lower than 60° degrees Fahrenheit.

Watering & Feeding

These tropical plants like humid conditions, and appreciate misting several times a week. It’s also a good idea to keep Calathea containers on pebble trays filled with water to maintain a high humidity level around the plants.

As for a watering schedule – Keep the soil moist but not soggy at all times. Allow the top inch of the soil to dry before watering. Ornata is known to be sensitive to chemicals found in tap water. When watering growers recommend using room temperature distilled water over tap water.

Feed twice a month with a diluted solution of balanced houseplant fertilizer. Don’t fertilize during the winter months, but do fertilize during the growing season which runs from April through October.

Soil & Transplanting

Calathea plants do well in a moist potting soil mix consisting of one part perlite and two parts peat.

Repot in the springtime with a fresh potting mix every other year.

Grooming & Maintenance

  • Trim off dead or withered leaves at the base of the stem.
  • Spray the leaves of your Calathea several times a week.
  • Wipe the leaves clean of dust as needed.

How To Propagate Calathea ornata

As with most plants growing from rhizomes, propagation by division is the easiest method.

When repotting Calatheas split plants into several more to increase your collection.

Calathea ornata Main Pest or Disease Problems

Exposure to excessive sunlight, extreme temperatures, and strong drafts or winds will cause damage to leaves and leaf loss.

Lack of humidity can also cause problems.

Weakened plants or plants kept outdoors may fall prey to mealybugs, spider mites, and caterpillars.

NOTE: According to the ASPCA Calathea is non-toxic to horses, dogs, and cats, people or kids. [source]

Pinstripe plant grows via rhizomes, but it is not invasive due to its fairly delicate nature.

Uses For Calathea Pinstripe

Pinstripe Calathea is grown as an indoor plant, but in tropical settings, it can naturally grow outdoors in a shady spot.

It does very well under trees in protected settings.

As a container plant, Calathea is happy to be brought outdoors onto sheltered patios and porches during the warmer times of the year.

Be sure to bring it back indoors well before the danger of the first frost.

JOIN Our FREE Plant Care Newsletter 

By entering your email address you agree to receive a daily email newsletter from Plant Care Today. We'll respect your privacy and unsubscribe at any time.