Calathea Rufibarba Care: Growing The Furry Feather Calathea

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Goeppertia rufibarba formerly known as Calathea rufibarba originates in the tropical Americas, hailing primarily from Amazon rainforests in Brazil, and is a member of the Prayer Plant (Marantaceae) family of plants.

Calathea Rufibarba - Furry Feather CalatheaPin

This tropical perennial has fuzzy, feather-shaped leaves, hence the common name Velvet Calathea or Furry Feather Calathea.

Velvet Calathea Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Goeppertia rufibarba
  • Common Name(s): Velvet Calathea, Furry Feather Calathea, Goeppertia rufibarba, Feather leaf plant
  • Synonyms:  Calathea rufibarba, Calathea haematosticta
  • Pronunciation: ka-LAY-thee-uh roo-fee-BAR-buh
  • Family & Origin: Marantaceae family, native to Brazil
  • Growability: Moderate
  • Grow Zone: USDA zones 8 or above
  • Size: Can grow up to 3.5′ feet tall and wide
  • Flowering: Rarely flowers indoors
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Humidity: High humidity, mist regularly or use a humidifier
  • Temperature: Keep in temperatures between 60° to 70° degrees Fahrenheit all year round
  • Soil: Nutrient-rich, well-draining soil mixture
  • Water: Keep soil consistently moist but not waterlogged
  • Fertilizer: Feed with a half-strength dose or slow-release fertilizer throughout the growing season
  • Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to spider mites, mealybugs, and fungal diseases like Botrytis mold
  • Propagation: Divide during repotting
  • Plant Uses: Used as a decorative indoor plant, air purifier, and for its unique foliage.

Calathea Rufibarba Care

Although Calathea Rufibarba is challenging to care for, you can grow them well if you follow proper furry feather calathea care.

Potted plant against brick wall.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @thenodephx

Calathea Rufibarba Size and Growth

This moderately fast-growing tropical perennial can grow to approximately 3.5′ feet tall and wide.

Velvet Calathea’s unique foliage features feather-shaped leaves that are green and waxy on top, deep purple, with furry foliage on the underside.

As Fuzzy calathea plants mature, the leaves turn from green to maroon or burgundy on the undersides.

The stems of calathea fuzzy are also fuzzy and bright red.

Flowering and Fragrance

Generally speaking, Calatheas are not flowering plants. Typically, people keep them for their attractive calathea fuzzy leaves.

Calatheas are unlikely to flower when kept as houseplants, which is the typical way to keep these delicate tropical plants.

Although not grown primarily for its calathea rufibarba flowers, the furry feather calathea flower is known to bloom. However, it rarely flowers indoors.

furry feather calathea light requirements and Temperature Needs

This tropical jungle plant likes to live in an area with plenty of bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight causes fading of the leaves and can cause burning. Too little light causes poor growth.

As a tropical plant, Calathea furry feather prefers warm temperatures ranging from 60° to 70° degrees Fahrenheit all year round.

Thriving indoor plant in a basket.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @another_plant_mom

Keep your plant out of drafty areas, but also ensure good ventilation around the plant to prevent fungus problems.

Moreover, Fuzzy feather calathea thrives in USDA hardiness zones 8 or above

Water and Fertilizer

These jungle plants like consistently damp soil but cannot tolerate sitting in water.

Although many plants do well with a soak-and-dry method of watering, Calathea furry feather prefers small drinks frequently. Avoid watering your Calatheas with tap water.

Moreover, avoid inconsistent watering because it can result in yellow leaves.

Pro Tip: Calathea Watering is an important factor for successful Calathea care.

Keep the humidity level surrounding your calathea fuzzy plant relatively high; keep ventilation consistent to prevent mold problems.

You can also use a humidifier, pebble tray, or evaporation tray to maintain high humidity levels.

Use a liquid fertilizer (houseplant) rich in nitrogen to encourage vigorous leaf growth and color. Feed a half-strength dose or slow-release fertilizer a couple of times a month throughout the growing season.

Soil Requirement and Transplanting

Any nutrient-rich, well-draining soil mixture will work well for your Calathea plant. A standard potting mix rich in organic matter like coco-coir, peat moss, or shredded leaves should do fine.

Plan to repot annually or biannually, depending on how much growth your plant exhibits.

Grooming and Maintenance

When the leaves of your mature plant become dusty, wipe them gently with a soft, damp cloth. You may also wish to give your plant a lukewarm shower to wash the leaves and give it a boost.

Never use leaf shine on Calathea, as this damages the furry leaves.

Furry feather plant care also involves trimming unhealthy leaves to help rufibarba calathea focus its energy on sprouting new growth.

How To Propagate Calathea Rufibarba Plant

It is not possible to propagate any Calathea by rooting it in water.

The best furry feather calathea propagation is to divide the roots when repotting. Do this early in the spring.

Vibrant green potted plant with glossy leaves.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @jardin_la_nina

When you repot your plant, shake the old soil off the roots and divide them as needed. You can use your fingers to separate them or use a sharp, sterile tool if necessary.

Goeppertia Rufibarba Pests or Diseases

Rufibarba calathea tends to get brown, crispy leaf edges when humidity levels are too low. Cold temperatures will also cause this problem.

When this happens, cut away the brown parts cleanly with a sharp, sterile implement. Make adjustments to warmth and humidity levels to prevent the problem in the future.

Crispy, brown leaf edges can also result from under-watering. Pay close attention to your watering schedule. Adjust as needed to keep the soil uniformly moist at all times.

Drooping leaves and rotting stems are a sign of overwatering. These Calathea Rufibarba Diseases can also occur by exposure to cold temperatures or drafts.

As with underwatering, adjust your schedule to keep the soil at the correct level of moisture.

NOTE: Never allow Calatheas to sit in water. Always use a pot with drainage holes to allow any excess water to drain away and prevent root rot.

Take great care to control air movement and temperature around your plant at all times.

Too much sunlight or too little may result in faded leaves. Remember that this plant likes ample amounts of bright indirect sunlight.

Botrytis mold will develop on Rufibarba Calathea if the air is too humid or ventilation is too low.

If suffering from undue stress, spider mites, mealybugs, and scales can be problematic for Calathea.

Examples are:

  • Too much water
  • Too little water
  • Incorrect humidity levels
  • Wrong temperature
  • Becoming root-bound

Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat spider mites, mealybugs, and scales.

Is Rufibarba Considered Toxic or Poisonous to People, Kids, and Pets?

Calathea rufibarba is entirely non-toxic.

Is Rufibarba Considered Invasive?

The calathea rufibarba furry feather is finicky tropical plant is not in the least bit invasive.

Suggested Calathea Rufibarba Uses

Indoor plant in textured gray potPin
Photo Credit: Instagram @aroma_plants_shop

Unless you live in a tropical setting, you must strictly consider this furry feather plant a houseplant with occasional spring and summertime forays onto a sheltered porch or patio.

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