Calathea is a beautiful house plant many call the prayer plant. Their leaves open up in the day and close at night. Many varieties have beautiful foliage but are picky. They do not like tap water, and a calathea soil mix should drain well but hold water.
It is important to pot your Calathea in a potting mix with a pH of 6.5, and good aeration to give it the appropriate amount of water retention and draining.
How To Choose A Potting Mix For Calathea
When potting a Calathea, the soil must be well-draining and rich in nutrients. Regular houseplant potting soil may do the trick. However, it will not allow your Calathea to grow as it will be missing certain nutrients and aeration qualities optimally.
There are a few things to check when buying potting soil to verify that it will work well with your Calathea:
The aeration of potting soil allows the pot to not be too compact for a plant.
It allows small holes throughout the mix so water can run through and drain to avoid root rot.
It also prevents any bacteria build-up that may cause any disease in the roots.
Well-draining soil also allows oxygen to meet the roots of your plant, which enables the correct air to filter out throughout the soil.
Aeration also avoids any build-up of carbon dioxide and brings more oxygen to the roots.
If you want to improve the aeration of the soil you already have, you can add certain particles like perlite, gravel, and shredded bark.
- When potting soil has good moisture retention, it can remain moist for many days after watering. Some recommend water gel beads for plants.
- Good moisture retention will give your Calathea water throughout the week.
- It will also improve its growth as the roots do not dry out between waterings.
- The Calathea plant is a tropical plant and sensitive to treated water. Use distilled or rain water when watering plants. More on watering calatheas.
- With moisture retention soil, you will provide your Calathea with its constant watering needs.
A pH Of 6.5
Calathea plants are picky and need an acidic soil with a pH of 6.5 to grow optimally.
If the pH is over 6.5 or too basic, it will form limestone in the soil. If the soil is too acidic, it will cause the growth of bacteria and organisms.
Acidic soil will also lead to nutrient deficiency.
To adjust the pH, you can use peat moss or pine to lower the pH or use limestone to heighten it.
This should be done a little bit at a time to reach the desired pH slowly. If you use too much limestone or peat moss, you will be over-adjusting the pH of the soil.
All potting soil will have nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in it. However, high-quality soil will have higher levels of these nutrients and micronutrients.
These nutrients are vital to allow your Calathea to thrive and grow. You can add compost and old plant cuttings and top them into your soil to create these nutrients organically.
You can also fertilize your Calathea. You must dilute all the fertilizer crystals with water to avoid any issues with overfertilization.
You should also only fertilize the soil in spring and summer.
Making Your Own Soil
If you decide to make your own soil for your Calathea, you easily can. You will need the following ingredients:
- Sterile potting soil
- Shredded bark
Mix the ingredients by adding the following:
- 50% percent of the potting soil
- 20% percent of bark
- 20% percent of charcoal
- 10% percent of perlite.
It is also important to plant your Calathea in a non-waxed or glassed pot, preferably terracotta.