The Calathea Beauty Star is a beautiful foliage plant that’s known for its striped green foliage. It hails from South America and is a member of the Marantaceae family.
As such, you’ll notice its nyctinasty. By opening its leaves when the sun is up, it is able to soak up as much sun as it can to use for photosynthesis. After the sun sets, you’ll see it fold up its leaves in a prayer-like fashion to rest through the night.
This is why plants in this family are called prayer plants.
The ‘Beauty Star’ is also a cultivar of the Calathea Ornarta. Thus, you’ll see some similarities between them in looks as well as caring preferences.
That said, the thing that attracts growers to the plant is its foliage, which features a combination of different shades of green combined with some purple and white. It is likewise fairly easy to care for with one or two aspects to be more vigilant in.
Calathea Beauty Star Plant Care
Calathea Beauty Star Light
The Calathea Beauty Star grows best in bright, indirect light. However, keep it away from direct sunlight, which can burn its leaves. Similarly, keeping the plant under the intense heat of the bright sun for too long like what happens during the peak of summer or in the afternoons will also damage the plant.
The reason for this is the plant grows int subfloor of South American rainforests. As such, its natural habitat keeps it under the forest canopy. So, it doesn’t received direct sunlight as the larger trees and plant shield it from the sun’s rays.
However, the environment allows it to soak a lot of bright, dappled and filtered light.
This means you want to mimic these conditions indoors.
Too much bright, intense light or direct sunlight will cause the plant’s leaves to burn. In the process, you’ll see its color fade.
On the other hand, it doesn’t have a problem with medium or low light. Again, this has to do with the shade that larger plants and their branches provide it in the forests.
But, you do want to observe how the plant reacts as the conditions get dimmer. It does has light threshold. Once you go below that, you’ll begin to see growth slow down. It will also produce smaller and fewer leaves.
And, in darker conditions, its leaves will become more solid green to try to absorb more light. So, its colors likewise fade.
But, the difference between this fading and the sunburn is this one recovers fairly quickly once you move it to a brighter spot.
This makes an eastern exposure followed by a norther exposure the best spots to keep the plant indoors. In the west, you’ll need to protect it using blinds or curtains to filter the light. Or, keep it away from the sun’s rays especially in the afternoons.
The south is a more problematic spot as it not only has intense afternoon sunlight but also the longest hours of light. Too much bright light and direct sunlight are both threats here that you need to shield the plant from.
Outdoors, it will do best in bright shade.
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Calathea Beauty Star Temperature
The Calathea Beauty Star can likewise tolerate a wide range of temperatures. But, like light, you also want to avoid extremes.
This prayer plant enjoys consistently warm weather. Its ideal temperature range runs between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The steadier the conditions are, the happier it will be.
In contrast, it does not appreciate or respond well to cold drafts or sudden changes in climate. As such, keeping it away from an air conditioner, heater or even fireplace is a good idea.
As such, the plant is can live outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. Here, you can keep it in the garden or in a container in your patio or deck provided that is stays away from direct sunlight.
The plant is not frost tolerant. Nor can it withstand freezing temperatures.
So, if you live below zone 10, you’ll need to bring the plant indoors before the temperature drops under 60 degrees. Similarly, once it goes over 90 degrees in the peak of summer, move it somewhere cooler.
Calathea Beauty Star Humidity
The other aspect of climate to consider with your Calathea Beauty Star is humidity. Ideally, keep indoor humidity at 50% or higher.
While the plant does better in higher humidity, it will be happy at this level. It can likewise tolerate a little bit below it. But, you may start to see some effects on its growth and leaves.
In contrast, higher humidity will make its colors more vibrant.
Because humidity changes throughout the year, the best way to track your home’s humidity levels is by getting a digital hygrometer. This is an inexpensive device that measures humidity.
This will let you always know what the humidity in a given room is. And, if it is low enough, increase it.
Average home humidity runs between 40% and 50% most of the year. But it drops to 30% to 40% in winter in if cold regions.
Here a are a few ways you can keep your Calathea Beauty Star happy by increases humidity around it.
- Mist it at least twice a week.
- Keep it in the bathroom, provided there’s enough light.
- Group it with other plants.
- Place it above some pebbles in a tray of water.
- Use a humidifier.
If humidity stays too low, you’ll see the plant’s leaf edges turn brown. This is a sign that you need to act.
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Watering Calathea Beauty Star
Like humidity, your Calathea Beauty Star likes consistently moist soil. But, it cannot tolerate soggy, muddy, wet or waterlogged soil.
As such, you need to find a balance between evenly moist soil conditions and overwatering. The latter is especially dangerous because long periods of wetness will cause root rot.
Since roots are under the soil, you won’t be able to see the damage until the symptoms start presenting itself in the stem and leaves. By that time, a good portion of the roots have been affected.
This is why overwatering kills a lot of plants.
Because of its need for moisture, you’ll need to water regularly during its growing season (spring and summer). This comes out to around once every 5 to 7 days depending on where you live. In the summer, you’ll be on the lower end of that range.
When you do, wait for the top 1 to 2 inches of soil to dry before watering.
Deep watering is likewise the way to go. This allows the moisture to reach the soil. Then, allow the excess liquid to drain completely before returning the plant to its regular spot.
On the other hand, allowing the plant to go dry for long periods is likewise a no-no. You’ll see its effects as its foliage tips and edges will turn brown.
The good news is, it will recover fairly quickly once you water it. Overwatering requires a much longer, slower recovery process, if the plant is able to recover at all. As such, being more conservative with watering is safer.
During winter, you want to cut down on water and wait for the topsoil to dry out between waterings.
Calathea Beauty Star Soil
Choosing the right soil allows you to avoid overwatering your Calathea Beauty Star.
On the other hand, the wrong soil will make it a lot more difficult to keep the plant happy.
Since it likes moist soil but doesn’t like wet feet. It needs soil that can retain enough moisture to stay evenly moist. But, not hold on to too much water. In short, it needs to drain excess liquid quickly.
This means avoiding heavy (clay) soils as well as light (sandy) soils. The former will retain too much water that will keep the plant’s surroundings too wet. Meanwhile, the latter will drain water too quickly that is cannot get well hydrated and absorb nutrients from the soil and fertilizer.
So, avoid both.
Instead, choose something in between. You can use a combination of 2 parts peat and 1 part perlite to create a medium that works well.
Note that this is not like garden soil as it won’t contain nutrients. So, you need to fertilize it.
You also don’t want to use garden soil because it can introduce pests and diseases to your houseplants.
If you use a soil-less mix, you want to make sure that you’re feeding the plant enough to give it sufficient sustenance. Without fertilizing, the plant’s growth will slow down or get stunted. Similarly, it will produce smaller and fewer leaves.
If you’re feeding it and still get some of these symptoms, you want to check 2 things:
Start with light first as it is easier to fix with less consequences. If the plant it in a dim spot or isn’t getting a lot of bright, indirect light, move it somewhere brighter. Plants need light for photosynthesis, which produces energy to help it grow.
Once you have it under more light, wait and see. If things improve, you’re done.
If not, you will need to up the dose of fertilizer. However, do it gradually as too much fertilizer can cause root burn, which is irreversible.
That said, you want to feed the plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2 to 4 weeks during its growing season (spring and summer). Again, start on the conservative end and work your way up if needed.
It won’t need to be fed in the winter as it isn’t actively growing at this time.
Pruning is not a big task with your Calathea Beauty Star.
You’ll only need to prune it to keep its size and shape under control. This will depend on where you’re keeping or displaying the plant.
More importantly, trim off any dead or damaged foliage. You’ll likewise want to do the same with yellow and brown leaves.
Also, cleaning its leaves once a week or every other week also goes a long way. It lets the plant absorb more light and clears its pores. Here, all you need is a damp cloth.
You can likewise give it a quick shower. But, make sure to let its leaves quickly dry as wet foliage can lead to fungal infection if moisture is left for long periods.
Calathea Beauty Star Propagation
The best way to propagate your Calathea Beauty Star is via division. This involved separating part of the mother plant and growing that section on its own container.
As such, you’ll need to take the plant out of the pot to complete the process.
But, because the plant doesn’t appreciate being moved or taken out, it is a good idea to propagate when you repot your plant. Doing both at the same time reduces the stress and shock experienced by the plant.
Here’s how to divide your Calathea Beauty Star:
- Carefully take the plant out of the container
- Inspect the root ball. Then check the roots for rotting or any other damage.
- Brush off any excess soil or dirt. The separate the roots if they’re wound around the root ball.
- Choose a section you want to divide. Start with a healthy stem and trace it down to its roots so you know which part of the root ball you need to cut away.
- Use your hands or a sterile knife to separate that section.
- Plant the new section into its own container with fresh, well draining potting soil.
- Repot the mother plant in its container but refresh the soil.
- Water both plants.
- Return them to suitable living conditions.
Transplanting & Repotting Calathea Beauty Star
At some point, you will need to repot your Calathea Beauty Star. This can take anywhere between 1 to 2 years depending on how fast it grows.
As such, the best way is just to act once the roots start trying to get out of the soil and pot. You’ll see them come out of the pot’s drainage holes first because that’s the point of least resistance.
This is a sign that they’re searching for more soil because the roots have outgrown the space in the container.
While they can be left pot bound for a short period. It is not a good idea to let it stay that way for long. This will stunt it growth. More importantly, it will stress the plant. Just imagine being kept in the small room with nowhere to go.
The problem with a stressed plant is it becomes prone to pests and diseases. Like people stress lowers its resistance and immunity.
So, repotting is a must.
If you don’t want to move it to a larger pot, you can separate or divide the plant. Here, you’ll take out a section of the root ball and plant it separately. As a result, you now have two smaller plants.
This will allow you to use the same container.
When repotting always have 2 things on hand.
- Fresh potting soil to replace the spend soil
- A new pot that is 1 to 2 inches larger. Don’t go much larger than this.
If you decide to divide the plant, you can use the existing container. But, will need a new container for the separated plant.
The plant is not toxic to people or animals. As such, your kids, dogs or cats are safe around it. Although, it can still pose as a choking hazard if ingested.
Pests and Diseases
Pests and diseases are not a big issue for your Calathea Beauty Star. As long as it stays healthy and is give the proper living conditions listed above, it should be resistant to pests.
However, you may still get a visit or who from a few pests. The most common of which are spider mites and mealybugs. Both are threats because they will suck the sap of your plant.
In doing so, they rob it of hydration and nutrients. Thus, affecting it growth.
Diseases are more moisture related. Thus, they are very preventable. Here, you don’t want to overwater the soil. And, you also want to let the leaves dry quickly when they get wet.
Air circulation is very important for the latter. The former, involves proper watering, well-draining soil and drainage holes at the bottom of the container.