The Calathea Concinna is a beautiful houseplant with stunning green striped foliage. The plant’s more popular cultivar is the Calathea Freddie.
Both are part of the Marantaceae which means that it is a prayer plant.
As such, like other plants in the group, it folds it leaves to reveal the undersides of its foliage come nighttime. This allows it to conserve energy.
Then open them back up again in the morning to absorb as much light as possible.
The plant itself grows to between 2 to 3 feet tall. This makes it perfect if you need an a focal point or something that grab’s your visitor’s attention the moment they enter your living room.
That said, as gorgeous as the plant looks, it has one drawback. The plant is not the easiest to care for. It is actually quite fussy.
Nevertheless, it is still a very popular houseplant. And, if you want to enjoy its beauty in your home, here’s how to care for it.
Calathea Concinna Plant Care
Calathea Concinna does best in bright, indirect light. It is native to the tropical rainforests of South America where it lives under the larger trees and plants.
As such, it is used to getting dappled sunlight as the forest canopy blocks direct exposure to the sun’s rays.
This has made it accustomed to wanting lots of light (at least 6 hours a day) but, away from direct light which will scorch its leaves. It likewise cannot tolerate harsh sunlight or intense rays.
On the other hand, it is more amenable with lower light making it a good for it indoor conditions.
However, be wary to dark rooms and overly dim or shady locations.
Since the plant has variegated leaves, it needs more light than those with solid green foliage. This means its light threshold level is much higher.
And, if it does not get sufficient illumination, you’ll being to see it lose its beautiful stripes in order to absorb more light.
Outdoors, partial sun or shade it ideal.
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Your Calathea Concinna is a warm weather plant. Again, this stems from its native habitat.
This means it is hardy to USDA zones 10 and 11. And, will only thrive outdoors all year round in these areas.
For this reason, many people keep it as a houseplant.
Indoors, it will do well as long as temperature is kept between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate hot summers all the way to about 95 degrees.
But, is won’t give you any leeway below 60 degrees. Once you go below this level, it will start to feel uncomfortable.
And, the lower you go the more stress it will experience resulting in stunted growth, small and few leaves or discoloration.
Humidity is another aspect of the Calathea Concinna that needs a lot of attention.
Its tropical rainforest habitat means that is it used to moist, humid conditions. This kind of environment allows the plant to thrive and produce its most vibrant foliage.
Ideally, humidity be between 60% and 80%. Although it is able to tolerate levels a bit lower than that.
However, this is still a bit high for most homes.
As such, it is a good idea to check what the humidity is in your home.
And, since humidity changes as the seasons change, I recommend getting a digital hygrometer. This will tell you what humidity is in any room of your home instantly.
In doing so, you’ll be able to take the proper measures to keep the plant healthy and happy.
The best way I’ve found to increase humidity is to place the plant on top of small stones in a water bath.
The stones keep the plant above the water which is very important. And, as the water evaporates, in increases humidity around the plant.
The only maintenance you need to do is add more water when it gets depleted.
Thus, it is free and requires very little work on your part.
On the other hand, you can also get a humidifier. This lets you cover more space depending on the square footage capacity of the machine you get. And, it is more precise with humidity control especially if you get one with settings or humidity meter.
Other options including, misting, grouping plants and moving them to the bathroom.
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How Often to Water Calathea Concinna
As mentioned earlier, your Calathea Concinna enjoys moist conditions. This is likewise true for soil especially during the summer when evaporation can cause it to dry fairly quickly.
Do note that the level of humidity affects watering. Higher humidity reduces the need to water as much while the opposite is true for lower humidity.
Similarly, the more sunlight the plant gets and the warmer the temperature, the more you have to water.
Together, these factors affect how often you need to water. So, while the average for me is around 5 to 9 days depending on the time of year, it will likely be different for you due to the exact conditions your plant it living in.
Nevertheless, it is a good starting point. And, you can adjust from there.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the plant is fussy when it comes to light, moisture and feeding. With watering, the challenge is keeping the soil moist but avoid getting it soggy or wet. Waterlogged soil will increase the risk of root rot and fungal problems.
But, that’s not all,
Unlike other plants which you can neglect a bit and allow to dry more without consequences, your Calathea Concinna does not give you that luxury.
It cannot tolerate drought nor will it be happy if you let it go dry.
As such, there’s a more complicated balancing act involved here.
The best way is stay in this range is to water the plant once the top 1 to 2 inches go dry. You have some leeway in letting the soil go past beyond that point which isn’t a problem.
But, avoid allowing the soil to dry past 50%.
You can stick your finger into the soil to feel for moisture at different depths. Or if you prefer, use a moisture meter.
Soil for Calathea Concinna
Calathea Concinna need well-draining soil. Ideally, you want a mix that’s a bit on the chunky side. This will allow excess moisture to easily drain which in turn prevents the plant’s roots from sitting in water for long periods of time. Similarly, it lets oxygen easily get to the roots as well.
You can use 2 parts peat and 1 part perlite or sand to create the soil mixture the plant will be happy with.
It holds enough moisture to keep the plant hydrated. But, drains any excess to prevent waterlogging.
If you prefer something commercial sold, you can use African violet mix.
In case you have potting soil at home, you ca likewise use that as well to save money. Mix 50% each of potting soil and perlite will likewise do the trick.
Should you want something more chunky and airy, go with:
- 50% potting soil
- 20% charcoal
- 20% orchid bark
- 10% perlite
These different mixes work. However, some will work better than others depending on how heavy your watering hand is and the other factors in its living environment (sunlight, humidity, temperature, etc.).
As such, true one and see how it works. You can adjust as you go.
If you’re not happy, try another recipe until you find one that works really well for your specific plant.
Calathea are not heavy feeders. This includes the Calathea Concinna.
As such, avoid the temptation of feeding it more to help it grow faster or produce more foliage.
Instead, applying diluted or light fertilizer works best.
The plant only needs to be fed during its active growing periods which are in the spring and summer. You don’t need to feed it during fall and winter.
Use a weak houseplant fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen. This will help it focus on foliage development rather than blooming.
Apply once every 2 weeks.
Alternatively, you can go with a balanced liquid fertilizer at the same rate but make sure to dilute it to half strength each time you apply.
The Calathea Concinna does not need a lot of pruning. It is a fairly small plant with relatively large leaves which also makes it easier.
You can expect it to get to between 2 or 3 feet.
And, its leaves grow in alternative fashion such that they look more organized. If you look from above, you’ll notice that the leaves are arranged in a kind of circling pattern.
Because they don’t overlap, it is less likely to get messy and unruly as the plant gets bushier.
This reduces the need for trimming.
As such, size and shaping are the usual cosmetic reasons for pruning.
On the other hand, remove any dead, discolored or damaged leaves as well.
The plant will likewise appreciate a weekly wiping of its leaves. Just use a damp cloth to gently clean off the dust that accumulates. This will allow it to breathe better as well as absorb more light.
Calathea Concinna Propagation
The best way to propagate Calathea Concinna at home is through division. The plant does not take well to stem or leaf cuttings.
As such, the best time to propagate will be when your repot the plant in spring.
Here’s how to propagate Calathea Concinna through division step by step:
- Prepare an extra container for the divided plant. You’ll need more if you want to divide more sections. Also have fresh potting soil on hand.
- If you’re going to repot and propagate indoors, I recommend covering the floor with old newspapers or some kind of plastic to make it easy to clean after.
- Carefully slide the root ball out of the current container. The more pot bound it is, the tighter the root ball will be against the inner walls of the container. So, take your time.
- Once out, check the root ball and roots for any problems.
- Now, look for healthy section of the plant to segment. You can start by choosing healthy stems that look like good candidates for new plant.
- Then trace the chosen stem/s down to the root ball and locate its matching roots. This will give you an idea where each segment begins and ends.
- Take a sterile knife and carefully separate the segment from the parent plant.
- Plant the new and parent plants into their own respective containers and fill will fresh potting mix.
How to Repot
Your Calathea Concinna is a fast grower. And, it will likely need repotting annually. At most 18 months.
Since its living conditions and care will affect how quickly it grows, a better gauge of this is to check the drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
If roots are coming out of those holes, it is time to move to a larger container.
With repotting you have a few options.
- Move to a larger container. In this case, refresh the soil and get a pot that is 2 inches bigger nothing more.
- Divide the plant. This allows you to keep the plant in its current container. And, grow another smaller plant from the mother plant. In both cases, you want to use fresh potting soil as well.
- Prune the roots. This is an option if you are happy with the size of the plant and don’t want it to grow much bigger (moving to bigger pots encourage it to get bigger as well). Thus, pruning the roots and reducing the size of the root ball will let you return the plant to its container with fresh soil.
Which you choose will depend on what you want to do with the plant.
The Calathea Concinna is pet friendly. As such, it is not toxic to dogs or cats. Nor is it toxic to baby or young children.
As such, it is safe to keep around the house without fear that it can poison any of the members upon accidental ingestion.
From above, you can already tell the Calathea Concinna is a somewhat fussy plant.
Unfortunately, that’s kind of the price you have to pay for calatheas. While they have stunning looks, they’re quite fussy in many aspects.
The most problematic is often watering. Too much or too little both case issues. And, not only can this cause yellowing leaves, brown or curling leaves, it will also stress the plant.
And, stressed plants become more prone to pests and diseases which compounds the problem.
Additionally, overwatering increases the risk of root rot, leaf spot and fungal diseases. This risk is heightened due to the plant’s love of humidity.
Humidity is likewise related to water. Low air moisture likewise poses another issue.
Before we leave the topic of moisture, do note that the plant is also sensitive to chemical in tap water. As such, it is best to use rainwater or distilled water.
Another alternative is to leave tap water in room temperature at least overnight to allow the chemicals to evaporate before using it on the plant.
If that’s not enough, be careful with too much sunlight which can burn its leaves.
Finally, there’s the issue of fertilizer salts. Too much fertilizer or applying too often can damage its roots and stems due to the salt residue that’s left in the soil from chemicals in fertilizer.
Thus, the best way to avoid pests and disease is to properly care for the plant, clean its leaves regularly and cheap for any changes in its leaves.