The calathea white fusion has got to have one of the coolest names around. And, it gets this nickname for good reason.
Its stunning dark green leaves are adorned with white streaks combined with purple and pink undersides that are complete attention grabbers. This unique color and pattern combination make it perfect if you want to add a highlight in any part of your home.
Its leaves are also the reason why it is among the most popular houseplants around. Unfortunately, because of this the plant isn’t always available in your favorite nursery or flower shop.
In addition to being called white fusion, it is also sometimes called peacock plant because of its lovely looks.
But, it doesn’t stop there.
Another interesting thig about the calathea white fusion is that it folds up at night, mimicking a prayer-like post. As such, along with other calathea plants, it is also known as a “prayer plant”. Although, it isn’t the actual prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura), which is a completely different species altogether.
Growing to between 1 to 2 feet this medium sized indoor plant can be tricky to care for. It is fussy about a few things including water and humidity. Both of which you need to get correctly to keep it happy.
Calathea White Fusion Plant Care
Calathea White Fusion Light
The calathea white fusion does best when given medium to bright, indirect light. It will also tolerate slightly lower light conditions. However, you want to be careful with low light because if it gets too dim, you’ll start seeing your plant lose its beautiful variegation. Similarly, its growth will slow down. The good news is, if you move it back to somewhere with more light, it will recover.
That said, too much bright light, especially direct sunlight will bleach its foliage. Thus, moderation is key in keeping the white fusion’s vibrancy.
This means the best places to put the plant are either a north or east facing window if you live in the U.S. and Canada. Being in the northern hemisphere, we experience less light in the north side. This makes it ideal for most calatheas.
An east facing window likewise works very well because it received the morning’s gentler light. However, the worst spot is somewhere facing south as the sunlight is most intense here during noon and afternoons.
So, if you place it there, make sure to provide it with some kind of protection like a cloth or curtains to filter out the sun.
Should you be lucky enough to grow it outdoors, partial sun will provide it with the best chances of growing optimally. You’ll still want to keep it away from direct sunlight.
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Calathea White Fusion Temperature & Humidity
Like many other houseplants, calatheas are tropical plants. And, the white fusion is no exception.
This means it grows best when the temperature is moderate to warm. As such, you want to keep the thermostat between 60 and 75 degrees.
More importantly, you don’t want to keep the plant somewhere the temperature will drop into the 50s. When this happens, you’ll notice it begin to struggle and experience stress.
Similarly, it is a good idea to keep it away from drafts, winds and breezes, be it natural or man-made. Cold winds that enter windows as well as air conditioning drafts are both no-no’s.
If you live in USDA zones 10 and 11, you’ll also be able to grow the plant outdoors all year round. But, outside of these regions, they are better off as houseplants in pots. This lets you take them outside during the summertime as long as you bring them back in once the temperature starts nearing 60 degrees.
In the same light, your calathea white fusion thrives in highly humid conditions. Ideally, it likes relative humidity that’s about 75%. It is comfortable with moist air because that is its natural environment in the South American tropics.
Unfortunately, this level is quite high for homes. So, you’ll need to take extra measures to keep the plant happy. The easiest way to do this is to keep in the bathroom or kitchen which are naturally humid areas. However, it is key that these spaces have enough light as some bathrooms can be very dark.
Other good options to increase humidity include:
- This is the easiest thing you can do. But, it is very manual intensive in that you need to do it a few times a week. And, you don’t want to miss too many days. Similarly, you want to be careful not to give it too much moisture on its leaves, which can increase the risk of fungal disease if the water doesn’t dry.
- Keep it with other plants. This is another simple method. I like this better than misting because it is hands-off. This means you don’t need to do anything on a regular basis. As long as you keep enough space between the plants for air to circulate, you’re good. This will help moisture dry faster.
- Pebble tray. Like grouping it with other plants, setting the pot over rocks in a water dish is a hands-free option. As the water evaporates, it increases moisture in the air. The key is not letting the pot get wet.
- This is the most precise way to control humidity. However, it is also the costliest because of the machine and regular maintenance.
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Watering Calathea White Fusion
Watering your calathea white fusion is the area where most of your attention will go. The plant can be a bit fussy about moisture just as it is about humidity.
For best results, water it so that the soil is damp and moist. But, be careful not to let it get soggy. When that happens, you’re giving it too much.
The best way to decide when to water your white fusion is to stick your finger 1-2 inches into the soil. If the soil at that depth is dry or is nearly dry, it is time to water.
As with most houseplants, the most important thing you want to avoid is overwatering your calathea. This will lead to root rot if not corrected.
Similarly, you don’t want it to go dry. If this happens, you’ll start to see your plant’s leaves start to curl.
Unless you live in a region that experiences tropical climate all year round, the worst thing you can do it so use a regular watering schedule. While it sounds great in concept, it doesn’t work in real life.
That’s because most plants grow during the spring and summer. Additionally, it is hotter during these times. As such, the soil dries faster
In contrast, as the season gets cooler, it takes longer for soil to dry. Similarly, your plant’s growth slows down by around mid-fall and becomes semi-dormant through winter. As such, it doesn’t need much water as the temperature gets colder.
So, it is much better to check every time before you water, at least until it becomes second nature to you (like a chef never needs to measure ingredients).
How you water is just as important as when you water. And, for this plant, you want to apply deep watering. That is, to slowly water the soil until moisture reaches the bottom. This will allow the water to reach the soil in order for the plant to absorb it.
After that, always allow the excess moisture to drain. This is a time consuming task that can take between 5 to 12 minutes depending on how big your pot is. But, it is essential in preventing overwatering as it keeps your plant from sitting in water for too long.
Lastly, your calathea white fusion is sensitive about the kind of water it gets. This makes tap water a bad idea because most municipalities add different chemicals to it, including fluoride and chlorine.
Enough of these chemicals will cause your white fusion’s leaves to crisp up. So, using rainwater, distilled or filtered water is best. Another option is to let tap water sit at room temperature overnight. This will allow all the chemicals to evaporate before you water your plant.
Moist, well-draining soil is ideal for your calathea white fusion. This may sound ironic because moist is the opposite of well-draining.
However, with plants, it makes complete sense. That’s because you want soil to be able to retain moisture enough that it stays moist. This allows the plant’s roots to absorb the water. Soil that drains too quickly like sand, won’t give your plant the chance to absorb moisture and nutrients.
But, you want it to drain well enough so that the soil doesn’t retain the water for extended periods of time. If it holds too much water for too long, the plant ends having wet feet long after it has had enough to “drink”. From above, you know that this is dangerous as it can kill your plant.
So the best soil is one that balances the two.
The easiest way to get this without having to do any mixing or experimenting is to use African violet mix. This provides all the features that the plant requires.
Alternatively, many people also like to create their potting mixes. A good recipe includes 40% parts peat moss, 40% perlite and 20% potting soil.
Similarly, another combination that works well is 50% potting soil, 20% charcoal, 20% orchid bark and 10% perlite.
The combinations are actually endless because there are many potting mediums that are able to do both things: retain water and drain it. So, like a cooking recipe, it’s all about which ingredients you decide to use and how much to combine to get the same result (or flavor in cooking).
As with watering, you want to fertilize your calathea white fusion during its growing season. Then back off significantly or complete stop during the winter, both work.
During the spring until fall, you feed it once a month with a fertilizer that’s rich in nitrogen that’s diluted to half dose.
In general, the white fusion doesn’t need a lot of plant food. So, as long as you give it a general purpose fertilizer (which are often highest in nitrogen), it will be happy.
Again, the one thing you do not want to do is feed it too much. Many houseplant owners do this believing that like humans, more food is better. But, too much fertilizer will damage your plant’s roots by “burning” them. So, avoid doing so at all costs.
Pruning Calathea White Fusion
Peacock plants don’t need a lot of pruning. Instead, you’ll be trimming dead, old, dying or discolored foliage. Doing so will help keep the plant looking good. More importantly, it will help it stay healthier.
Here are some of the things you’ll want to do when pruning your plant.
- Cut back dead, dying, discolored or diseased leaves. Any sign of damage fits in this category, whether it is spots, uneven color or some leaf tears.
- Prune brown and crisp leaves. includes edges that are crispy or have turned brown. You don’t have to prune the entire leaf in these cases, just the edges that have problems.
- Removing dying or faded blooms. This is called deadheading. You want to trim off any flowers that look spent or are on their way down. The goal is to allow for fresh, new growth to take their place.
When pruning, you’ll likely notice that its leaves collect quite a bit of dust. This is a good time to clean them. All you need is a damp cloth. Never use leaf shine as it will damage the plant.
Calathea White Fusion Propagation
One of the best thing about plants is that you can grow new ones without having to go to the nursery or garden center to buy one. Such is the case of your white fusion where you can propagate it at home.
The best way to do so is via division. And, the best time to propagate your peacock plant is during spring. This allows it to immediately start growing after repotting. Plus, being in its growing season allows it to overcome the shock of being moved faster, something it doesn’t like done to it.
Here’s how to propagate calathea white fusion through division.
- Prepare a new pot and fresh potting soil beforehand.
- Gently take the parent plant out of its pot by tipping it to the side a bit.
- Remove excess and loose soil.
- Inspect the root ball and look for sections that are promising. Ideally you want a section that has a healthy stem growing from it and some roots.
- While you’re at it, trim off any diseased or damaged roots.
- Separate the section that you want to divide. Since this is a small plant, you can use your hands to gently take it apart from the rest of the rootball. However, you can likewise use a knife. If you do make sure that you sterilize it with rubbing alcohol first.
- Insert the separated plant and the mother plant in their respective pots that have been partially filled with potting soil.
- Water them both thoroughly.
- Place them under bright, indirect light.
Calathea White Fusion Transplanting & Repotting
Your calathea white fusion will need to be repotting once every 1-2 years. The exact timing will depend on its living conditions as well as how much and what you feed it.
Thus, the best way to know when to repot is to inspect your plant.
- Check to see if roots are peeking out of the holes. This is an obvious sign if you see roots trying to squeeze their way out of the drainage holes. Anytime roots are circling the plant in any way, it is a sign that the plant needs to move to a bigger pot.
- Touch the soil. If the soil starts to feel looser, it is also a sign that the roots are pushing their way out.
Repotting is key because leaving your plant in a small pot causes it to be rootbound. This will:
- Prevent it from growing optimally. Thus, its overall growth with slow down then get stunted.
- Be harder to get out of the pot when you actually want to repot. The bigger the roots get the together the root ball will push against the pot. This will make it harder to slide it out of the container.
- Lose nutrients and hydration. The more rootbound a plant gets, the more space is taken up by the roots. With less soil and free space, water and nutrients will get scarce. If left alone, the plant will eventually starve, get dehydrated or be choked by its own roots.
As such, repotting is key for a healthy plant.
Additionally, when you repot you give it fresh soil with nutrients. As you may guess, spring or early in its growing season is the best time to repot your plant.
Here’s how to repot calathea white fusion.
- Prepare beforehand by having a slightly larger container. One that’s 2 inches wider than your current one will work very well.
- Also, have fresh potting soil on hand.
- Fill the new pot with the potting soil to about a third of the way up.
- Carefully remove the plant from its existing pot. The more rootbound the plant is, the harder it will be to take out. Avoid jarring or jerking the plant as this increases the stress and shock it will experience.
- Check the root ball. You want to dust off excess dirt and separate tangled roots. If you see diseased root or other problems trim them off.
- Insert the plant into the new container.
- Fill the remaining space around the rootball so the plant is securely standing upright.
- Water thoroughly and place under medium to bright, indirect light.
Calatheas are kid and pet safe. Unlike other houseplants that are toxic when touched or ingested, this one is safe and won’t have any unpleasant effects. This makes it perfect for homes.
That said, ingesting leaves and stems are never advised because even if not poisonous, they will have some unpleasant digestive effects.
Pests and Diseases
Root rot and fungal disease are among the biggest issues with calathea plants because of their love of moisture and high humidity. Anytime you have moisture around, it becomes a breeding ground for bacterial and fungus.
Thus, it is very important to use well-draining soil and always to allow the soil to drain any excess moisture after watering.
To help it along, always use a pot that has drainage holes at the bottom. Checking the soil before watering is likely a good way to avoid this.
Additionally, regular inspection goes a long way. This lets you spot pests early and treat them immediately. Most pests can be dealt with using insecticidal soap and water. You can likewise use neem oil.
Root rot is a little bit harder to detect because it happens under the soil. So, checking it when you repot is important. And, if you see any sign of rotting in the root system, trim them off and repot your plant.
Just as importantly, adjust your watering routine.