The Calathea White Star is better known as the Calathea majestica ‘White Star’. It is a cultivar of the Calathea Ornata.
And, it is known for its gorgeous foliage. These feature a dark green color with uniform white stripes extending out to the edges.
And, as the plant gets older, these turn pink in color making it even more unique.
Its distinct looks make it a popular plant amongst collections.
Another interesting feature is that it is a member of the Marantaceae family. As such, like other prayer plants, it leaves fold up like they are in prayer once things start to get dark.
It is native to the rainforests of Brazil making it accustomed to tropical conditions. Thus, it is a good idea to try to closely mimic these conditions at home to maximize its growth and beauty.
Calathea White Star Plant Care
The Calathea White Star is a tropical evergreen that thrives on bright, indirect light. This is the condition it receives in the rainforests of Brazil where the plant is native to.
There, it lives under the large trees where it receives dappled sunlight due to the overhead canopy.
As such, it has gotten accustomed medium to bright, filtered light.
More importantly, it cannot take long periods of direct sunlight. Nor can it tolerate very intense exposure.
On the other hand, it does well even in low light. And, because of its love for humid environments, the bathroom is actually a very good spot for it.
Similarly, its low light tolerance makes it a good bedroom plant as well. This will let you enjoy its nightly leaf folding ritual.
Finally, it is a good idea to make it a habit to clean its large leaves regularly. You can use a damp cloth to gently wipe them.
This removes dust allowing them to absorb more sunlight. it also lets the plant breath better.
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Ideal temperature for your Calathea White Star is between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since it comes from a tropical environment, it favors warm weather to cold.
More importantly, it is not frost hardy. Thus, it won’t be able to withstand freezing conditions.
This means that you can only keep it as a perennial outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. But, below zone 9, it won’t be able to survive through the winter without any intervention.
As such, if you take the plant outside for some sun during the summer, it is very important to bring it back indoors before the temperature drops to 60 degrees.
Your Calathea White Star also loves humidity. Ideal humidity is 60% or higher. Although it does not mind 50%, which is not a lot of leeway.
As such, this can be an issue for many homes as the average home runs between 40% and 50%. And, in some cases into the 30s.
The only way to make sure is to check your home and room humidity using a digital hygrometer.
If you find that humidity it too low for keep the plant healthy, you can mist the plant regularly, use a humidifier or place it on a water tray on top of pebbles.
Otherwise, low humidity can cause the plant’s leaves to turn yellow.
Watering Calathea White Star
Water is another aspect that your Calathea White Star is a bit fussy about.
It is susceptible to overwatering. Yet, it enjoys moist soil during its growing season (around April to September).
Thus, you need to be able to balance your watering schedule to give it enough hydration without waterlogging the soil.
The best way to do this is allow the top few inches of the soil to dry out before watering. But, avoid letting all the soil completely dry out.
The best way to estimate this is one of two ways.
- Use your finger to feel for moisture. When you do, the top 2 inches should be dry before you water, never before that otherwise, you run the risk of overwatering.
- Use a moisture meter. You can stick the probe end of the device into the soil and it will tell you how much moisture there is in the soil.
Once fall and winter come along, reduce watering because the weather is colder. This means soil takes much longer to dry.
Soil for Calathea White Star
Because your Calathea White Star is picky about it water situation, the soil you use needs to support its preferences.
Thus, a well-draining potting mix that is able to hold just enough moisture is essential.
Again, the two features seem to contradict one another. But, they really don’t.
The best soil for the plant is something that will retain enough moisture to keep the plant hydrated. But, will drain any excess moisture quickly.
So, be careful about using soil that is drains too much moisture. Something like pure sand or majority of it will drain water so quickly that the plant does not get a chance to drink.
Two good options here are:
- African violet soil. I love this for calatheas because they have all the things it needs in terms of soil. And, it comes out of the box from the nursery.
- 2 parts peat with 1 part perlite or sand. This combination works as well if you prefer creating your own potting mix to save money.
Fertilizer is another important thing to consider when growing your Calathea White Star.
A good light fertilizer will help the plant produce the vibrant green foliage and the contrasting white stripes. However, it is also sensitive to fertilizer salts.
As such, less is better when it comes to feeding.
Feeding it too much or applying too often will result in fertilizer burn harming the roots and eventually the stem.
To avoid doing so., only feed the plant during spring and summer.
You can use a balanced liquid fertilizer. But, only do so once a month and make sure to dilute it to half-strength each time.
This will ensure that dosage is not too potent.
As a safeguard, it is also a good idea to flush the soil every few months. This entails using hose to soak the root ball and allowing the hose to run for about 3 to 5 minutes.
Doing so allows the water to wash or carry away excess minerals and residue that have collected in the soil.
Make sure to let the soil completely drain after flushing. Otherwise, it can increase the risk of root rot.
The Calathea White Star is not a big plant. It grows to about 1 to 2 feet tall and the same width.
Thus, it does not need a lot of pruning.
But, there are instances when you may want to prune it.
The most common is for looks, shape and size. This are all related to aesthetics. After all, you’re likely keeping the plant in your home to display or as décor.
So, trimming it to the way to want it to look is important.
Another reason to prune the plant is to remove discolored leaves. But, you want to figure out what the cause is first.
Old leaves will turn yellow or brown, that’s normal. So, you can just remove them.
But too much light, overwatering, and overfertilizing also cause yellow leaves. As such, if this is the case, you want to fix the source of the issue as well.
Often problems cause more than one or two leaves to turn color at the same time. As such, if this happens, it is time to investigate.
Calathea White Star Propagation
At some point, it is a good idea to propagate your Calathea White Star. The plant is very beautiful and propagating it will let you grow more of them without spending money.
The best time to propagate is during spring. And, ideally, when you are repotting.
That’s because the best way to do so is via division.
As such, since you’re taking the plant out of its container when you repot, it is a good idea to propagate it as well.
Here’s how to divide your Calathea White Star.
- Before you begin, prepare a small pot and partially fill it with fresh potting soil. If you want to divide more than 1 section, prepare the number of pots accordingly.
- Next, carefully take the plant out of its container.
- Once it is out, you want to look for stems that are healthy. These will be your prospects for new plants.
- Trace each chosen stem down to the root ball and look for its corresponding roots. Mark each of these segments. You can pick as many segments as you want depending on how big the plant is.
- Use a sterile knife and cut off the segment of the root ball.
- For each segment, place it into a new container with fresh potting soil. Then backfill the pot with soil.
How to Repot Calathea White Star
As your Calathea White Star grows, you’ll need to move it to a larger pot. This often happens every two years. Although the speed at which the plant grows can vary depending on its living conditions.
When you do move it, it is a good idea to move up one size (2 inches wider).
Increasing more than this will also up the risk of overwatering.
While you’re repotting, also refresh the potting soil as well.
The plant is not toxic to young kids, cats or dogs. This makes it safe to put anywhere in the house even within reach of your children and pets.
Pests and Diseases
Like other calathea plants, pets and diseases can be problems.
Although the plant is not overly prone to them, there’s always the possibility, especially with pests.
Diseases are more under your control since most of them are moisture-related. This is in part because of the plant’s love for high humidity, which makes excess moisture even riskier.
But, as long as you don’t overwater it or wet the leaves it will be find. Also, giving it enough light and air circulation will help any excess moisture dry up faster.
With pests the most common threat are spider mites. Although, aphids and mealybugs are likewise common for the plant.
Regular inspection is the best way to spot these critters early and treat them. Then using neem oil or insecticidal soap to eliminate the pests.