Calathea, collectively known as Calatheas, is a genus of herbaceous perennials.
Although the Prayer Plant belongs to a different genus than Calatheas, Calatheas are also commonly referred to as Prayer plants for their close resemblance to the actual Prayer Plant.
Calatheas are famous indoor plants for offices and shops because of their ability to thrive in low light and minimal care.
Although they’re quite a resilient species, keeping Calatheas healthy, and green can be a challenge if you miss a few important aspects of Calatheas plant care, more specifically, the watering routine.
How Often to Water Calatheas?
Water Calatheas about once every 5-7 days. Calatheas are tropical plants that like to have consistently moist soil. Don’t wait for the Calathea’s soil to dry completely before watering it. The best way to reckon that your Calathea needs water is to check the top two inches of the soil (5cm). If the top layer feels dry, it’s time to water.
How to Water a Calathea
An established watering routine will help you a lot when it comes to caring for indoor plants such as the Calathea.
Calatheas don’t quite mind if you do a few things wrong, but they do take improper watering very seriously.
Taking time out for setting up a watering routine might take some extra minutes of your time at the beginning of the season, but it will go a long way in saving both your time and peace.
We all know how stressful it is to have an unhealthy, wilting plant, and you can’t seem to help it no matter what you do.
Furthermore, you won’t have to go around sticking your fingers in the potting mix all the time when you have a proper watering routine to follow. So, here is how it goes.
You will most probably have to follow varying watering practices for summers and winters. But suppose your Calathea lives in controlled humidity and temperature year-round.
In that case, the watering routine can stay the same. But, first, take note of when your Calathea’s thirsty.
You can check this with the same old finger test.
Stick your finger or a sharp object two to three inches into the potting mix. If you can’t feel moisture or the object shows no signs of dampness, then your plant is in need of water.
Offer adequate water to your plant and note down the time and date of the watering. Repeat the same steps for the next time your Calathea needs water, and note down the time interval between waterings.
For better accuracy, repeat the steps one or two extra times to ensure that the time interval between watering is roughly the same.
A generic time gap between waterings for Calatheas is one week in the summers and two weeks in the winters. This estimation is strictly not for any particular climate or plant case.
You are recommended to set up your own watering schedule to be on the safe side.
Use a planner app on your phone to remind you to water your Calathea or other plants for the rest of the season and viola.
Bear in mind that you will have to alter your watering practice when the seasons change or if your plant starts to droop or stops growing.
What Water Type Calatheas Like
As mentioned above, Calatheas are very moody when it comes to watering practices, and the frequency of waterings is not the only aspect you need to consider.
The water you use to feed your Calathea also plays a crucial role in how well your plant fares. In nature, the plant has access to mild, filtered groundwater that it can suck up whenever it needs.
This, however, is not the case when Calatheas are brought indoors.
Tap water is what people usually use to water their indoor plants. This can be dangerous for Calatheas and a range of other indoor plants because tap water can be a little too unforgiving for these delicate plants.
Tap water coming from the public’s water supplies contains fluoride and chlorine that can have drastic effects on your plants.
You might observe damage on your Calathea leaves in the form of burn marks or browning tips, and if you’re not over-fertilizing or over-watering your plant, the problem lies in the water.
Chlorine and fluoride toxicity can be fatal for plants partly because they are difficult to diagnose and partly because plant owners keep over-watering their plants confusing the brown edges as a sign that their plant needs water.
If possible, use filtered or distilled water for your Calatheas. If that seems a little too costly, you can try watering your plants with water that has been sitting in place for a while.
This allows the chlorine in the water to evaporate, although the fluoride elements can still be found in the water to some extent.
Factors That Influence The Calathea Watering Schedule
Natural temperature and humidity, known as the climate, are not the only factors that will determine how often you need to water your Calathea plant.
Here is a list and description of other aspects you’d need to reconsider.
1. Pot Size
A larger pot means a larger soil volume. And a larger soil volume means a larger water quantity retained in the soil.
Put simply, a larger pot with more soil will need to be watered much less often than a smaller pot.
A greater quantity of soil holds more water that can last for longer.
2. Plant Size
The two primary ways through which water is used up are evaporation and transpiration by the plant.
Although evaporation directly through the soil is negligible, transpiration can play a significant role when it comes to bigger plants.
The bigger your Calathea, the greater are the leaves, both in size and in number. This increases the leaf surface area available for transpiration by scores.
So, the greater the plant size, the lesser the time needed between waterings.
3. Potting Mix
Calatheas generally like a well-draining potting mix that stays moist for longer.
Because striking a balance between drainage and water retention is not an easy task, your soil may dry out too quickly or too slowly.
If your potting mix is well-aerated with ingredients that have varying particle sizes, it will tend to dry out much quicker than if you are using a potting mix that has a consistent texture.
But, using of a well-draining potting mix for a healthy Calathea plant is still recommended.
Frequently Asked Questions about How Often to Water Calatheas
Should I reduce watering my Calatheas in the rainy season?
Calatheas have big green leaves that can absorb moisture in the air when humidity levels are high enough. You should reduce watering as there is a lot of humidity in the atmosphere during the rainy season, and transpiration and evaporation rates slow down significantly.
How often should I water my Calathea if it has been overwatered?
If you diagnose root rot, you must stop watering your plant immediately. Try to treat root rot by repotting the plant, but if that’s not possible, let the soil dry. Only water a little amount when you have ensured that the soil has completely dried out.