Calathea ‘Beauty Star’ is a South American native perennial with long, fairly narrow dark green leaves flamboyantly stripped in paler green, silver, and white. The underside is rich purple.
This Calathea is a cultivar of Calathea ornata, a large group of stripped Calatheas, very popular house plants because of their vivid leaf patterns. Calathea “Beauty Star” belongs to the marantaceae family.
Like other plants in the marantaceae family, this Calathea has the interesting habit of rising leaves in the morning and lowering them at night, like in prayer, giving it the nickname “prayer plant.”
The “Beauty Star” Calathea has elegant upright growth and is fairly dense, making a wonderful addition to your collection of Calatheas.
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Calathea Beauty Star Care
Calathea “Beauty Star” is happiest in bright indirect light, preferably coming from a north-facing window. It requires high humidity, moist but well-draining soil, and the warm temperature consistently staying between 65 and 85°F (18-30°C). Fertilize your Calathea “Beauty star” monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer from April to October.
Calathea “Beauty star” requires more moist soil than most other Calatheas. The soil has to be fairly moist but never soggy.
The soil should be free-draining so that the roots never sit in water or they will rot. The excess water has to leave through the pot drainage hole so make sure your pot has a fairly large hole.
Your Calathea loves consistently moist soil so it has to be rich in organic matter. You can use commercial potting soil for African violets, or any mix with two parts peat and one part perlite.
You can replace some peat moss with compost, which retains moisture but it also provides slow released nutrients. If you add compost, you do not need to fertilize Calathea until repotting.
Instead of perlite, other materials that provide free draining work well – coarse sand, orchid bark, or coco coir. Learn more about making a good quality house plant potting mix.
Adequate watering of your Calathea “Beauty star” is the key to its continued good health. The soil should be fairly moist but not wet. Let your plant dry a bit between watering.
The best way to check the soil is to stick your finger in the soil. If the top inch is dry, it is time for watering. If not, wait for a few days and then check again.
It is better to wait a bit longer than to overdo it and make your plant stressed by providing too much water which roots cannot absorb.
When watering, be generous and water your plant thoroughly. Let the excess water drain out of the drainage hole.
Like other Calatheas, Calathea “Beauty Star” reacts badly to fluoride and other minerals commonly added to tap water. To avoid fluoride toxicity and the accumulation of minerals in the soil, use rain or filtered water.
The native home of Calathea “Beauty star” is a Brazilian tropical forest. It normally lives under the canopy of the large trees and only gets dappled indirect light. Make it happy at your home by finding the right spot.
The exposure to the eastern or northern window with bright but indirect light is the best. You might experiment a bit until you find just the right spot in your home where your Calathea is content.
If you do not have a choice and have to place your Calathea in the room with too much light, use light curtains to soften the light.
It might take you some time to find the best place in your home for your “Beauty star.” Try different locations, on the window sill where it gets indirect light but not direct sun.
Keep in mind that your Calathea “Beauty star” is more tolerant of too little light than too much. If your Calathea leaves start developing brown spots or crispy edges, move it to a place with less light.
The ideal temperature for your Calathea “Beauty star” ranges between 65 and 75ºF (18-24ºC). Make sure it never drops below 60ºF (15ºC). Keep the temperature consistent to avoid shocking your plant with a sudden increase or decrease.
Keep your plant away from the direct source of heat or drafty windows.
High humidity is one of the main conditions for keeping your Calathea “Beauty Star” healthy. Try to keep the humidity above 50 percent.
A humidifier can keep the humidity in the room where you keep your Calathea under strict control. If you do not have a humidifier, you can place the pot on top of the pebbles in the tray filled with water.
You can create a micro-climate for your Calathea by placing it together with other house plants that require similar conditions.
Just make sure they are all healthy and have enough air circulation between them to avoid fungal disease and house plant pests that love humid, hot air.
Your Calathea “Beauty star” will enjoy a monthly feed with a balanced house plant fertilizer. Dilute it to about half or even a quarter of the label-recommended strength.
Always water your Calathea well before applying fertilizer to avoid burning the roots. Stop fertilizing during the winter when the growth slows down.
If you prefer using organic fertilizer instead of the commercial chemical mix, you can find the commercial organic product, or you can make your own.
Adding compost to the soil at the potting time will give your Calathea the organic slow-release fertilizer. You will not need to fertilize at all until the next repotting.
Replace about ten percent of peat with compost in your soil mix. Compost is water-retaining just like peat moss and you do not want your soil to retain too much water.
You can also make a DIY liquid organic fertilizer. Fill about half a bucket with compost and top it up with water. Let it steep for a few days.
Strain the liquid, dilute it in half and you will get what gardeners call “compost tea.” You can use this ‘tea” to water all your plants, at home or in the garden.
Calathea “Beauty star” does not like repotting. Repot it only when the pot is full of roots, every two to three years. The new pot should be one size larger than the previous one.
When you take your Calathea out of the pot, clean out the old soil and inspect the roots. Cut off any rotting or damaged roots. Replace the old soil with the fresh mix and water your Calathea thoroughly.
The whole process is traumatic for the plant so leave it in less light than normal until you see the new growth. It might take some time.
The best time for repotting your Calathea “Beauty star” is in spring and summer, when it is growing vigorously.
The only pruning your Calathea “Beauty star” needs is to clean the rotting and damaged leaves. Cut bad leaves at the stem. You will soon see the new leaves growing from the same spot.
Calathea “Beauty star” can be successfully propagated by dividing its rhizomes. Each rhizome grows a few leaf stalks, so it is fairly easy to see where they can be separated.
Separate rhizomes with their attached leaves, and make two or more plants out of the mother plant. Place each new baby Calathea into its own pot.
Fill it with the prepared soil mix and water well. Be patient, it will take some time before the babies will recover and start growing.
Calathea “Beauty star” almost never blooms when grown as a house plant. If you have a conservatory or greenhouse, you might be lucky to see your Calathea’s flower.
Healthy Calathea “Beauty star” will grow up to two feet in height and two feet in width. Its active growth season is from March to October.
This Calathea loves bright, indirect light, like most Calatheas, but will tolerate less light for a while. If it does not get enough light for a long time, it will stop growing.
You will know that you are providing your Calathea with too much light and/or heat if the leaves start showing brown spots or crisp edges.
Yellowing or browning of the leaves can also be the sign of insufficient watering and humidity, chemicals in the water, or accumulated fertilizer salts.
The bright stripes of the Calathea “Beauty star” will turn white as it ages.
Spring and summer are the seasons when your Calathea should be growing vigorously. If it is not, its needs are not met. Make sure that the humidity and light are sufficient. Check the soil to verify that your plant is not overwatered or under-watered.
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Common Problems with Calathea Beauty Star
The biggest enemy of the Calathea “Beauty Star” are spider mites. You will probably not see them, they are tiny, but as soon as you see the sticky residue on the leaves or stems, especially on the leaves undersides, you will know that your plant is under attack.
Spider mites are voracious eaters and will eat a hole in the leaves of your Calathea. If you do not catch the infestation in time, they can actually kill your beautiful plant.
Make a habit of checking your Calathea, and other house plants, every few days for any signs of pests. Check carefully, look at the underside of leaves and the soil.
If you see that your Calathea “Beauty star’ has a few mites or sticky residue, get prepared for a battle, because your plant’s life depends on it. You have a few options:
- Give your Calathea a good shower or gentle hosing down. Wash all leaves carefully on both sides.
- Soak a cotton ball with alcohol and clean the leaves on both sides. Alcohol will kill mites.
- Fill a spray bottle with water mixed with a dishwashing detergent and spray the plant all over.
- Spray your Calathea with neem oil, an organic, plant-based insecticide.
- You can also introduce ladybugs, highly beneficial insects that eat spider mites and other pests.
Leaves of your Calathea are delicate and whatever you use might damage them. Dilute everything: detergent, alcohol, and neem oil.
Repeat this operation in a week or so, to make sure your plant is free of pests.
Prevention is better than any cure, so every time you bring a new plant to your home, inspect it carefully. Even if you do not spot any pests or disease, leave the plant isolated, just in case whatever the plant brought with it from the nursery develops in a few days.
If you keep your Calathea “Beauty star” together with other Calatheas or other house plants, give them enough space to breathe.
Air circulation is crucial for preventing fungal disease and pest infestation. If necessary, place a fan in the room where you keep your mini-garden.
Top Tips for growing a healthy Calathea “Beauty star”
- Let the soil of your Calathea “Beauty Star” dry out between watering. Water only if the top inch of the soil is dry.
- Bright but indirect, diffused light will make your Calathea thrive.
- High humidity is vital for your Calathea’s health. Keep in mind that the humidity changes with weather, seasons, house temperature, and air circulation. It is a good idea to invest in a hygrometer, a small device for measuring humidity. You can get one for less than $10 on Amazon.
- Inspect your Calathea for pests every few days. Do not wait until you have an infestation.
Frequently Asked Questions about Calathea “Beauty star”
Is Calathea “Beauty star” toxic?
No, Calathea “Beauty star” is not toxic for humans or pets.
The tips of the leaves of my Calathea are turning brown. What am I doing wrong?
There can be a few possible reasons for the Calathea leaves to turn brown. It could be that your water is full of minerals, that you are overwatering it, or that the salts from your fertilizer are accumulating in the soil. Use rain or filtered water and switch from the chemical to organic fertilizer.
Leaves can also turn brown if your Calathea is receiving too much light. Check each issue to find out what is wrong and fix it according to the instructions.
Can I use fluorescent light for my Calathea “Beauty star”?
Yes, if you want to keep your Calathea on your desk or living room and there is not enough light, you can use a lamp with fluorescent light.
Calathea “Beauty star” is not considered too difficult to care for, but it is not the plant for beginners. It requires a consistently warm place with high humidity. It is particularly sensitive to too much watering.
Calathea “Beauty star” tolerates a bit less light than many other Calatheas, but to thrive it requires bright, indirect diffused light. The soil has to be free-draining, but Calathea “Beauty star” prefers a bit more organic matter than other Calatheas – about two thirds.
With a bit of learning and trial and error, you will soon figure out exactly what your Calathea “Beauty star” needs to be happy. Your reward will be a healthy clump of gorgeous, glossy vividly striped lives.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.