This magnificent tropical plant is truly unique. Calathea concinna has a multitude of common names due to its many interesting features. The most popular of the selection is Calathea Freddie, Freddie Prayer Plant, or Zebra Plant.
Understandably, the name ‘Zebra Plant’ is in reference to the plant’s beautifully patterned leaves. They flash zebra-like stripes of silvery-green with darker green stripes and borders.
And, the name ‘Prayer Plant’ derives from the plant’s natural habit of opening and closing its leaves.
Calathea concinna is natively found in the northwestern regions of Brazil. It is an exotic tropical perennial that is slightly more forgiving than its temperamental sibling plants.
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Calathea Concinna Care
The Freddie Prayer Plant is quite fanatical and requires a little bit more attention to care. They should ideally be kept in bright but indirect light. Temperatures should be on the warmer side. Anything below 15.5°C (60°F) is a no go and may cause harm to your Calathea concinna.
Watering your plant is the most complicated part of care. The soil, which should be well-draining, needs to stay slightly moist. The Freddie Prayer Plant does not like to dry out.
These plants are also lovers of humidity and moisture and prefer higher humidity levels. And when it comes to fertilizing, the Calathea concinna is a light and infrequent feeder.
Calathea concinna plants enjoy well-draining soil. Ideally with large particles. Not only should the soil be well-draining, but it also needs to hold some moisture.
The Freddie Prayer Plant is paired well with a peat-based soil mixture. If you are wanting to make your own soil mix for your Calathea concinna, it is simple. For best results, use two parts of peat and one part of perlite.
To provide aeration for your plant, you can add some pebbles to its pot. Be sure to put the pebbles below the growing mixture. Never put stones at the top.
Pebbles that are at the top of your Freddie Prayer Plant’s soil will hinder the aeration of your plant. As a result, this will likely suffocate your plant’s roots.
Your Freddie Prayer Plant will thrive in a soil mix that is rich and has a lot of organic matter.
Originating from the tropical regions of Brazil, the Calathea concinna enjoys light. Specifically, medium to bright light. Dappled shade is also viable for the Freddie Prayer Pant.
However, the light your Calathea concinna is exposed to should always be indirect. These are delicate plants and are sensitive to direct sunlight.
For a healthy plant, your Freddie Prayer Plant needs to have access to indirect light for at least six hours. Ideally, 70% to 80% sunlight. Meeting this requirement of your plant will ensure lively looking foliage.
These plants are quite particular when it comes to watering. It is easy to water the Calathea concinna plant incorrectly. Careful attention needs to be paid when watering it.
The Freddie Prayer Plant likes its soil to be kept slightly moist at all times. Therefore, it needs to be watered fairly regularly. Your plant’s soil should never be allowed to dry.
Calathea concinna are not drought-tolerant plants. They do not take kindly to forgetfulness about watering. Freddie Prayer Plants do not like drying out.
Also, you need to be cautious not to overwater your plant. They are not fans of soggy or saturated soil. Soggy soil is not good for your Calathea concinna, it can lead to issues such as root rot.
The best method of watering your Calathea concinna is deep and thorough. To do this, slowly pour water onto your plant’s soil. Stop pouring when water starts to drip out of the drainage holes.
Allow the water to properly drain through your Freddie Prayer Plant’s pot. The excess water should be discarded. Do not let your plant sit in water.
Now, you need to keep your Calathea concinna plant’s soil adequately moist. This means you need to frequently check it. It is easy to overwater your plant, so never water it without testing the soil first.
Watering may be required as much as two to three times a week, depending on the environmental circumstances. Or as little as once a week during the colder months.
By simply sticking your finger into your Freddie Prayer Plant’s soil you will be able to tell if it needs water. If the soil is still slightly moist, leave it and check again the next day.
As the Calathea concinna is a tropical plant, it prefers warmer temperatures. They are not very tolerant of cold temperatures or frost. So, it is best to avoid placing your Freddie Prayer Plant in a spot with cold drafts.
Ideally, you should maintain an indoor temperature above 15.5°C (60°F). The Freddie Prayer Plant is known to thrive in temperatures between 15.5°C and 30°C (60°F and 85°F).
Temperatures below 15.5°C (60°F) should be avoided as these will start to harm your plant. Your plant’s leaves may freeze and in severe cases, the cold may even kill your Calathea concinna.
Calathea concinna plants have a high humidity tolerance. They enjoying being in areas that are humid and moist. On days when the air is dry, you need to work to maintain the moisture for your Calathea concinna.
Moisture levels of 70% and above benefit Freddie Prayer Plants. With these levels of moisture, it will keep the foliage on your plant looking lush. To increase the overall humidity around your plant, you may want to group it with other plants.
Otherwise, you should think of placing your Freddie Prayer Plant on a pebble tray or even investing in a humidifier. A pebble tray may be a better option to try before going and purchasing something else. Pebble trays are super easy to throw together.
All you need to do to make a pebble tray is fill a tray with a few pebbles. Pour some water into the tray, around the pebbles. And then, place your Calathea concinna plant’s pot on top of it! When the water evaporates, it will increase the humidity around your plant.
You may even find misting your Freddie Prayer Plant to be useful. When misting your plant, be sure not to spray its foliage directly, water left too long on your plant’s leaves may result in rot. You should avoid misting your plant too frequently.
Calathea concinna plants are quite light feeders. They do not require an excessive amount of fertilizer. Nor do they require frequent fertilizing.
The frequency of feeding will change as the seasons change. During the spring to summer months, fertilizing can be done once a month. This is the Freddie Prayer Plant’s growing season and is when the fertilizer will be put to good use.
In the colder months of autumn to winter, your Calathea concinna will not need any extra nutrients. The plant’s growth slows naturally during this time, thus, they will not require any fertilizing.
For best results, it is recommended that you use a general houseplant fertilizer. One that is balanced and contains iron may be beneficial. The fertilizer should be mixed to half strength. And to be safe, only use about a quarter of the recommended dose.
Sharing this plant’s beauty with others couldn’t be easier! We would not judge you though if you just wanted to propagate it to grow your own collection.
Propagation of the Calathea concinna is done through the division of larger plants. This is best done at the same time as when you repot your Freddie Prayer Plant.
Calathea concinna are truly enticing plants. They draw attention with their flashy zebra-striped leaves. But, these plants are not for the faint of heart. They are definitely better suited to plant parents that are seasoned.
Freddie Prayer Plants have earned this nickname due to its circadian rhythm. During the day, the Calathea concinna opens up to the sun to absorb the light. But, at night, when the temperature drops, the patterned leaves drawback to forming ‘praying hands’.
It is easily identified by its elegant silvery stripes and dark green corresponding stripes and borders. Calathea concinna are also known to bloom white flowers with an indulging floral fragrance.
These flowers grow from the base of the plant at the center. Each flower will bloom individually on a stalk-like inflorescence.
Being a natively tropical plant, the Calathea concinna’s green foliage is tolerant to brighter lighting conditions. It is also not as prone to burnt tips. But, too much direct sun is not advised.
Freddie Prayer Plant makes for a great house or garden plant. Provided its specific needs are met, it will bring life to any plantation it is in.
On average, when grown as an indoor plant, the Calathea concinna will grow to heights between 0.6m and 0.9m (2ft to 3ft). Growing in an alternating habit, the leaves of this plant grow to about 10cm to 18cm (4in to 7in) in length.
Freddie Prayer Plants can be grown outdoors, year-round, in zones 10 and 11. If grown outdoors in other zones, these plants will need to be relocated during the colder months. It is best to move your plant to a bright spot indoors to wait out the winter.
It is vital, when choosing a pot for your Calathea concinna, that you pick one with holes for training. One that is medium in size will do nicely as they are not excessively big plants. Freddie Prayer Plants grow well in indoor and outdoor containers.
As for repotting, it is not something that needs to be done often. Once every two years or so will suffice. However, Calathea concinna plants do like to be kept in soil that is fresh.
Yearly repotting can be done early in the spring before the plant begins its growth period. Fresh and nutrient soil will be beneficial in the growth of your Freddie Prayer Plant at this time. Although, this is not a necessity.
Calathea concinna Propagation
Propagating the Freddie Prayer Plant is best done through division. They cannot be rooted in water, as they do not grow in water. The ideal time to propagate your plant is while repotting in the early spring.
A healthy and well-grown Calathea concinna should be used. Remove the plant gently from its pot and shake it lightly to loosen any excess soil.
Next, carefully divide the roots with your hands and separate the plant roughly into thirds. The parent plant can be repotted as normal. The divisions should then be planted into well-draining, moist soil.
You should keep the new plant’s soil slightly, but evenly moist and keep it in a warm spot. The lighting conditions for your new Freddie Prayer Plant should be indirect and of low intensity. Within about three to four weeks, your plants should have settled and begun rooting.
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Common problems with Calathea concinna
Calathea concinna plants are likely to have problems as a result of improper care. Watering that is either too frequent or not frequent enough can lead to burnt leaves or root rot. The browning of its leaf tips can also be a result of dry air.
Over-feeding your Freddie Prayer Plant can also result in problems. Signs of over-feeding are the yellowing of your plant’s leaves. It has even been noted that too much fertilizer can burn your Calathea concinna.
Tips to keep Calathea concinna problem-free
The key to a happy plant is paying careful attention to its needs. This is not a plant that will just grin and bear any situation. If there is a problem, the Calathea concinna will show you!
Keep a careful watch on how much water you are giving your Freddie Prayer Plant. Be sure to not soak its soil but keep it only slightly moist. Always feel the soil before adding more water.
You should also make provisions to ensure your plant does not experience air that is too dry. Mist it occasionally, place it on a pebble tray to surround it with other plants.
Frequently asked questions about Calathea concinna
Does the Freddie Prayer Plant require a lot of grooming?
Due to its stripes, the Calathea concinna often traps dust particles. Trapped dust blocks the plant’s pores and affects its overall health. You should groom your Freddie Prayer Plant weekly by gently wiping the foliage with a damp cloth.
Any plant lover would be crazy to not want this magnificent plant in their collection! Not only is it a real looker, but the Calathea concinna also has an awesome habit. It opens and closes in the morning and at night. Almost like it awakens and goes to bed, just like us!
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.