I love the lush dense green foliage of tropical forests!
Living in the city, it is sometimes hard to imagine yourself enjoying a tropical paradise.
However, I have found a fabulous evergreen that grows in a pot and brings the feeling of the tropics into my home.
Calathea Warscewiczii, also known more simply as Calathea Jungle Velvet, is a beautiful leafy green plant that is worth spending time learning how to care for it.
It is native to Costa Rica and Nicaragua, countries that have hot, humid climates.
This plant offers beautiful lush, velvety leaves with a unique fishtail-type pattern in light and dark shades of green.
The leaves’ undersides contrast in a deep maroon.
In a pot, the plant can grow 20 to 40 inches (50 cm to 100 cm) tall and 20 to 40 inches (50 cm to 100 cm) wide.
Mine is still small, but once it gets bigger I will repot it into a stunning floor-standing container.
Let’s find out how to care for your Calathea Warscewiczii.
- 1 Calathea Warscewiczii Plant Care
- 2 Soil
- 3 Light
- 4 Watering
- 5 Temperature
- 6 Humidity
- 7 Fertilizer
- 8 Propagation
- 9 Growth
- 10 Potting
- 11 Calathea Warscewiczii in-depth propagation guide
- 12 Common problems with Calathea Warscewiczii
- 13 Tips to grow Calathea Warscewiczii problem-free
- 14 Frequently asked questions about Calathea Warscewiczii
- 15 Conclusion
Calathea Warscewiczii Plant Care
Calathea Warscewiczii does best in rich, fertile, well-draining potting soil. The soil where you plant it should be moist all the time. The plant enjoys a bright spot but does not want full sun. Temperatures should be between 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 29°C). It will not tolerate cold, frost, or draughty spots. Humidity must be high, around 70%. Calathea Warscewiczii will not survive in dry conditions.
Calathea Warscewiczii enjoys rich, fertile soil that is moist and well-draining. Think damp, hot jungles!
You can buy a rich organic potting mix from your local farmers’ market or plant nursery. Ensure that it contains a high amount of peat. If not, you can add peat into the mix.
Peat is a wonderful ingredient with loads of benefits. It helps the soil to retain nutrients.
It also aids aeration especially when mixed into very dense or clay soils. Peat holds moisture, ensuring that the soil does not dry out too quickly.
Adding mulch to your potting mix is also a good idea. Mulch helps to keep the roots’ moistness and coolness.
Your soil for Calathea Warscewiczii shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. This will require some care and attention and a proper watering plan.
The soil must be able to drain. Water must not be allowed to clog up at the base of your pot. This will cause your plant to suffer root rot and may even die from it.
When I have enough time, I enjoy making my own potting mix. For my Calathea Warscewiczii, I use two parts of peat to one part of perlite.
Calathea Warscewiczii soil tip: To aid in good soil drainage, ensure that your container has drainage holes at the base.
Make sure that they are not clogged or blocked as this will cause water to accumulate.
After watering, empty the saucer at the base of your pot to prevent the water from being soaked up.
In its natural environment, you will find Calathea Warscewiczii growing under the canopy of taller tropical plants.
This creates a situation of dappled light and blocks out direct sunlight.
When growing plants at home, it is always best to try to create an environment that is closest to the plant’s natural home. You will then get the best out of your Calathea Warscewiczii.
The Calathea Warscewiczii enjoys lots of bright light. But, it does not want to stand in direct sunlight.
Too much sunlight will cause the vibrant green leaf colors to dull. It can even scorch the leaves and badly damage your Calathea Warscewiczii, or even kill it.
A good position is near to, but not directly in front of, a window that faces southwards. This spot will get bright light, but not direct sunlight.
Light tip for Calathea Warscewiczii growing outdoors: If you have an outdoor garden, plant your Calathea Warscewiczii underneath taller plants that will create a natural canopy over it and protect it from direct sun rays.
Calathea Warscewiczii enjoys soil that is moist and damp. That means watering it a lot! But, it does not want waterlogged soil.
Waterlogged soil will cause the roots to rot and the plant will eventually die.
Water well and ensure that all of it drains out from the bottom of its container. Mulch and peat mixed into the soil will help to retain moisture.
You can also use a pebble tray that allows water to be absorbed into the soil, but will not create conditions of water-logging.
In summer, you may have to water this plant every second day. In winter, watering will be less frequent.
Ensure that your soil is always slightly moist. In winter, if it is very cold, you can allow the soil to dry from time to time. This will prevent the roots from freezing in icy water.
Calathea Warscewiczii water care tip: This plant can react negatively to the chemicals in tap water.
If possible, try to collect and use rainwater. You can also use distilled water. An easy way to create chemical-free water is to boil it and allow it to cool overnight.
Being a jungle plant, Calathea Warscewiczii prefers warmer temperatures. The best temperature ranges are 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 29°C) throughout the year.
In winter, try to ensure that your indoor temperatures do not drop below 60°F (16°C).
If your plant is in a very cold room in winter, you could consider installing a heater or air conditioner.
Calathea Jungle Velvet does not respond well to sudden drops in temperature. It is also not tolerant of draughts.
In the hot summer months, you may feel cool when your air conditioner blows, but your plant will not be happy.
Ensure that it does stand in the direct line of the cold air, or in a draughty spot.
The Calathea Jungle Velvet loves humid conditions. It is a jungle plant and not a desert plant. It wants moisture and dampness.
Because your indoor home is naturally not dripping in moisture, you will have to create humid conditions for your plant.
Ideally, the humidity level should be above 70% but should not drop below 50%. An average home is usually around 40% to 50%.
You may have to consider installing a humidifier. Take a look at some of the best plant humidifiers here.
There is a range of very attractive small home humidifiers that will add to your décor theme and look aesthetically pleasing.
Some people even place jars of water around the room to increase its humidity. You decide!
If you don’t want to go down that road, you can use a spray mister and spray the leaves regularly with a fine spray of distilled water or rainwater.
This will keep the leaves damp and moist.
You can also ensure that your soil contains lots of damp peat. This will help to retain moisture.
If you notice that the tips of the leaves turn brown, this is a sign that your humidity levels are too low.
You can fertilize your Calathea Warscewiczii during the spring and summer seasons.
Over-fertilizing is not good for this plant. Fertilizing once a month in spring and summer will be more than enough.
Try to use a water-soluble fertilizer and dilute it down to half of its strength for a large plant.
Dilute to a quarter of its strength for a smaller plant. Using the fertilizer at full strength can burn the leaves of this plant.
I always look for natural organic fertilizers and try to stay away from chemicals fertilizers.
Care tip for feeding Calathea Warscewiczii: Do not fertilize in Winter!
Propagating your Calathea Warscewiczii is a great way to add more plants to your collection without buying new ones.
This plant is easily propagated by division. It’s best to do this during spring or early summer.
Further on I give a detailed instruction guide on how to do this particular task.
The Calathea Warscewiczii grows as a luscious, evergreen jungle plant. It does well in a pot indoors and can also be grown outdoors.
I have mine indoors in a small pot. I have been told that it can reach heights of up to 40 inches (100 cm) or more. At that stage, I will transfer it to a floor-standing container.
Calathea Warscewiczii offers large leaves with a beautiful fishtail pattern in shades of light and dark green.
The underside of the leaves contrasts in a deep maroon color. The leaves have a lovely velvety texture.
If your plant is growing in the best possible conditions, you may be rewarded with a show of flowers.
These are glorious cone-like blooms in a creamy-white color. They turn to yellow and then become tinged with pink as they age.
Calathea Warscewiczii grows best in fertile, organic soil that is moist and well-draining.
Check that your pot has drainage holes at its bottom. This is vital to prevent water from accumulating at the base and creating a situation of root rot.
I like to use non-plastic pots or containers. Plastic containers tend to trap the air inside, while Terracotta or clay containers allow the soil to breathe more freely.
Choosing terracotta pots also reduces pollution caused by plastic.
Choose a pot that will allow the roots to grow downwards and outwards. They need space so that they don’t become rootbound.
Place a layer of gravel at the base of your pot. This helps with ensuring good drainage.
It also allows the plant to come out of the pot more easily for propagating.
Pot your plant into well moist, damp soil. Calathea Warscewiczii enjoys having all its roots exposed to damp all the time.
Calathea Warscewiczii potting care tip: Replacing your soil once every few years is good for your plant.
This plant is very susceptible to chemicals from the water. These chemicals will accumulate in the soil. Repotting into fresh, fertile soil is a good idea.
Calathea Warscewiczii in-depth propagation guide
Propagate Calathea Warscewiczii via root division
When your Calathea Warscewiczii is growing strong and looks healthy, you can consider propagating via root division.
The best time to do this is during spring or summer.
Observe your plant and wait until you see new shoots appearing through the soil. These shoots will grow around the main mother plant
Wait until they are strong and at least a few inches tall. Water the plant well before starting the process.
Prepare new pots or containers with fertile, rich organic, well-draining soil. Also, prepare a workspace where you can place your plant
Gently remove the entire mother plant from its container and place it on your work surface. Knead away the excess soil that is caught between the roots.
Now start to separate the smaller shoots with their roots from the mother plant. You can use your fingers or a blunt stick.
Untangle the roots as far down as you can go. Be careful not to break the roots of the shoots or the mother plant, keep them intact.
When you have separated the new shoots, repot your mother plant. Plant the new shoots into your prepared pots.
Water well and place in a spot with bright light but not direct sun
Common problems with Calathea Warscewiczii
Your Calathea Warscewiczii may be attacked by spider mites. This will happen if the humidity is too low and the air indoors is too dry.
You will know that you have spider mites when you see webbing between the stems and on the lower side of the leaves.
You can spray your plant with 1 part alcohol to 3 parts water solution. Do not use a strong solution as Calathea Warscewiczii is a sensitive plant.
Fungus gnats can also infest your plant. They won’t be lethal provided that they are dealt with speedily.
If you don’t want to use strong and toxic insecticides, try repotting them into fresh soil. You can also attract and trap the flies with sticky cards.
If you have to spray, use a solution of very diluted hydrogen peroxide and water.
Leaves turn brown at the tips
This is caused by your humidity level being too low. You will have to increase it as soon as you can.
Spray your plant with a mist spray, water well, and move to a spot that has high humidity. You may have to consider installing a small home humidifier.
Leaves show spots
This could be a sign of over-fertilizing. Your Calathea Warscewiczii should only be fertilized in the growing season.
Use a very weak diluted water-soluble mix.
Leaves curl upwards into a roll
This is a sign of your environment being too hot, too dry, or too draughty. The plant is trying to retain moisture by curling up the leaves.
Move it to a more suitable spot. Don’t confuse this with the fact that the leaves fold naturally at night.
Leaves lose their vibrant colors
When your Calathea Warscewiczii gets too much direct sun, the leaves will start to lose their color.
Move it to a spot that is bright but not in direct sunlight.
Tips to grow Calathea Warscewiczii problem-free
- Plant into a rich, organic, fertile, well-draining potting soil.
- Water well and ensure that soil remains moist.
- Keep the room humid – above 70% if possible.
- Place in a bright spot with no direct sunlight.
- Avoid very low humidity.
- Do not expose to cold or frost.
- Fertilize sparingly only in spring and summer.
- Use diluted fertilizer.
Frequently asked questions about Calathea Warscewiczii
Is it easy to take care of Calathea Warscewiczii?
Calathea Warscewiczii does require more care than many other indoor plants. It is probably not the best choice for a real beginner. If you are prepared to spend time and ensure that the conditions are ideal, you will be rewarded!
What is a prayer plant?
Prayer plants fold their leaves at night. Your Calathea Warscewiczii is a prayer plant and will do this.
Is the Calathea Warscewiczii toxic?
There are certain plants considered to be toxic, but Calathea Warscewiczii isn’t one of them. You can grow it in a house with pets and children.
If you can create the perfect jungle environment, you will love your Calathea Warscewiczii plant.
This is a stunning plant to grow indoors. The leaves have spectacular colors and always look luscious and vibrant.
It is not the easiest plant to grow, but well worth the effort. I have managed to get it right after making sure that my humidity is high. I also make sure to maintain the soil’s moisture, but not to the point of becoming water-logged.
Now that I have a happy Calathea Warscewiczii, I am off to team it up with another great jungle plant – the Monstera Deliciosa.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.