Calathea Orbifolia, in all its magnificence, ranks in top spots when it comes to the most popular houseplants in 2021. It has a beautiful shape and color pattern and does well as a houseplant.
Calatheas are sensitive plants and need a lot of care. But when you get the knack of growing a Calathea, you want more and more of it! Here is how to propagate Calathea Orbifolia easily.
How to Propagate Calathea Orbifolia?
Calathea Orbifolia can only be propagated through plant division or from seeds. Plant division is the most straightforward way. Find baby plants that have their own root system developed. Those with at least one tuber and one leaf can be separated and potted into a different pot.
What is the Right Time to Propagate Calathea Orbifolia?
This plant is known for its sensitive behavior and will act out even at the slightest mistake. For a plant so finicky about its care, propagation is a challenging task.
Because Calathea Orbifolia can only be propagated when it’s taken out of its pot, the best time to repot the plant automatically becomes the best time to propagate.
We’re talking about spring. Aiming for a time where Calatheas grow most vigorously is the best chance at helping the plant suffer minimal transplant shock and the baby plants to establish themselves quickly.
Calatheas grow best in temperatures between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit (18-30 degrees Celsius). Hence spring or early summers are when you should propagate your Calathea.
Other than the right environment, the plant’s age also plays a role. Young Calathea plants cannot be propagated as they do not produce clumps of strong baby plants.
Only plants that have clumps growing around the mother plant can be separated into new Calatheas.
One last tip for timing your Calathea propagation is that you should water the plant well a few days before propagating. This allows the plant to absorb as much water as it can to endure the transplant shock well.
Calathea orbifolia: Propagation Process
Calathea propagation is best done at a cooler time of the day and out of direct sunlight, so the roots do not dry up when exposed to the atmosphere.
Prepare the new pots and potting mix already before you take the Calathea plant out of its pot. We don’t want to expose the bare roots to the atmosphere for too long.
Start off by pulling your Calathea’s rootball out of the pot. This may be a bit tricky as you cannot pull hard on the delicate foliage. Lay the pot on its side and hit its sides with your hands, so the rootball is dislodged.
Once rootball is out, start raking away the topsoil until the roots are exposed. This task requires patience because you don’t want to rush and damage the precious roots.
The root structure will start appearing soon, and you will be able to distinguish the mother plant from the baby clumps it has grown on its sides.
Choose to separate only those Calatheas with at least one tuber root and one healthy leaf for successful propagation.
Before you start pulling the plants away, please note that the roots of each plant in the pot are very tangled, and pulling them apart rapidly will only lead to severe root damage and plant fatality.
Calatheas are sensitive plants, so try to separate clumps with as little damage as possible to the root structure. Gently tug the individual plants and slowly pull the roots apart.
Do not use the foliage as a handle to pull the plants apart. Alternatively, use the base of the plant which is the sturdiest part of the Calathea anatomy.
When pulled slowly, the roots can slide out of each other and remain safe when you finally separate the plants.
Once separated, don’t mess with the roots a lot and move them as little as you can. Moving them a lot will shake the soil off and expose the roots.
Plant the baby Calatheas in their new homes right away using a well-draining houseplant potting mix. Plant them so that the roots are well-covered with the soil and the baby plants stand upright in their new home.
Gently dab around the soil to eliminate air pockets. Water them well.
Successful propagation doesn’t just mean separating young plants and putting them in new pots. It means protecting them from the transplant shock and have them thrive after repotting.
Once the baby plants have been separated and potted into new pots, then starts the second important phase of Calathea propagation.
Keep the new plants in a warm location with bright indirect light.
To prevent your Calatheas from drying out, you can cover the pots with a clear plastic bag. This replicates greenhouse-like conditions, which are excellent for plant growth and will help your baby Calatheas get established quickly.
Keep the soil moist at all times, but make sure the pots drain well and water flows out of the bottom each time you water them.
If conditions are right, new growth will typically appear within the first three weeks. When the baby Calatheas appear to grow, keep the plastic bag on for a few more days before taking it off.
Voila! You have successfully propagated Calathea Orbifolia.
Frequently Asked Questions about Calathea Orbifolia Propagation
How to propagate Calathea Orbifolia from seed?
Propagating Calathea Orbifolia is not as easy as through plant division. While plant produced seeds don’t work very often, you will need to buy Calathea seeds. Sow the seeds in germinating mix and cover the pots with plastic film. You may need to use a seedling heat mat.
Can the plant division method be used for all Calathea varieties?
There is a vast variety of different Calathea plants out there, and all can be successfully propagated through the plant division method.
How many new plants can I get from one Calathea Orbifolia?
The answer to this question is entirely contingent on the age or maturity of the mother Calathea. These plants keep producing new baby clumps every growing season. So as long as the mother plant has been growing for, you should expect as more baby plants.
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.