Calatheas are wonderful houseplants. They come in a huge range of different patterns and colours and they’re all relatively easy to look after. Calathea orbifolia is a very handsome example, with large, round leaves striped with dark green and silver.
Calatheas are commonly known as prayer plants, because their leaves fold together at night, like praying hands. If you’re up before sunrise, you might see the leaves unfold to catch the day’s rays.
Calathea orbifolia grows natively in Bolivia, where it basks in humidity and dappled light. It will be happiest in your home if you mimic rainforest-y conditions: moist soil, lots of humidity, and the sort of light you’d get under the canopy of larger trees, i.e. not direct sun. If you look after it well it could grow to almost a metre tall. It will grow even faster with a monthly dose of liquid fertiliser in spring and summer.
Did you know?
Calathea leaves are able to fold up because they have a little secret joint between the leaf and stem. Don’t tell anybody.