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A tropical plant by nature, calathea ornata sports lustrous bands of color that earn it the apt nickname of the “pinstripe plant.” Native to Africa, the West Indies, Thailand, Central America, and South America, this plant is valued for its oval, vibrantly-colored leaves. On average, these plants grow to about two feet in height and two feet in width, making them ideal for cultivating in a container inside your home.
The plant has many popular names, including the aforementioned pinstripe plant, the peacock plant, zebra plant, or cathedral plant. It has several look-alikes as well, including the prayer plant. They are often confused for each other because they both have leaves that rise and fall as the sun rises and sets – just as a person raises their hands in prayer.
Place your calathea ornata in bright, indirect light, at temperatures of 65 to 85 °F (18 to 29 °C) and high humidity. Pot in a peat-based potting soil, water regularly to maintain lightly moist soil and fertilize monthly through the growing season. When you first bring home your calathea ornata plant, you will need to pay particular attention to its final destination. This tropical plant prefers bright, indirect light. It is rather finicky in this regard, as too little light will cause stunted growth, while too much direct sunlight can burn the plant’s delicate leaves.
In its native environment, calathea ornata grows in the rainforest. Therefore, it is used to being shaded by other plants. Bright, direct sunlight burns the leaves of your plant and will ultimately cause its death. If you’re unsure whether your plant is being exposed to too much light, simply keep an eye on its leaves. If it starts to lose its distinctive stripes, it is receiving too much sunlight.
When selecting where you would like to place your calathea plant, make sure it has access to plenty of indirect, moderate light. A good location would be one that is bright, but shaded, particularly near an east-facing window with a curtain or shade.
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