How to Care for Calathea Warscewiczii: 9 Areas Uncovered

If you’re looking for a beautiful plant to add some jungle vibes to your home decor, then look no further than the Calathea warscewiczii. It’s not the easiest of names to pronounce, but you can break it down to vark- zey- wik- zee- eye. This plant is sure to make your friends green with envy.

As a total Calathea freak, I can attest that this species is one of the biggest conversation starters in my home. The leaves are like a work of art as the deep green is accented with light green stripes that look like they are painted on with watercolor.

This species of Calathea has some similar traits to its relatives, but it also has some fussy requirements too. After getting to grips with the Calathea warscewiczii care for a few years, I have seen the many challenges it has faced. I am excited to share with you all the details I have learned along the way.

calathea warscewiczii

Table of Contents

What Kind of Light Does It Require?

The Calathea warscewiczii is a drama queen when it comes to lighting- it needs just the right amount, not too little, not too much. Around 6-8 hours of bright indirect light daily is sufficient. However, it’s important to note that this can vary depending on the specific conditions in your home or office. 

There are many factors that might affect how much light is needed. For example, the intensity of bright indirect light, the distance between the plant and the light source, and humidity levels can all have an impact.

I’ve found that placing my Calathea warscewiczii near a window that receives filtered sunlight (with a sheer curtain) works best. A good rule of thumb is to find a well-lit spot to read a book without being blinded by the light.

Artificial Light

If your home lacks natural light, you can supplement it with artificial light. Some people would use a full spectrum LED grow light or fluorescent grow lights that come in a range of colors to suit different plants.

Even though the Calathea warscewiczii can be a bit picky with light, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. Just watch for a few changes in your plant so you can adjust its location.

When the Calathea warscewiczii leaves don’t get enough light, you will notice leaves will start to curl up and fold inwards. On the flip side, too much sun will cause the leaves to become scorched and damaged and can be seen if the leaves turn yellow to brown. By looking for these signs, you can move your Calathea warscewiczii around and find its happy place.

close up of calathea warscewiczii leaves

How Often Should I Water It?

Calathea warscewiczii requires a delicate balance of watering and attention. You should only water the plants when needed and not overdo it so you drown the plant and cause root rot. I water my Calathea warscewiczii when the soil feels dry. You can either purchase a moisture meter from a gardening store or use the good old-fashioned trick of sticking your finger in the soil to the first knuckle; if the soil feels dry, it’s time to water lightly. 

The Calathea warscewiczii is a sensitive plant for watering because the fragile root system can be susceptible to root rot- hence the reason to water lightly and keep the soil moist rather than soak the life out of it. Check the soil once a week and water until the excess water drains out the bottom of the pots’ drainage holes. 

Avoid letting the plant sit in standing water, as this can promote root rot from the bottom upwards. When watering, use room temperature water or lukewarm water to avoid shocking the plant’s roots. Use distilled water or filtered tap water to prevent the build-up of salts and chemicals in the soil, which can damage the plant.

Other Considerations

My area is notorious for hard water. Even the slightest drop leaves a calcium stain. I have switched to bottled water on my plants and can see a difference in their growth rate and appearance.

With all this in mind, the water and Calathea warscewiczii care requirements can vary based on the environment in which the Calathea Warscewiczii is grown and the soil type and pot size. The best way to monitor this Calathea species is with a moisture meter or set a reminder every few days to check your plant’s soil.

What Soil Is Best?

light shining on calathea by window

The Jungle Velvet Calathea hates having wet feet. Therefore use well-draining soil that doesn’t compact down and suffocate the root system. You want to create a structure for the root system that is light and airy so the plant’s roots can breathe. Sometimes I use a fork to loosen the soil around the plant to ensure it isn’t tightly packed. You can use a peat-based mix with perlite and vermiculite to retain water and keep the soil loose for air circulation.

Regarding the soil’s pH level, ensure it is between 6.0 and 6.5. This is slightly acidic but easy to achieve using an all-purpose potting mix. You can test the pH of the soil using a pH test strip kit from your gardening store or online, and they are straightforward to use.

If you are repotting a new Calathea warscewiczii, opt for a pot that is slightly larger than the plant’s current one. You don’t want to overwhelm the plant with too much soil that can become waterlogged. In fact, the Calathea warscewiczii actually prefers to be slightly root bound, too, so don’t worry if you don’t pot it up straight away.

Does It Need a High Temperature?

As a native to the tropical rainforests of South America, it requires a warm and humid environment to reach its full potential. The Calathea Jungle Velvet does well in temperatures between 65-80F (18-27C), which in other words, is the average household temperature. It doesn’t tolerate temperatures below 60F (15C). So if you experience cold winters, try to keep it in a warm spot where you can provide adequate heating.

Another particular feature of this plant is that it is super sensitive to cold drafts. It should be kept away from doors or windows that are frequently opened. I keep mine on the other side of the entertainment room across from the patio doors, where it can benefit from the natural heat and humidity of the kitchen and not be affected by the draft when the patio door is open and closed.

Some signs that your Calathea warscewiczii plant is suffering from cold stress are leaf discoloration which usually starts with yellowing or browning at the edges first. Leaf curling is kind of like us when we are so cold and need a blanket to curl into! 

The plant may also slow down or stop altogether if it is too cold too. If you notice any of these signs, increase your home’s temperature or move your plant into a warmer spot to regain its energy and continue to look its best.

Is My Home’s Humidity Enough?

calathea warscewiczii surrounded by pots and other plants

Controlling your home’s humidity for your plants may seem daunting, but actually, it is really easy. The Calathea Warscewiczii loves a humid environment, much like its original habitat. Don’t worry; you don’t need to create a sweat box to keep your plants happy.

Generally, the Calathea warscewiczii thrives in humidity levels between 50-60%. If the air is too dry, the plant may experience issues such as brown leaf tips and edges, curling leaves, and slow growth.

The average household usually reads around 40-60% but depends on location, climate and season, etc. You can read your home’s humidity by using a digital thermometer. Surprisingly, you can pick these up at some chemists as well as gardening stores.

If your home’s humidity levels drop below the required amount to keep your Calathea Jungle Velvet plant happy, then you can consider using the following methods.

How to Raise Humidity

  • Run a humidifier– These are relatively inexpensive and do wonders to keep your plants happy.  They provide us with some amazing health benefits too- double win!
  • Place a pebble tray of water under the plant- This will allow transpiration to take place around the immediate area of the plant and provide it with added moisture- just be sure to change the water every few days to stop sliminess.
  • Grouping plants- This is great for creating a microclimate. When you think of the jungle plants growing together quite densely in moist soil, this helps them to keep each other alive and well as the natural moisture levels around the plants is increased.
  • Misting- Mist the plant’s leaves to help increase the humidity. Just be mindful not to mist the prayer plant too frequently, as this can lead to fungal diseases or damage the plant’s leaves. Misting is a very short-term solution to increasing humidity as the mist dries out very quickly.

I have found running a humidifier for my plants has worked wonders. I really love that it also prevents me from suffering from dry skin and airways during the bitter cold, dry winter months.

Does It Need Fertilizing?

white room with calathea warscewiczii in corner

As with other Calathea plants, the Calathea warscewiczii is not classed as a heavy feeder. However, it does benefit from regular fertilization during the growing season.

Use a balanced, water-soluble organic fertilizer made with an equal ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). Look out for the numbers 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. These are both equal, and the number will determine the dilution amount.

When it’s time to fertilize, dilute the Calathea warscewiczii fertilizer half strength or follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, apply every two to four weeks during the spring to early fall. By diluting to half strength, you will avoid over-fertilization, which can cause the burning of the roots and foliage. Apply the fertilizer evenly around the base of the plant and avoid direct contact with the leaves.


When it comes to the winter months, the Calathea warscewiczii tends to go dormant, which is when it preserves its energy to start growing again in spring and summer. Avoid fertilizing during this time, as the plant already has what it needs from the soil to keep it going. Any extra fertilizer at this stage can cause stress.

After fertilizing, I water the plant thoroughly before and after to prevent fertilizer burn and ensure the nutrients are properly absorbed. That way, the Calathea warscewiczii can thrive and display its beautiful foliage all year round.

How Do I Propagate the Calathea Warscewiczii?

Propagation may sound more technical than it is. It’s the name given to multiplying plants. The best thing about it is free; you can share your beloved green babies with your family and friends. What a skill to learn!

close up of leaf for calathea

As you won’t be able to propagate the Calathea warscewiczii through stem cuttings, the method to use when propagating the Calathea warscewiczii is division.

Here Are Some Guidelines:

  • Division involves separating the plant into two or smaller plants. To do this, firstly gently (and I mean really gently) remove the plant from its pot and separate the roots into smaller clumps. 
  • Each clump should consist of a few leaves and healthy roots. If the roots are super tangled together, you may need to cut them away as you loosen them but try not to cut the thicker roots, as these are pretty important. 
  • Plant each clump into the new pot with fresh potting soil. Preferably the same mix as the mother plant will be used (as this is where they have grown up). The best time for division is when the plant must be potted into a new pot. You will already be disturbing the roots at this time, so it’s best to avoid any extra harm later on.
  • Place the newly potted into a warm, bright, and humid location. Again next to the mother plant is ideal as this is the same warm temperatures and conditions it is used to.

After four weeks, you can move them into different locations in the home to see how they adapt. By that point, the roots would have settled into their new pot and started to produce new foliage.

It’s essential to keep the soil moist but not too wet during the propagation process and to avoid direct sunlight, which can damage the tender new growth. Your propagated Calathea warscewiczii can grow into a healthy and vibrant plant with proper care.

Is Calathea Warscewiczii Toxic?

Generally, Calathea warscewiczii is considered nontoxic. However, it’s always a good idea to keep plants out of reach of pets and young children who may be inclined to chew on them, as some people may be sensitive or allergic to certain plants. 

Additionally, while Calathea warscewiczii is not toxic, it’s possible that consuming large quantities of any plant material could cause digestive upset or other health issues, so it’s always best to use caution and common sense when handling plants.

Pests and Common Problems

brown pot with calathea warscewiczii grey background

Calathea warscewiczii, like many plants, can be susceptible to various pests and problems. Some common issues that may affect Calathea warscewiczii include:

Spider Mites

These tiny pests can infest the plant and cause the leaves to turn yellow and die. You may notice webbing or brown spots on the plant, which is a sign of their presence. You can use a neem oil sand sop solution to combat a spider mite infestation. 

Mix one teaspoon of neem oil with four drops of dishwashing soap and a liter of water spray once a week and watch as they disappear. Remember, it won’t kill them immediately, so don’t expect instant results. Give it some time, and they will find a new place to live.


These pests look like small cottony masses and can cause yellowing and leaf drop. They move around in clusters and suck the sap from the Calathea warscewiczii leaves and stems.

You can use a teaspoon of neem oil and four drops of dishwashing soap to make a solution with a liter of water. Apply the solution once per week, and the mealybugs will start to reduce and eventually disappear.

Sooty Mold and Scale Insects

These pests appear as small, raised bumps on the Calathea warscewiczii and can cause damage by feeding on the sap. They leave behind a trail of honeydew which creates a secondary infection of sooty mold on the Calathea warscewiczii

You can pick these insects off individually with rubbing alcohol or use an insecticidal soap or neem oil spray.

Leaf Spot

This fungal disease can cause leaf damage where dark circular spots appear on the Calathea warscewiczii and eventually cause the leaves to drop. This is usually a result of improper watering or the use of tap water. 

Try to switch to filtered water that’s room temperature, avoid misting the Calathea warscewiczii too much and ensure proper air circulation around the plant.

About Calathea Warscewiczii

Also known as Prayer Plant, Jungle Velvet, and Goeppertia warscewiczii, the Calathea warscewiczii. It is a tropical plant native to the rainforests of Central and South America, specifically Columbia and Cost Rica. It is a member of the Marantaceae family known for its dramatic foliage, featuring dark green leaves with light green brushstroke-looking veins and purple undersides.

This plant can grow up to 2-3 feet (60-90cm) tall and wide and can be grown in a pot or a hanging basket. It is often used in interior design because of how attractive and unique foliage makes a bold statement. The Calathea warcewiczii can be a bit of a challenge to care for as it requires bright indirect light and a watering schedule using filtered water. However, it does well in average household temperatures and humidity, so there’s no reason to alter your home or office to keep it happy!


Are Calathea warscewiczii hard to care for?

The Calathea warscewiczii is considered a fussy plant because of its sensitive water and light conditions. With that being said, once you have taken on the challenge, you will find its sweet spot and benefit from its stunning beauty.

How do you care for Calathea warscewiczii?

Calathea warscewiczii care includes a temperature range of 65-80F (18-27C), a humidity of 50-60% with 6-8 hours of bright indirect sunlight regular watering regime, and well-draining soil with regular fertilizing during the spring and summer months.

Is Calathea warscewiczii an indoor plant?

The Calathea warscewiczii is most commonly grown as an indoor plant, but you can plant it outside in a shady spot if you live in a tropical or rainforest-like region.

Is Calathea warscewiczii pet safe?

Like all other Calatheas, the Calathea warscewiczii is pet safe. Always practice caution when you are selecting a place for your calathea, as pets can have an unknown reaction to any plant.

Calathea Warscewiczii Care Uncovered

Overall, the Calathea warscewiczii is a striking plant that has captured the hearts of many plant lovers worldwide. Its deep green leaves and purple undersides make it an exceptional addition to any decor. 

This plant is not for the faint of heart and requires specific conditions compared to other houseplants. The Calathea warscewiczii prefers high humidity, bright indirect sunlight, and well-draining soil. Despite its demanding nature, the Calathea warscewiczii is a rewarding plant to care for as it responds well to consistent attention and can brighten up any space. 

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Alex Tinsman
An avid plant and flower lover! Ever since he was little, plants, flowers, and shrubbery of all kinds filled his life. Alex credits this fascination with nature's beauty to his mother and grandmother who were - and still are - dedicated gardeners. It's now Alex's mission to pass that same love for plants onto others and show them it's as easy as pie to bring nature inside.

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