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Calathia with dry leaves

My Calathia used to be big and strong. Then the leaves started drying out around the edges, then completely.
Now it only grows a few leaves and as soon as a new one comes, the old ones start to crisp up and die.
I've tried more shady spots, less water, more water, more regular water, feeding... It has stayed the same for about 8 months now.
Any advice welcome.


  • puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 155
    Oh no, so sad! Calatheas are so beautiful but such divas.

    A few things:

    1. The pot looks way too big. Is the root system proportional to the top growth, or is it big because most of the plant died off? If the root system isn't massive I'd repot into a smaller one, say 15cm, using well drained potting mix. I have cactus and succulent mix and I add in some perlite and some coco coir. Seems to work fine.

    2. Does she have root rot? The soil looks damp to me, but the leaves are curling and dry

    3. My calatheas throw the hissy fit of the century if I water them with tap water. Do you water with tap water or distilled/rain water? I'd definitely avoid tap water like the plague. I water mine when the top of the soil is dry, and it's not in a very big pot so it won't ever sit in extremely damp soil for ages.

    4. Calatheas are also a bit fussy about humidity. Has your central heating gone on? I have an oil diffuser which I use as a mini humidifier for mine - I fill with distilled water and place it under the calathea's leaves. She likes it, and it prevents those crispy leaves :) I try to do it once a week, but I've been lazy for a few weeks and I already have nasty burn marks popping up! smh 
  • puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 155
    Oh, I forgot to say: it's worth checking the leaves extremely carefully for pests. Sometimes they're really small so one way of doing it is to look using the camera on your phone with the zoom maxed out. Is there any evidence of webbing on the plant? If so, spider mites might be your problem
  • Thanks so much for the really thorough advice. The root system was a lot bigger than the top of the plant, but no where near using the whole pot, so I've repotted into a smaller, better draining pot. The roots looked ok.
    Will try rainwater - not super easy as we live in an appartment in the Alps. This also means we don't have very high humidity here - it's much drier than the UK. I have surrounded it with other plants based on other advice I saw. Not sure I'm dedicated enough to get a humidifier but maybe!
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,627
    A pebble tray for your plants might help with the humidity and be reasonably cheap. It's just a big shallow tray filled with pebbles (reasonably even-sized) with water in the bottom. The plants stand on top of the pebbles so they don't get their feet wet. Top up the water as it evaporates and your plants should have a nice humid microclimate.
  • Thanks everyone. I've tried all the suggestions... smaller pot, rainwater, pebble tray. It's not working yet but it's still alive, so I am hopeful that with a bit of time it might get happier again.
  • Some of them are ridiculously sensitive. I had one, beautiful leaves, needed North facing window, so it had that and the pebbles, but failed to flourish. Window was on the landing, far too much airflow for one so delicate. Moved it to my bedroom where it did marginally better, but only if given spells of intensive care inside a plastic bag.
    Then we had a bedroom swap to accommodate my daughter and her partner and I knew its days were numbered... She can't be bothered with faff like that!
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