The Complete Step-by-Step Guide on How to Propagate a Calathea
Posted on April 20 2021
If you have found yourself reading this blog, it is likely for one of two reasons: either you have already become proficient in the art of Calathea parenthood and are now eager to extend your collection, or you are desperately seeking a remedy to revive a dying Calathea plant. Whatever your motivation may be, we present to you a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to propagate Calatheas.
The first and most crucial step in propagating your Calathea is to identify its genus accurately. This is vital in determining the appropriate propagation method for your specific Calathea plant. It is important to note that not all plants labeled as "Prayer Plants" are Calatheas, and some of these plants may come mislabeled from large department stores.
Calatheas, along with Stromanthe, Ctenanthe, and Maranta, are frequently referred to as "Prayer Plants" due to their kinship within the same botanical family. Why is it essential to distinguish between these plants? Ctenanthe and Maranta have relatively similar growth patterns and can both be propagated from stem cuttings, whereas Calathea and Stromanthe cannot.
The most reliable technique for propagating your Calathea plant is through division during repotting. This method may seem daunting initially, and you may be tempted to cut off a stem and place it in water. However, division during repotting has proven to be the most successful method.
Before commencing the propagation process, it is critical to select the appropriate season. Early spring is the recommended time for propagation, as during the spring and summer months, Calatheas produce new leaves and roots. Your newly divided plant will require this energy boost to repair and develop its root system.
You should also be mindful of when you choose to propagate your plant. Calatheas do not tolerate frequent uprooting, so you should time your propagation with your plant's repotting needs. Signs of a plant that needs repotting include slower growth, and new growth may appear smaller than usual. These plants prefer to be "snug" in their container, so avoid repotting your Calathea more than once a year.
Before propagating, evaluate your plant's health. If it is sickly, division is not advisable, as neither section is likely to survive. Consider repotting your plant if it has been over-fertilized or is experiencing a severe pest infestation, but avoid propagating it.
Once you have decided to propagate your plant, water it thoroughly one day before you begin the process. This ensures that the roots are moist and less likely to break, reducing the risk of transplant shock. Calatheas have delicate roots, so it is crucial to avoid tampering with them unless you are dividing the plant.
It is essential to select the proper soil for your Calathea. They prefer a well-draining soil that is kept evenly moist. The soil is like a sponge, and improper soil will hold water, leading to overwatering your plant without your knowledge. A recommended soil mix is two parts potting soil to one part perlite to achieve adequate drainage.
You will also require two adequately proportioned containers for your "mama" and "baby" Calatheas. The pot should be one to two inches larger than the root ball for both plants. This means that your "mama" plant may not require a larger container and can be placed back in its original pot or a smaller one.
To propagate your Calathea, gently lay the plant on its side, taking care not to damage the delicate foliage. Lightly tap the sides of the pot to release the soil from the pot's edge. If the soil is not releasing, softly brush your hands against the inside surfaces.
As you continue caring for your newly propagated Calatheas, keep an eye out for any signs of stress or distress. Monitor the soil moisture and adjust watering as needed to keep it evenly moist but not waterlogged. Also, watch out for any pests or diseases that may affect your plants and take action promptly if you notice any issues.
In conclusion, propagating Calatheas can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, whether you're looking to expand your plant collection or save a dying plant. By following the step-by-step guide outlined above and providing your plants with the proper care and attention, you can successfully propagate your Calatheas and enjoy their beautiful foliage for years to come.