Want to add something new and exciting to your houseplant collection? Why not go with a plant that is both beautiful and uncommon?
I’ve recently fallen in love with Calathea plants, and once you see all the different types, I bet you will too.
There’s a good reason why they are becoming so popular. Calathea’s vibrantly colored leaves and elegant shapes are so gorgeous that you’ll be dying to have one in your home. Maybe more than one. Because there are so many Calathea varieties, it’s hard to decide on a favorite!
Calatheas can be a little tricky to care for, so I’ll also include basic care tips so you can keep your plant looking its best.
How many species of Calathea plant are there?
The genus Calathea contains around 60 species, but there are also many cultivars. I’ve seen the number 300 bandied about, but I don’t know if it’s accurate. Suffice it to say, there are many choices when adding a Calathea to your indoor plant collection.
Oh, and some of the plants that are commonly known as Calathea have been reassigned to the genus Goeppertia. But we’re not going to quibble about that because you’ll often find them labeled as Calathea species in plant stores.
How do you identify a Calathea?
Calatheas are known for their striking foliage. (The gorgeous foliage is why I fell in love with them.)
Many Calatheas have patterned, colorful leaves that look almost painted. The undersides of the leaves are often a different color or shade than the topsides, usually red or purple. And many varieties have distinctive markings on their leaves as well.
Calatheas are members of the Marantaceae family, which includes other popular houseplants such as Maranta (Prayer Plant). And many Calathea types look similar to Maranta, so you may see them labeled as Prayer Plants.
Now that we know what Calatheas are let’s talk about how to take care of them.
Calatheas are native to tropical regions and need warm temperatures and high humidity to thrive.
They like filtered light but can tolerate low light conditions. However, avoid placing them in direct sunlight because the leaves will fade and burn.
They like moist soil but don’t like to be wet, so make sure you plant them in a well-draining potting mix. And allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. But don’t let it get too dry, or the leaf edges may become brown and crispy.
They’re also picky about their water. For example, chlorinated water can cause leaf spots, so if you use tap water, let it sit out overnight so that the chlorine evaporates. You can also use rainwater or bottled water.
Calatheas also like high humidity, so you may want to use a plant humidifier or set it on a pebble tray.
As you can probably tell, Calatheas are a little fussy. As a result, these are not the easiest plants to care for, but if you pay attention to what they need, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, unique houseplant.
19 Gorgeous Calathea Varieties (with Pictures!)
Ready to add a Calathea plant to your home? Check out my Calathea varieties list below!
1. Calathea roseopicta
I’m starting with my two favorites.
Calathea Roseopicta is also called Rose-Painted Calathea. Look at those beautiful leaves!
It has beautiful, pink-tinged oval leaves with dark green markings. The undersides of the leaves are a dark reddish-purple. Plus, the leaves have that striking pattern.
It can grow up to 30 inches tall and wide.
There are numerous roseopicta cultivars available. They all have the same color contrast around the edges, but the patterns and colors differ.
Display these plants at eye level so that both the tops and bottoms of the leaves can be seen.
2. Calathea roseopicta ‘Dottie’
Dottie is a cultivar of Calathea roseopicta. It has the same large glossy oval-shaped leaves.
The difference is in the dramatic coloring. Dottie’s eye-catching leaves are a deep greenish-purple that appears almost black. In addition, the leaves have bright fuschia outlines with deep red-purple undersides.
It’s a knockout!
3. Calathea ornata
Calathea ornata, aka Pinstripe Calathea, is one of the most popular types, boasting beautiful, dark green leaves with pinkish-white stripes. The undersides of the leaves are a deep purple-red.
If you notice the pink stripes fading, then it’s likely the plant is getting too much direct sunlight. Move it to a spot with bright, indirect light, and it will recover.
4. Calathea makoyana
Calathea makoyana, aka Peacock Plant, is another popular variety.
The large oval leaves are light green and have a dark green feathered appearance from the middle to the outer edges, with a pinkish-red underside.
The Peacock Plant gets its name from its beautiful feather-like patterns. It can grow up to 18 inches tall and wide.
5. Calathea orbifolia
Calathea orbifolia has large silvery-green leaves with pronounced dark-colored veins. The leaves of orbifolia are slightly ruffled and have a unique shape that sets it apart from other varieties.
Unlike many Calatheas, orbifolia leaves do not have a contrasting color on the underside.
It can grow up to 18 inches in height and width.
6. Calathea warscewiczii
Calathea warscewiczii is also called Jungle Velvet or Velvet Calathea. It’s known for its large velvety leaves (hence the nicknames!).
The beautiful oval-shaped leaves are deep green with a lighter green pattern and burgundy-purple undersides. The leaves are velvety to the touch.
This larger Calathea variety can grow up to 36-48 inches tall and wide.
7. Calathea crocata
Calathea crocata, commonly called Eternal Flame, is a unique variety because of its orange or yellow flowers that last 2-3 months.
It has long, narrow leaves that are metallic green. The undersides of the leaves are deep purply-brown.
Eternal Flame is a smaller variety, only growing 1-2 feet in height.
8. Calathea zebrina
Calathea zebrina, aka Zebra Plant, is among the most popular varieties. It has narrow, oval-shaped leaves that are light green with dark green stripes. The undersides of the leaves are dark purple.
The Zebra Plant gets its name from its zebra-like patterns. A larger variety, it can grow up to 36 inches tall and wide.
9. Calathea ‘white fusion’
Calathea ‘white fusion’ is a beautiful, variegated variety. It has large, showy leaves that are green with prominent white markings. The undersides of the leaves are deep magenta.
This plant can grow up to 24 inches tall.
Be careful about exposing ‘White Fusion’ to direct sunlight as the leaves may turn brown and drop off. Indirect sunlight only!
10. Calathea musaica
Calathea musaica, aka Network Calathea, is oval-shaped leaves with a distinctive mosaic-like pattern. The foliage is a bright glossy green with a light green, almost yellow, pattern. Unlike other Calatheas, the underside is green rather than a red/purple color.
This plant has been reclassified to the Goeppertia genus, but you’ll often find it under both names.
11. Calathea loeseneri
Calathea loeseneri is also called Brazilian Star Calathea. It has star-shaped pink flowers that grow on long stems. In addition, it has large, oval-shaped light green leaves.
This plant can grow up to 48 inches tall.
Loeseneri is another species that has been reclassified as Goeppertia.
12. Calathea Majestica ‘White Star’
The White Star Calathea is distinctive because of its extensive striping.
Botanically classified as Goeppertia majestica, this beauty has petioles (leafstalks) that are a deep purple, and the undersides of the leaves are green. This large variety can grow to up to 4 to 5 feet tall.
It’s often mistaken for Pinstripe Calathea, but Pinstripe has more green coloring on the foliage than White Star.
13. Calathea veitchiana
Calathea veitchiana, aka Calathea Medallion, has large, oval green leaves with intricate white markings. The top side features a feathery center, while the underside of each leaf is a deep purple.
At maturity, it can reach 48 inches in height and 24 inches in width.
Pro-tip: Calatheas like high humidity, making the bathroom an ideal location for them as long as you have a good source of indirect light.
14. Calathea lancifolia
Calathea lancifolia, aka Rattlesnake Plant, gets its nickname from its long leaves with distinctive ripples. The leaves are dark green with light green spots and dark purple undersides. A smaller variety, this plant only grows to about 12 inches tall.
15. Calathea rufibarba
Calathea rufibarba, aka Furry Feather Calathea or Velvet Calathea, has tiny hairs covering waxy leaves, giving it a soft velvety feel. The leaves are long and feather-shaped leaves with a deep green color. It has long burgundy stems and deep purple undersides.
16. Calathea louisae
Calathea louisae, aka Thai Beauty, is a variety that originates from Brazil. The leaves are broad and ovate, with dark green coloration covered in an attractive white feathery patterning running along the central veinings of each leaf. This variety is compact, growing to about a foot tall.
17. Calathea fasciata
Goeppertia fasciata is a beauty of a plant with large, dark green leaves striped in light green. It resembles Calathea Orbifolia, but the leaves are darker. Its leaves have a burgundy to purple underside.
This species was formerly known as Calathea fasciata, but it has been reclassified to the Goeppertia genus.
18. Calathea concinna
The Calathea concinna, sometimes called Calathea leopardina, is one of the easiest Calatheas to care for. It has long, narrow leaves that are light green with deep green markings. Like many varieties of Calathea, Concinna’s leaves fold up at night and open like a prayer plant in the morning.
19. Calathea bicajous
I saved Bicajous for last because it’s another of my favorites.
It has large oval-shaped leaves that are light green with a darker green feathery pattern in the center. The undersides of the leaves are a deep purple-red. In addition to its gorgeous foliage, Bicajous has pale pink flowers that appear on long stems.
So there you have it. 19 gorgeous types of Calathea! I hope this article has inspired you to add one (or more) of these beautiful plants to your home.