Calathea Propagation Methods: How To Propagate Calathea Plants

Potted Calathea Plant
(Image credit: Firn)

Grown for its attractive foliage, the calathea is a favorite houseplant. These foliage plants come in many shapes and sizes with a variety of patterns. Patterns are so intricately placed on the leaves that they sometimes look beautifully painted.

Propagation of Calathea

Of the same family as the prayer plant, the two are sometimes mistaken at retail. Except for C. crocata, calathea are not grown for their flowers. While these plants are not complicated for most to keep indoors, they do require humidity, regular watering, and must be kept from direct sunlight.

If you’ve gotten these requirements right and have a mature plant, you can consider calathea plant propagation. Division in spring or summer is the best type of calathea propagation method. Keep in mind, dividing the plant will change the full appearance you’ve worked for.

If your plant is big enough, it will spread and produce clumps to the sides that can be removed and grown out. Water a few days before you anticipate dividing and repotting the plant. Gently remove the plant from its container. Separate the roots to seclude areas of new growth. If necessary, divide at the root system with a sharp, clean cut. Make sure each clump has part of the root system and that each leaf is attached to a stem.

Repot into an appropriately sized container and keep the soil moist. Don’t overwater and allow soil to become soggy.

Further Steps When Propagating Calathea

Keep out of the sun, but don’t put them in full shade. The same lighting that has proven proper before division will likely work when growing out the division. Locate them in temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees F. (16-21 C.).

Some suggest covering the new planting with plastic tenting to provide the greenhouse effect and increase humidity. Humidity is important for these plants, so provide it to divisions using the plastic, a pebble tray, a humidifier, or by misting.

Nitrogen fertilizer encourages growth and keeps foliage well-patterned. Use a half-strength mixture on small, young divisions every two weeks to once a month. Always feed into soil that is moist.

Expect growth and development within a few weeks. Remove the plastic at this time and continue watering and feeding.

When learning how to propagate calathea, remember to use techniques that have worked for you when growing the plant before.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.