Calathea Burle Marx (Calathea Burlemarmii) | Care Guide

With its interesting stripe pattern on the top of its leaves and a watercolor-like brushstroke of red-violet on the underside of its leaves, Calathea Burle Marx (Calathea Burlemarmii ‘Burle Marx’) is a beautiful plant to add to your collection.  The variegation of color on the leaves is dark green streaks coming out from the center of the leaf with a muted green background that looks like a subtle hue of blue was washed over it. The leaves each have their own stem and grow from the center base of the plant.

The scientific name for Calathea Burle Marx is ctenanthe burle-marxii. Its other common names are fishbone prayer plant, ice blue plant, and calathea fishbone.

Belonging to the Marantaceae or prayer plant family, Calathea Burle Marx has the fascinating habit of folding up its leaves at night, imitating praying hands, and then opening back up in the day to soak up the light.

Calathea Burle Marx originates from Brazil where it grows close to the ground in the warm, humid, rainforest.

Tropical plants are an excellent way to promote more oxygen in a space.  Calathea Burle Marx is also an air purifier that filters out the pollutants in your environment. It is an excellent plant to have in your bedroom as it absorbs the carbon dioxide you’re breathing out while you sleep and you wake refreshed and feeling well.

Calathea Burle Marx Care

If you’re new to caring for a prayer plant, Calathea Burle Marx would be a good introductory plant to start with.  It is one of the easier Calatheas to care for and will help you get started.

The most important factors to remember when taking care of Calathea Burle Marx are humidity, temperature, and the correct watering method.

How to care for Calathea Burle Marx as an indoor plant

Hydration is the most important thing for Calathea Burle Marx.  If growing this plant inside, consider displaying it in a terrarium. If a terrarium isn’t a good option for you, make sure the room your Calathea Burle Marx lives in is warm, and you can provide a suitable amount of humidity for your plant. It’s also key to keep your Calathea Burle Marx away from any drafts or heating and cooling vents.

Calathea Burle Marx (Calathea Burlemarmii 'Burle Marx')
Calathea Burle Marx (Calathea Burlemarmii ‘Burle Marx’)

Caring for Calathea Burle Marx as an outdoor plant

Outdoors Calathea Burle Marx likes to have light filtered through other plants.  A semi-shaded area of your outdoor landscape is the best place to help Calathea Burle Marx thrive. Also if it can be planted with a group of other humidity loving plants they can share moisture resources.

Light Requirement

Bright indirect sunlight is what Calathea Burle Marx requires. Place your plant near a North or East facing window. If that isn’t a possibility try filtering the light through a sheer curtain or place it under other larger plants that like the direct light and can shelter your Calathea Burle Marx.  If the variegation is starting to fade it means your Calathea Burle Marx is not getting enough light and could be moved closer to the light source.

Soil Type and pH

The soil for Calathea Burle Marx should be well-draining, light, and able to retain moisture without being saturated. Using an African violet mix works quite well for Calathea Burle Marx.  Or you can mix perlite, bark, or coco coir into the soil.

Soil pH for Calathea Burle Marx should be 6.5.


Calathea Burle Marx likes to be damp, but not soaked. Water it, when the top inch or so of soil is dry, and make sure the pot it’s planted in, has drain holes.  Let the excess water drain into a tray and then discard the water so your plant isn’t sitting in a puddle.

Overwatering your Calathea Burle Marx can cause root rot which is often fatal for plants.


Basking in a humid environment is what Calathea Burle Marx loves. Although it is more resilient in this area than other prayer plants, it still enjoys moderate to high humidity. Some ways to help your Calathea Burle Marx stay humid are, to mist your plant every 1-2 days, place it in your bathroom to take advantage of shower steam, have a small humidifier near it, or arrange it with other plants with similar needs so they can exchange humidity with each other.


Having a natural home in the amazon jungle means Calathea Burle Marx likes to be warm. 65F-75F is the ideal range for Calathea Burle Marx and it can tolerate higher temperatures.  It will not tolerate lower temperatures well, however.

Hardiness Zone

If planted outdoors Calathea Burle Marx should be in a hardiness zone of USDA 9-12


To assist your Calathea Burle Marx in living its best life fertilize it once a month in the spring and summer. This is when its growing season is.  Fertilizing in the fall and winter is not necessary.  Use a standard multi-purpose fertilizer to feed your Calathea Burle Marx.  Take care to make sure you water it either right before or during fertilization with diluted fertilizer.


You can not root a cutting of Calathea Burle Marx in water.  The best way to propagate it is by dividing a healthy section from the parent plant and potting it in its own container.

To safely and successfully accomplish this springtime is the best season. Uproot your Calathea Burle Marx and gently shake the dirt from the roots. With a sharp knife or razor blade that you’ve sanitized with rubbing alcohol, slice away a section of roots and their corresponding stems.

Plant each section you cut apart (being sure not to divide too many plants) in a separate pot with clean fresh soil.  Keep all of the plants including the parent plant warm and watch for signs of shock. When new leaves start to grow on the plants you will know the process was victorious.

Calathea Burle Marx Size and Growth Rate

Calathea Burle Marx will reach a maximum height of 20 inches.  The leaves spread quite wide and the plant can reach out to 16 inches wide.

This is a slow-growing plant and can take two seasons or more to reach its full size.

Common Pests and Diseases

The most common pests to worry about for Calathea Burle Marx are spider mites and mealybugs.

Keep an eye out for small groups of bugs taking up residence on the plant as well as holes in the leaves.

Spider mites show up when the soil is too dry so the best way to keep them away is to water your Calathea Burle Marx when the top inch of soil is dry.

Both pests can be remedied by giving your Calathea Burle Marx a shower to rinse off the insects and then treating the leaves with neem oil.

Leaves Curling

Curling leaves means your Calathea Burle Marx is trying to conserve moisture and it is becoming dehydrated. Give your plant a nice drink of water and monitor and water it more frequently.

Leaves turning yellow

Yellow leaves mean your plant requires more water. Make sure your Calathea Burle Marx is kept moist but not soggy.

Leaves with brown edges

If your Calathea Burle Marx has brown leaf edges it means the temperature is too high in its environment. Try moving it away from heat sources.

Drooping leaves

Calathea Burle Marx leaves droop when it has too much water. Try letting it dry out a bit and make sure your pot has adequate drainage.

Plant Dying

If your Calathea Burle Marx is dying it’s probably from root rot.  Try uprooting your plant, cutting away the damaged parts of the root ball with a sanitized blade or shears, and repot it in a container with drainage holes and fresh clean soil.

How to Repot Calathea Burle Marx

Repotting Calathea Burle Marx should happen every one to two years in early spring (or as needed if your plant needs to be treated for a pest or disease).
Make sure the soil is moist when you uproot your Calathea Burle Marx. Treat it tenderly and remove the extra soil from the roots.
Fill a slightly larger container one-third with fresh soil and place your plant on top of the soil. Fill around the plant to just below the top of the container and lightly pat the soil down.
Monitor your Calathea Burle Marx for signs of shock and keep it warm.
Care for your Calathea Burle Marx as usual.

Do Calathea Burle Marx flower?

Calathea Burle Marx produces small clusters of flowers that are not fragrant.  The most attractive part of the plant is for sure the foliage.

Do Calathea Burle Marx move at night?

Calathea Burle Marx leaves fold up like praying hands at night and reopen in the morning.

Is Calathea Burle Marx safe for pets?

Calathea Burle Marx is safe and non-toxic for both cats and dogs.

Where can I find Calathea Burle Marx for sale?

Calathea Burle Marx can be purchased online or in specialty brick and mortar plant stores.

Calathea Burle Marx Price

The price for Calathea Burle Marx is between 15 USD and 25 USD.

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