Calathea Freddie (Calathea Concinna ‘Freddie’): Ultimate Care Guide

Calathea Freddie is an eye-catching, tropical perennial.  It has large glossy, broad, leaves that grow in a spread-out fashion.  The leaves are charmingly striped starting from the center vein.  The stripes begin broad and thin out as they reach the outer edges of the leaf. 

The broadleaf and wide growth pattern of the Calathea Freddie makes sense since its native habitat is the rainforest floors of South America. Specifically the northwest region of Brazil. Growing wide helps Calathea Freddie grab as much light as possible through the tree canopy above it.

Calathea Freddie is a member of the Marantaceae family. The plants in this family are also known as the arrowroot family.  Something particularly unique about Calathea Freddie and other plants in their family is their leaves fold up in the night to conserve energy and reopen during the day to absorb as much light as possible. This is where the name prayer plant came from since this action looks like hands coming together in prayer.

The scientific name for Calathea Freddie is Calathea Concinna ‘Freddie’.  Some of its more common names include the prayer plant (as mentioned above) zebra plant, because of its prominent stripe pattern, and Leopardina Calathea Freddie.

Common Name(s)Zebra Plant, Prayer Plant, Calathea Freddie
Scientific NameCalathea Concinna ‘Freddie’
Sun Exposure6 hours of indirect sunlight per day
Soil pH6.5
Watering RequirementKeep moist
Hardiness ZoneUSDA 10-11
Plant Height2-3 ft
Plant Width2-3 ft
Calathea Freddie
Calathea Freddie (Calathea Concinna ‘Freddie’)

What are the benefits of keeping Calathea Freddie?

Not only does Calathea Freddie produce oxygen, it is also an excellent air purifier. Many sources recommend having a Calathea Freddie in your bedroom to help with detoxifying and eliminating impurities while you sleep as well as absorbing the carbon dioxide being expelled during the night.

Calathea Freddie Care

Calathea Freddie is not the easiest plant to care for and can be somewhat high maintenance.  They have specific light requirements and need to be kept in a quite humid environment.

How to care for Calathea Freddie as an indoor plant

Calathea Freddie is a very beautiful indoor plant with stunning striped foliage.  Many people keep their Calathea Freddie indoors due to their need for warmth year-round. They also require high humidity so be sure to spray them regularly or have a mister or humidifier in the room with them.  If you live in a particularly dry climate you may want to invest in a digital hygrometer for your house.

How to care for Calathea Freddie as an outdoor plant

Calathea Freddie is used to receiving light from below the tree canopy in the tropical rainforest. They prefer to be warm, but direct sunlight will burn their leaves. A shady spot that has morning sun is ideal for an outdoor Calathea Freddie.

Light Requirement

At least 6 hours of indirect sunlight per day will keep a Calathea Freddie happy. Light that is too intense will burn their leaves. On the other hand, not enough light will cause the desirable striped variegation to fade as the plant struggles to conserve energy.

Soil Type and pH Requirement

The simplest way to provide premium soil for Calathea Freddie is to use a commercial mix intended for African violets. A peat moss mix that is light and airy that will retain moisture without soaking the roots too much is exactly what Calathea Freddie needs.

The optimum soil pH level for Calathea Freddie is 6.5.

Watering Requirement

The watering goal for Calathea Freddie is to maintain moist, but not sodden soil.  Keep an eye on your Calathea Freddie to watch for soil that is too dry or leaves turning brown around the edges. This is an indicator that your Calathea Freddie is not being watered enough. Unlike most plants that can stand to dry out a little, Calathea Freddie is not at all drought resistant and will not tolerate being dry.

In addition to being a thirsty plant, Calathea Freddie is also sensitive to various minerals often found in tap water. To avoid toxic watering you can, use rainwater to water your plant, use filtered water, or let your tap water sit overnight.  Letting the water sit for 8-12 hours will allow chlorine and fluoride to dissipate.

Humidity Requirement

Humidity levels between 60% and 80% are what to strive for when keeping Calathea Freddie.  This can be hard to achieve inside an average home. Some solutions are to have a humidifier near your plant, keep your plant in a well-lit bathroom so they can take advantage of the shower steam, or place your Calathea Freddie in a larger terrarium.  Make sure the terrarium can accommodate the wide growth of a Calathea Freddie.  A digital hygrometer can help you monitor the humidity levels of your home. 

Temperature Requirement

Calathea Freddie is a warm-weather plant and thrives best in temperatures of 60F to 85F.  It can tolerate temperatures as high as 95F but should not be in an environment below 60F.

Hardiness Zone

10-11 USDA is the best possible hardiness zone for Calathea Freddie.  Plants living in this zone can be outside without worrying about temperatures that are too low.  No changes will need to be made in the winter, Calathea Freddie can stay outdoors all year round.

Fertilization Requirement

A common commercial houseplant fertilizer can be used to feed your Calathea Freddie. The best times to fertilize your plant is in the spring, and summer.  Use a quarter of the recommended amount to avoid overfeeding.

Calathea Freddie does not need to be fertilized outside of its growing season so don’t worry about extra feeding in the fall and winter.

If you notice the leaves turning yellow your plant has possibly been overfed.

Calathea Freddie Propagation

Plant division is the best method for propagating Calathea Freddie. They will not root in water so avoid taking that route.

Repotting in the early spring provides an ideal time for propagation.  Choose a healthy well-established parent plant.  Tenderly remove it from its container, shake the dirt off the roots gently, and make sure the roots are not damaged during this process.

Next, separate the roots with your hands.  Take a third of the root ball and a minimum of 3 shots to increase the propagation success.

Move the parent plant into its new pot with fresh soil.

Plant the newly separated plant in its own pot with suitable soil and place it in a warm spot.  Remember to keep the soil moist.  A tip while the new Calathea Freddie is establishing itself, place plastic wrap over the mouth of the container (but not the plant) to avoid moisture loss.  You can remove the plastic in 3-4 weeks when the new Calathea Freddie is settled in.

Calathea Freddie Size and Growth Rate

On average when indoors Calathea Freddie grows to be 2-3 feet in height. It can grow as wide as it is high since it is used to spreading itself out on the tropical jungle floor to get as much sunlight as possible. Each leaf can be 4-7 inches long.

After propagation, it takes about 5 weeks to see a new shoot appear on the plant.

Calathea Freddie Common Pests and Diseases

Leaves Curling

Curling leaves is your Calathea Freddie telling you the humidity is too low.  Up the humidity by placing it in the bathroom or putting a humidifier nearby.

Leaves Turning Yellow

If your Calathea Freddie Leaves are turning yellow there may be a few different reasons. First, check your watering.  It may be too much or too little. Calathea Freddie likes moist but not soaking wet soil.

There could also be a light deficiency, over-fertilizing, or a growth spurt happening for your plant. Yellow leaves require some troubleshooting to remedy.

Leaves with Brown Edges

Brown edges on the leaves indicate a mineral build-up in the soil.  This is caused by either watering with tap water or over-fertilization. Brown edges can also mean your Calathea Freddie is not getting enough water.

Drooping leaves

If your Calathea Freddie leaves are drooping they are probably needing a drink of water. Drooping leaves can also be one of the first signs of pests so be sure to check the underside of the leaves once your plant is rehydrated.

Plant Dying

The most common cause of Calathea Freddie dying is root rot from overwatering. Make sure the soil is moist but not swampy.

Do Calathea Freddie Flower?

Calathea Freddie has white blooms that open on a long stalk coming from the center of the plant.

Does Calathea Freddie move at night?

The leaves of the Calathea Freddie close at night like praying hands.

Is Calathea Freddie safe for pets?

Cats and dogs are both safe to have around Calathea Freddie. It is a non-toxic plant.

Where can I find Calathea Freddie for sale?

Calathea Freddie can be ordered online or purchased in many local plant stores.

The price of Calathea Freddie ranges from 19 USD to 55 USD.

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