Calathea Louisae (AKA Goeppertia Louisae): Ultimate Care Guide

Calathea Louisae is a menagerie of colors.  Their leaf tops boast a pattern of vibrant green to yellow stripes with deep green margins on the edges.  The underside of the leaves is purple, adding to the delightfulness of the plant.

Belonging to the Marantacaea family the Calathea Louisae is an uncommon type of prayer plant.

The botanical name for Calathea Louisae is Goeppertia Louisae.  Other common names are prayer plant, Thai beauty, and Maui queen.

This delicate evergreen perennial is native to Rio de Janeiro where the Brazilian rainforest is hot and humid.  It is now grown worldwide as an ornamental houseplant.

Although they do flower in their natural habitat, you should not expect to see your domesticated Calathea Louisae bloom.  They require everything to be absolutely perfect in order to flower and this is next to impossible to achieve in a home or office space.  

Common Name(s)prayer plant, Thai beauty, and Maui queen.  
Scientific NameCalathea Louisae, Goeppertia Louisae
Sun Exposurepartial shade with plenty of indirect sunlight
Soil pH6.5
Watering RequirementEvery 2-3 days in warmer months. 3-4 times a week in winter
Hardiness Zone8 USDA and up
Plant Height2.5 Ft
Plant Width6-9 inches per leaf
Calathea Louisae
Calathea Louisae. Edited. Photo by David J. Stang, CC BY-SA 4.0

What are the benefits of keeping a Calathea Louisae?

Calathea Louisae is an air purifier.  It takes in carbon dioxide and replaces it with oxygen, but also eliminates other air pollutants. It’s a very good plant to have in the bedroom. The peacefulness of the plant as well as the humidifying properties will have you waking feeling well and refreshed.

Calathea Louisae Care

Calathea Louisae is moderately easy to care for.  It has minimal light requirements but needs some special attention in other areas like watering and humidity.

How to Care for Calathea Louisae as an indoor plant

To care for Calathea Louisae as an indoor plant, you will want to do your best to imitate its natural rainforest habitat. A warm humid environment with indirect light.  Calathea Louisae likes to stay put once they are placed, so choose their spot in your home carefully.

How to care for Calathea Louisae as an outdoor plant

Calathea Louisae can be added to an outdoor tropical landscape in warmer climates. They do not tolerate frost. They need a shady spot since that is what they are naturally grown in, in Brazil.

Lighting Requirement

Keep Calathea Louisae out of direct sunlight.  They require partial shade with plenty of indirect sunlight.

Soil Type and pH Requirement

An easy soil recommendation is to use a commercial African violet mixture. However, a recipe for mixing your own premium soil for Calathea Louisae would be, 1 part of each, soil, perlite, compost and 2 parts coco peat.

Calathea Louisae appreciates a light well-draining soil that will retain moisture without becoming sodden.

The best soil pH for Calathea Louisae is 6.5

Watering Requirement

Plan a watering schedule of every 2-3 days for your Calathea Louisae during the spring summer and fall. In the winter Calathea requires less water more frequently.  Watering small amounts 3-4 times per week.

Do not water your Calathea Louisae with tap water. They are sensitive to the minerals often present in tap water. Use rainwater or filtered water for your Calathea Louisae.

Humidity Requirement

In their natural environment, Calathea Louisae is surrounded by 90% humidity.  Of course, this would cause some problems inside of a regular home. To ensure your Calathea is humid enough you can gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth daily, mist your plant daily or have a humidifier close by.  You can also keep your plant in the bathroom to benefit from the shower steam if the light in there meets the requirements.

Temperature Requirement

When first starting out Calathea Louisae are more tolerant of lower temperatures, but as they grow and mature they want to be kept warm and comfortable.  The best temperature range for Calathea Louisae is 65F-85F

Hardiness Zone

Calathea Louisae can thrive in any hardiness zone if living indoors.  For outdoors they need a hardiness zone of 8 USDA or above.

Fertilization Requirement

A good rule of thumb for fertilizing Calathea Louisae is there is no such thing as too little. Warning! Too much fertilizer will kill your plant!  Calathea Louisae doesn’t need to be fertilized for survival, however, fertilizer will enhance its growth rate.

A fertilizer intended for turf is a good choice for Calathea Louisae.

If the weather is warm fertilize your Calathea Louisae slightly more often than if the weather is cooler.

If you find your Calathea Louisae is turning light green, it means they are lacking nitrogen and possibly iron. Adjust your fertilization accordingly.

Calathea Louisae Propagation

Before you start the propagation make sure your Calathea Louisae is healthy and mature.

Start the process about 3 days before you plan to repot your plant. Water your Calathea Louisae well.  Then on the third day remove your plant from its pot and start to separate it into two plants.

Making sure each section has part of the root ball and stems with leaves, use your fingers to pull apart the roots very gently. A sterilized (with rubbing alcohol) knife or shears may be used to help the process.

Next, repot the mother plant in a new pot with clean fresh soil.

Place the new plant in its own container.

Both plants will go into shock and will need about a week or two to recover.  Once that time has passed you should see new leaves beginning to grow and soon enough you will have two healthy thriving Calathea Louisae.

Propagation can be done from seed, but it takes longer and has a low success rate.

Calathea Louisae Size and Growth Rate

Calathea Louisae grows to be 2.5 feet tall. Each leaf can grow to be 6-9 inches long.

The growth rate is dependent on the living environment. In ideal conditions, Calathea Louisae will grow quite quickly. You should expect to repot your Calathea Louisae within 1 year.

Problems Growing Calathea Louisae

Calathea Louisae can attract pests such as spider mites, fungal mosquitoes, and scale.

To remedy these invading pests neem oil works well as a natural insecticide.

Leaves Curling

Leaves curling indicates a lack of water for your Calathea Louisae. Give your plant a drink and monitor its soil moisture carefully.

Leaves turning yellow

This means your Calathea Louisae has been overwatered or over-fertilized.

 If overwatered, stop watering it. Tip the plant on its side and roll it back and forth in the pot to create air pockets. Double check the drainage.  You may need to create a drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.

If over fertilized, flush it out with water.  Make sure the container has good drainage to avoid an overwatering problem.  Then pour water into it 3-4 times allowing the plant to drain between flushings.

Leaves with brown edges

If the leaves are turning brown and crispy it means there isn’t enough humidity. Try putting a humidifier near your Calathea Louisae.

Drooping leaves

The soil is too dry if the leaves are drooping.  Depending on the level of dryness your Calathea Louisae may need a decent soaking to remedy this.

Plant Dying

The two most common reasons Calathea Louisae die are too much water and not enough water. Overwatering can lead to root rot which is fatal to Calathea Louisae.

Not enough water is also detrimental to Calathea Louisae as they need to maintain damp but not soaked roots to survive.

How to Repot a Calathea Louisae

Repotting Calathea Louisae happens about once a year.  Ideally in early spring. Water the plant well a few days beforehand.  On repotting day gently remove the Calathea Louisae from its container and transfer it to a new moderately larger pot with clean fresh soil in it.

Place the newly repotted Calathea Louisae in a partial shade warm spot and give it a week or two to get over the shock of being repotted. Water as needed.

Do Calathea Louisae flower?

Calathea Louisae does flower in the wild. Often the domestic homes they are fortunate to live in aren’t able to get the growing conditions quite right for flowering so it is exceedingly rare to see a Calathea Louisae blossom.  Their flowers are small and white.  They resemble tiny horns.

Does Calathea Louisae move at night?

Calathea Louisae leaves raise at night and lower in the morning. They do this to conserve energy since they are a shade-dwelling plant and don’t take in tons of sunlight.

Is Calathea Louisae safe for pets?

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

Where Can I find Calathea Louisae for sale?

Calathea Louisae can be purchased online and in many local plant and garden stores.

Calathea Louisae range in price from 20 USD to 30 USD

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