Calathea Ornata (Pinstripe Calathea): The Ultimate Care Guide

Common Name(s)Pinstripe Calathea, Prayer Plants, Pink Calathea, Zebra Plant, Peacock Plant
Scientific NameCalathea Ornata (aka. Goeppertia Ornata)
Sun ExposureIndirect Light
Soil pH6.1 to 7.8
Watering RequirementOnce every 1-2 weeks (Summer) Once every 3-4 weeks (Winter)
Hardiness Zone10b-11b (USDA)
Plant Height (approx.)3-9ft
Plant Width2-3 ft 

What Is Calathea Ornata?

The Geoppertia Ornata, also known as Calathea Ornata, the ‘pinstripe’ or ‘prayer’ plant, is a leafy tropical perennial that belongs to the Marantaceae family.

Identified by beautiful dark green leaves dashed with pale pink stripes, the captivating color contrast of this species makes it popular as both an indoor and outdoor houseplant. In addition, it is one of the few plants that can actually move!

Due to a process called nyctinasty, this species has leaves that rise and fall with the sun, similar to the way a person raises their hands in prayer.

Caring for this plant can be a challenge as a result of its South American origins. However, with the proper knowledge and technique, your Calathea Ornata can thrive nearly anywhere. With this detailed guide, we aim to shed light on the best ways to keep your Calathea Ornata happy and healthy.

Calathea Ornata
Calathea Ornata

What Are The Benefits of Growing Calathea Ornata?

There are several benefits to owning a Calathea Ornata for your home:

  • Air Purification: These plants excel at filtering carbon dioxide and toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene and formaldehyde, replacing them with fresh oxygen.
  • Natural Humidifier: This is the perfect houseplant if you struggle with dry skin or respiratory issues due to low humidity. Through a process called transpiration, this tropical plant will increase the moisture in your bedroom climate, allowing you to rest in absolute comfort.
  • Non-Toxic: Aside from being a gorgeous addition to your home, these plants are safe for children and pets alike. Feel free to place them in your living room, backyard, or anywhere in between without worrying about your loved ones.

Calathea Ornata Care

Caring for your Calathea Ornata is easy as long as you’re properly informed. It is indigenous to the tropical climates of Colombian and Venezuelan rainforests, meaning it is used to conditions with lower light and high moisture.

While it can grow up to 9 feet tall and 3 feet wide in the wild, most houseplants stay around 2 feet in length and width.

As it is fairly sensitive to the conditions of its environment, look out for signs of improper care such as curling or browning leaf tips (don’t worry, we’ll go over what these mean and how to remedy both of those situations later in the article).

Caring For Calathea Ornata As An Indoor Plant

The most common utilization of Calathea Ornata is as a stylish piece of home decor. This unique tropical perennial can be a bit fickle, so we’ve gone ahead and made a list of the most important things to know when taking care of your pinstripe calathea.

Size & Growth Rate

While they are capable of growing up to 9 feet in the wild, domesticated pinstripe plants will rarely grow larger than 2 feet tall. Once it reaches a height and width of 2 feet, the plant nears maturity, and growth slows. However, it will take a considerable amount of time before your plant reaches that size.

Once it does, you can prune the plant, or take the stalks and make more Calathea Ornata! If you’re interested in the second option, scroll down for tips on how to propagate your Calathea.

Calathea Ornata Plant
Calathea Ornata Plant


Calathea Ornata should be watered once every one to two weeks during summer and once every three to four weeks during the winter. Be sure your plant’s container has drainage holes though, as sitting in too much water will lead to root rot.

As a general rule of thumb, if you notice the top of the soil is dry, it may be time to water your pinstripe plant. Finding the best way to keep this plant as moist as possible while allowing excess water to drain is key to your Calathea’s comfort.


Calathea Ornata plants should receive bright, indirect sunlight throughout the day. In their natural habitat, they are accustomed to receiving limited sunlight due to the canopies high above. Doing your best to replicate these conditions will be the best way to ensure the health of your Calathea. It is ideal to keep them in a shaded area near a northern-facing window. If you don’t have a window that faces north, one that faces east works just fine.

Be careful not to place your Calathea Ornata in direct sunlight, else the beautiful pink hue of the leaves will start to fade.


The best soil for Calathea is 2 parts peat and 1 part pearlite. The plant prefers moisture, so it is ideal to pick a mixture that holds a good amount of water.  Adding a small amount of organic compost to your substrate can boost growth. Goeppertia Ornata prefers soils within pH ranges of 6.1 to 7.8.

It is a good idea to aerate the soil regularly so you can make sure water is being evenly distributed to the roots. If the plant’s roots begin to grow out of the drainage hole(s), it is recommended to repot your Calathea.

Compact soil will suffocate your plant, so be sure to avoid it.


Calathea Ornata is accustomed to tropical, humid environments. Keeping the air at a similar moisture level to Calathea’s tropical natural habitat (50-60% humidity) will allow it to thrive.

If your indoor climate is dry, misting the leaves of the plant twice a week with room temperature water can be slightly successful at maintaining the right moisture conditions. However, there are more effective alternatives.

Humidifiers or pebble trays are effective, convenient methods to help maintain the right level of humidity. Humidifiers will help provide moisture directly to your plant, regardless of the indoor conditions, while sing a pebble tray helps to maintain humidity around the plant’s roots without causing any rotting.

Whichever method you choose, the most important thing to remember is to maintain a 50-60% humidity level.

Hardiness Zone

The Calathea Ornata can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. If you are outside of these zones, it is recommended to keep this perennial indoors, as it will struggle to survive in any other environment.


As you may expect, this tropical perennial likes it warm. The ideal temperature range for Calathea Ornata is 65 to 85 °F (18 to 29 °C). Take care not to let the environment drop below 60 °F (15.5 °C), as it is extremely sensitive to low temperatures.

Place this plant away from any fans or air conditioning vents, like a cold draft or other drastic changes in temperature can be detrimental to their health.


It is recommended to dilute liquid fertilizer to half strength or use organic fertilizer for best results. Calathea plants don’t require much maintenance in terms of fertilizing but do benefit from a generous portion every four weeks during the growing season. During the winter months, you don’t need to fertilize your Calathea, as growth naturally drops off as the colder weather approaches.

Check to make sure your plant is actively growing before adding any fertilizers. If it is dormant, too much fertilizer can cause burns, preventing your Calathea from exiting its dormant stage.

How Do I Propagate and Repot My Calathea Ornata?

Calathea Ornata, like other Marantaceae family members, propagates by division of the rhizome. The ideal period for propagation is from the middle of spring to the end of summer.

Creating a new pinstripe plant is as simple as separating the rhizomes with some leaves attached and potting them in moist soil. Once you have moved your plant, we recommend covering the pot with polythene until new growth appears.

If your perennial needs to be repotted(often after one or two years of growth), this is also the perfect season. However, try to minimize the number of times you repot the Calatahea Ornata, as doing so more than once a year has negative effects on plant health.

Common Problems Growing Calathea Ornata

We understand that taking care of your Calathea can be tricky. That’s why we’ve decided to make a list of the most common problems owners experience, as well as solutions to accompany them.

Leaves curling- Calathea leaves curl inward in response to being dehydrated. This is a defense mechanism to avoid further water loss from transpiration. The most common cause of dehydration is underwatering, however, it can also occur as a result of overwatering, watering with hard water (which causes mineral buildup near the roots), low humidity, or heat stress.

To avoid this issue, maintain a watering schedule at least once a week, minimize exposure to direct sunlight, and ensure you are using water that won’t cause mineral buildup.

Yellow leaves- Yellowing of the lower leaves occurs naturally, as it is a part of the new growth process. However, if the leaf yellowing is widespread, it may be an indicator of improper care. Much to the confusion of the novice gardener, Calathea leaves turn yellow as a symptom of overwatering, underwatering, excessive sunlight,  chemical burns, lack of humidity, and pest infestation, but in every case, the goal is to communicate the same thing: your plant is under stress.

 If you notice the leaves of your Calathea turning yellow, a thorough examination may be in order so you know which issue to tackle.

Browning- Leaf browning, unlike leaf yellowing, is not a natural occurrence. It typically occurs due to either a draught, stress from exposure to direct sunlight, or lack of proper humidity.

Using tap water may also have this effect on your plant. Most tap water has additional minerals which can burn your highly sensitive Calathea, or cause buildup at the roots, which will harm water intake over time.

If you notice this occurring, switch to using rainwater, distilled water, or filtered water.

White spots- There are several reasons you may be seeing white spots on your Calathea Ornata. The first reason, and most common, is related to a mineral-rich sap secreted from pores known as hydathodes. These pores expel excess salts and sugars to maintain biological balance within the plant. When dried, this sap leaves white marks. This is natural, and no cause for concern.

If you notice white spots primarily underneath your plant’s leaves, and webs in tandem, your Calathea may have a spider-mite infestation. There are several other pests of a similar color including mealybugs, white scales, or thrips. Use insecticides as directed to effectively get rid of these infestations.

It is also possible that your plant is being affected by a fungal disease. Although this only occurs in areas with poor ventilation and a soggy substrate, there are multiple species of fungus that can harm your Calathea Ornata. If you believe this may be the case, check your growing medium for excess moisture and ensure proper airflow to your plant’s environment. 

Drooping- Drooping leaves can be caused by stress or overwatering but is commonly due to cold temperatures or exposure to drafts. If the plant remains in these conditions, it will incur permanent, irreversible damage, so make sure to move the plant to a warmer spot away from any cold drafts.

Dying- Root rot is an extremely common cause of death for Calathea. Many owners fail to create a drainage method for their plant’s soil, and it causes the roots to deteriorate. This can be detected by a strong smell emanating from the soil. The best solution to root rot is prevention, ensuring your Calathea is properly cared for will allow your plant to avoid potentially life-threatening issues.

Other common causes of a Goeppertia houseplant dying are low humidity, pests, stress from dramatic fluctuations in temperature, and underwatering. As mentioned previously, proper care for your plant is essential, as it will enable you to avoid the vast majority of these issues.

Is Calathea Ornata Toxic?

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, all types of Calatheas are non-toxic for all pets and humans. As opposed to plants like aloe vera, which may be harmful if consumed, Calathea is completely safe.

Where can I find Calathea Ornata for sale?

Locating a retailer that carries Calathea Ornata should be extremely easy, as it is a common houseplant. If you are interested in ordering one online, prices range from $13-45, but most plants on Amazon are under $30. There are plenty of them for sale, so finding a listing that fits your budget shouldn’t be a problem.

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