Calatheas are houseplants with very showy leaves. Depending on the species, the size of the plant can vary, as well as the shape and color of its leaves. As it is native to the humid tropical forests, they like to have moderate exposure to the sun and a high degree of humidity. With proper care, the growth rate of these plants is quite good, so you will need to transplant them frequently. In this we will see everything related to the repotting of your calathea. When and how to do it, what type of soil to use and how careful to be when selecting the pot.
It is very common that we forget to transplant our indoor plants. It’s something we often go unnoticed, and it’s not until we notice our Calathea looking a bit depressed that we realize the pot is getting too small. Get used to transplanting it so that it is not the plant that has to ask you for it. This will save Calathea a lot of stress.
Table of Contents
1. Repotting calathea
Repotting your calathea is something that you must plan correctly. Given to carry it out, it is necessary to have certain materials, and to be careful during the task. In addition, the transplant must be done at a certain time, at certain times of the year your calathea will not react well from repotting. In the rest of this post we will analyze all these aspects.
1.1 What do you need for the transplant?
Let’s start by listing the items you will need to have on hand to accomplish the task. You will see that they are not complicated to achieve. 😉
- Pot with a diameter greater than the current one: at the time of transplanting, it is best to change for a larger pot (one or two inches larger). This provides the opportunity for your calathea to grow better over the next year. Anyway, if you don’t want your plant to grow much bigger, you can keep the same pot. But for this it would be better if you pruned the roots so that they do not drown in the pot.
- Soil suitable for calatheas: not just any soil is good for these plants. In the next section we will quickly see what type of soil is the best.
- Gardening spoon: this simple tool will facilitate the task, although there is always the option of using only your hands.
- Water: have water on hand to water your calathea after transplanting.
1.2 Soil for repotting calathea
Calatheas are not too picky about the soil. It is not like many of the plants in your garden that need nutrient-rich soil. The most important requirement is that it has a good drainage capacity. Since it does not support excess moisture at all.
Generally, any potting mix will work quite well on your calathea. Anyway you can make the ideal mixture with the following recipe:
- Compost or vermicompost (30%): this ingredient will be responsible for providing nutrients to the mixture.
- Coconut fiber (25%): coconut fiber will give it water retention capacity, while allowing it to drain well. It is very easy to get in any nursery or online store.
- Perlite or pumice stone (25%): both perlite and pumice fulfill the function of aerating the soil. This will allow for better drainage and less soil compaction.
- Activated carbon (10%): to finish the mixture it may be good to add this mineral. It is very porous and has properties both to repel certain insects and to absorb water.
Make sure you mix these ingredients well before placing it in the pot.
2. How to repot calathea
We have already seen everything you need to have on hand before starting your calathea transplant. It is time to see the procedure you must follow to perform the task.
You will see that it is very simple. And it’s no different from transplanting any of your houseplants.
2.1 Repotting step by step
Step # 1: transplanting any of your plants puts them under a certain degree of stress. If the plant is healthy and strong, it will overcome this stress without problems and in a few days it will begin to grow. But if you have a problem, be it a disease or a pest attack, it will be much more difficult to recover from the transplant. Therefore, the first thing you should do is verify that your calathea is completely healthy.
Step # 2: read the previous section carefully and check that you have all the necessary elements for the task.
Step # 3: water to soften the soil and facilitate the task of removing the plant from the pot.
Step # 4: depending on the material of the pot, the task of removing the calathea from its interior can be more or less complicated. You can run a knife around the edges of the pot to “peel” the soil from the pot. Then flip the pot over (flip it over) and try to scoop out the plant. Always try to remove the plant with as much soil between the roots as possible.
Step # 5: After removing the calathea from the pot, inspect the health of the roots. If you see bad roots, remove them.
Step # 6: if you are not going to change for a larger pot, but you are going to use the same one, you must prune the roots. This will allow the roots to not become strangled for the next year.
Step # 7: Check the holes in the pot you are going to use. It will be useless to place a soil mixture with good drainage capacity, if the water cannot come out of the interior of the pot.
Step # 8: As the last step, place the plant inside the pot and cover it with the new soil mixture, then water it abundantly.
3. When to repot calathea
As we already mentioned, the repot will bring a lot of stress to the calathea. Knowing this, we must find the time of year that allows you to overcome such stress more easily.
Calatheas rest for the winter and grow back in the spring. Knowing this, we recommend that you repot calatheas in the first days of spring. Therefore, by being in the growth phase, you will be better able to overcome post-transplant stress.
Don’t panic if you notice that your calathea looks a bit sad for the first few days after repot. Even if you are healthy and have chosen the right time, these symptoms can appear. Wait a few days and you will see how little by little it recovers.
4. Best pot for calathea
Just as we dedicated a section to talk about the soil mixture, we could not miss one to talk about the ideal pot for your calathea. We will analyze two aspects that you should always keep in mind when you go to repot any of your plants; what material and pot size to use.
4.1 What pot material to use?
Overall, I can assure you that any potting material will work for your calathea. In any case, there are some aspects that should be taken into account before selecting the material.
One of the aspects is undoubtedly the aesthetic one. Not all materials will combine in the best way with the decoration of your room. Depending on the decor, a terracotta pot may look better than a plastic one. Or maybe a concrete one looks better. That will depend on the style of decoration and the particular tastes of each one.
Another point to take into account is the water retention capacity of each material. For example, plastic is one of the materials that has the highest water retention, while terracotta has good porosity so it can evaporate some moisture.
If you are a gardener who tends to over water your plants, you better find a terracotta pot. While if you usually forget to water it is better to look for a plastic one so that it retains moisture better.
As the last point to consider is the weight of each material. If you need to move the pot, it is good to select a light pot, for example from plastic to wood. While if you are going to leave the pot in the same place all year, you can opt for a heavier pot such as concrete or terracotta.
4.2 Calathea pot size
While we said that selecting the material is important, the size is even more important. Depending on the specific species of calathea, the ideal size may vary. Anyway, as a general rule, I can tell you that the initial diameter of the pot should be around 25 to 50 cm, with a depth of about 25 cm.
Placing a calathea in a very small pot will cause the roots to crowd and choke, which will not allow for healthy growth. If the roots have enough space, it will allow your calathea to grow longer and healthier.
Although we have already said it in previous sections, it should be remembered that with each transplant it is good to look for a larger pot. It will suffice if the diameter is increased by an inch or two. This way you will give space so that during the year it will be occupied little by little by the roots.