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Calathea White Star: Ultimate Care Guide, Tips and FAQs

Growing Calathea White Star can be challenging when indoor growing conditions are incorrect!

The problems with Calathea White Star are typical to other Calathea breeds; thus, you should ensure to provide the correct tropical conditions at all times.

Generally, Calathea White Star grows best in shades in a bright and humid environment. Keep the temperature between 65°F to 77ºF and the soil damp like their native tropical habitat, and fertilize monthly to boost foliage growth.

However, never let them sit in water or direct sunlight.

Calathea White Star Signature Leaves
Calathea White Star Signature Leaves (Source: Unsplash.com)

When properly cared for, these Calatheas give out peaceful-looking leaves with a signature pink tint and release air-purifying agents in the house.

Therefore, do correctly care for your houseplants to make it a worthwhile investment.

Calathea White Star Overview

White Star is one of the varieties of Calathea or Prayer Plant native to the tropical regions of South America.

Known for their signature leaves, they were initially grown for making baskets from leaves for transporting fish and rice in many parts of South America.

Today, homeowners prefer growing them for decoration and air-purifying properties. A few of them may also keep them in the bedroom to promote oxygenation and healthy sleep.

Scientific NameGoeppertia majestica
NativeBolivia (South America)
USDAZone 9, 10, and 11
NatureTropical
Average height/Width4-5 feet/1-2 feet
PruningOccasional, light
Growth HabitUpright shrub, Perennial
ToxicityNon-toxic to human or pets
Pest/DiseasesSpider mites, mealy bugs, leaf scales/Basal stem rot, and Rust fungus

Does Calathea White Star Need a Lot of Looking After?

Calathea White Star requires similar growing conditions to other shade-loving tropical plants.

It needs a warm and humid environment with indirect sunlight and damp soil for feeder root growth. Growing them in unusual conditions will invite many problems.

Therefore, in some ways, they do require moderately intense care, conditioning, and environment.

Here is a table describing the exact needs of a Calathea White Star.

RequirementsOptimum Condition
TemperatureWhite Star loves moderately warm temperatures between 65°F to 77ºF (18°C-25ºC).

Prolonged exposure to a temperature below 65°F can risk slow growth or dormancy.
Light RequirementThey enjoy bright yet diffused light, such as filtered sunlight or partial shade.

Too little light will cause discoloration and wilting, while too much will dry out the leaves. Place them in or near the bathroom, bedroom, or kitchen.
Soil ConditionThey enjoy well-draining soil made from regular potting soil, orchid bark, activated charcoal, and perlite.

They thrive in damp soil condition that is not at all dry or too wet.
HumidityThey thrive in moderately high humidity levels of 50%-60%

Brown edging on leaves is a sign of low humidity.

Mist the plant 1-2 times per week to promote humidity.
WateringWater them every 1-2 weeks using distilled or filtered water, but let the top 1-2 inches of soil dry out.

Use room temperature water to avoid cold water stress.

Even better, promote bottom watering for even moisture and moist soil at all times.
FertilizingThey enjoy mild and diluted fertilizing once a month during the growing season.

Improper fertilizing promotes poor growth and curling or dull leaves

With adequate care, your Calathea White Start will grow up to four or five feet and give out lush green foliage throughout the year.

Care for Calathea White Star: A complete Guide

Growing Calathea White Star may appear daunting at first, especially if you are new to it.

Do not worry yet because here is a complete guide about taking care of Calathea White Star.

1. Adequate Watering

Calatheas are specific about their water requirement. They do not tolerate dry soil well and may start fading.

Despite being a moisture-loving plant, they do not sit well in water either. Too soggy soil may invite root rot problems.

An appropriate watering may depend on many variables, including the plant’s size, time of the year, and temperature.

Here are a few tips to Water Calathea White Star

  • Water your plant once a week during the growing season to keep the soil appropriately moistened, but cut back on watering during winter to once every two weeks.
  • Before watering, stick your finger into the soil to check whether the top 1-2 inches of soil has dried out.
  • If it feels drier, it is already time to water your plant.
  • Use the bottom-watering method. Place water in a saucer or container and keep the pot inside to let the plant naturally soak the water.
  • Avoid overwatering at all costs to prevent the increase in saline levels in the soil.
  • Keep the water overnight to let it warm to room temperature.

Note: Always use distilled, filtered, or rainwater for watering to avoid chlorine and fluoride toxicities that may burn the plant roots and leaves.

2. Ideal Temperature

White Star naturally thrives in warm temperatures.

Keeping them close to the light source may help provide the much-needed warmth

Here is a table describing the temperature need of Calathea White Star.

TemperatureCondition
Below 65°F (18°C)A too Low temperature for Calathea White Star may cause wilting leaves and stalled growth
65-77°F (18°C to 25°C)An ideal temperature appropriate for inducing root and foliage growth.
Above 77°F (25°F)Calathea White Star can briefly survive the rising temperature, but the prolonged exposure will produce drooping leaves.

Avoid placing them in direct sunlight and remove them from the open space when it is cold, to help maintain the optimum temperature.

3. Potting Soil Mix

Choose a potting soil mix that retains moisture while draining out excess water.

However, avoid using the denser potting mix with a lot of clay that absorbs excess water.

Calathea White Star prefers potting soil that contains organic nutrients for the plant roots. Porous materials like perlite and pumice improve soil drainage.

You can easily buy mulch-rich potting mixes like Miracle-Gro Potting Mix, Pothos Air Cleaning Plant Soil, or Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix from the market.

Alternatively, you can prepare a potting mix at home using all-organic materials.

  • 50% Potting soil -Choose peat-free soil made with coco fibers and sphagnum moss. Moss makes the soil retain the acidic pH level required for the plant.
  • 20% Orchid bark -Orchid bark absorbs moisture and releases it into the soil to prevent quick drying.
  • 20% activated charcoal -Activated charcoal prevents root rot, saline toxicity, water impurities, and soil pests.
  • 10% perlite or pumice -Lightweight granules that aid in drainage and soil aeration.

Adding a bit of coco peat or moss helps retain more moisture if the potting mix is drying out quickly.

Pro Tip: Organic soil rich in nutrients and minerals helps build natural resistance to disease by strengthening cell walls.

4. Fertilizer Requirement

Calathea White Star does not enjoy excess fertilizing because it naturally takes up required nutrients from the soil mulch.

Instead, use mild fertilizer once a month to help in yielding more prominent and better foliage. It will help get more vibrant leaves. 

Here are a few recommendations.

ProductSpecification
Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor & IndoorThe best fertilizer for indoor and outdoor houseplants.

It contains a slow-release granule with 11 essential nutrients.
Southern Ag All Purpose Granular FertilizerUniform (10-10-10) homogenous granular formulation with minor elements perfect for all kinds of houseplants.
Bonide 037321001089 Liquid Plant FoodA balanced liquid fertilizer appropriate for houseplants.

How to Properly Fertilize Calatheas?

  • Use water-soluble fertilizer or slow-releasing granules with a 20-20-20 NPK ratio.
  • Avoid feeding them excess Nitrogen that may cause soil deterioration.
  • When using the fertilizer, care to dilute to half of the strength because using potent fertilizer will increase salt deposits in the soil.
  • The under-fertilized plant may start showing leaf discoloration and distortion, which are typical signs of lacking Potassium, and micro-nutrients like Zinc, Sulfur, and Manganese.
  • Use 10-10-20 NPK ratio for plants lacking in Potassium.
  • For plants lacking in micronutrients, choose balanced fertilizer rich in zinc, sulfur, and manganese or add micronutrients separately.

5. High Humidity

White Star is a high-humidity-loving plant, where it requires ideally 50-60% of air humidity to thrive.

Growing them in low-humidity conditions will discourage healthy foliage growth due to a lack of adequate moisture level within the air.

The existing foliage may also start getting affected. The low humidity may promote brown tips, dry leaves, and leaf drops.

Immediately mist the leaves and water the plant to increase the humidity level.

As a preventive measure, try these tips to maintain the appropriate humidity level.

  • Mist the leaves 1-2 times per week to naturally moisten the leaves.
  • Mist them, preferably early morning, to create a fine mist over the leaves that will gradually dry out.
  • Encourage the bottom-watering method to let the plant gradually take up moisture from the soil.
  • Install a room humidifier to help keep air moisture at the right level.
  • Add more houseplants in the room to naturally create a humid environment.

6. Provide Indirect Sunlight

Calatheas are low to medium light-loving plants, and they naturally grow in shaded locations with indirect sunlight.

Place your plant under a shade near a window or patio that receives enough bright sunlight to mimic its natural habitat.

However, keep them away from direct sunlight at all costs to avoid leaf burn caused by a high humidity level.

Calathea Sunlight
Avoid Direct Sunlight (Source: Pixabay.com)

However, they will not grow properly in low lighting either. Ideally, place them at least 4-feet away from a direct light source but in a bright spot with at least 6-hours of enough filtered lighting.

Quick Tip: Compensate on sunlight by switching to artificial grow lights such as LED Grow light for 8-hours a day.

7. Location for the Plant

Find a place where their leaves naturally grab moisture from the air, such as beside the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry.

They are best grown on a north-facing or east-facing window and patio that receives mild sunlight.

However, avoid placing them in a damp location to prevent wilting of plant leaves and root problems from too much moisture.

The location and the amount of light it receives play a vital role in the progression of the leaves. Hence, rotate the plant once a month to encourage even growth.

Bring them inside to prevent damage from cold drafts during winter. Prolonged exposure to low temperature can risk slow growth, dormancy, or even death.

8. Say No to Flowers

Calathea White Star does not blossom when grown indoors.

In fact, they are not grown for flowers, but their lush, patterned foliage that helps to enhance the decor.

Choose other flowering Calatheas if you prefer blossoms.

Calathia White Star in a Container
Calathia White Star in a Container (Source: Unsplash.com)

9. Correct Container

Use plastic or glazed ceramic pots with at least two drainage holes for Calathea White Star.

The plant requires a well-draining soil that retains enough moisture, which may only be possible with a dense potting medium like plastic or glazed ceramic.

However, avoid using a catch-pot with no drainage holes or clay and terracotta pots that let out excess moisture.

Calatheas do not enjoy root-bound conditions, so choose the container that does not restrict their growth.

When starting out, choose a 5-6″ container. During each repotting, increase the size of the container by at least 2″. A mature plant can do well in a pot size of 8-10″.

Here are a few recommendations for you.

ContainerSpecification
Classic Planter, 8" (Plastic)They are durable and lightweight. The drainage holes lie at the bottom
LE TAUCI Ceramic Plant Pots (Ceramic)4+5+6 inch, Set of 3, Planters with holes in the bottom
Plastic Planter, HOMENOTE (Plastic)Comes in five different sizes 7/6/5.5/4.8/4.5 Inch

10. Calathea White Star Pests

An indoor-grown Calathea White Star is less likely to get affected by pests, but it is always better to prepare for the worst.

The White Star becomes prone to pests when the humidity or temperature is lower than adequate.

Here is the list of pests usually found in Calathea White Star.

PestsProblemsSolutions
MealybugA tiny insect mainly infects the foliage and roots.

It sucks the sap from the leaves, leaving them wilted and discolored.
1. Rinse the plant leaves with a soapy water solution.

2. Spray the plant with insecticidal soap.

3. Apply Neem Oil on the plant.
Spider MiteThey are rounded-shaped black or red-colored mites that infest the underside of the leaves and feed on the sap.

Check for silky web under the leaves, leaf drooping, and curling to determine infestation.
1. Blast the spider mites from the leaves with a water hose.

2. Dip cotton balls in alcohol and dab the bugs.

3. Alternatively, rinse your plant with a Neem oil or insecticidal soap
Leaf ScalesThey are tiny, waxy pests that infest on leaves.

Yellow or rust-colored spots will start developing on the leaves, and the sap will begin drying up.
1. Apply insecticidal oil or soap on the infected part to immediately kill the crawling pests.

2. Apply systemic insecticides as a foliar spray to control adult scale insects

11. Calathea White Star Diseases

Failing to meet basic caring needs may cause the onset of many plant-related diseases.

Waterlogging problem and severely damp condition are two of the significant causes that invites diseases in Calathea White Star.

Here is the list of common horticultural diseases found in Calathea Orbifolia.

PestsProblemsSolutions
Basal Stem RotIt is a byproudct of
the polypore fungus species, causing progressive decay of the root system.

Check for slowed growth, discolored foliage, and swollen mushy stems.
Prune infected stems and repot them in fresh soil in a sterile pot.

As a preventive measure, dry topsoil between watering.
Rust FungusIt is caused by a fungal parasite that spreads by spores from infected plants.

It needs living plants to survive.

Check for tell-tale signs of small brown spots or rings on the leaf undersides.
Prune the affected leaves and then apply fungicide spray containing Flutriafol over other leaves.

For prevention, place the plant at least 6 feet away from other houseplants.

12. Plant Propagation

Propagate your Calathea White Star only in spring or early summer when the plant is growing.

Propagating them in the growing season provides them enough time to recover until the next dormant period, which is immediately after repotting.

Calatheas can be propagated through two different methods.

  1. Stem Cutting
  2. Rhizome Division

Stem cutting is a popular method of cutting the healthy stem with foliage and growing it in new potting soil or water.

However, the stem cutting method does not work well, as the stem tissue of Calathea White Star cannot adequately support new growth.

Hence, the more reliable method is rhizome division, where you cut the healthy root with stem and grow it in a new potting mix.

Step-by-step Instructions for Propagating through Rhizome Division

Step 1: Prepare the Plant
  • The best time to propagate is when repotting the plant.
  • Slide-out the plant and wash the roots to untangle the root system.
  • Be careful not to damage the root bulb when untangling the root system.
Step 2: Cut the Rhizome
  • separate a healthy root and stem from the plant and then cut the healthy root attached to the stem using a sharp pruning shear.
  • However, be careful not to accidentally harm the root system as it may cause plant stress.
Step 3: Plant the Rhizome
  • Get an adequately sized plastic pot and fill it in half with the same potting mix.
  • Place the rhizome carefully into the pot with roots first. Then, add another layer of potting mix.
Step 4: Provide Basic Care
  • Immediately water the soil so the root can quickly take up the nutrients.
  • Place the pot in a room with indirect sunlight at a warm temperature.
  • Water frequently to keep the soil moist at all times until you witness a healthy set of foliage.
  • Resume usual watering schedule afterward and fertilizer only after 2-3 months.

13. Repotting

Repotting Calathea White Star once a year or every two years should be enough.

Repot the plant only when it becomes rootbound or when the current soil mix is stunting growth.

Here are a few signs that suggest repotting

  • The feeder roots are overgrowing the pot and poking out of the drainage hole.
  • Roots are visibly overgrown and peeking out of the topsoil.
  • Stunted foliage growth
  • Yellowing and drooping leaves

How to Repot Calathea White Star?

Here is a step-by-step guide to repotting your plant.

Step 1: Start with Choosing a Right-Sized Container
  • The plant enjoys slightly root-bound conditions, so avoid using huge pots.
  • A pot at least 2cm larger than the current one will be enough.
  • Use a plastic or ceramic potting medium that holds moisture in.
Step 2: Water the Pot Early
  • Generously water the plant at least 12 hours before repotting to make the soil soft.
  • When it is time, you can gently pull out the plant and brush off excess soil.
Step 3: Inspect the Root for Damages
  • Examine the root system and detect any root rot signs, including black, dark, and mushy roots.
  • Carefully prune the damaged parts and dip the root into a container of fungicide to prevent the disease spread.
Step 4: Repot the Plant
  • Fill the new pot up to 1/3 of the way with the potting mix and pat it down before placing the plant.
  • Insert the plant with roots-down and gradually fill up the pot just below the bottom leaves.
  • Gently tap the soil to set the plant in place.
Step 5: Provide Aftercare
  • Generously water the pot to dampen the soil and place it in a warm, shaded location.
  • Avoid fertilizing until 2-3 months to let the plant suck up nutrients from the potting mix.
  • Mist the leaves frequently during the growing season to maintain high humidity.
  • Alternatively, you can wipe the plant leaves with dechlorinated water once a week to keep it healthy-looking.

Related Article: Why is My Monstera Drooping After Repotting?

14. Regular Plant Pruning

Calathea White Star does work well without regular pruning. A shrub-like plant grows vertically to reach up to 4-5 feet without requiring any massive trimming.

However, you can trim the old, wilted, and yellowed leaves to redirect the plant’s energy to healthy leaves.

When pruning the plant, pay special attention to these things.

Pruning Do’s

  • Prune the plant only during spring and summer when the foliage is growing.
  • Trim the old and wilted leaves when repotting the plant to redirect the energy to new growth.
  • Remove dead leaves to avoid pest and fungus infestation.
  • Sterilize the tools before and after pruning to avoid fungus infestation.

Pruning Don’ts

  • Cut back on pruning during fall and winter when the plant goes into dormancy.
  • Do not trim healthy-looking leaves and stems, as your plant may go into stress due to over-pruning.
Calathea White Star Leaves
Calathea White Star Leaves (Source: Unsplash.com)

15. Plant’s Toxicity

Calathea White Star is not toxic to humans or pets, so you need not worry about your kid and pets accidentally consuming it.

According to ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), White Star is non-toxic to cats, dogs, and horses.

These plants are grown to promote oxygenation and removal of toxins from the air, so you need not worry about accidental poisoning from eating the plant leaves.

How to Care for Freshly Brought Plant?

Unless you are propagating an existing plant, you should pay special attention to freshly brought Calatheas.

Here are a few tips to start.

  • Check the soil condition and feel the top 1-2 inches of soil for moisture. If it feels drier, water them immediately.
  • Check both sides of the leaves for signs of pests and examine leaves for yellowing, wilted, or dulled look.
  • Spider mites and scales are common Calathea pests that may spread to nearby plants. If you notice a spider web or white, gluey substance on the plant, you should better return it.
  • Keep your White Star separately for a week to protect any nearby plants from possible pest infestation.
  • Let them sit in the same pot they arrived at for a week. Transplanting to a new pot immediately may cause plant stress and impede growth.
Young Calathea Plant
Young Calathea White Star Plant (Source: Pexels.com)

Common Calathea White Star Q&A

Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions about Calathea White Star grown indoors.

Do Calatheas Enjoy Organic Growing Conditions?

Calatheas easily take up nutrients from organic mulch and fertilizers like fish emulsion.

Hence, always use organic material for potting, repotting, fertilizing, and propagation.

Buy only organic potting mix from the market, or even better, prepare one yourself at home.

How to Avoid Yellowing Leaves?

Yellowing leaves can be a sign of inadequate watering, too much sunlight, or plant stress.

Strictly follow the watering and lighting techniques, and avoid over-fertilizing the plant at all costs.

Is Brown Spot Familiar in Calathea White Star?

Brown spots on the leaves are signs of plant rust from too much light or red spider mite infestation.

Avoid placing your plant close to direct sunlight and find a lovely shaded yet warm place in the house.

Use appropriate fungicide or Neem oil to remove red spider mites.

Conclusion

Growing Calathea White Star may be challenging when grown indoors. Therefore, monitor the plant’s condition at all times to catch early signs of problems.

Once you establish an excellent caring routine, your White Star will become an integral part of your home décor.

Follow the guide given above to care for your plant correctly.

Also read more to find out caring tips for Calathea Orbifolia, Bromeliad Pineapple, Jade Plant, Lavendar Topiary, Red Anglaonema, Rubber Plant and many more.

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