Calathea warscewiczii

Calathea jungle velvet

Calathea warscewiczii is a wonderful big leafed prayer plant that produces lanceoate leaves that have a dark green background and an attractive fishtail pattern on the upper side of the leaves.

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Origin: Brazil
Genus: Calathea
Species / Cultivar: warscewiczii
Common Name: Calathea jungle velvet
Synonym: Goeppertia warszewiczii

Plant Biography

Calathea warscewiczii is a wonderful big leafed prayer plant that produces lanceoate leaves that have a dark green background and an attractive fishtail pattern on the upper side of the leaves.

Named for Joseph Warsczewica, 19th century Polish orchid collector in South America before returning home to become Inspector of the botanic gardens in Krakow, the pronunciation is vark-zeh-wik-ZEE-eye or var-she-VICH-ee-ey. 

Calathea warscewiczii
Light: Medium
This plant likes a spot further away from bright windows, but still lit by natural light.
Soil: Indoor Potting Mix
Enjoys moist well drained soil with composted organics and some drainage material.
Temperature: 15-25°C
Temperature range at which this plant is healthiest and grows best.
Growth Rate: Slow
Expect to see quite small amounts of growth over the years.
Final Size: Medium
Final size will be suitable for a table, plant stand, or large strong shelf.
Water Requirement: Regular Watering
Water when soil surface is dry to the touch. Water must draining easily away.
Humidity: High
Provide moist air via daily misting or trays of wet grit. Keep away from drafts and heaters.
Maintenance: Moderate
This plant has specific requirements. Incorrect care can quickly lead to signs of distress.

Expert Tip

C.warszewiczii will appreciate a shower every now and then, to remove the dust build-up on its leaves. Because of its velvety leaves, it's difficult to clean with a cloth.
Purple Foliage Undersides

Purple Foliage Undersides

The beloved purple undersides of the plant’s foliage gives a hint as to the light conditions Calathea needs. In its native habitat, the Jungle Velvet Calathea grows on the rainforest floor in limited light conditions.

Plants in these environments often evolve purple undersides to the leaves – after the light passes through the green tops of the leaves, purple coloured undersides reflect the useful parts of the light spectrum back through the leaf. This allows the plant to effectively consume twice as much light, and allows it to survive in its native limited light conditions.

Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

It’s best kept in a room where humidity is high, like a bathroom. During summer it should be kept away from direct sunlight. In winter, mist the plant every other day to increase the humidity around it. You can use also a humidifier to improve the overall humidity in the room.

A place with bright but indirect light is ideal. Avoid south facing spots with too much intense direct sunlight, unless you diffuse the light with a sheer curtain. 

Like other Calatheas this plant enjoys high humidity, but overly wet soil can quickly lead to root rot. 

Flowering period

Flowering period

Every now and then, the Calatheas will flower when kept as a house plant. Following this, the plant dies back and will restart growing after a few months. Let the soil dry out completely and keep it in a dark, cool place for a couple of months.

When ready to bring it back alive, place it in a warm and humid spot with plenty of diffused light. Water the soil slowly to allow it to soak up the water. A good trigger for new growth is a weak solution of cold brewed black tea or a mild fertiliser.

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