Calatheas are beautiful house plants grown for their stunning foliage. The top sides of the leaves look as if they have been painted with beautiful brushstrokes – they're often intricately patterned, in many shades of green. The undersides of the leaves are often burgundy red.
This striking foliage has earned calatheas several nicknames, including the peacock plant, cathedral window plant, zebra plant and rattlesnake plant. Calatheas are also sometimes called the prayer plant as they are closely related to the maranta plant, also known as the prayer plant. However unlike marantas, they do not close their leaves up at night. Many calathea varieties have recently been moved into the genus Goeppertia, so you may now find them being sold under this name.
Calatheas hail from the forest floor of tropical rainforests, which gives plenty of clues as to their care – they cope well in low light levels but need plenty of humidity in order to thrive. You may notice your calathea moving its leaves throughout the day as it orientates itself towards the light – something it has evolved to do in its native environment.
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