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Why Has My Calathea Stopped Growing? (Possible Problem+Solution)

Calathea is a tropical houseplant that is gaining popularity because of its stunning and exotic leaves that can change the look of any area. But if these beautiful plants stop showing signs of growth, it becomes a headache for plant owners like you and me. 

But why has your calathea stopped growing? Let’s find out.

Improper watering and lack of humidity are two major problems due to which your calathea is not growing. Apart from that, temperature fluctuation and nutrient deficiency can also impact the growth rate. Improving humidity and watering correctly will encourage new growth in calatheas.

Calathea is fussy and requires appropriate care to remain healthy and grow. 

If your Calathea is not growing, you have landed on the right article, as I will explain the possible reasons and how you can fix them.


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Why did my Calathea stop growing?

Calathea is not easy to grow, and it demands appropriate care and attention. Therefore, many people have termed it fussy. 

Many calathea owners have reported that they have ended up killing many Calathea plants before finally learning the art of keeping them alive. 

However, I know that you don’t want to kill your Calathea plant, and that is why you are here. So without any ado, let’s look at all the reasons that might be stopping your Calathea from growing.

The reasons that stop the growth in Calathea are:

  • Inadequate humidity
  • Overwatering
  • Underwatering
  • Poor water quality
  • Temperature fluctuations
  • Direct sunlight
  • Low light
  • Lack of fertilization
  • Transplant shock
  • Rootbound plant
  • Dormant season

Your Calathea might be facing any one or more of the issues mentioned above. Taking a good look at your Calathea and reading the signs will help you understand the exact problem.

Now, let’s understand more about these problems.

Inadequate humidity

Calathea is a tropical plant, and similar to other tropical plants, it requires high humidity. A higher level of humidity promotes growth in the Calathea plants. 

Therefore, when the plant doesn’t receive adequate humidity, its growth is affected. 

Initially, the plant will show less growth, but eventually, it will stop growing entirely. 

If the leaves of your calathea are getting dry and the plant looks dull, the chances are that the plant is not getting enough humidity. 

Solution: 

Misting is a temporary solution and comes with many disadvantages, so we have better options for increasing the humidity for your Calathea. 

  • Fix a humidifier in the room where the Calathea is kept. 
  • Create a pebble tray by putting some pebbles on a tray. Add some water, and then place your potted Calathea on the pebbles. The plant will receive humidity when the water evaporates from the tray. 
  • Relocate your Calathea to the bathroom or kitchen if these rooms fulfill the other requirements of the plant. 
  • Group your calathea with other tropical plants that require high humidity. The humidity around these plants will increase when they transpire and release moisture. 

Use the method that seems convenient and make sure that the Calathea gets in a humidity.

Also read: Should I Mist My Calathea Plant? (Calathea Humidity Requirements)

Overwatering

Overwatering is a common problem of all houseplants as the owners feel that more water will result in more growth. However, that is never the case. 

Overwatering causes the deadly root rot disease that stops Calathea from growing and leads to its death. 

Overwatering doesn’t occur only because you water your plant more. It can also happen if: 

  • The soil retains more moisture than required 
  • The pot lacks drainage holes 
  • The plant is placed in a low light area 
  • If you notice yellow or brown leaves, a foul smell coming from the soil, and no growth, you might be overwatering your Calathea. 

Solution: 

  • Get rid of the damaged parts and place the plant in a bright area to help the soil dry up. 
  • In root rot, prune the affected roots, spray fungicide on the healthy ones, and repot in a new pot with fresh potting mix. 
  • Use a potting mix that supports well drainage of excess water. 
  • Make sure the pot comes with drainage holes. If not, make some before putting your Calathea inside it. 

Also read: How To Fix Overwatered Calathea? (Possible Cause, Signs & How To Fix)


Looking for a readymade indoor plant soil mix that you can open and pour? Check out rePotme. They offer a wide range of readymade soil premixes for all your indoor plants.


Underwatering

While some people end up overwatering their Calathea, many forget to catch up on their plants and don’t give enough water. 

Underwatering may not be as severe as overwatering, but it can stop the growth of your Calatheas. 

If you notice droopy leaves, dry and brown patches on leaves, and curling of leaves, you might have an underwatered Calathea. 

Solution: 

If you have an underwatered Calathea, give it some water and let the soil soak it. Once that water gets soaked, water your plant thoroughly until it starts running out of the drainage holes. 

To avoid underwatering: 

  • Check the soil and water the plant as soon as the top layer dries out. 
  • Maintain a calendar that will remind you to water your Calathea. 
  • Opt for a self-watering pot if you don’t have enough time to water your Calathea.

Also read: How Often To Water Calathea? (A Complete Calathea Watering Guide)What Temperature Can Calathea Tolerate? (Ideal Temperature Range)

Poor water quality

You might be doing everything right at times, but still, you notice no growth in your Calathea. 

Water quality might be the reason behind no growth in this case. Regular tap water often contains minerals that are not suitable for your Calathea. 

And since Calatheas are sensitive plants, they will not enjoy being watered with poor quality water. 

If you notice curling or brown leaves on your Calathea or salt build-up on the soil, the reason might be the use of poor quality water. 

Solution: 

  • Use filtered or rainwater to water your Calathea. 
  • Take a bucket with water, and leave it outside for 24 hours if you consider using tap water. This will reduce the harmful minerals.

Temperature fluctuations

Most houseplants can’t tolerate temperature fluctuations. They prefer stable conditions, which is why the controlled environment of a house is ideal for them. 

The ideal temperature for your Calathea is somewhere between 65-80°F. But if the temperature rises above 80°F or falls below 60°F, the plant will start developing problems and no growth. 

If the leaves of your Calathea don’t move during the day or night, as they should, or you notice the entire plant drooping, the temperature may be fluctuating or might not be suitable for the plant. 

Solution: 

  • Keep your Calathea away from the direct air of the AC. 
  • Place the Calathea away from radiators, vents, fireplaces, or any other heat sources. 
  • Don’t expose your Calathea to cold drafts or frost during winter. 
  • Don’t keep the plant near doors and windows that are opened or closed frequently. 
  • Don’t relocate the plant too often as that can cause temperature fluctuations.

Also read: What Temperature Can Calathea Tolerate? (Ideal Temperature Range)

Direct sunlight

Calathea doesn’t need direct sunlight. It was accustomed to dappled sunlight in its natural habitat, and the same should be followed when you bring it indoors. 

However, if you have already exposed your Calathea to direct sunlight, don’t be surprised if you don’t see any growth. 

A Calathea that has received too much sunlight will have scorched leaves, arid soil and will undergo dehydration. 

If you don’t remove your Calathea from the direct sunlight, its health will deteriorate. 

Solution: 

  • Move your Calathea to a spot that receives no direct sunlight. 
  • If the plant is getting direct sunlight from the window, use curtains or blinds to filter it. 
  • Prune the scorched and damaged leaves.

Also read: Is My Calathea Getting Too Much Sun? (Sunburnt Calathea)

Low light

Calathea leggy2

Calathea can survive low light conditions, but it will not be the best if you expect growth. If your Calathea doesn’t get enough light, its growth will slow down and then stop.

Calathea will grow best under medium to bright light. A Calathea that is not getting enough light might become leggy, look dull and weak, and show no growth.

Solution:

  • If your Calathea is placed in a low light area, bring it to a spot that receives more sunlight.
  • If you don’t have enough natural light at your place, use artificial lights.
  • Provide indirect sunlight to your Calathea, not direct.

Also read: How Much Light Do Calathea Plants Need? (Calathea Plant Light Requirements)

Lack of fertilization

Calathea doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer but not giving it any will make it weak. It gets all the nutrition from the soil in the natural habitat, but that is impossible indoors.

Inside the house, the medium is limited, and so are the nutrients. And the soil loses nutrients every time you water it. So that makes fertilization essential.

Solution:

  • Fertilize your Calathea with a well-balanced fertilizer with an NPK of 10:10:10 once a month.
  • Fertilize the Calathea during the growing period, spring and summer.
  • Dilute the fertilizer to avoid overfertilization.
  • Stop fertilizing during winter as the plant remains dormant and doesn’t require fertilizer during this time.

Also read: Should I Fertilize Calathea? (How Often+Best Fertilizer)



Transplant shock

Calathea is sensitive to repotting and can get shocked after you transplant it. 

If you notice that the plant’s leaves are wilting or drooping and the plant is not showing any signs of growth after you have repotted it, it is probably undergoing transplant shock.

Solution:

  • In this case, you need to let the plant settle in and wait for its recovery. 
  • In the meantime, provide all the required conditions to the plant to speed up its recovery.

Rootbound plant

Calathea root rot

Plants get rootbound when their roots grow bigger than the pot can hold. And Calathea doesn’t enjoy this situation.

If the plant gets rootbound, its roots will start displacing the soil and not receive the required nutrients or water. This will not allow the plant to grow further.

If you notice roots coming out of drainage holes or showing over the soil, you can be sure that your Calathea is root-bound.

Solution:

  • You need to repot your Calathea if it has become rootbound.
  • Select a pot that is one size bigger than the previous one.
  • Don’t opt for a pot that is too big for the plant.
  • If you don’t want to repot the plant, prune the roots and some leaves and branches to keep the plant compact and plant it back to the pot.

Also read: Do Calathea Like To Be Root Bound? (+When To Repot)

Dormant season

Calathea goes dormant in the winter season, and there is nothing to worry about as this is natural.

In winter, the intensity and duration of the sun reduce, causing a lot of your houseplants to go dormant. And the plants don’t grow when they are dormant and rest.

So if you don’t see growth in Calathea in winter, don’t worry and wait for the spring and summer, and you will see the plant grow again.

How do you encourage Calathea growth?

Once you fix the problem that stops the growth of your Calathea, you need to take care of it so that its growth doesn’t get compromised again.

You can also encourage the growth of your Calathea by following the below-mentioned points.

  • Prune the plant whenever required: Pruning removes the dead and diseased parts and encourages new growth. So, prune your Calathea at regular intervals.
  • Repot the plant: Calathea dislikes being rootbound, and it also stops the growth, so you should repot the plant once a year or once every two years as required.
  • Fertilize: Fertilize your Calathea during the growing season so that it helps them to grow faster and bigger.
  • Provide more humidity: High humidity helps the Calathea grow, so don’t miss this and use a humidifier or a pebble tray to provide humidity to the plant.
  • Clean the leaves: The leaves of Calathea might collect dust over time, and cleaning lets the leaves function better that encourages growth in plants.
  • Keep the soil moist: Calatheas don’t like the soil to go all dry, so keep the soil moist by watering whenever the top layer goes dry.
  • Provide bright light: If you want to encourage growth, you need to provide sufficient bright and indirect light to your Calathea that lets it perform all its daily functions.
  • Water quality: Water quality is an essential factor as using poor quality water will harm your Calathea and its leaves. So try using filtered or rainwater while watering your Calathea.
  • Use the correct potting mix: You neither want soggy nor dry soil for your Calathea. So, you must add the correct retaining and draining elements while preparing the soil for your Calathea.

Final words

Don’t get disheartened if your Calathea stops growing. If you can identify what’s wrong, you can fix it and see your plant grow again.

Calathea is a fussy plant that requires everything on point, but you will not make any mistake if you know its requirements. Provide bright indirect light, proper watering, fertilizer during the growing season, and a well-draining potting mix to your Calathea.

One more thing that can save you a lot of trouble is keeping a check on your Calathea so that you can identify any problem during its early stage and fix it before things go out of hand.

With the proper care routine and a little attention, you will have a Calathea that keeps growing and adding its glory to its surrounding.


Source: NCBI, University of Florida, Wikipedia,  Growing Indoor Plants with SuccessAgriculture, and Natural Resources, University of CaliforniaMissouri Botanical Garden.