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How Fast Do Calathea Grow? (Calathea Growth Rate)

Calathea have unique patterns, and growing them indoors will give it a different look. And naturally, you would want to see them grow fast. But how fast do calathea grow? What is their ideal growth rate? Let’s find out.

In general, Calathes can grow up to 4 feet within a year if they are grown outdoors, but they grow around 2 feet in a year when grown indoors. Calatheas experience a moderately fast growth rate when they are young, but they tend to grow pretty slowly after a year when they reach a height of 2 feet.

And usually, calatheas grow more in summers and springs. But, when the winter arrives, their growth will slow down, and when they drop too low, they will become dormant and stop their growth and resume growing during early spring.

However, if you wish to keep your Calatheas small in size, you can do that too. This article will let you know how fast Calathea grows and ways of encouraging Calathea to grow bigger and faster.

Calathea new growth

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How big and fast do Calatheas grow?

Some enthusiasts may think that Calatheas are a little fussy when it comes to their growth. Calatheas can grow slower than usual if they are not satisfied with the surrounding conditions.

But if you provided the exact growing conditions that match their natural habitat, Calathea would be able to grow and reach their maturity and potential height up to 2 feet within 1 year.

Still, some owners declare their Calathea as slow growers compared with other houseplants like the Golden Pothos or the Spider Plant.

Once they reach 2 feet, they would no longer grow tall indoors. But they will spread themselves and become bushier every day. 

Calathea will produce new leaves every month during the spring and summer seasons in their ideal growing conditions.

But during the winters, Calathea will stop growing. It will slide into a dormant stage, but not entirely. 

If your Calathea sheds its leaves in winters, it is an indication that your Calathea is suffering from cold shock.

In such conditions, you will have to move your plant to a warm area or make the surrounding of your plant warm by increasing humidity or keeping it in bright areas.

Will different varieties of Calathea have different heights?

Different varieties of Calathea not only look different from each other but also differ in height. Different varieties will have different heights.

Calathea varietyGrowth
Calathea WarscewicziiIt grows quite tall, around 3 feet in height, within even a few weeks!
Its leaves are much bigger compared to other varieties.
Calathea RufibarbaIt is a slow grower and can reach about 60 cm within a year.
You can repot them every 2 years.
Calathea RoseopictaIt is a small height variety, growing up to 20 inches tall and 24 inches wide.
These are considered moderate to fast-growing plants.

These plants will reach their height potential only if you take good care of them without any negligence.

How often will Calathea grow new leaves?

Calathea propagation

How often a Calathea produces new leaves depends on how well you take care of the plant and the plant variety.

A young plant will produce new leaves every month, provided the environmental conditions are suitable for them. They will only produce new leaves when they remain healthy and happy.

However, if your Calathea is not growing new leaves, you should consider checking the following care guide to encourage new growth.

Care guide for optimal growth rate in Calathea plants

As I mentioned earlier, a Calathea can grow at a moderate speed up to 2 feet tall indoors with proper growing conditions.

Generally, they stop their growth during the winters. But, if they are not receiving all their requirements, they will stop growing even during the growing seasons. 

If they fail to get enough light, water, or nutrients, they won’t receive enough energy for thriving. Take a look at this brief care guide which will help your Calathea plant grow.

Proper watering schedule

Calatheas neither enjoy soggy soil nor drought conditions. You need to keep your soil evenly moist all the time.

As a rule of thumb, you should water your Calathea plant when the top 2 inches of your potting mix dries up. Calathea will need watering every 1 to 2 weeks during the growing seasons.

Both overwatering and underwatering will affect the plant’s turgidity, and the plant will not have the energy for speedy growth. 

In both cases, Calathea will not maintain its actual growth speed. It will slow down the growth and won’t reach its potential within a year. It might take them more than a year to become mature.

Since the plants slow down their growth during the winters, you don’t have to water them much.

Correct watering is based on various factors such as plant variety, size, pot material, potting mix, etc.

Another thing I must point out is the water quality. Tap water can be harmful to plants. Using rainwater or distilled water will keep your plants healthy, which will maintain your plant’s health. 

A healthy Calathea will grow moderately fast and get matured within a year.

Give your Calathea medium bright indirect light

Lighting requirement

Calathea doesn’t like direct sunlight. It will require indirect medium bright light for thriving, ranging about 10,000 lux or 1,000-foot-candles. With sufficient light, your plant will be able to grow quite fast.

Place your Calathea near a window where it will receive the right amount of sunlight. A north or east-facing window is suitable for Calathea.

If you have placed the plant near a south or west-facing window, I recommend you use some sheer or transparent curtains to create a filter for the direct sun. It will provide the right amount of indirect sunlight to your plant.

Calathea becomes dormant if it is not getting the right amount and intensity of light. In such a case, your plant will not grow fast. It can take more than a year to be mature. 

If your plant is in low light conditions, common during winters, you can use grow lights.

Apply adequate fertilizer

Every houseplant needs three essential nutrients to thrive – Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K), along with other micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron, boron, sulfur, etc. 

Good nutrition will support faster growth in your Calathea. Without food, Calathea will slow down its growth and take more than a year to grow fully.

  • Nitrogen helps in the formation of chlorophyll and healthy foliage.
  • Phosphorous promotes abundant flowering and good root development.
  • Potassium helps to resist diseases, strengthen the stems, and encourage other cellular functions.

You should apply fertilizer on your Calathea every 2-4 weeks during its growing seasons, which are spring and summer. 

Feed them with a balanced fertilizer having NPK value 10:10:10 or 15:15:15. 

Dilute and reduce the strength of the fertilizer before applying. This will prevent overfertilization.

When winter enters, you need to stop fertilizing your Calathea. That is when the Calathea grows slower and becomes dormant. 

Calathea won’t need any fertilizer as they don’t focus on growth in winter. Feeding them during winters will only cause overfertilization.

Repot when required

Your calathea might be getting every requirement in the required amount, but still, it might not be growing despite being in its growing season.

Remember the last time you repotted your Calathea? Maybe it has become root-bound, and thus, is not growing.

When Calathea turns root-bound, it takes up all the room in the pot. There is barely any soil left, and only roots are visible. 

The plant will not have enough medium to provide it with enough water or nutrients. Growing in such a situation will become challenging for your Calathea.

Calatheas are moderate growers. So consider repotting the plant once in one or two years. 

To choose an ideal pot for repotting your Calathea, select a pot that is only 2-3 inches bigger than the existing one. Do not jump to a huge pot.

Calathea might grow faster and reach its final height before the actual maturity time if growing conditions are good for them. 

You should consider using terracotta or ceramic pots. They are heavy and thus will be able to hold and support your plant.

Use a suitable potting mix

Calathea soil mix

While planting the Calathea after buying, use a potting mix that is well-drained and well-aerated. 

Using ingredients like peat moss, coco coir, manure, perlite, vermiculite, bone meal, compost, mulch, etc., will help improve the drainage and ventilation.

While repotting, use fresh soil. The nutrients in the old soil will be depleted by the plant and lost over time.

Using fresh soil will give your plant a good boost and fuel for encouraging fast and rapid growth.

Cleaning the leaves

Plants can attract dust on their leaf surfaces. Cleaning the plant daily or at regular intervals to remove all the dust can encourage the healthy growth of the leaves.

The dust on the leaf surface can clog the leaf pores, thus reducing the functioning of photosynthesis. It will ultimately reduce the growth rate of your Calathea.

Cleaning will improve photosynthesis and improve the growth rate of your plant.

You can wipe the leaves using a damp cloth. You can also use commercial leaf wipers to remove the dust from the leaves. 

After wiping, keep your Calathea where it can receive good airflow and sunlight. This will make the leaves dry out a bit.

While cleaning the leaves, check for any pests and remove them. This will prevent any further infection in your plant.

Clean the pot

Regular use of tap water and fertilizers can lead to salt build-ups in the soil, leading to the slow growth of the plants. 

To make your Calathea grow faster, you must clean the pot to get rid of the gathered salt every 2-3 months.

Sinking the pot or showering the soil thoroughly with room temperature water will eliminate all the accumulated salts from the soil. 

Keep washing the soil 3-4 times to flush the accumulated salt out of the drainage holes.

Before doing this, make sure that the soil and pot have a sound drainage system. Keep your plant under the sun for some time after doing this.

Maintain humidity and temperature

Calathea high humidity

To keep your Calathea healthy and make it grow faster, you need to provide them with the ideal temperature and humidity.

  • Don’t expose your Calathea to the air released from devices like heaters, radiators, or air conditioners.
  • Fix a humidifier in your room to maintain the ideal humidity.
  • You can also try using pebble trays or grouping with other humidity-loving plants.

Wrong temperature and humidity can slow down the plant’s growth, and it may take more than a year to mature. Ideal temperature and humidity will encourage fast growth in Calathea.

How can you keep your Calathea plants small?

You may want to grow a small-sized Calathea while growing it indoors. Naturally, a Calathea will grow up to 2 feet indoors in one year. That is the reason they are called moderate growers.

But if you want to keep your Calathea plant even smaller and don’t want it to grow much, pruning the roots and propagating the plant can help you. 

Even if 1 or 2 years pass, it won’t grow much tall with its moderate growth speed.

Final words

Generally, more or less, all the Calathea varieties will grow fully within one year if the growing conditions are suitable for them. Some varieties might differ in height as most of them are moderate to fast growers.

But, improper or inadequate conditions will slow down the growth, and the plant might not be able to grow faster or reach its potential within a year. Your Calathea will take more than a year to grow fully.

Check all the factors and find out if your Calathea is getting everything it needs. If your plant has any issue, try identifying and fixing it to notice faster growth in your beautiful Calathea plant.

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

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