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Calathea is a popular houseplant, and growing them will increase the beauty of your indoor space. Instead of buying new plants, you can propagate your Calathea to get a new plant from the one you already have.
But how to do so? how to propagate calathea? Let’s find out.
The most effective method to propagate your Calathea plant is by dividing the plant and repotting in two different pots. When your calathea is root-bound and you are repotting them, you can look for natural root separation and repot the plant into two pots. The best time to propagate is spring.
There are two ways to propagate a calathea: propagation by dividing and propagation by seeds. You can propagate Calatheas both through the soil and water.
This article will guide you through the propagation process of Calathea, the equipment you need, and detailed knowledge about propagation methods.
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What is the best time to propagate Calathea?
Spring season or pre-fall is the best time for propagation of a calathea plant. During this time, plants are at their developing or growing peaks.
Never propagate an unhealthy plant. Check your Calathea thoroughly before you begin the propagating process.
It is an unhealthy plant if your Calathea is leggy, has curly, pale yellow, brown leaves, or looks dull. First, try to restore its health. Take proper care of the plant, keep it in proper lighting, water it, and provide proper nutrition.
Propagating an unhealthy plant will make the cuttings go to waste. So, always examine the health of your plant correctly.
Winters is the worst time to carry out this process because plants experience a decreased growth rate during this time.
Always remember that plants don’t grow in a day. Be patient and give your plant all the time it needs to flourish. The mother plant should be mature.
Now, let’s dive into the process of propagating a Calathea plant successfully.
Equipment needed for successful Calathea propagation
You will need a few tools to propagate a Calathea. Before you begin the process of propagation, keep these tools in your workplace.
- Disinfectant or rubbing alcohol
- A pair of sterile pruners or scissors
- Cotton swabs
- Paper clips
- A well-draining potting mix
- An extra pot for propagation
Now, let us discuss the uses of these tools.
Disinfectants or rubbing alcohol will prevent the new plant from getting bugs or pests from the older plant. Spider mites are common on calathea, so clean the plant properly before propagation.
Sterile pruners or scissors will help avoid fungal infections and uneven cuts. Cotton swabs are used to clean any mess. Now, let’s move on to the ways of propagation.
What are the procedures to propagate a Calathea?
Propagation means dividing a stem or branch of the plant, clipping it to the roots, and planting it in a new pot. This process will reproduce new saplings.
Unlike other houseplants, Calatheas can’t be propagated with cuttings because it doesn’t have those nodes that help grow roots.
Remember, the plant you are using should be healthy and have few leaves on it. The procedures to propagate a Calathea are:
- Propagation by division and repotting
- Propagation by seeds
We are going to discuss the ways and procedures for a clear conception.
How to propagate Calathea by division and repotting?
In simple words, if you have a mature Calathea, just divide it and repot it in a new pot. Consider watering the plant the previous day to reduce the shock and stress of this process.
The following steps will guide you to a successful Calathea propagation in the soil.
Steps to propagate calathea by division:
1. To divide the root system, you should know the parts of your plant correctly.
2. Take the Calathea out of its pot and shake it to get rid of the soil. Getting rid of the soil will give you a clear view of the root system, which will help in the division process.
3. To divide the plant, you need to detangle the roots first. Detangle it gently, shake off all the surplus soil from your Calathea’s roots. Your plant may have some offshoots.
4. While separating the roots, you might need to cut some to make the detangling easy. But don’t worry. This doesn’t cause any harm to your Calathea when done correctly.
5. Prepare the soil by mixing regular potting soil, orchid bark, charcoal, and perlite for the new calathea plant.
6. Add adequate fertilizer like worm casting or compost to the soil, which will provide nutrition and strength to your Calathea.
7. Take a pot, fill the pot with soil. The right pot size is essential to keep the roots healthy. Pots smaller than the plant will cause a rootbound calathea, while bigger pots will lead to root rot. Thus, choosing the right size pot for your Calathea is necessary.
8. Put the divided part in the middle of the pot and pour the soil mixture from the sides. Pouring it from the sides will ensure an even distribution of soil and fix the plant in the middle.
8. The pot should have proper drainage holes to drain the extra water from the soil. Excess water will make the soil soggy and unhealthy for your Calathea.
9. The size of the pot should match the size of the divided plant. Bigger the offshoots; bigger should be the size of the pot. Otherwise, it can lead to a rootbound plant.
10. Repotting must be done every 12 months. Monitored repotting will prevent any overgrowth in roots and the overutilization of nutrients from the soil.
11. Lastly, keep the Calathea plant in an area where it will receive indirect bright light from the sun along with a stable temperature.
Direct rays from the sun are harmful to your houseplants. It causes sunburn and other severe damages to your plant. Calatheas are among all of those plants that love being in a moist environment with no direct sunlight.
Fill a spray bottle with regular or filtered water, and spray it all over your plant. Spraying water will keep the plant cool from external heat, avoid sunburn and overgrowth.
How to propagate Calathea by seeds?
Other than propagating your Calathea by dividing and repotting, there is another way, propagating using seeds. You can easily purchase Calathea seeds from shops or nurseries.
Here are the steps to propagate your Calathea by seeds.
1. Choose the seeds
Buy your Calathea seeds from any trusted source. There are varieties of Calathea seeds available in the market, such as:
- Calathea lancifolia
- Calathea ornata
- Calathea roseopicta
- Calathea rufibarba
- Calathea makoyana
- Calathea orbifolia and many others, choose the one you want for yourself.
2. Prepare the soil
Take a polythene or propagation tray and prepare a soil mix for your Calathea by mixing potting soil with perlite and charcoal.
Calatheas don’t need fertilization, but providing nutrition to the new plant is necessary. Fertilizers with NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) ratio 10:10:10 are perfect for Calatheas.
Before using fertilizer for your plant, you must know the proportion. Underfertilization can lead to a leggy plant, and insufficient nutrients might stop its growth. Overfertilization has other severe effects like a root-bound Calathea and even killing it.
As a natural alternative, one can use eggshells. Crush four to five eggshells properly, and mix them in a jar of water. Proteins and other nutrients from the shell will dissolve in the water. Then, pour it into the soil. It will enrich the soil with protein and other minerals.
3. Sow the seed
Take a small pot, pour the soil mix in it, and water the soil.
Water the soil before sowing any seed. It makes the soil moist and helps in the process of germination. When all the steps are covered, water the plant again and take proper care.
Steps to follow after propagation
Different procedures don’t have different outcomes. It doesn’t matter if the propagation is done in soil or water or by seed or division. The outcome is the same.
- Keep the Calathea in a place where it will receive proper lighting. Calatheas need bright light, but direct sunlight is harmful to their beauty. It can cause sunburn, leading to curly and brown leaves.
- Keep the pot or propagating tray in a place where it can experience a comfortable environment. Humidity is a basic need of Calathea.
- Also, maintain a stable temperature like; neither too hot nor too cold. Fluctuations can stress the plant, and it can’t focus on its new growth during the period of stress.
- Calathea grows slower than many other houseplants. Have patience and watch your new plant grow from seed. It will take days or weeks, depending on the quality of the seed and the health of the parent Calathea plant.
- Calatheas generally grow up to a height of two feet within one year and then stop growing. Once they have started growing roots from the little plant, it’s time to have a new plant. Take care and experience nurturing it from the beginning. Happy Propagation!