Calatheas are known for their glorious patterned foliage, and Calathea Majestica is not an exception. Learn all there is to know about Calathea White Star care so that your plant will thrive and show off its fabulous foliage.
Some species and calathea varieties sport distinct patterns that garner them names that perfectly describe them. This one is no different.
Almost, if not all, of the Calathea species, hail from the rainforests of the Amazon and are accustomed to such conditions. Despite requiring a bit more care than many other houseplants, these beautiful specimens are some of the favorite choices because of their foliage.
Perhaps one of the most elegant yet relatively muted designs on a Calathea is that of the Calathea majestica ‘White star’ (goeppertia majestica). This specimen is known to be a cultivar of the ornata species and sports several bright white stripes from the midrib of the plant extending to its leaf blades. Some of the leaves may feature pink shades near the midrib, depending on the light conditions and maturity of the plant.
Often mistaken for its relative species, the Calathea ornata or the Pinstripe Calathea, the White star plant has more stripes that almost fill the whole leaf. It also resembles the Vittata variety. Given proper care, this plant can grow as high as 4 to 5ft in large pots and the leaves can become very long.
How To Care For Calathea Majestica White Star
- Bringing the plant home
- Light conditions
- Toxicity Information
- Pests and other common issues
Plant name: Calathea majestica ‘White star’
Common names: White star Calathea, majestic prayer plant
Native to: Rainforests of Brazil
Lighting: Bright, indirect light
Care: Keep the soil moist, water when the first inch of soil gets dry. Do not let the plant sit in water. Use only half of the recommended strength of fertilizer or opt for a slow-release fertilizer. Maintain a high humidity level around the plant to keep the leaves healthy.
Common problems: Leaf spot, root rot, yellowing leaves due to lack of sun, scorched or burnt tips due to lack of humidity or too much salts in water.
Toxicity: Considered safe for humans and pets.
Bringing the Plant Home
We won’t be surprised if you pick a big specimen of a White star to take home. These plants have an elegant vibe to them that brings a subtle touch of finesse to your house.
Calatheas are notorious for being fussy. Ensure that you can provide them the humidity and light they need.
Check if the plant is free from pests so you won’t run the risk of infecting your other plants inside the house. Even if all looks OK, it’s best to keep the new plant away from others for a week or so in case something was missed (or in the egg or larval stage).
Inspect the top of the soil as well if it has been watered recently. If the top inch or so is dry, you can water the plant.
Like other plants, we do not recommend you repot your plant right after purchasing it. We know you want to transfer it to a better-looking pot, but this may stress the plant even more and hinder it from coping with its new environment. Allow your White star to become comfortable before repotting it.
First weeks might be stressful for your plant as it gets used to its new home. In this time it might not look the best but as time passes things should improve.
Light requirements of your White star
It is sometimes a hit and miss when it comes to the light requirements of a Calathea majestica. Too little and the leaves will turn yellow and wilt, whereas too much will scorch the leaves. So, where do you place your White star?
The key is to place it in a spot where it can receive soft and filtered bright, indirect light. Full early morning sun will not harm your plant, therefore a window with a sunrise view will be a great spot for your plant.
If that is not an option, you can soften the afternoon sun by adjusting the position of your plant a bit farther from the window and draping a sheer curtain to filter the light.
This step mimics the filtered shade provided by the canopy of trees in the rainforests.
Watering Calathea White star
Calatheas don’t tolerate dry soil well and will shrivel before your eyes in an instant. Ensure that the top of the media of your White star is damp, but not wet to touch. Once the top layer of the soil begins to dry it’s time to water.
How often you will need to water your plant will vary on the size of the plant, soil mix, air humidity of your home, time of the year… Don’t be fooled by the labels that might say 1 time per week. You might find this to be true for your plant or completely wrong. Observe your plant closely and learn its needs.
Despite loving moisture, the roots of Calathea White star are prone to root rot. This can easily happen if the soil you are using is not fast draining and you are overwatering your plant. Thorough watering is preferable when it comes to this plant and excess water must drain off well. Never let your plant sit on the excess water. Cut back on watering during winter.
The White star is not an exemption when it comes to the type of water you can use with prayer plants. Too much salt and mineral will cause tip burns on this plant and eventually turn the leaves yellow. We recommend that you use rainwater or filtered water for watering your plants.
Tap water, which can be high in chlorine and fluoride, can cause burning on the leaves of White star. Allow your tap water to sit for at least overnight to allow excess chlorine and fluoride to dissipate.
What Humidity Does Calathea White Star Need?
To maintain very vibrant and wholesome leaves, humidity around the plant must be at least 50% (ideally over 60%). Because the White star is native to rainforests, the idea is to mimic the conditions from its origin. Below the recommended humidity, the plant will drop its leaves, and dry crisp tips will start showing.
This makes the White star even fussier during winter. Provide your White star with the necessary humidity level and keep it warm at around 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 25°).
There are a lot of available techniques to raise the humidity around your plant. You can get a humidifier, you can place your plant near the kitchen or your bathroom, you can set up pebble trays…
Clean the Calathea Majestica Leaves and maintaining the plant
Prune the dead and yellowing leaves to keep them looking fresh and happy. Adequate pruning also encourages the plant to grow taller and even more foliage.
Give your plant a good wiping of its leaves as they can collect dust. A damp cloth dipped in a solution of mild soap and water is enough to clean the leaves of your plant. Misting the plant will also help it with looking clean.
Since the leaves of your White star can react to a lot of chemical solutions, using these may cause leaf burning.
During maintenance, inspect your plant for presence of any pests and disease.
Fertilizing your plant
The White star, like other prayer plants, is not big on fertilizers. It is actually more beneficial to be on the side of under fertilizing than over. Fertilizers, without proper washing, will have the tendency to deposit too many salts in the soil.
However, fertilizers do help your plant grow bigger and produce more vibrant leaves. You can use slow-release types of fertilizers to lessen the amount of minerals released to the soil.
If you still prefer using water-soluble fertilizer, use half of the recommended strength and dilute the solution. Apply every couple of weeks. Do not fertilize your White star during winter.
When growing your White star, remember that the roots do not grow extensively and are fragile and fibrous. The pot must have enough room to grow and allow the plant to become rootbound at the same time – don’t go with a pot that is too big.
There is no need to repot your White star unless roots are starting to poke out of your pot. If you want your plant to grow bigger, switch to a pot at least a size or two larger and add similar type of soil as with what you used before.
What type of soil does my Calathea White Star need?
The media you use plays a great role in keeping your White star happy. Aside from providing the much-needed nutrients to grow fast, your soil will determine the amount and duration of moisture retention.
If you are mixing your own soil, a mixture of perlite, orchid bark, and garden soil will give your plant enough aeriation and nutrients. If you want to maintain more moisture, you can add a bit of coco peat or moss. Just enough to retain moisture around the roots of the plant. Most gardening stores carry soil mixes that are suitable for calathea plants. Ask the sellers at your next visit for the correct mix.
Proper aeriation is vital for the roots of your plant to grow well. This also ensures that not too much water is stored around the roots, preventing root rot. Fast-draining media is best for Calathea.
Propagating Calathea White Star
During repotting, you can choose to propagate your plant to have more pots for your house. Calathea majestica is mostly propagated through root division. Propagate your plant during the growing season by separating healthy roots and stems from the main plant. If the roots are too entangled, use a clean pair of shears to cut through them.
The Calathea White star can quickly produce a lot of and full foliage if given the correct conditions. In a year, it will be possible to propagate your plant into even more pots. From the day of propagation, do not induce any stress and help the propagated plant acclimate to establish itself well.
What pests should you look out for?
If there is one thing Calatheas are not fussy about, it is the pests associated with them. Since they require relatively high humidity, pests such as spider mites, mealy bugs, and aphids tend to steer clear from your White star.
Despite not being preferred by these pests, your White star is not completely immune to them. Some leaf scales can attach to the petiole of your plant and the underside of the leaves. These insects, like mealy bugs and spider mites, will absorb the nutrients form your plant and its moisture which will leave the leaves limp and eventually die.
Gently flushing your plant with room temperature water will always help keep these pests at bay. At the first sign of these insects, you can opt to spray the affected area with diluted alcohol solution. This will evaporate the moisture within the body of these small insects.
A regular application of insecticide or Neem oil will also keep your plant healthy.
The more often problems with White star are fungal diseases such as Alternaria leaf spot and root rot. Leaf spot is usually transmitted from an infected plant or may arise from stagnant drops of water due to over misting. Overwatering is also the main cause of root rot for Calatheas.
Is the White star toxic?
Plants from the prayer plant family are considered non-toxic to pets and humans.
* There have been no negative health issues reported with prayer plants. Keep in mind toxicity information on plants can change. This is something that is best talked about with your veterinarian. Even with non-toxic plants, nibbling plants should be avoided, and keeping plants away from pets, especially if they like to eat them, is best.