The Calathea Beauty Star is a stunning and gorgeous plant from the Marantaceae, or “Prayer Plant” family. This beauty has narrow and dark green leaves which are covered in thin stripes of silver, white, and even a lighter green. Not to be out done, the underside of the Calathea Beauty Star is a rich dark purple!
Calathea Beauty Plant Origins
Like most members of the Prayer Plant family, the Calathea Beauty Star originates from the tropical forests of Brazil. The specific markings of this plant make it a rarity for houseplant owners, so be sure to treat yours with care!
This plant also goes by other names: Peacock Plant, Zebra Plant, and simply a Prayer Plant! As you can tell, most of the names make reference to the unique stripes along the leaves.
How to Care For a Calathea Beauty Star?
We’ll cover each category in-depth, but to care for a Calathea Beauty Star, you will need:
- Well-draining soil
- Bright and indirect light
- Humidity of at least 60%
- A watering schedule that ensures the soil is always kept damp
- A typical temperature between 65°F and 80°F
People often overlook the impact that light can have on a plant, but it makes a huge difference! This is especially true when it comes to Calathea Beauty Star care, since this tropical plant can suffer from faded marking if it is exposed to direct sunlight.
What is Bright, Indirect Sunlight?
Bright and indirect sunlight is essentially sunlight that has been filtered through another source before it reaches the plant. For example, calathea often live on the forest floor.
Sunlight is filtered by the taller trees and plants before it reaches them on the ground.
In order to ensure your plant is getting bright and indirect sunlight, consider placing it in a window that faces north or east. After the sun rises in the morning, your houseplant will get bright and indirect sunlight for the rest of the day.
You can also use curtains, windows, or even other plants to filter the sunlight first.
Ideal Light Range for Calathea Beauty Star
If you want to be absolutely positive that your Calathea Beauty Star is getting the right amount of sunlight, you can buy a light meter.
These machines measure the amount of sunlight in a room in foot-candles (FCs), and you can use this to make sure your plant is not being exposed to too much or too little sunlight.
For calatheas, the ideal FC measurement will be 400FC, with at least 200 FCs needed to secure good growth.
Best Soil and Mixture Type
When it comes to getting the best soil for your Calathea Beauty Star, you want to find the perfect balance between moisture and drainage. In other words, the soil needs to drain well to prevent water build-up while still absorbing enough moisture for growth.
The Best Soil Mixture for This Plant
Whether you are making the soil mixture yourself or just heading to the store to pick some up, here is the best mixture for the Calathea Beauty Star.
- One third perlite, to assist with drainage
- Two thirds peat, for moisture retention
- Some peat substituted for compost to boost growth
- Coarse matter like coco coir, sand, or orchid bark for drainage.
So, in general you will want a mixture that is one part perlite to two parts peat, with some potential substitutions.
Since the Calathea Beauty Star is a tropical plant, you cannot overestimate the importance of humidity! This plant will need a humidity range of at least 60% in order to properly grow.
You can supply this by placing it in a humid environment like the bathroom or kitchen, grouping it with other plants, or even buying a humidifier.
What Are Signs of Poor Humidity?
Your Calathea Beauty Star will show you when it needs more humidity. The leaves will appear thinner and crispier, and become prone to tearing. Brown spots will also appear on the surface of the leaves.
You can reverse these symptoms by immediately raising the humidity. With luck, the humidity will restore your plant to its original beauty.
Now we get to the part of the process that many plant owners find the most nerve wracking: watering! The key part of watering a Calathea Beauty Star is to ensure that the soil does not dry out between waterings.
It should be kept damp at all times, but without completely soaking the soil with water.
How Do I Ensure Proper Watering?
Here are some tips to properly water your Calathea Beauty Star:
- Do not soak the soil with water. This can create sog and root rot in the plant. Instead, water the soil so it is damp but there are no puddles forming.
- Don’t let the soil dry out between waterings. Stick your finger (or use a stick) to feel the first few inches of soil. If there is any dryness, water immediately.
- Water for the soil, not the leaves. Dumping water from above the leaves can both over and under soak the soil, so water it directly to ensure it is getting properly damp.
With these tips in mind, you will end up watering your Calathea Beauty Star about once a week. It really depends on how fast the soil dries out, so you will need to find the specific schedule that works best for you and this plant.
Since you will most likely be keeping your Calathea Beauty Star as a houseplant, it is important to make sure that the temperature is kept constant.
Sudden cold snaps can shock the plant, causing it to droop. This is why you should not keep the plant near doors, windows, or an air conditioning system where it will often experience blasts of cold.
What is the Ideal Temperature?
You should always keep the temperature between 65°F and 80°F (about 18°C to 27°C). Going too far above or below is not good for the plant.
In fact, the lowest this plant will tolerate will be about 60°F (15°C), and even that should not be for long periods of time. After all, this is a tropical plant!
Fertilizer can really make a difference when it comes to plant growth! With this plant, you can fertilize it monthly during the spring and summer months. You should not fertilize your plant at all during the winter, since it will not be growing in those conditions.
What Nutrients Should My Fertilizer Have?
Here is a quick list of the best nutrients to look out for in your fertilizer, from the essentials to the added boosts.
- Phosphorous (required)
- Nitroren (required)
- Potassium (required)
- Calcium (added boost) (Read: Signs of Calcium Deficiency in Plants)
- Magnesium (added boost)
How Big Do Calathea Beauty Stars Get?
When growing indoors, the Calathea Beauty Star will reach about two feet in height and two feet in width. This makes it an excellent and compact plant that you can place anywhere!
The active growing season of this plant is between March and October, so be on the lookout during those months and see if you can see a size difference! Once it reaches maturity, your Calathea Beauty Star will stop growing.
This plant is not a fan of repotting! You will only need to do it every two to three years, once the roots of the plant begin poking out between the drainage holes of the pot. Make sure to choose a new pot that is only slightly larger than your old one, in order to give room to grow without leaving too much space.
How Do I Repot This Plant?
You should repot during the growing season to ensure that it will take root in the new pot. Fill the new pot with soil, and lift your Calathea Beauty Star from the old pot. Inspect the rots for damages. If there are none, place it securely in the new pot and water thoroughly.
Best Ways to Propagate a Calathea Beauty Star
Since this plant is a bit more rare, you can grow a new one using the one you already have! This is done by propagation, and there are several methods. The one that will work best for the Calathea Beauty Star is the propagate by division.
How Do I Propagate This Plant?
It doesn’t take an expert to propagate by division – just a dedicated plant owner with a careful hand. In order to propagate, follow these steps:
- Grab your supplies: a new pot filled with soil, gloves, a clean knife, and your plant. Start this process in the spring, just as the active growing season is starting.
- Put on your gloves and remove the Calathea Beauty Star from the pot. Examine the roots and find a natural separation. Each rhizome of this plant has a few attached leaves, so it should not be hard to find a nice section.
- Gently separate the selected section, from the roots to the leaves. Use your knife only when needed to make clean, safe cuts.
- Place the cutting into the new plant, and set the original Calathea Beauty Star back into the pot. Water both plants.
- Care for the new plant just as you do for the old! It may take some time to start growing, so remember to be patient.
Plant owners who also have pets or children can rest easy – the Calathea Beauty Star is non-toxic! While it should be kept away from curious hands and mouths regardless, any accidental ingestion will not have any adverse effects. There may be some slight nausea, but no serious cause for concern.
Common Pests, Diseases, and Issues to Watch Out For
You should also know how to defend your plant against any big problems! These can include common pests and diseases.
The worst pests for this plant are aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs. These are all small insects that can coat the leaves and stalks of your plant. Luckily, you can deal with them all in a similar way.
Wash your plant carefully with water before cleansing the leaves with rubbing alcohol. This will remove the pests. Next, use neem oil as a natural insecticide to keep the bugs from returning.
Root rot is your main concern, and that is when the roots of your plant become waterlogged. It can be hard to recover from, but your best bet is to repot the plant.
When doing so, cut away the diseased roots (which will be brown and soggy) in order to allow the healthy ones to regrow.
In some cases, your plant cannot recover. The best way to prevent this is to avoid overwatering your plant.
Now that we’ve covered the more common aspects of Calathea Beauty Star, we’ll end with some frequently asked questions. These can help to clarify any final thoughts as you begin your journey of owning a Calathea Beauty Star!
Is Calathea Beauty Star a Prayer Plant?
In the simplest terms, yes, the Calathea Beauty Star is a prayer plant. As a calathea, this plant belongs to the Marcantacae family – commonly known as prayer plants!
The primary way that these plants are categorized is because the leaves tend to rise during the day and then fold together at night, much like hands folding up to pray!
Calathea Beauty Star vs Calathea Ornata – What’s the Difference?
As the owner of a Calathea Beauty Star, you might be confused to hear others compare your plant to a Calathea Ornata, or even mistake it for one. In reality, the Calathea Beauty Star is an offset or variety of the Calathea Ornata – though they seem similar, they are two distinct plants.
The most common reason for confusion is that both plants have unique markings in the shape of stripes. The Calathea Ornata is even referred to as “the Pinstripe Plant”. However, the Beauty Star has narrower leaves and markings of white, green and silver. The Ornata has larger leaves marked with pink.