If you find yourself captivated by the calathea maui queen, you are not alone! This gorgeous plant has taken the plant world by storm with its unique cream-coloring down the center of each leaf, as well as the deep purple undersides. The calathea maui queen is also a rare plant, making it all the more desired.
Origin: This tropical originates from the rainforest of Brazil and is a hybrid cultivar. Cultivar is short for “cultivated variety”. This basically means that it is produced through selective breeding between two different plant families or lines.
Names: The calathea maui queen goes by many other names, including the Calathea louisae ‘Maui Queen’ and the Goeppertia louisae ‘Maui Queen”.
Physical Features: This plant is part of the Prayer-Plant family, meaning the leaves are lower during the day and rise at night. It’s truly amazing! The cream-colored center that made it famous has a distinct feather pattern that sets it apart. Finally, they can grow to be about 3 feet in height and width when properly cared for indoors.
How to Care For a Calathea Maui Queen?
The calathea maui queen is relatively easy to care for as long as you can provide plenty of water and humidity! As long as you are consistent with care such as temperature and watering once a week, there is no need to worry!
Brief Indoor Care: This tropical plant loves warm temperatures, high humidity, plenty of moisture and a well-draining organic soil mix.
Like other plants that originally grew on the floor of the rainforest, the calathea maui queen will flourish best in bright but indirect sunlight. It cannot grow well in low light, and direct sunlight can drain the leaves of their vibrant color and pattern.
Try placing this plant in an eastern or northern facing window. It will only get weak direct sunlight as the sun rises and hours of bright, indirect sunlight for the rest of the day. If a window is not available, try to use special filtering curtains or positioning the plant behind or underneath another houseplant.
Sometimes it can be hard to judge sunlight on your own. If you want, you can use a light meter! Light meters accurately measure the amount of sunlight in a room in foot-candles, or FCs. The ideal FC amount for this plant will be around 400!
Best Soil and Mixture Type
It is important that your calathea maui queen is placed in soil that absorbs moisture. At the same time, the soil must also drain well to avoid excess water causing root rot. This can be a hard balance to find, but keep an eye out for these elements in your homemade or store bought soil:
- Perlite to aid in drainage
- Peat moss for moisture absorption
- Coco coir to improve nutrient absorption and help with draining
Soil is an overlooked element of plant care, but without it your calathea maui queen will not enjoy good growth or a long lifespan – we can’t have that! As long as these elements or ones with a similar purpose are present, you should have great soil on your hands!
A high level of moisture in the air (also known as humidity) is key for the healthy growth of the calathea maui queen. A humidity percentage between 55% to 65% will be the ideal range for this plant.
Placing it in a high humidity area like your kitchen or bathroom is an easy way to achieve this.
If you are worried, consider buying a humidifier to maintain the ideal range. Signs that your calathea maui queen needs more humidity include crispy leaves and brown leaf tips. If you notice these signs, increase the humidity immediately to help the plant recover.
When it comes to water, the calathea maui queen is all about balance! It is important to keep the soil constantly moist since the plant is not drought-resistant. At the same time, you cannot completely soak the soil in water because this will lead to root rot or a drowning plant. No wonder so many owners struggle with watering this plant!
Make sure the pot has good drainage and feel the top few inches of soil each day to make sure it is not going dry. While schedules can vary from owner to owner, you should end up watering your calathea maui queen about once a week. Remember to water the soil directly instead of raining it down from above!
Consistency is key with the temperature for this plant! Sudden swings in temperature can send it into shock and damage the leaves, so avoid any cold drafts or soaring heat if you can. While a broken air conditioner or a window left open is not the end of the world, a severe change in temperature can damage this beautiful plant.
The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 65°F to 80°F (about 18°C to 27°C). The absolute lowest temperature the plant can tolerate is about 60°F or 15.5°C. However, it should not be left in this temperature consistently if you want the plant to display healthy growth.
Fertilizing your calathea maui queen is an excellent way to encourage new growth and keep it looking as gorgeous as possible. You should only fertilize during the growing season, which for this plant is the late spring to early summer. Never fertilize in the winter, as the plant is not actively growing.
For the best fertilizer possible, look out for these ingredients! They are listed in their order of importance:
The most important three ingredients for any fertilizer will be nitrogen for nutrient absorption, phosphorus for converting nutrients to energy, and potassium to help resist diseases.
General plant care: Dealing with pests, propagating, and more!
Now that we’ve covered the more well-known elements of indoor care, let’s review the important but more general aspects of proper calathea maui queen care.
If the temperature and watering needs of this plant seem a bit frustrating, you can rest easy knowing that repotting needs will be few and far between. The main reason why plants need to be repotted is so that they can have more room to grow, particularly for the roots which can become cramped after growing season.
In addition, repotting helps by giving the plant completely fresh soil! Based on the growth rate of the calathea maui queen, you will be repotting it only once every other year. This should be done near the end of summer or beginning of fall once the plant has stopped growing.
You’ll notice the plant needs to be repotted when roots start curling out of the drainage holes or if it seems like the plant is not getting nutrients even though the water and humidity are consistent.
If needed, lift the plant out of the soil and see if the roots are properly growing or curling into each other.
Can a Calathea Maui Queen Be Propagated? How Do I Do It?
The calathea maui queen is absolutely breathtaking, so it makes sense why you might want another one to brighten up your home. Luckily, the calathea maui queen can be propagated quite easily and you can learn how right in this article! You’ll be using division to propagate the plant, and here are the steps to do so:
- After the growing season, gather a new pot filled with good quality soil and prepare a small, sterile knife.
- With one hand, lift your current calathea maui queen out of the pot. Clear away the dirt and examine the roots, identifying a section to divide.
- Follow the natural separation of the roots to find an area to divide. Separate one small shoot, including the roots all the way up to the leaves, and pull it away from the rest of the plant. Use the knife to make small and precise cuts if needed.
- Immediately place the original plant back in the pot and make sure the soil is accurately placed.
- Take the separated cutting and place it into the new pot and soil. Follow the care instructions for a typical calathea maui queen.
There you go! Follow these steps and you will hopefully be only a few growing seasons away from another mature calathea maui queen.
Sure, this plant is beautiful! It is a great addition to any household, but is it a danger to smaller inhabitants like pets or children? You’ll be happy to know that the answer is no! The calathea maui queen is completely non-toxic to dogs, cats, and humans even when ingested.
If the plant is eaten in large quantities, there may be some irritation of the stomach. However, this does not mean the one who ingested the plant is in any danger! The symptoms should pass without any further issue.
Before we end things, let’s cover some of the most frequently asked questions about the calathea maui queen and how to properly care for it.
Q. Calathea Maui Queen vs Misto – What’s the Difference?
The calathea maui queen is often confused with the calathea misto, and it’s an easy mistake to make! Both plants have similarly textured leaves and a lighter, feather pattern along the center of their leaves. However, there are some easy ways to see the differences between the two.
To begin, the maui queen has distinct deep purple undersides while the misto typically has a more obvious maroon color. The light markings along the center of the maui queen are also thinner and more of a distinct cream color in tone. In contrast, the center markings of the misto are wider and more of a pale green instead of a cream.
These differences may seem subtle, but they can help tell the difference between the two! The calathea maui queen is also a bit rarer than the misto, so the distinctions are actually very important.
Q. Can I Mist My Calathea Maui Queen?
Many plant blogs or video series will recommend misting your calathea maui queen as a way to improve humidity. You should always approach misting with caution, since it can end up doing more harm than good. Misting the leaves of your plants can actually heighten the risk of fungal and bacterial infections.
Misting increases this risk because the air circulation in most homes or apartments is generally poor. Excessive misting attracts pests and can encourage fungal growth, and it is hard for many plant owners to draw the line at too much. For this reason, it is best to avoid misting your calathea maui queen.
Q. Why is My Calathea Maui Queen Infested with Spider Mites?
Bugs and pests can ruin the appeal of a beautiful plant, and the calathea maui queen is no exception! The most common pest for plants in the calathea family are spider mites. These pests are small and white in color, and can be hard to spot. They are often drawn to overly dry environments like a plant that is too long between waterings.
If you often let your plant dry out between waterings, spider mites are likely to appear. They suck on the sap and leaves, creating yellow spots and an eventual complete yellowing of the leaves. To deal with spider mites, act quickly!
Washing the gently leaves with soapy water can get rid of the bugs. Use a natural insecticide like neem oil to drive them away and keep them from coming back.
Q. How Do I Get Rid of Mealybug Infestations?
Finally, a way to defeat another common calathea pest: the mealybug. Mealybugs are small, round and white. They often congregate on leaves or the stems of plants and create tiny holes and can ruin the plant if left alone for long. Luckily, household items can help you defeat them once and for all!
Create a solution of one part dish soap, one part hot water, and one part rubbing alcohol. Spray this along the leaves once a week in order to drive the bugs away. You can also soak a q-tip in rubbing alcohol to remove individual bugs.
Following these tips will help save your gorgeous calathea maui queen!