Calathea Triostar Care (Stromanthe Sanguinea) – #1 Best Kept Secrets!

The calathea triostar is an exceptionally beautiful plant from the Prayer Plant family. Native to the Brazilian rainforest, this exotic plant is every collector’s dream!

You will know the calathea triostar by its incredible colored leaves with vibrant pink undersides! The surface leaves have splashes of pale green and cream, giving it an overall unique and very lovely appearance.

The calathea triostar is a rare find that will flourish as an indoor houseplant under the right conditions! This in-depth guide will help you achieve just that.

Quick Calathea Triostar (Stromanthe Sanguinea) Care Breakdown

  • Light: Bright, indirect
  • Soil: Well-balanced, well-draining
  • Humidity:
  • Temperature:
  • Fertilizer: Complete Nutrient or Well-Balanced
  • Repotting: Once every 1-2 years, ideally in Spring
  • Pests & Diseases: Generally pretty resistant

Other Names This Plant Goes By

  • Stromanthe sanguinea
  • Stromanthe thalia
  • Tricolor stromanthe

You will often find the terms ‘calathea’ and ‘stromanthe’ used interchangeably. This is due to their similar appearances and the fact that they are in the same Marantaceae family.

However, calathea plants and stromanthe plants actually belong to separate genera.

How To Care For a Calathea Triostar

As a plant with a tropical origin, caring for a calathea triostar means replicating the humidity, water, and light of its home country. This plant needs high humidity, bright and indirect sunlight, and moderate watering to grow successfully.

Don’t worry about the finer points – that’s why you’re here! Read on and learn about all aspects of properly caring for a calathea triostar.

a potted calatha triostar Stromanthe sanguinea plant


Though its coloring may be quite unique, the calathea triostar has similar needs to other calatheas. This is particularly true for light! With this plant, bright and indirect sunlight will give you the best growth.

The calathea triostar may be able to tolerate low light for some period of time, but you’ll soon find that the colors and leaves truly shine in the light!

Where Should I Keep This Plant?

For the right amount of bright but still indirect sunlight, you could place this potted plant in a northern or eastern-facing window. It will be exposed to direct sunlight for only a few hours in the morning when the sun is at its weakest.

For the rest of the day, it will have access to indirect sunlight. Placing it in a room with curtains to filter sunlight can also create good growing conditions.

How Much Light is ‘Bright’ Exactly?

Human eyes are not typically the best judge of sunlight. If you are concerned about this, you can buy a light meter to measure the true amount of sunlight available in a room.

Light meters measure in foot candles (FCs), and the correct amount of FCs for the calathea triostar will be about 400FC.

Best Soil and Mixture Type

Soil is an overlooked aspect of plant care, but it can have a huge impact on growth. The perfect soil for the calathea triostar will be all about balance; it must retain moisture for growth but still drain well to prevent root rot.

Whether you’re making soil yourself or heading out to the store, look out for specific elements that signal the perfect calathea soil.

  • Perlite to assist with proper drainage
  • Coco coir as a soil addition to help with absorbency
  • Peat to increase moisture retention
  • If you desire, coarse matter like sand or coconut husks can be added occasionally for drainage

Generally, a mixture that is two-thirds potting soil (or coir) to one-third perlite will be perfect!

In addition, calatheas prefer soil with a pH that is slightly acidic. The perfect range will be between 6.5 and 6.9 on the scale.


Caring for a tropical plant means you will need to get used to the humidity! Plants like the calathea triostar love a humid environment, and in fact, require it for proper growth.

Ideal Humidity Range

Highly humid conditions with at least 60% humidity will have your triostar flourishing like never before! Purchasing a humidifier will be an easy way to keep track of your humidity range without needing to worry.

Increasing Humidity Naturally (& What to Avoid!)

Your bathroom is also a highly humid area, and placing your calathea triostar in there as you shower is a good way to ensure it is getting the humidity it needs.

Some plant care guides may advise you to mist your plant, but be cautious as this can increase the risk of bacterial or fungal infections.

Signs Your Triostar Isn’t Getting Enough Humidity

Brown spots appearing on the leaves and a texture change in the leaves is a sure sign of low humidity. They may appear to be crispier than usual, and more prone to tearing.

If you notice these symptoms, it is time to increase the humidity! With a proper increase, the symptoms should disappear.


When it comes to watering your calathea triostar, you will need to be patient! Owners often find this the most frustrating aspect of calathea plant care, and it can take time to find a watering schedule that works for both you and your houseplant.

  1. Make sure that you are not saturating the soil. Too much moisture can lead to root rot, which has the potential to be deadly for your plant. Never pour so much water that you can see standing puddles forming the soil.
  2. Use just enough water to moisten the soil, making sure to spread the water across the entire pot of soil. Try not to water from high in the air, i.e. from the leaves. Water closer to the soil.
  3. Feel the first two inches of soil to see if it is dry. If you still feel moisture, wait another day or so and then check again. If they feel dry, go ahead and water the plant.

How Often Should I Water my Calathea?

Watering frequency depends on a lot of factors including temperature, light intensity, and humidity level! In general, it’s best to check if your calathea triostar needs water once a week by checking the dryness of the soil.

If the top few inches of soil are dry, it likely needs a good watering.

You will also end up watering this plant less in the winter when growth largely stops. After a while, you’ll have your own schedule that works perfectly!


One thing that a calathea triostar hates is the cold! These tropical plants are used to warm, humid environments and sudden snaps of cold can negatively impact their growth.

In fact, it is recommended that you keep this plant away from open windows, air conditioners, and even outward opening doors in the winter as sudden cold influxes or falling temperatures can shock them.

Ideal Temperature Range

Warm temperatures should be kept consistently, which is fairly easy to do in a home or apartment thanks to the heating system.

The ideal range for the calathea triostar will be between mid-60s and mid-70s Fahrenheit, precisely about 65°F to 75°F, or about 18°C to 24°C. This plant should not be subjected to temperatures lower than 60°F or 15°C.


Knowing When to Fertilize

The ideal fertilizer for this plant will be slow-release and only needs to be applied during its growth seasons e.g. Spring and Summer.

You will not need to worry about fertilizing at all in the winter; fertilizer helps with growth, and plant growth ceases during the cold months.

What to Look For in a Fertilizer

When you are out and looking for fertilizer, try to find one that contains the following elements:

  • Potassium (essential)
  • Phosphorous (essential)
  • Nitrogen (essential)
  • Calcium (good addition)
  • Magnesium (good addition)

As seen from the list, elements such as potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen are essential for a good fertilizer! Try to find one with these three key elements, and others such as calcium and magnesium will be helpful additions.


You may find that the calathea triostar can be finicky when it comes to watering, humidity, and temperature. It more than makes up for it with the ease of repotting!

Generally, this plant will only need to be repotted every other year. You will know that it is time to repot when you can see the roots of the plant poking through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

Repotting Tips

When choosing a new pot, pick one that is only a few inches bigger than the current pot. Too much room in a new pot can actually damage the roots just as much as having too little room.

When repotting, simply fill the new pot with the same soil mixture before gently lifting your calathea from the old pot and placing it in the new. Once that is done, you won’t need to repeat it for at least a year.

Best Ways to Propagate a Calathea Triostar

It can be incredibly rewarding to grow a calathea triostar yourself using propagation. This method is also practical since calathea triostars are rare and can be expensive. Once you have one, you have all you need to grow another!

The best way to propagate a calathea triostar is by division. If you’ve never heard of this before, don’t worry! We will review the steps to this process, and soon you’ll be a pro.

Remember that the best time of year to propagate is when active growth is just beginning so Spring is your best bet.

  1. Gather the following supplies: the plant to be propagated, gloves, a clean knife or garden shears, and a small pot filled with soil. You can use the same soil that you use for the original plant.
  2. While wearing the gardening gloves, carefully remove your mature plant from the pot. Dig gently in the dirt as opposed to using force in order to ensure the plant is not damaged.
  3. Examine the roots of the mature plant. You will see that they naturally separate and divide. Identify a small section of roots and further divide it from the rest, using your hands.
  4. Use your clean knife or garden shears to gently cut away the divided roots, also removing the stems and leaves from the section.
  5. Place the original plant back in its container. Place the cutting into the new pot of soil, and care for it as normal. With any luck, you will eventually have another calathea triostar!

Plant Toxicity

The calathea triostar is non-toxic to animals and humans! While it generally should not be ingested, there will be no adverse side effects.

Keep your calathea triostar away from any curious children or pets in order to preserve the leaves and colors. If it is ingested, don’t worry! The most they will feel is slight nausea or stomach irritation, simply as a result of eating something they aren’t used to.


We have covered the essential care aspects of the calathea triostar. Now, we will be going over some of the most frequently asked questions from owners of this gorgeous plant. Perhaps we can answer a question you didn’t even know you had!

#1 Why Does My Calathea Triostar Have Yellow Leaves?

The calathea triostar is known for having gorgeous leaves, so it can be worrying to see yellow creeping in amongst the beautiful pinks and greens. Whilst there are many factors that can contribute to yellowing calathea leaves, usually, it’s an overwatering problem.

This is a common problem with calatheas, as they can be picky about their water intake.

Start allowing more time to pass between waterings. Remember to feel the first few inches of soil to ensure they are completely dry before watering, and avoid saturation of the plant. Within a few weeks, the issue will hopefully clear up.

#2 Why Does My Calathea Triostar Have Brown Edges?

If you notice brown edging along your calathea triostar, there could be several possible explanations. If only the tips of the leaves seem to be browning, low humidity will most likely be your culprit.

The leaves may also be browning due to a lack of water, so ensure you are watering a good amount.

Consistent exposure to cold drafts could also lead to browning of the leaves due to shock.

In general, as long as you follow the care guide as closely as possible, you will eliminate each of the possible reasons for brown edges. After all, the calathea triostar is a gorgeously rare plant that must be cherished!

photo of Charlotte Bailey founder of Oh So Garden


Charlotte Bailey

Charlotte is a Qualified Royal Horticultural Society Horticulturist, plant conservationist, and founder of Oh So Garden. Armed with a background in Plant Science (BSc Hons, MSc) and 5 years of hands-on experience in the field, her in-depth guides are read by over 100,000 people every month.

For her work, she's been awarded the title of Yale Young Global Scholar, and been featured as a garden and houseplant expert across major networks and national publications such as Homes and Garden, Best Life, Gardeningetc,, BHG, Real Homes, and Country Living. You can find her on Linkedin.

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