Calathea Warscewiczii Care For Healthy Growth! (Tips & FAQ)

A Calathea Warscewiczii is a striking and rare species. Picky by nature, this plant (also known as a Calathea Jungle Velvet) requires careful observation and precise care practices to grow.

But don’t let its fussiness scare you!

It’s quite possible to keep this species alive and thriving as a houseplant. Check out this detailed yet easy-to-follow Calathea Warscewiczii care guide perfect for every new and seasoned plant parent.

What Is a Calathea Warscewiczii?

Pronunciation: Cal-ah-thee-ah Vark-zeh-wik-zee-eye

Appearance: The C. Warscewiczii’s stunning colors and texture set it apart from other plant species and Calathea varieties. Its leaves are a dark green with burgundy undertones and have a silvery fish-tail pattern.

Their undersides are velvety and dark burgundy and are one of the plant’s most unique features.

Origin: The Calathea Warscewiczii is native to Central and South America, and is commonly found in countries such as:

  • Nicaragua
  • Costa Rica
  • Panama

Since the Jungle Velvet is part of the Calathea species, it’s also part of the Marantaceae family.

Rareness: A Jungle Velvet is quite rare, and can be difficult to find as a houseplant in non-native regions.

Other names: There aren’t too many names for this type of Calathea species. Besides its scientific name: Calathea Warscewiczii, it also goes by Calathea Jungle Velvet.

Your Complete Calathea Warscewiczii Care Guide

The good thing about a Calathea is it will generally tell you when something’s wrong. These sensitive plants will change colors and shape at the drop of the hat.

Follow this complete care guide to learn how to not only read your plant’s many moods, but to prevent them.

  • Light: dappled or bright, indirect
  • Soil: well-draining
  • Watering: regularly
  • Humidity: 60% or higher
  • Temperature: 60 – 85 F
  • Fertilizer: occasionally

1. Light

Calathea Warscewiczii does well with lots of bright, yet indirect light.

Keep your Jungle Velvet near either a north or east-facing window to decrease the chances of harsh, direct sun exposure. If not possible, there are plenty of grow lights on the market that C. Warscewiczii responds well to!

Too much sunlight indicator: Darkened or curled leaves

Too little sunlight indicator: Pale leaves

2. Soil

This species does best with a well-draining soil mix. When choosing a store-bought soil, opt for a rich well-draining mix with peat.

Peat soil consists of organic matter such as decomposing plant material and is typically made of sphagnum moss.

Here are some of the reasons why peat soil is perfect for your Calathea Jungle Velvet:

  • Retains moisture
    • Acidic
    • Prevents compaction
    • Pathogen-free
    • Great aeration

Looking for a way to make your own peat soil? Follow these simple steps to make your own peat soil mix:

Step 1: Buy peat moss, perlite, and general topsoil from your local nursery or hardware store.

Step 2: Add one part peat, one part perlite, and one part soil in a bowl. Mix all ingredients thoroughly.

Step 3: Add the mixture to a pot with a draining hole.

There you have it—your own DIY peat soil mix!

3. Water

When it comes to watering a Calathea Jungle Velvet, there is a fine line between overwatering and underwatering. As a general rule of thumb, you should regularly test the soil for moisture content.

To do this, use your fingers to feel the surface of the soil. The soil should feel moist, but not wet or bone-dry.

These plants are characteristically thirsty, but their watering frequency depends on the humidity, temperature, etc. That’s why it’s always important to conduct a soil check daily and before watering.

NOTE: C. Warscewiczii are sensitive to chlorine and other minerals found in tap water. Only use the following types of water for watering:

  • Rainwater
  • Distilled Water
  • Filtered Water

4. Temperature

Since C. Warscewicziis are native to tropical climates, they thrive in warm, humid settings. Maintain a temperature of 70-85 degrees F at all times for a healthy Calathea.

However, Calathea Jungle Velvet can survive in temperatures as cold as 60 degrees Fahrenheit—but not colder.

5. Humidity

The Calathea Jungle Velvet requires a minimum of 60% humidity at all times.

Don’t let this number intimidate you, giving your C. Warscewiczii the right high levels of humidity it needs doesn’t have to be difficult.

Here are 5 easy tips and tricks to give your Calathea the humidity it needs:

1) Plant Proximity

If you have other Calathea Warscewiczii plants, place them together. Close proximity to other plants allows them to share humid air.

2) Set out a Water Bowl

Fill bowls, jars, cups, spare pots or anything else that holds water and place it around your home for added moisture.

3) Mist

Spritz your plant with a mister or spray bottle filled with water.

4) Switch locations

Put your Calathea Jungle Velvet in the bathroom! Make sure it still receives indirect sunlight, but the added humidity from a shower or bath is perfect for this plant.

5) Get a small humidifier

This may be one of the most expensive ways, but it’s also one of the most effective.

IMPORTANT: Calatheas are sensitive plants. Make sure that water coming in direct contact with their leaves is filtered of minerals found in tap water. Failure to use the correct water can turn leaves brown and crisp.

6. Fertilizer

Just like humans, C. Warscewiczii need a balanced diet. When paired with the right amount of watering, sunlight, and any of the other proper care practices listed above, the extra nutrients from fertilizers will give your plant the extra push it needs to thrive.

When choosing a fertilizer for your C. Warscewiczii, opt for one that does not contain high levels of salt.

High salt levels can cause the edges of your plant’s leaves to brown. A balanced fertilizer containing more nitrogen and phosphorous than other nutrients is best.

Unlike with watering, fertilizing your C. Warscewiczii should be done sparingly. You should only fertilize once or twice during growing season, with fertilizer diluted at ½ strength.

Do NOT fertilize during non-growing seasons or wintertime.

Growth – What to Expect

Q. How Big Does a Calathea Warscewiczii Get?

Leaf blades reach roughly 25-40 cm in length, and 9-12.5 cm wide. The plant itself can reach about 3 feet in height when fully grown, but as a houseplant, averages only about 2 feet.

Q. How Often Should I Repot?

Since C. Warscewiczii are characteristically picky, it’s no surprise they dislike repotting.

Try to disturb your plant as little as possible, only repotting once every 2 years and only when it shows at least one of the following signs:

  • Needs watering more frequently
  • Leaves & stem are too large for the pot
  • Roots are shooting out of the drainage holes
  • It’s ceased growth

How Do I Propagate a Calathea Warscewiczii?

Stem cuttings are the best propagation method for a Calathea Warscewiczii. Follow these steps to begin propagating:

Step 1: Cut a 3 to 5 inch cutting with a minimum of 3 leaves from a C. Warscewiczii.

Step 2: Place cutting on peat soil mixture. Lightly mist plant with water, then cover in plastic. The cutting must be kept moist at all times.

Step 3: Once roots form, dig a 1 to 2 inch hole in your peat soil and plant the cutting. Now care for it as if it were a full-grown Jungle Velvet!

Plant Toxicity

Human: non-toxic

Animals: non-toxic

Calathea species are great for households with small children and animals. However, always make sure that young ones and furry friends don’t ingest the soil in its pot, as this may have consequential health effects.

Common Pests & Diseases

Common infestations your plant may unfortunately come across are:

  • Spider Mites
  • Mealy bugs
  • Scale

Lightly mist 70% isopropyl alcohol onto the infected area to get rid of these pests. After a few minutes, wipe the leaves with a water-dampened cloth.

Overwatering can also cause root rot, and heavy amounts of salt-based fertilizer can cause fusarium, a type of fungi. Cease excessive watering and make sure to change out the soil.

Calathea Warscewiczii Care Guide FAQ

Q. Calathea Warscewiczii vs. Philodendron Warscewiczii – What’s the Difference?

A Calathea Warscewiczii is part of the Calathea family, meaning it grows by offshoots in the soil. Whereas a Philodendron Warscewiczii is part of the Philodendron family, and can grow in the soil or on other plants as an epiphyte.

Q. Why Does My C. Warscewiczii Have Brown Tips?

Your Calathea Warscewiczii could be trying to tell you a few things:

  1. If your plant is positioned in direct sunlight, brown leaves are an indicator it’s receiving too much sunlight.
  2. Using tap water to water your plant can cause brown leaves. Instead, use distilled or other filtered water.
  3. Too much fertilizer or salt-based fertilizer can cause crisp, brown leaves.

Q. Why Is My C. Warscewiczii Dropping?

Calatheas tend to droop in the daytime, but lift up during the nighttime.

But if the drooping is more drastic, then chances are it needs water! The soil should be kept moist (not waterlogged) at all times.

Q. Does the C. Warscewiczii Bloom Flowers?

Yes! Your C. Warscewiczii can bloom a beautiful white bract spirally arranged. In its native habitat, the flower reaches above the canopy, blooming typically during the rainy season (June-August).

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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