The Calathea Ornata (Pinstripe) Care Guide

calathea ornata leaves

Calathea Ornata is spectacular because of its lustrous colored leaves with pink stripes. It is a gorgeous tropical plant of South American origin. It is sometimes difficult for beginners to grow it. However, you only need to know the secret to growing this Pinstripe Calathea such that it becomes a noticeable stunning feature in your house.

To grow a Calathea Ornata, provide bright indirect light and water it every week without making the soil soggy. Keep it humid and in warm temperatures between 65ºF (18ºC) and 75ºF (23ºC). Use soil that drains well to ensure adequate aeration.

Beyond the temperature, water, and soil needs, Calathea plants prefer specific humidity levels, fertilization, and pruning practices. In this article, we are going to cover these elements in detail to help you understand the unique needs based on your location and prevailing conditions.

This information will give you confidence that you can bring out the best in your Calathea Ornata, whether you are an experienced indoor plant owner or are growing your first one.

The Calathea Ornata Basic Caring Guidelines

Calathea Ornata or Pinstripe plant is a graceful plant displayed throughout the year. Since its beauty is in the large leaves, their appearance will tell anyone how well you are taking care of the plant. Even small-time attention details like pruning and propagation will determine the beauty of this plant.

Let’s look at proper care procedures to help you take better care of this glorious plant, shall we?


Your Pinstripe Calathea needs a regular watering schedule to ensure that the soil remains moist. Always check the surface so that the soil is not soggy or oversaturated. Water-logged soil will encourage the growth of fungus and mold, damaging your roots and leaves due to the infestation.

pinstripe calathea

Pinstripe Calathea loves water and will send signals when it is not getting enough. The leaves begin to fold and will burn at the edges. Such leaves will never recover and have to be pruned to stimulate the growth of fresh ones.

Too much water is also a problem for the Calathea Ornata. The leaves will turn brown and begin to wilt. In case the plant is attacked by a disease or any affliction, it will take time to recover. The plant is also sensitive to fluoride in water, causing the leaves to dry and the entire plant to wilt.

In summary, Calathea Ornata requires a moderate amount of water in well-draining soil. Use distilled water to avoid fluoride contamination and reduce the amount of water during winter. Consider humidity and temperature around the area when measuring your water.

calathea ornata in pot


Being a tropical plant, Pin-stripe Calathea will demand an environment with sufficient humidity. However, being a Calathea means that the preference is, in other words, a demand. The plant requires high humidity to thrive, sometimes preferring the kitchen or bathroom where humidity is unlimited.

However, indoor conditions make it challenging to maintain the high humidity levels found around the equatorial regions. Compensate for the dry indoor conditions with misting at least twice a week. You have to place the plant away from heaters and other drying sources around the room.

A humidifier will solve your moisture problems. You may also consider placing a tray with a layer of pebbles that stimulate evaporation near the plant. Watch humidity levels during the cold season because most indoor rooms are heated, leaving the air too dry for the selective pinstripe plant.

Mimic the humidity found at the floor of thick tropical forests by using a humidifier, water tray with pebbles, or by regular misting. Monitor humidity levels in enclosed indoor spaces, especially during winter.


As mentioned before, the pinstripe plant loves moist soil. It means that you should look for soil that retains a moderate amount of water without getting soggy. Such soil will guarantee proper aeration and retention of natural nutrients for slow absorption.

calathea ornata outdoors

The type of soil will also affect the availability of nutrients for your plant, aeration, and water retention. If the soil retains too much water, a lot of fluorides could be caught in the soil, leading to contamination. On the other hand, if the soil drains too fast, nutrients will be lost, and the soil will be too dry for the needy pinstripe plant.

Use soil with bigger chunks or moss so that it can balance moisture with aeration. The addition of perlite or pumice will give you the best soil characteristics to hold water and ensure air circulation. Such add-ons like orchid bark, coco coir, and peat moss will boost the quality of your soil.

In short, ensure that your soil is adequately moist without losing a lot of water or holding onto too much moisture. Watering quantities will depend on the drainage ability of the soil, current temperature as well as humidity.


Calathea Ornata is a hardy plant that can survive in areas with diverse temperature conditions. In most cases, room temperature will be sufficient for the pinstripe plant as long as it does not go below 60º F (15.5º C). 

However, the ideal temperature for the vibrant growth of Calathea Ornata is between 65º F (18 ºC) and 75º F (23º C). The heat can go as high as 85º F (29º C) without adversely affecting the growth of your plant.

You should, however, watch several factors regarding temperature. The tropical Calathea Ornata does not take too well to freezing temperatures. The leaves will dry, and the plant will eventually wilt. A sudden swing in temperature will also kill your plant.

Drafts also affect the relationship between pinstripe plants and temperature. Keep the plant away from air conditioning vents or ventilation areas that experience a lot of wind. In case you move to a new location, monitor the response, and take remedial measures to prevent wilting.

The best temperature for Calathea Ornata or pinstripe plant is anything between 65º F or 18º C and 75º F or 23º C. Watch out for drastic changes in temperature and drafts because they will kill your plant.

Calathea Ornata Advanced Caring Guidelines

Prayer plants come with a variety of sensitive preferences. One type may prefer bright light while another one is shy of staying in an exposed place. Here are other crucial care guidelines that will ensure that your pinstripe plant thrives and transforms your indoor space.


Pinstripe Calathea does not require soil that is too fertile, but it does detest malnourished soil. The need for well-drained soil also means that a lot of nutrients could be lost. It explains the preference for compost or organic manure instead of chemical-based fertilizer.

Apply fertilizer once every month. However, dilute the strength of the compost to avoid contaminating the soil. It is recommended that you use ¼ strength fertilizer to protect your soil without compromising on nutritional needs.

The best time to apply fertilizer is during the growing seasons between spring and summer. In case the plant needs more fertilizer, it will send such signals as stunted growth and discoloration of the leaves.

Remember, fertilizer application during fall and winter will damage your soil because of poor absorption by the roots and inadequate drainage of the soil.

Calathea Ornata prefers natural compost because it improves soil drainage and aeration. Apply commercial fertilizer once a month in diluted form. Ensure proper drainage to prevent the fertilizer from damaging your soil.


Do some pruning to remove old and damaged leaves that could be slowing the growth or lowering the brilliance of Calathea Ornata. The exercise should be carried out using a sterilized sharp knife. The tool will help you to achieve a clean cut that does not damage the stalk of your leaves.

Cut the old or diseased leaves at the bottom to foster regeneration. Target the brown leaves on the outside to give way for young leaves and vibrant foliage. Pruning is also used to maintain a healthy growth pattern and improve the height of your plant.

Pruning is also a way to shape your plant. If it has outgrown the current pot or space, you may prune by slashing the entire plant to the root instead of just reducing the leaves. Use pruning to air the leaves and reduce the possibility of pests hiding inside the bushy foliage.

When it comes to pruning Calathea Ornata, target the old and diseased leaves. Use a sharp and decontaminated knife to make precise cuts. The best time to prune is during spring and winter, a season that will promote robust growth.


When potting Calathea Ornata for the first time or repotting, we recommend a peat-based mixture at the base of your container. The best mix is one made of one part perlite for two parts of the peat. It is one way to invest in a well-draining mixture that promotes robust foliage growth and healthy roots.

Waterlogged soil damages the roots, causing the entire plant to wilt. If you take care of the soil, you eliminate the need to repot until the roots have outgrown the current pot. It will take two to three years before you need to repot.

Repotting may be done to deal with root rot or because the roots have outgrown the current pot. If the roots are too big, you will need a larger container. You may also split the shoots of the flower and plant them in another container. Where the roots are diseased or contaminated with chemicals, you will need to disinfect the soil or change it completely.

The pinstripe plant has no difficulty regrowing after repotting. Monitor the rate of growth and possible infection or contamination of the soil to initiate the process of repotting. Use a larger container if the plant has outgrown the current one or prepare a fresh mix of soil after two to three years.


Propagation of Calathea Ornata is done by separating its leaves clumps and stalks through the division method. It is best done during repotting because the roots are overgrown and are exerting pressure on the current pot. If the soil is warm and moist, the roots will grow quickly and naturally.

The rate of regrowth after propagation will depend on the quality of soil you have provided and its moisture content. A natural way to encourage root growth is to cover the plant with a polythene paper until new growth appears. The limited air and excess humidity will promote regeneration, helping the propagated shoots to regrow faster.

Use fresh and young shoots during propagation. Old and dying stalks are likely to wilt because of the shock of transplanting. The best time to propagate is between spring and summer when the weather is favorable.

Pest Prevention

Pests arise from poor quality of soil, excess humidity, dirt or dust on the leaves, and failure to observe hygiene around the plant. The common pests you will encounter are spider mites on the surface or the lower side of the leaf.

Such pests make your pinstripe plant an eyesore and could cause eventual wilting. The leaves may also turn yellowish-brown before wilting. Misting the leaves with soapy water will help to treat the pests. The soapy water suffocates the parasites, causing them to fall off and die.

Plant hygiene is also recommended when growing your plant. Regularly wipe the leaves with a damp cloth, especially if you live in a dusty area. It will prevent dust from settling on the surface and attracting insects like the mites that could eventually damage the entire plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to save dying Calathea Ornata

Calathea Ornata is a sensitive plant that could die for several reasons. The most common is overwatering or underwatering. Too much light or too little light could also kill the plant. Check the fluoride levels of the water you are using. Once you have identified the problem, you can rectify it using the procedures discussed above.

How fast does the Calathea Ornata plant grow?

Calathea Ornata is regarded as a moderately-fast growing plant. It grows to a height of 2 feet (0.6 m) over two years. However, its growth speed will depend on several factors, some of which you can use to encourage fast and robust growth:

  • Using organic manure during potting provides the necessary nutrients to stimulate growth. The manure also improves water retention and aeration, resulting in robust growth for the plant.
  • The provision of an adequate amount of light will stimulate growth and increase the pace. Place the plant near the window but away from bright direct light to stimulate growth.
  • Water the plant and ensure that the room is warm enough. This combination will increase the speed of growth and quality of foliage.
  • Pruning and repotting- if the plant is too old and has outgrown the current pot, you can prune the overgrown leaves or split the soil or leave clumps. Take the opportunity to add manure or fertilizer to stimulate robust growth.

The speed of growth will depend on the conditions you have provided. If the environmental and soil conditions are as recommended, the plant will mature by forming a magnificent bush and reaching 2 feet within two years.

Why are my Calathea Ornata leaves curling?

Pinstripe plant leaves curl for several reasons. The most common issue is too much or too little water. Ensure that the soil is always moist and not too dry or soggy.

The presence of chlorine, salt, or fluoride in the water could also be causing the leaves to curl. You will notice the leaves appearing like they are burned. 

Use distilled water during weekly watering and misting. A problem with humidity and temperature could also be causing the leaves to curl. Remove the plant near cooling or heating vents so that moisture and temperature are easier to control. In case the temperatures are too high, we recommend misting.

Why is my Calathea Ornata turning yellow?

The plant could be exposed to direct sunlight. Take it away from the window into a shaded place but still with sufficient lighting. You should also monitor the quality and amount of water you are feeding the plant because these could be early signs of a dying plant.

Calathea Ornata Vs Vittata

Calathea Ornata has a predominantly pink color on the surface of the leaves and at the back. The leaves are also broader and bolder. Calathea Vittata is lighter in color with white stripes that point towards the tip of the leaf.

Are Calathea Ornata plants toxic to cats?

No. Calathea Ornata is among the safest house plants when you have pets like cats and dogs.

What are other Calathea varieties?

  • Calathea Lancifolia– it has pointed leaves and dark spots that give it a bold personality, making it impossible to miss in the house.
  • Calathea Orbifolia– It comes with outstanding striped leaves with excellent curves that create a presence indoors.
  • Calathea Warscewiczii– the leaves are cone-shaped with a velvet feel.
  • Calathea Zebrina– it has a light green leaf color tone with large leaves and dark green stripes.

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Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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