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Looking for a tropical houseplant that may provide a challenge? Then why not try growing the Calathea Louisae. 

Like other Calathea varieties, the Louisae is thought of as a picky plant, needing a higher level of care than some other houseplant species. 

The truth is, despite its reputation, the Calathea Louisae is no harder to care for than most other tropical plants. And as an added bonus, it looks incredible!

If you’re considering adding this plant to your indoor garden, make sure to familiarize yourself with its needs so you are well aware of what is required to make this plant thrive!

a healthy calathea louisae
Source: Waterkemper Vanessa (CC BY-SA 4.0)

How do you care for calathea louisae?

The Calathea Louisae thrives in warm temperatures of between 65 and 85 degrees year round, humidity levels that are at least 50 percent, bright light that is indirect, and when it gets regular watering when the top few inches of soil start to dry out.

You may also need to prune the plant every so often to get rid of damaged leaves, as well as repot the Calathea Louisae once every one to two years when it becomes rootbound. 

While not a requirement, you should consider fertilizing the plant once a month during its active growing season.

Along with the normal everyday care requirements, you should also stay vigilant for any potential problems that can affect this plant, such as overwatering, exposure to bright light, and sensitivity to tap water.

calathea louisae on a gray pot
Source: Leonardo Hirata (CC BY-SA 4.0)

How much light does calathea louisae need?

Calathea louisae needs bright, indirect light for about 6 to 8 hours a day. If, however, you have the plant sitting in an area that is rather dim, you will need to increase the amount of light to 12 or more hours every day. 

This is also true if you grow the Calathea louisae under artificial lighting.

The big no-no when it comes to light for this plant is to subject it to direct sun. Direct sunlight is too harsh for the Calathea’s delicate leaves, and it can lead to burning and scorching of its foliage.

A good indoor location for the Calathea Louisae is near a sunny window that is covered with a blind or sheer curtain. Both of these items help to diffuse the light shining in the window, and will go a long way to preventing leaf burn caused by direct sun.

Related: Calathea Light Requirements: The Ultimate Guide

How often should I water a calathea louisae?

While the exact watering schedule will vary from one situation to the next, a good general rule of thumb is that Calathea Louisae will need watering once every one to two weeks. To help prevent overwatering, allow the top half of the soil to dry out first.

In most cases, when it comes to how often to water a Calathea, the amount will increase or decrease depending on the time of year. Expect to water the plant more in the spring and summer, and less in the fall and winter. 

The size and age of the plant and environmental conditions can all impact how much water the Calathea Louisae will need.

Additionally, avoid using tap water as the Calathea Louisae is sensitive to the salts, minerals, fluoride, and chlorine that are commonly added to tap. These items will begin to build up in the plant’s soil and lead to chemical burns to the Calathea. 

Thankfully, you can prevent this from occurring by watering the Calathea Louisae with distilled water instead.

Do you water calathea louisae from top or bottom?

Calathea Louisae can be watered from both the top and bottom, and most gardeners choose which method works best for them and their situation. Bottom watering is often considered the superior method, since it allows you to deeply water the plant with less overwatering risk. 

It does, however, take longer than top watering.

If you do decide to bottom water the Calathea Louisae, simply fill the bottom of a container or sink with water and then set the plant’s pot in the water. The Calathea’s soil will absorb the water through the drainage holes. 

Let the plant soak for about 30 to 40 minutes, checking the soil dampness every 10 minutes, and then remove it from the water when the soil starts to feel damp.

calathea louisae on a brown pot
Source: Giane dos Santos (CC BY-SA 4.0)

If you decide to water the plant from the top instead, avoid actually watering the plant from high above and instead water at the base of the Calathea Louisae. 

This helps to prevent splashing soil, which could contain disease-causing pathogens, up onto the leaves where those potential pathogens could infect the Calathea Louisae.

What does an overwatered calathea louisae look like?

Sure signs that your Calathea Louisae has been overwatered include yellowing leaves and mushy stems. While these are the two most common symptoms, they are far from the only ones. An overwatered Calathea can also experience droopy or wilted leaves that fall off the plant and stunted growth.

As the overwatering continues, the Calathea Louisae will develop root rot. Once this occurs, trying to get rid of the rot and reverse the damage can be almost impossible. That is why it is important to prevent root rot from occurring in the first place.

The best way to prevent overwatering and calathea root rot is to ensure the plant is growing in soil that drains well. You should also only water the plant when the top few inches of soil are dry. 

calathea louisae indoor
Source: Gouveia de Brito Patricia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Additionally, avoid over misting the plant as this can also increase the chance of accidently overwatering the Calathea Louisae.

What’s the best soil for calathea louisae?

Calathea Louisae needs soil that can retain some moisture without becoming water-logged. Avoid soils that are compact or too loose, and instead go for a soil that is designed for tropical plants like Calatheas that prefer well-draining materials. 

Another option when it comes to the best Calathea soil is to create your own mixture by combining 50 percent potting soil, 20 percent charcoal, 20 percent orchid back, and 10 percent perlite.

Avoid chunky soils or soils designed for cactus plants. These types of soil drain too fast and don’t hold onto moisture very well. 

While this may not seem like a bad thing, it can cause the plant to become underwatered very quickly.

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Best soil for Calathea

Miracle-Gro Tropical Potting Mix

Light and well-draining (perfect for avoiding root rot) while being packed with just the right nutrients – that will feed your plant for up to six months. The best soil for keeping your calathea healthy and strong.

What are the ideal calathea louisae humidity levels?

Calathea Louisae are tropical plants that thrive at humidity levels above 50 percent, and do their best when they are living in an environment with humidity levels closer to 60 percent or higher. Unfortunately, this is a level higher than what most homeowners find comfortable.

Thankfully, you can increase the humidity around the plant without impacting your entire house by utilizing a humidifier or drip tray. Both of these items are readily available at department stores and gardening centers, as well as from various online merchants.

You can even create your own drip tray by lining a shallow tray with small pebbles, and then setting the Calathea Louisae’s pot on top of the pebbles. 

Now, whenever you water the plant, the excess water will run out of the pot and into the tray. This water will then naturally evaporate into the air around the plant and increase the humidity level.

calathea louisae leaf on someone's hand
Source: Aza Kelly (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Should I mist my calathea louisae?

Calathea Louisae is native to tropical Brazil, where the environment is warm and humid. Trying to recreate these ideal growing conditions inside your home can be difficult, especially when it comes to the humidity level. Misting your Calathea can help increase the humidity around the plant and keep it well hydrated and healthy.

Just remember that whenever you do mist the plant, only use distilled water and never tap water. 

Furthermore, refrain from misting the Calathea Louisae so much that it makes the plant’s soil soggy. If the leaves are staying wet in between the mistings, you know you are misting the plant too much.

a healthy calathea louisae
Source: Juliana Souza (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Should I fertilize calathea louisae?

The Calathea Louisae is not a huge feeder, but they can benefit from the occasional fertilizing to help replenish any nutrients lost in the soil. This is especially important during the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing and burning through more resources.

In fact, you should only fertilize the plant once a month during the spring and summer, and stop all feeding once the fall and winter months come around. Feeding the plant during its dormant period can have a negative impact on its natural growth cycle.

Additionally, keep an eye out for signs of over fertilization, which occurs if you give the Calathea Louisae too much fertilizer or the wrong kind. 

calathea louisae on the floor
Source: Ricardo (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The most common sign of overfeeding is a salty residue building up on the surface of the soil. If this occurs, immediately stop all feeding and flush the soil by holding the plant under running water for several minutes.

What’s the best fertilizer for calathea louisae?

Make sure the fertilizer you select for your Calathea Louisae has an equal NPK ratio and is in liquid form. Avoid fertilizers that are granules or pellets as these slow release fertilizers can accidentally over feed the plant. Additionally, never use a fertilizer that is out of date.

While organic compost is almost always the best option, it doesn’t always give you the results you are looking for. 

Most gardeners mix in organic compost once every 6 months as a part of their regular plant maintenance and then add a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during its active growing season.

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Best fertilizer for Calatheas

Jack’s Classic 20-20-20 All Purpose Fertilizer

A great fertilizer with the perfect balance for your calathea. Simply dissolve in water and feed your plant to watch it thrive.

When should you repot calathea louisae?

Calathea Louisae can benefit from repotting once every two or three years. This gives you the opportunity to move the plant into a larger pot, if necessary, and add fresh soil. Keep in mind, however, that unless it is an emergency situation, all repotting should be done in the spring and summer only.

This is when the plant is actively growing and more likely to bounce back from the natural stress that repotting causes. 

Furthermore, you should always water the plant thoroughly a few days before you repot it. This prevents even more stress that can be caused by lack of water.

calathea louisae near in an indirect light
Source: Marques Rebeca (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Should you prune calathea louisae?

The Calathea Louisae is not a plant that needs a lot of pruning. That doesn’t mean you cannot or shouldn’t prune it, as pruning is a way to help free up space and resources for new growth. However, pruning the Calathea Louisae is typically done just to remove damaged, dying, or dead foliage.

Only use pruning shears that are sharp and clean, and always discard the leaves in the trash. 

An exception to the trash rule is if you know for a fact that the Calathea Louisae is not diseased, infected, or infested. If you are not sure and compost the leaves, you could end up infecting other plants when you use the compost.

calathea louisae on a black pot
Source: Marie Odile Alize (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Should I cut off dying calathea louisae leaves?

Cutting off dying Calathea Louisae leaves can actually improve the overall appearance and health of the plant. When leaves are dying or dead, they are wasting vital nutrients and energy that the Calathea plant could use for new growth. 

Pruning off these leaves helps to free up these resources and make room for new leaves to grow.

Use a pair of sharp pruning shears and cut the dying leaves off the Calathea Louisae as close to the main stem as possible. Discard the leaves in a compost pile or trash, and then clean the pruning shears before putting them away.

a healthy calathea louisae
Source: Molina Karina (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Where to find a calathea louisae for sale

While Calathea Louisae isn’t the most common of the Calathea cultivars, it is also not the rarest. This means there is a chance your local gardening center or nursery may have this variety in stock. If they do not, you could ask them to order the plant for you.

Another option is to order the Calathea Louisae online from a reputable company. 

If you have a local gardening group nearby, you may want to reach out to them to see if anyone in the group has a Calathea Louisae they would be willing to part with. This is also a great opportunity to meet other plant-loving individuals in your area.

a healthy calathea louisae
Source: Claudia Ciampalini (CC BY-SA 4.0)

What’s a standard calathea louisae price?

A Calathea Louisae in a 4-inch pot typically runs about $30 to $40, while larger plants can have a price tag closer to $100 or more. The time of year you’re looking to buy may also influence how much you end up paying for this plant.

As with other types of plants, the price varies depending on several other factors too, including the size and age of the plant. In most cases, the younger or smaller the plant is, the cheaper its price will be. 

calathea louisae on a black pot
Source: Ľubica Tellárova (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Are calathea louisae hard to care for?

Calathea plants are often thought of as finicky plants that require a lot of fuss and maintenance. In truth, Calathea Louisae is no more difficult to care for than other tropical houseplants in terms of needing warm temperatures, higher humidity levels, and regular watering. 

This can be intimidating for novice indoor gardeners but it really shouldn’t be. After all, none of these points mean that beginners shouldn’t grow this plant, nor does it mean that you need a certain level of experience to successfully grow Calathea Louisae. 

Simply familiarizing yourself with the plant’s needs and trying your hardest to give the Calathea its ideal care is all that is really required to grow this plant successfully.

someone holding a calathea louisae leaf
Source: Flavio Alisso (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Is calathea louisae an indoor plant?

Calathea Louisae is typically grown indoors as a houseplant due to its inability to tolerate cold temperatures and frost. If, however, you live in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9 to 11, you can grow this plant outdoors. 

Keep in mind that if you are in those zones and experience unusual weather, such as frost, your Calathea Louisae will likely die.

Even if you live outside of these zones, you can still take the Calathea Louisae outdoors when temperatures are above 65 degrees and below 85 degrees. 

Just make sure to keep the plant protected from strong wind and rain, and keep it out of direct sun. Additionally, don’t forget to bring the plant back in before the temperatures start to drop.

calathea louisae on a black pot
Source: batista jeissilene (CC BY-SA 4.0)

How to propagate calathea louisae

Like other Calathea plants, the Calathea Louisae is propagated via the division method. Once the plant has been removed from its pot, you can carefully divide the Calathea where it has naturally created separations in its root system.

Most experts recommend performing the propagation of calathea during the spring at the same time as you are repotting the plant. 

Once the young Calathea Louisae has been removed from the parent plant, pot it in a container using the same type of soil as the plant it was removed from. Set the young Calathea in an area where it will receive warm temperatures throughout the entire year, while also being out of direct sunlight.

 Water the plant whenever the soil starts to feel dry and then continue to care for it as you would your other Calathea Louisae.

calathea louisae on a black pot
Source: Aguilar Mendez anna yury (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Why is my calathea louisae drooping?

The most common reason as to why your Calathea Louisae is drooping is that the plant isn’t getting enough water and is just too dry. However, since this plant naturally moves its leaves to follow the light, make sure to feel the soil before adding water. 

If the soil still feels damp, then the drooping could potentially be the natural movement that this plant is known for.

On the other hand, if the soil feels dry, go ahead and water the Calathea Louisae thoroughly and deeply. Bottom watering is the ideal method to ensure the plant gets the right amount of water without the added risk of overwatering.

calathea louisae on a black pot near a brown pot
Source: Eddy_Souza (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Another potential cause of the Calathea Louisae drooping is that conditions are just too dry for the plant. Thankfully, you can fix this problem rather easily by misting the plant’s leaves. 

You may also want to increase the humidity level in the room with the help of a drip tray or humidifier.

Why does my calathea louisae have yellow leaves?

Yellowing leaves are one of the most recognizable signs of an overwatered Calathea Louisae. While this plant does like damp soil, it doesn’t do well in soggy soil and is sensitive to overwatering, since it causes its roots to become water-logged. 

The fact is, too much water can quickly lead to fungal growth and root rot.

calathea louisae on a pink pot
Source: Altamirano (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Thankfully, overwatering is 100-percent preventable, but it does require checking how dry the soil is before watering. If the soil still feels damp, wait for a day or two before checking again. The plant only needs water when the top two inches of soil feels dry.

Overwatering can also occur if you are over misting the plant. While misting can play an important role in keeping the plant hydrated, you shouldn’t mist the Calathea Louisae so much that it starts to make the soil soggy.

Related: 11 Causes of Yellow Leaves on Calathea (+ How to Fix It)

Why are my calathea louisae leaves curling?

Leaves that are curling upward on Calathea Louisae are usually the cause of too little water or dry conditions. If, however, the leaves are curling downward, it could be a sign that the plant has been over fertilized or has a nutrient deficiency.

The reason why your Calathea Louisae leaves are curling could be a number of things, and the easiest way to determine the cause is to look at which way they are curling. 

Calathea’s can also experience leaf curling when they are exposed to tap water. The salts, minerals, chlorine, and fluoride added to tap water can sometimes cause problems for this plant. 

Only using distilled water to water or mist the Calathea Louisae will go a long way to preventing calathea leaf curling.

calathea louisae near the window
Source: Žiga Weiss (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Why are my calathea louisae leaves turning brown?

Too little moisture and too much dryness can quickly cause your Calathea Louisae leaves to turn brown. The good news is that this is a rather simple problem to fix, and isn’t usually as detrimental to the plant’s health as overwatering.

Fixing this problem does require increasing the amount of water you give the Calathea Louisae. You may also need to mist the plant’s leaves or use a drip tray or humidifier to increase the humidity level near the Calathea. 

Make sure, however, that you feel the soil before watering and only hydrate the Calathea if the soil feels dry.

You may also be interested in: 12 Causes of Brown Spots on Calathea (+ How to Fix It)

Is calathea louisae toxic?

Calathea Louisae, like other Calathea varieties, is not toxic, which means they are a great choice for tropical houseplants if you share your home with children or pets. Despite this plant being safe, you should still keep it out of reach.

That is, despite its non-toxic status, consuming any type of houseplant can lead to gastrointestinal distress. While this rarely causes long-term damage, it is an unpleasant experience with symptoms that can last up to 24 hours. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

Furthermore, allowing children and pets to bother the Calathea Louisae can have a negative impact on the plant itself. Its leaves and stems can quickly become damaged, and the plant’s health could suffer. 

That’s why it is important to keep this plant in an area where it won’t be bothered by little hands or paws.