How often should you water a Calathea?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

When it comes to watering Calatheas, it’s important to strike a balance between keeping the soil moist and avoiding overwatering. These plants prefer consistent moisture, but they also don’t like to sit in soggy soil for too long.

A good rule of thumb is to water your Calathea once a week, allowing the top 2 inches of soil to dry out partially between waterings. This will help prevent the plant from becoming waterlogged and reduce the risk of root rot.

In the winter months, when the plant’s growth slows down, it’s advisable to water less frequently. The reduced light and cooler temperatures during this time can lead to slower water uptake by the plant, so it’s important not to overwater. I find that watering my Calatheas every 10-14 days during winter works well.

It’s worth noting that these plants are not very drought tolerant, so it’s important to avoid letting the soil completely dry out. Extended periods of dryness can cause the leaf edges to brown and curl, which is a sign of underwatering. If you notice this happening, it’s a good idea to adjust your watering schedule and increase the frequency slightly.

On the other hand, overwatering can be just as harmful to Calatheas. If the soil remains too wet for too long, it can lead to root rot, yellowing leaves, and even plant death. To avoid this, always check the moisture level of the soil before watering. You can do this by sticking your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If it feels dry at that depth, it’s time to water. If it still feels slightly moist, it’s best to wait a little longer.

In addition to regular watering, Calatheas also benefit from increased humidity. These plants are native to tropical regions, where humidity levels are higher than in most homes. To replicate this environment, you can mist your Calathea’s leaves regularly or place a tray of water near the plant to increase humidity through evaporation.

To summarize, when watering a Calathea, aim for weekly waterings, allowing the top 2 inches of soil to dry out partially between waterings. Adjust the frequency slightly in winter to prevent overwatering. Avoid letting the soil completely dry out or become waterlogged, as both can harm the plant. And don’t forget to provide some extra humidity for your Calathea’s overall well-being.