Do you remember the pink plant craze that took the world by storm? If you don’t, that’s because we are still right in the middle of it, and that may partly be due to the Calathea ornata, or Pinstripe Plant. The leaves of this plant grow mostly dark green but are starkly contrasted by light pink stripes stretching out from the middle of each leaf.
Originally from the Amazon jungles of Peru, Brazil, and Colombia, the Pinstripe Plant became popular across Europe and the U.S. for its compact size and striking leaves. This plant is not always recommended for beginners because of its finicky nature around water and humidity, but it’s a perfect fit for terrariums and with a little know how conditioning, the Calathea ornata can grow accustomed to any home.
At a Glance
Where to Buy Calathea ornata 'Pinstripe'
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Terrarium Plant Guide
Calathea ornata Care & Growth
Calathea ornata plants are far from the tallest plants in their wild environments, only reaching a height of two feet in the rainforests it calls home. Because of this, these plants can survive in places that only receive moderate, indirect light; however, this variety of Calathea will grow and maintain its coloring best in locations of bright, indirect light. If you aren’t sure of where to put your Pinstripe Plant, consider observing its leaves at the same time every day to gauge its reaction to your current spot, then move accordingly!
Most plants of the Calathea genus grow in tropical environments, so they prefer to live in consistently moist but not soggy spaces. When in a closed terrarium, make sure they have enough room to spread their roots in either direction in case one portion of its soil is retaining too much moisture. If you ever see the leaves of your Pinstripe Plant turning crispy or brown, it isn’t receiving enough water and it may be time to open your terrarium to manually water.
The Pinstripe Plant loves a good quality substrate mix and while it can live with many different mixes, it must be well-draining to foster good root health. These plants enjoy their soil to stay moist longer than many other plants, so something that is moss-heavy mixed with natural elements to stay aerated will be perfect for your Calathea terrarium. In the growing season, you are welcome to fertilize your Pinstripe Plant every 3-4 weeks if you feel that it needs an extra boost in its closed environment.
Temperature & Humidity
Maintaining a consistent temperature in your home is key to making sure your Pinstripe Plant stays healthy. These plants like to stay within an average room temperature range, rarely dropping below 60°F (15°C) and far from drafts, heat vents, or cracks in their closed terrariums. This plant also appreciates high humidity as much as the much as the next Calathea, making them perfect candidates for your next terrarium. If you prefer an open terrarium, use a humidifier to keep your Calathea ornata alive and growing.
This plant grows in an upright fashion and isn’t necessarily known for being a slow or a fast grower. Once it reaches a size of two feet wide and two feet tall (60cm x 60cm), the Pinstripe Plant starts to slow its growth; once it gets to this size, you can either prune and maintain it as is, or separate the plant into multiple, smaller plants and continue down the path of turning your home into a Calathea sanctuary – but that’s based on personal preference.
Pinstripe Plants show the best success when propagated using the division method. To do this, you should give the plant enough time to grow dense in its pot and get to the point of needing to be transplanted. Taking the entire plant out, gently divide its root structure into smaller portions and replant each in their own container. Over time, these new plants will fill out and look just as lush as they did before!
Varieties & Similar Plants
The Calathea genus is filled with hundreds of varieties, some naturally occurring, and some cultivated a bred from two or more species within this group. The Calathea ornata in particular can be found with either pink or white-ish green stripes across its dark green leaves; this difference in color depends upon the age of the plant, and not necessarily the species. The Pinstripe Plant can be often mistaken for the Calathea orbifolia which has similar stripes but has broader and rounder leaves.
Because the Calathea ornata prefers a highly humid environment, this plant can be prone to both fungus gnats and spider mites. When in a closed terrarium, it’s easy to keep these plants safe from potential pests, but keep a close eye on their health whenever they are kept in open terrariums or taken out of closed environments to be repotted, transplanted, etc.
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