Calathea Illustris (Prayer Plant)

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SKU: 25000000000007145 Category:


Featuring multiple shades of green and some red too, the leaves of the Calathea Illustris almost look as though they’re hand painted. Originating from South America where they enjoy life beneath large trees, they enjoy being in medium and even bright light. Avoid placing in direct sun as this will quickly damage the leaves and may prove fatal. They’ll also struggle if your room is too dark and shaded. Get the spot right though, and they’ll lift any space – those red tinges working well as an accent colour alongside the ornamental leaves which provide added visual interest.

Although relatively straight-forward, they’re possibly not the best choice for the forgetful gardener as they need a good watering regime. Too little water and they’ll quickly dry out, too much, and the roots will rot, killing the plant. For best results, keep your Calathea’s soil moist (but not wet) and, being a from the rainforests, they love a more humid environment. You can mimic that by placing them in bathrooms and kitchens but also by regular misting with water which will help it thrive.

Safe around pets and children, it’s a great addition to any home. No wonder they’re one of the most popular houseplants out there.


Water / Feed: Water once the top 3-4cm of the soil has dried out. Don’t overwater, and for best results use ‘soft’ water (filtered / rain water or even bottled if you’re feeling fancy). Water less in winter, and mist regularly. Feed every second watering through spring and summer.

Pet / Child: Reported to be safe

Temperature / Humidity: 18-27 degrees Celsius. Ideally prefer humid rooms (or misting).

Soil Type: Moist well drained compost with some moisture retention. Consider mixing in orchid bark or ‘pea’ gravel which will help loosen the mixture, allowing the roots to develop quicker. Avoid acidic soil as this will damage their delicate roots. 

Light / Position: Bright, indirect light and medium light. Avoid harsh sun.

Growth / Spread: Slow growing, ultimately reaching 50cm wide / 90cm tall.

Geographic Origins: Florida, Mexico, Caribbean

Please note: images show how this plant may look at various stages of maturity. The size you choose may look different. Any decorative pots shown in photographs are not supplied with the plant (which is sent out in a simple nursery pot). They do however make excellent potted plants and, if you wish to pot yours up, we do have a wide range of pots on our website to choose from.