Calathea Crocata is a beautiful houseplant. It is also known as the Eternal Flame Plant. Crocata grows beautiful flowers that last for a long time.
If you are interested in growing this plant at home. Then you are in the right place. Because today I am going to share my growing experience.
Calathea Crocata care is simple and easy than many common houseplants.
Grow it in fertile soil rich in organic matter, and keep the temperature between 65 to 85 degrees F. Water it only when the top few inches of soil become dry.
Below are the specific details about its care and propagation:
About the Plant
This perennial plant is a member of the Marantaceae family. It is naturally found in Brazilian jungles.
There it grows under the canopy of large trees and enjoys high humidity for 365 days.
You need to copy the same growing conditions if you want a healthy eternal flame plant. Most people grow it indoors.
Because it is easy to grow and full of its needs as an indoor plant. The soft tissues of the plant cannot tolerate direct sun rays and hot winds.
In the absence of moisturized air, it will turn yellow and brown in a few days.
The best thing is you can grow it on even narrow shelves. Because it is short-height plant and cannot spread too much.
30 to 32 inches is the total height of matures Calathea Crocata. With a narrow spread, it is easy to grow it in pots and place it in narrow places.
Its leaves are metallic dark green with purple and brown undersides.
Another beautiful thing is, that this plant acts as a prayer plant. Calathea Crocata folds its leaves in the evening and re-opens them in the morning light.
Spring and summer are the blooming seasons of Crocata calathea. The flowers will last for 50 to 60 days depending upon your care techniques.
Basic Care Needs of Calathea Crocata
In order to grow your plant healthy and to encourage beautiful long-lasting bloom. You should expose your plant to indirect bright light.
You should find a place in your home where your eternal flame plant can get bright but indirect light.
Direct sunlight can damage the plant leaves and this also discourages plants to produce flowers.
The best place will be east or west-facing sunny window. Do not place it on the south-facing window. Because the south window allows too much sunlight to enter the room.
And direct sunlight is not beneficial for plant health.
Burned and faded foliage are the results of exposure to direct sunlight in the summer season.
But you need to expose your plant to morning sunlight in the winter season. 2 hours of direct morning sunlight is enough to keep the Crocata plant healthy.
For the best possible growth make sure the soil you are going to use for Calathea Crocata is fertile. It should be well-draining, highly fertile, and also contains some parts of peat.
Avoid using general potting soil. It can be too heavy for the plant roots and leads to root rot.
The jungle soil in its natural home is lightweight and highly fertile.
Moreover, it grows on the top surface of the soil which contains debris and leaf litter.
My personal Calathea Crocata soil formula is 30% peat + 30% compost + 40% potting soil.
Do not skip the potting soil in the formula because it is required to support the plant structure. Your plant cannot stand straight only in peat and compost.
Spring and summer are the two seasons when all houseplants need frequent watering applications per week.
Your eternal flame plant is no different. Give it a good amount of water in summer and reduce the watering application in winters.
The best method of watering is, to let the top 1 inch of the soil become dry, then water your plant until the water starts coming through the drainage hole.
This way you need to water your plant once a week in the summer season and once in 2 weeks in winter.
Next comes water quality because it is an important growth factor.
You should not use heavy or hard water that contains tones of minerals. If you only have hard or fluoridated water without other options.
Then it is best to fill the bucket of water 24 hours before watering your plants. Allow it to sit for the time, at room temperature.
Then you can use the upper half of the bucket of water to avoid watering-related issues.
The good news is you can directly use filtered water for watering Calathea Crocata.
The ideal temperature for best Calathea Crocata care is between 60 to 85 degrees F. The natural habitat of the plant keeps warm for 365 days.
You also need to keep the same room temperature indoors for good health.
Ideal temperature also prevents overwatering issues. Because the plant uses most of the water in respiration and transpiration.
This way, no water is left in the plant pot and hence reduces the chances of overwatering.
Below 55 degrees F is the cold temperature for the Eternal flame plant. The internal leaf tissues will get damaged and you plant die in a few days.
On the other hand, a temperature above 85degrees F is considered too hot for the plant. This results in dehydration of leaves.
To prevent homesickness in Calathea Crocata. You must keep the home humidity at a perfect level. Crocata calathea thrives in high humid places.
Low humidity results in yellow leaves, brown edges, and stunted growth.
Following are the ways to improve humidity:
Use a spray bottle and spray some water on the plant. Use distilled water and do not spray too much water.
Place your plant pot over the pebble tray. This is the traditional method of improving humidity.
For an instant humidity boost, place your plant in the bathroom for not more than 24 hours.
Pruning Calathea Crocata
Generally, Calathea Crocata does not need frequent pruning. But for the better health of your plant. You must prune its damaged leaves.
Also remove dry, yellow, and diseased leaves with a sharp knife or shears. Do not forget to sterilize the pruning tools before use.
Use rubbing alcohol to clean them after the use.
Once all flowers are gone and only spikes are left. The best practice is to cut and remove the spikes from the base.
Fertilizing Calathea Crocata
For the general health of Calathea Crocata, you don’t need to fertilize it.
But if you want an extraordinary thriving plant with lots of flowers. Then you need to fertilize your plant from spring to summer.
This is the growing period and nutritional boots at this time will also benefit in the winter season.
Take a cup of houseplant fertilization and dilute it in the filtered water. Then give this nutritional water to your plant.
Drench the soil once in 40 days to prevent salt build-up in the root zone due to the use of fertilizers.
Take your plant to the sink and allow the tap water to flush the soil. Turn off the tap once your see clean water coming through the drainage hole.
Place your plant in a dry place and allow it to drain extra water.
Do not use fertilizers frequently. Because the overuse of fertilizers will not make your plant too strong. In fact, overuse will burn the plant leaves.
Calathea Crocata does not need repotting for the first year of its life. Within 2 years, your plant will grow bigger and it will need repotting.
You can use any type of pot material for repotting. The only condition is new pot must have a few drainage holes.
I am using terracotta plant pots for all calathea plants. The material of these pots allows the soil to dry quicker.
The new pot should be 2 inches wide and deeper than the current pot.
Use fresh potting soil for repotting, do not use old soil because the soil in plant pots gets depleted over time.
It loses its nutritional value, fertility, and water holding capacities.
- Choose the right size pot and fill its half with fresh potting soil.
- Gently lose the soil and take out the plant from its old container. Remove old soil from the roots and check roots for any signs of damage or infection.
- On finding the damaged roots, cut them with the help of a knife or shear.
- Place the plant in its new pot and fill the remaining pot with potting soil.
- Gently tap around the plant base and give some water to keep the soil moist.
- For the first few days, your plant can show repotting stress and weakness. But with time it will regain its health.
Calathea Crocata blooms many times in its growing season. But you will see the heavy bloom only in the summer season.
To keep flowers for a long time do not mist water on them. When you try to increase the humidity of your plant.
Fertilize your plant with general houseplant fertilizer only. No need to buy fancy blooming nutrients. They will not make any difference in the bloom.
Nutrients in general plant fertilizers are enough to support flower health.
Once your plant grows many flowers, it’s important to protect them from direct sunlight. Or the flowers will turn brown and die.
Spider mites and mealybugs are two common enemies of indoor growing Calathea Crocata plants. Both pests suck the glucose of the plant. It is the energy source for your Crocata.
If you do not treat pests on time, they will spread all over the plant and cause permanent damage. Your plant will die once it loses all its glucose.
Unfortunately, these insects are able to infect other nearby healthy plants. So, it’s best to treat them right away after the infestation.
These are the tiny pests that live in large colonies. They are usually found underside the leaves. If too many colonies are present.
Then you will surely see them on the top surface of the leaves.
You can identify spider mites from white webs. They make white webbing all over the plant and also cover their colonies.
They are mostly found on new and young leaves and stems. They also suck the sap of the plant but also damage the internal leaf tissues.
Mealybugs lay their eggs in the leaf tissues.
Their larvae need the sap of the plant to develop into a full-size mealybug.
Your plant dies once they eat all the internal leaf tissues.
The first treatment is using rubbing alcohol and manually wiping all the plant leaves and stems. If this idea is not suitable for you.
In this case, you should use insecticidal soap and rinse your plant.
These soaps are safe to use on houseplants. After the rinse, keep your plant separate from other healthy disease-free plants.
Give it some time to dry and drain extra water.
Then apply neem oil all over the plant to speed up the healing process.
It is best to use neem oil spray on houseplants. Neem is beneficial to prevent many common pests and diseases.
Calathea Crocata Diseases
Alternaria leaf spot is a disease that is triggered by wet leaves. Yellow or brown spots appear on the plant leaves.
You will also see small circular rings that look like spots on leaves.
To fix this problem stop spraying water on plant leaves. Because you are spraying too much water.
Use copper fungicides to heal the infected leaves. Keep your plant separate from other plants.
A fungus called fusarium causes wilting in Eternal flame plants. This fungus is present in the contaminated soil and wet soil.
Once you see yellow leaves wilting, immediately repot your plant in new soil.
Take it out of its current pot, discard the soil, and wash the pot with dishwashing soap.
Add new soil to it and plant your Calathea back in it. Give some water to keep the soil slightly moist, not wet.
How to Water Calathea Crocata?
The number of water applications depends on many factors like indoor temperature, room humidity, and type of container.
In plastic containers due to low air circulation, soil takes time to dry out. Whereas in terracotta pots, soil dry out quickly and increases the watering applications.
The general water requirement is once per week in summer and once in 20 days in the winter season.
Also, use fresh and clean water for watering Calathea Crocata. The water should be free from diseases and heavy minerals.
For optimum health, use filtered water only.