Outside In Blog

Outside In Blog

The 'It' Plant

Posted by Ryan McQuerry on May 10, 2018 7:13:20 PM
Ryan McQuerry

The Calathea is a plant that goes beyond green. Its variegated leaf patterns, stripes and colours have earned it the title ‘queen of patterned plants’, and according to Pinterest, saves for ‘patterned plants’ are up over 500%.

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Images credit: https://happyinteriorblog.com/plant-of-the-month-calathea/ and https://shop.pistilsnursery.com/products/calathea-lancifolia-rattlesnake-plant

Plants follow interior design trends and every era has had its trendy indoor plant. In the 1950s and 60s it was the African violet. In the 70s it was spider plants in macramé hangers. More recently the fiddle leaf fig has reigned, along with tropical plants like the monstera and the banana palm. And now, ornamental plants are having their moment.

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Image: Calathea Obifolia and Pink Tricolour (credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/karlgercens/21886631342/)

With over a dozen species, the Calathea can have anything from zebra printed leaves to pink polka dots, leaves that grow like brushstrokes, or speckled tricoloured leaves.


Image: Outside In's planting plan for Smales Farm: The Beehive included on-trend Calathea plants

Native to the tropical Americas, Calatheas are often called ‘prayer plants’ because of their unique leaf movements – they raise and lower their leaves from day to night as part of the circadian rhythm. Scientists theorize that these movements are meant to follow the sun and catch as much light as possible –– an essential trait for a forest-floor-dwelling plant!

As an indoor plant, the Calathea performs well, requiring indirect sunlight and moist soil. The coloured, patterned foliage looks amazing paired with other plants (see below) in potted groupings or as a stand-alone statement plant. 


Image: Above and below - Outside In's plant groupings at Generator include several varieties of Calathea. 


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