Their tropical foliage is some of the prettiest we’ve seen.

By Southern Living
June 04, 2021
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We're always on the lookout for pretty houseplants with eye-catching foliage. Some of our favorites are calatheas (pronounced "cah-lay-thee-ahs"), also known as prayer plants, which are able to thrive indoors with minimal maintenance. They do best in bright, indirect light, but they can also handle low-light scenarios. We've rounded up a few of our favorites below along with some growing tips, including why you should give calatheas a spay day every once in a while. When talking about calatheas, the first question everyone asks is…

Why prayer plants?

Calatheas are also called prayer plants because of the movements of their leaves. During the day and night, calathea leaves noticeably lift and dip in a circadian rhythm. During the day, a calathea will have leaves stretching out horizontally from their stems. Check on it at night, and you will likely see the calathea's leaves standing straight up. They like to move! Different varieties have different characteristics, so you should take care when you…

Choose a variety

Finding the best calathea for you comes down to the conditions of your space. Some of the most popular and easy to grow are Calathea ornata, a variety that has glossy, deep green leaves with pink or white pinstripes. It's also called pinstripe plant. Calathea orbifolia has luminous, bright green leaves with lighter green stripes across the surface. Calathea lancifolia is also known as rattlesnake plant because of the striking patterns of its leaves. Each has its own care requirements, so study their needs and decide which varieties might grow well in your home. After you choose the calathea that speaks to you-and is best for your space-there are a few steps to take to…

Calathea lancifolia
Calathea lancifolia
| Credit: Ralf Liebhold/Getty Images

Keep them happy

Calatheas like medium to bright indirect light, however if all they receive is low light, they can often adapt and tolerate that condition too. They don't need frequent watering. It's recommended to water calatheas every 1-2 weeks at most. It's important to allow the soil to dry out between waterings to keep the plants from becoming waterlogged. They also love humidity, which is why you should…

Calathea ornata
Calathea ornata
| Credit: IKvyatkovskaya/Getty Images

Give them a spa day

Calatheas love humidity, and they're known to thrive in spaces with humid conditions. You can place them in humid areas in your home, or you can give them the occasional spa day. It might sound strange, but its recommended that you bring your calatheas into the bathroom when you shower so that they can soak in an approximation of tropical conditions.

Do you have any calatheas growing in your home? What's your go-to houseplant for low-light spaces?