Calathea Beauty Star indoor plant has oblong leaves that are deep green with stunning brush painted silvery, pink and white strips. Their vibrant, leafy foliage also presents purple underneath as a true ornamental plant.
An evergreen perennial tropical plant grows well in homes and offices with minimal care. Also called zebra plant, Peacock plant and prayer plant, these plants have a bushy appearance with velvety foliage, adding tropical beauty to any interior.
|Botanical Name||Calathea ‘Beauty Star’|
|Common Name||Zebra Plant, Peacock Plant, Prayer Plant|
|Difficulty||Medium to Hard|
|Pet Friendly||Not Toxic|
Calathea Beauty Star Origin
Native to tropical South America and a member of the 60 species of Calathea, the indoor plant is part of the Marantaceae family. These houseplants come from the lush Brazilian rainforests. The discovery of this particular Calathea is unknown, but the plant is popular to grow.
Small joints flanked by the leaf and stem area feature characteristic of these plants, named joint pillows (gills). Throughout the day, the level joint pillows capture the sunlight, using the maximum amount of surface. When the day ends, these houseplants place their leaf blades upwards like praying as evening arrives — prayer plant.
Interestingly, the Beauty Star plants move their leaves during the day. Growers have commented that when they watch these plants. They see the leaves move. Some relate it to the small joints between the stem and leaf — gills.
How to Care for Calathea Beauty Star
Calathea Beauty Star plants are relatively easy to grow if growers follow a few key points to give proper care. A complete understanding of how to care for these indoor plants will provide them with excellent care, so these beauties will thrive.
Light and Temperature
Frequently considered a low-light plant, these Peacock plants grow well in bright, indirect light for eight to ten hours daily. Too much sunlight may cause browning on the tips or burn spots on the leaves. Sheen curtains help or place them near a north-facing window, lessening the direct light.
Too much low light will cause stunted growth and diseases because the sunlight gives them enough energy. If there is any indication of low light conditions, like long legs, move these plants closer to the window or find a better light source.
Temperatures ranging between 65° to 75° Fahrenheit are ideal, ensuring the space never drops below 60° Fahrenheit. Consistent temperatures work best to prevent shocking these houseplants with the sudden fluctuation of hot and cold.
Also, keep these prayer plants away from the heater vents, air conditioning vents, or drafty windows because drafts will irritate and harm the plants.
Keep the humidity in the indoor environment about 50 percent because the Calathea Beauty Stars need moisture to survive. Humidity is a critical aspect of keeping these houseplants happy. Some growers will place a bowl of water for their plants or place the plant on a shallow tray of water and pebbles. Others invest in a humidifier. Humidifiers help owners control the humidity and maintain the correct level of moisture.
Or try creating a micro-climate by grouping the indoor plants. That way, the plants help each other develop a little tropical place to thrive. Air circulation is also essential when moisture is in the air. Otherwise, fungal diseases and pests will settle on the houseplants. Both love stagnant, hot and humid air.
Another essential aspect to keeping the Calathea Beauty Stars happy and in good health is proper watering condition. Some growers report these houseplants dislike tap water because they react badly to the chemicals in the water. Ideally, use filter water or let the tap water sit for a day, so all the bad sentiments sink to the bottom.
The potting mix needs to stay relatively moist but not soggy. These plants need to dry out somewhat between waterings. Inserting the finger into the soil is the best way to check if the medium is dry enough to water the plant again. If the finger feels dampness or moisture, wait a few more days and check again.
Underwatering is the safest bet, because these plants will become stressed if they have too much water, and their root system cannot absorb the water fast enough.
When it is time to water these prayer plants, place the plant and its container under the source and water thoroughly. The excess water will drain out through the drainage holes.
Calathea Beauty Stars will benefit from a monthly feeding during the spring and summer months or growing seasons. In winter months, the Peacock plants go dormant, and there is no reason to fertilize them.
Use a balanced houseplant fertilizer (10.10.10.) and dilute it in half the label directions. Water these houseplants before feeding them to prevent burns on the root system. Some growers prefer organic fertilizer to synthetic products.
Using organic potting mix or adding compost to the container works well in fertilizing the plants. That way, these houseplants receive nutrients slowly, and it’s unnecessary to supplement the prayer plants.
As indoor plants, the Calathea Beauty Stars rarely bloom flowers. If one grows a flower, the owner should play the lottery and appreciate their luck. Some grow these beauties in greenhouses, and the plants then produce flowers. They are a showy pink and under one-inch diameter.
Most growers prune the Peacock plants to remove old, dying and decaying. Use a sharp, sterilized pair of pruning shears to cut off the leaf stalks from the base or soil line.
Getting rid of the old-growth gives these indoor plants more energy to grow fresh leaves. Pruning improves the appearance by shaping and evening out the plants correspondingly.
Prune these plants during the growing season, not the dormant season.
The Calathea species detest repotting, so only do it, when necessary, like every two to three years. The plant needs a new home with roots poking out of the drainage holes or the topsoil. Always repot to one size larger than its predecessor.
When it’s time to repot, gently remove the plant from its old container. Remove all the old soil and inspect for dying, decaying or dead roots. Use a sharp, sterilized pair of pruning shears to cut off damage or rooting roots.
Place fresh potting mix soil, drains well, into the new container. Add the Beauty Star, then add more potting mix. Water thoroughly and place the houseplant where it usually grows well.
Repotting is a traumatic experience, so let the plant acclimate to its new home before making any drastic changes. Also, spring and summer or growing seasons are the best times to repot.
Calathea Beauty Stars are resilient and rarely have pest problems. However, it can happen, so defending them against pests will help them thrive. If not, these buggers stunt the indoor plant’s growth and cause considerable damage. In fact, checking for problems allows growers peace of mind and healthy plants. Signs of houseplant pests:
Mealybugs — These pests appear as fuzzy white dots prowling on the undersides of leaves. Cotton wool-like material on the stems and foliage signifies the plants have these little insects. Use a cotton swab, dip it in isopropyl alcohol and apply it directly to the mealybugs, rapidly killing the little buggers. Treat again until there are no more pests.
Spider mites — The Peacock plant has silky strands on the foliage and stems. It might appear as webs under the leaves, indicating these plants have spider mites. Enough humidity levels and moisture prevent these little buggers from making a home on the houseplants.
Scale insects — Scales on Calathea Beauty Star plants look like little bumpy growths on the stems. Sooty mold and sticky honeydew also appear on the leaves. Neem oil and rubbing alcohol are excellent aids in getting rid of these critters. Continue treating until there are no more signs of the scales.
Aphids — Growers see tiny pears with wings as black, brown, red, gray, green or yellow. The darker-looking ones don’t have wings. Most owners use insecticidal soap and neem oil to eliminate these little insects.
Make a DIY neem pesticide with a spray bottle to treat the infected plants — blend one teaspoon of mild soap and two teaspoons of neem oil in a quart of water. Spray the mixture liberally on the stems and foliage. Repeat every week until there are no critters.
Different bacterial and fungal diseases may affect these houseplants. Root rot is the most common. Overwatering and letting water sit on the foliage causes diseases in Calathea Beauty Stars. Some signs of other conditions:
Leaf Spot — Various diseases show signs of leaf spot, but Alternaria and Helminthosporium are common ones. Small lesions appear and seem less severe. Reducing moisture while keeping the foliage dry is the only workable prevention.
Fusarium — Here is one of the most common soil-borne fungi. It causes yellowing and wilting leaves. Cooper fungicides help relieve the symptoms, whereas washing the roots of an infected potting mix and adding new soil works better.
Pseudomonas — It’s highly contagious as a leaf spot disease that causes black or dark green lesions an inch wide. Water is the cause, and the infection grows in moist settings. The only remedy is copper bactericides, but owners report it’s ineffectual. Growers have to destroy the plant, isolating it from other plants.
Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) — CMV is a virus showing minimal symptoms but will spread to other houseplants if not handled. Growers see bright, jagged yellow streaks on the foliage. Safely discarding the infected area is the most workable solution. Use sharp, sterilized pruning shears to remove the contaminated parts of the Peacock plants. Take heed and seal the discarded parts in a sealed plastic bag.
How to Propagate Calathea Beauty Star
This method has its drawbacks because most houseplants prefer not to have their roots disturbed. Hence, a gradual and gentle application is the more workable. Carry out the division in the springtime and only when these plants require repotting.
- When the Calathea plant has overgrown its container, take the houseplant out of its home and gently tease the root portions, ensuring each division has at least a healthy leaf.
- Or, use a sterile pair of pruning shears to divide the plant.
- Once in different parts, place each baby beauty star in their pots, not too large but smaller than the mother’s container. Add the same soil as their mother used but make sure it’s new.
- Water the new plants, then cover each with plastic to increase humidity and sustain soil moisture, letting them grow.
- Place the plants in bright, indirect sunlight. Mist them intermittently but refrain from overwatering while making sure they stay warm.
- Signs of recent growth happen within a few weeks. Then, remove the plastic and give standard plant care.
- Calathea Beauty Stars have no stem nodes to propagate roots, making this technique difficult. Nevertheless, it’s less disturbing, and growers like to try this method first.
- Using sterile pruning shears, cut four to six-inch cutting with three or four leaves.
- Position the stem cuttings in a peat and sand mix, then lightly water them.
- Cover the stem in a Ziploc plastic bag to create humidity.
- Place the stem cuttings in warm, bright and indirect light. Relocate the cuttings to a small planter after a small root system grows.
- Provide routine plant care, repotting as each baby Calathea plant grows bigger and needs more room to grow.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Calathea Beauty Star easy to care for?
These prayer plants are not the easiest houseplants to grow, but if growers follow these plant care tips, they’ll flourish.
How big do Calathea Beauty Stars get?
These houseplants grow between 6 and 36 inches high and 6 to 24 inches wide. The Calathea plants widen by producing offshoots beneath the soil.
Do Calathea Beauty Stars like the terracotta pot?
Some growers report terracotta pots can absorb water from the plants, which is not good. Also, keep the houseplants in plastic containers with several drainage holes, then place the plastic container in a terracotta pot.
Is Calathea Beauty Star toxic to pets?
No. These houseplants are not toxic to pets.
The Calathea Beauty Stars are somewhat hard to grow for beginners who are unfamiliar with monitoring plants to keep them healthy. Yet, following these plant care tips will help these beauties grow, which is rewarding.
Be sure to check out all of our Plant Care Guides