Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Calathea crocata Tassmania Blooms - Eternal Flame

It's a bedtime plant today that I'm featuring on leavesnbloom.  Each night it looks like it is saying its prayers as it folds up its leaves  to let me know that its time for bed hence its common name here 'The Prayer Plant'.  Its called Calathea crocata 'Tassmania' and it's grown in the UK as a houseplant but originates from the tropical jungles of Brazil.  

How difficult a plant do you find this?  I know many people who struggle to keep it alive so I hope these instructions will help you to succeed with this lovely houseplant.
Calathea crocata Tassmania
Calathea crocata blooms

It has the most touchy feely leaves which are puckered and ribbed. I must say that even without flowers the plant looks very ornate and grows into a lovely clump of rich dark foliage.  If you look at the leaves the top side ones are a very dark green while the underside ones are purple.

Calathea crocata Care Instructions

I have to be honest and say that this plant can be quite demanding.  Who really wants their house to feel like a jungle?

Light and Temperature

  • It likes to be kept away from strong sunlight so is best suited to light shade in the summer months and brighter light during the wintertime. Strong sunlight spoils the vibrancy of its leaves and fades them. 
  • It also likes to be kept warm with a minimum of 16C / 60F and hates draughts.

Humidity

  • This plant can get homesick!  It likes to be reminded of its jungle home so requires to be misted everyday with lukewarm/room temperature (soft) water – never cold water!  If it doesn’t have enough humidity it will promptly protest by having brown tips on its leaves.  Just make sure you only mist the leaves not the flowers.

Watering

  • It also likes to be evenly moist especially during the hot summer months.Check what type of compost your plant is growing in when you buy it.  Mine is growing in a cocofibre type compost (most of them here in the UK are imported from Holland in this type of compost).  If its grown in this medium then you need to keep the plant standing in 2cms of water while in growth.  It will say on the back of the label if it needs to be kept like this.

Feeding Requirements

  • It isn’t a heavy feeder and only requires half strength plant food. Once the clocks spring forward an hour in March I start to feed this plant once a month and once the clock falls back an hour in the autumn I will only feed the plant once every 2 months. 

Flowering period

  • As for its flowers – they are quite spectacular and many call the plant the Eternal Flame due to the shape of its blooms perched on top of the tall thick stems.  Its still in flower for me and the flowers should last about 2 - 3  months.
How to bring a Calathea crocata back into flower again

Below is the email I received from the growers in Holland detailing how to bring the plant back into flower again.
Goodmorning,




When the Tassmania stops flowering please let it grow in the living room.


If you see new shoots and  they are big enough ( 15 cm) then place it in a darker place like your bedroom  for 10 weeks. Only water it  a little when it really needs it. In this 10 weeks it will make new  flowers.


After the 10 weeks you  can put it in the living room again and give it enough water. It will take about 8  weeks before you see the new flowers coming.


Best  regards,

Rob
kwekerijtass

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Rosie is a passionate wildlife gardener in Scotland, a Perthshire / Tayside flower and garden photographer and writer.  She enjoys soaking up nature in her own garden and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that buzzes, creeps, crawls or flutters. She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography.


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35 comments

aloha rosie,

i love this plant and all the variations, i never thought of this as fussy, although i don't grow mine indoors and can only imagine having to do all the things you do to get them in the perfect state, and its fantastic - you are getting them to bloom indoors - congratulations, and thank you kindly, for participating, i love your post!

Fabulous plant - I'm loving anything orange these days:)

Rosie, we love the calatheas down here in Florida! I am amazed to see the bloom! I've had mine for two or three years, and the January cold always knocks it back, preventing it from coming into bloom. Maybe one day. I Perhaps I should try it indoors! Beautiful! : )

I love that expression "in the living"!

The bloom looks so stunning! From what you described, it seems lots of work too :) I wonder how much heat it can take (not sun). If it can tolerate the heat, I might grow one outside under the shade. Here in florida we have enough humidity for it :)

I've never seen this plant before, but it's lovely. The flowers almost remind me of a ginger flower, in how the petals are somewhat tiered. Beautiful!

What a pretty flower this plant has Rosie. I admire your diligence in looking after it, I'm sure it will re-bloom for you.

Rosie, that is so pretty, the soft focus pic esp. charming. I love the detail that its flowers fold up to remind you it's time for bed, and so its common name is perfectly apt.

I do hope you're able to get it to bloom again. My mom does approximately that with her poinsettias, and it seems to work just fine. I must say you sound up to the task, a very dedicated indoor plantswoman; I could never commit to a daily indoor misting schedule. ;)

I would surely love to get this plant in my garden. That black & violet underside surely give that exotic look.
It would certainly go very well with the white varigated plants.

Hello Rosie,

What a beautiful plant. I love the orange color of the flowers. I do hope you are able to get it to flower again. What a great entry :-)

I do like the calatheas in my garden.
This one is spectacular with its bright orange flower. A plant to look out for.

Hiiiiii, Orange happens to be my Fav Colour. Needless to say, I loved your bloom in Orange. Its a pleasure to meet you here via the Meme. Will be back again to visit your blog. Needless to say I also loved 'Leavesnbloom' collections! Thx for stopping by my blog Evergreen Tree.
Cheers! Radhika

t sounds a very interesting plant and the flowers are a beautiful colour. I hope you get it to flower again - now that you have some helpful instructions!
BTW - thanks for visiting me and leaving a comment.

Rosie, I need this plant! I love orange as well as the burgandy/green leaves. It's a must have for my garden!!! I'm on the hunt!!

Wow, a beauty that I have never met, Rosie! Good luck. Spring is here and with it comes, from me, Easter blessings!

You have done a great job taking care of this beautiful plant. I am unfamiliar with it, but I especially like the leaves. I agree, it would be desirable even if it didn't bloom at all.

Thankyou all for your great comments. I really enjoyed writing about this plant.

It is a gorgeous flower, never seen it before. I like the strong orange blooms, and the foliage is amazing too.

So vibrant and full of energy, I love it.

I just popped by to wish you a very Happy Easter,

RO xxx

love this plant, but for some reason i haven't put on in yet...they have a nice stand of these in our tropical zoo and its more of a plant zoo than a real zoo...plant fanatics go to the zoo here and its free!

@noel

If anyone comes here from Noel's #2 meme - I put the wrong link in his mr linky - you should go to

http://leavesnbloom.blogspot.com/2010/04/fluffy-pom-poms-and-golden-pearls.html

to see this months entry.

I'm so glad I found your post. I'd had my eye on the eternal flame Calathea in my local grocery store for about 5 weeks. This plant got my attention emediately with 5 bright orange blooms and dark bottimed leaves. After seeing it looking healthy for a few weeks, I decided I had to have it!
But so far all the only info I've found is that its very tricky to keep alive indoors, needing high humidity. So thank you for all the care information, you've listed the most I've been able to find. Especially about missing the leaves not the blooms, and how to get it to rebloom again!
I'm wondering two things though...does it require or like a certain size pot, and if I should try to move it outdoors in the summer? I live in KC Misdouri, and our summers get very hot (90°-105°F) And it can get pretty humid too, but sometimes its just so hot it burns off any moisture in the air. So any advice on that would be great. Or if anyone has successfully moved a potted callathea outdoors for summer and back inside for winter let me know.
Thanks again, great post!

@Emily33

Hi Emily and thank you so much for visiting today. I really don't know how the plant would cope with those temperatures as I'm not used to temperatures like that in the UK. You might need to contact the commercial grower in Europe I've mentioned on the blog post to see what they suggest or find out how other calatheas cope in those temps.

I'm sure it will need to be repotted into a pot about 2 sizes up from it's original sized pot after a few years or once you start to see the roots wrapping themselves around the sides of the pot.

Hope that helps :).

@Emily33 Emily I've just noticed that my first blog comment was from my blog friend Noel who lives in Hawaii. I notice that he grows his calathea crocata outdoors all year around so maybe if you contact him he'll be able to let you know what conditions his likes best.

Thaaank you so much!!
For now I guess I should just be concered with keeping it healthy indoors. I'm starting to get paranoid about how it's doing because it's the most beautiful unique plant I've ever owned, I just love it but know nothing about it except for what you've listed. I'm worried about over/under watering and the amount of light it's getting this time of year indoors. And I'm thinking it might need to be repotted like you said, but I'm too scared to try it yet. Lol
Thanks again for your help!
Emily

Rosie, or anyone....
Befor I learned my calathea needed more water, some of the leaves edges turned brown and are now crispy.
Should I cut these leaves with their stem off, or leave them?

Thank you for this information. my grandson won one and I have been searching for how to look after this beautiful plant. It looks like it's pot bound as the roots are appearing through the bottom of the pot, do they need to be re potted and if so when is the best time to do this.

Hello there :) and what a lovely prize to receive. The roots are just seeking out water as it's a thirsty plant and likes to sit in a few cms of water. If you took the plant out of it's pot and saw that all of the roots are very congested and wrapping themselves around the pot edge then I'd certainly repot. Here in the UK you can repot anytime during the growing season which usually is the time from the clocks spring forward in Spring until they go back an hour again in the Autumn.

Hi
As I read in the info it must float on 2 cm of water
Is it mean in each irrigation we have to put it on 2 cm water hight (for example 1_2 times weekly ) or it must always floating on these hight of water ?
Thanks

Hi there Adel the plant needs to be sitting in approx 2cms of water all the time.

I have recently bought one of these plants about 2wks ago but unfortunately it seems like it is dying .... I noticed that all the leaves are turning into a lighter shade of green, brownish spots appear at first and then they become like holes. It is as if a snail is eating the leaves but it has no insects on. After the holes get bigger, the leaves curl, brown from the stems and I cut them off.

I left it in the same pot as I bought it and placed a plate underneath it with small rocks and 2cms of water. I even sprayed it regularly with lukewarm water and placed it in a bright warm room without direct sunlight but nothing seems to be working. Brown spots keep on increasing on the leaves and even on the stems...

Please help!

Please see my previous comment with the plant dying first.

I even asked my friends about this plant and they told me that if I keep it standing in 2cms of water the roots will get damaged. Could this be the case, why the plant is all withering down?

Hi there Anonymous ... there shouldn't be any problem with the plant sitting in 2cm of water as every plant sold here in the UK has that on the label. (I don't know where you live or where you purchased the plant from). You can take it out of the water and see what happens. Maybe the compost was too saturated in the first place?

Hi there, I've never heard of holes appearing in the leaves before. If you only bought the plant in the last two weeks I'd bring it back to the shop you bought it from as that shouldn't happen.

Hi there, I've never heard of holes appearing in the leaves before. If you only bought the plant in the last two weeks I'd bring it back to the shop you bought it from as that shouldn't happen.


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