Calathea crocata Tassmania Blooms – Eternal Flame

posted in: Gardening | 36

It's a bedtime plant today that I'm featuring on leavesnbloom. To being with it's called Calathea crocata 'Tassmania' and each night it looks like it is saying its prayers. In fact, it folds up its leaves to let me know that its time for bed. Hence its common name 'The Prayer Plant'.

It's grown in the UK as a houseplant but originates from the tropical jungles of Brazil.

It has the most touchy-feely leaves which are puckered and ribbed. Actually, even without flowers, the plant looks very ornate. In fact, it grows into a lovely clump of rich dark foliage. The top side leaves are very dark green while on the underside they are purple.

 

 

But do you find this a difficult plant to grow in your home?

 

I know that many people struggle to keep Calathea crocata Tassmania alive. I've spoken in person to so many of you. So I hope that these instructions will help you to succeed with this lovely houseplant.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you click on a link and purchase something that I have recommended. Clicking these links will not cost you any extra money, however, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases which helps me keep this site going! Please check out my disclosure policy for more details.

 

calathea crocata tassmania

Calathea crocata Tassmania Care Instructions

Anyhow, it has got to be said from the start that this plant can be quite demanding.

Light and Temperature

  • Keep it away from strong sunlight. Subsequently it prefers light shade in the summer months and brighter light during the wintertime. Strong sunlight spoils the vibrancy of its leaves and fades them.
  • Keep the plant warm with a minimum temperature of 16 °C /60 °F. Furthermore it hates draughts.

Misting

  • Invest in a fine mist spray bottle (affiliate link) and mist the leaves every day with lukewarm/room temperature (soft) water – never cold water! Just make sure you only mist the leaves, not the flowers. Misting the leaves really deters red spider mites from infesting the plant.

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.  
  • The flowers should last about 2 - 3  months.

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 grows in a coco fibre type compost. Imports from Holland to the UK  are usually in this type of compost. If it's grown in this medium then you need to keep the plant standing in 2 cms of water while in growth. It will say on the back of the label if it needs to be kept like this. So make sure to check the back of the label to see if it needs to be kept like this. Incidentally, it might just have a little diagram showing that it needs to sit in water.

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. However, once the clock falls back an hour in the autumn I will only feed the plant once every 2 months. By the way, I thoroughly recommend Houseplant Focus plant food by Growth Technology. (affiliate link)

calathea crocata tassmania

What is Wrong With My Calathea Crocata Houseplant?

 

Why Does My Calathea Have Crispy Leaves?

 

During the 18 years that I worked in a busy houseplant department, the number one problem customers had with their Calathea crocata was crispy brown edges on the leaves. This problem affects all calatheas and not just the crocata varieties and here's the answer ... well, two answers in fact!

It's all down to humidity and incorrect watering!

This plant can get homesick! So you need to remind it of its jungle home but misting is not enough. If it doesn’t have enough humidity it will promptly protest by developing crispy brown edges on its leaves.

 

But who really wants their house to feel like a jungle?

 


How To Make Sure A Calathea Crocata Has Enough Humidity

When you see these plants in the garden centre they are usually displayed on tables lined with capillary matting. That matting is always damp and it proves all the humidity the Calathea needs as moisture is constantly in the air around the plants. However, it's very hard to do the same thing in your own home and no amount of misting will provide the humidity the Calathea requires as the water particles are not in the air for very long.

  • It's best to fill a plant saucer (affiliate link), decorative plate, or bowl with some decorative pebbles (affiliate link) between 1 - 2 inches in depth.
  • Fill the tray with water making sure that it doesn't submerge the pebbles.
  • Set your plant pot on the pebbles.
  • The water from the tray should evaporate each day around the plant and create a humid atmosphere around the leaves.
  • Just make sure to keep the tray filled up with water.
  • Don't keep your plant close to a warm radiator.
  • Or even better, try using Westland Hydroleca Clay Granules (affiliate link) as they are sold specifically to create humidity around houseplants.

 

 

How To Water A Calathea Crocata Correctly

The most important factor preventing crispy brown leaves on a Calathea plant is incorrect watering. Calathea plants like to be moist and cannot tolerate being dry at the roots. So you need to do the finger test every day!

  • Stick your finger a couple of inches into the pot and if it comes out dry and the soil falls off your finger - the plant needs watering immediately as it hates being dry. It's ok to let the top inch or so get dry, but no more than that is advisable.
  • If your finger comes out with some soil sticking to it - then it's ok.
  • You can also use a moisture stick such as the very inexpensive Westland When to Water Plant Watering Indicator (affiliate link).

Keep the Calathea crocata moist and mist it every day and your plant shouldn't develop crispy leaves. If it already has crispy leaves, sadly you'll never get rid of them. However, any new leaves that grow shouldn't have them once you start to water correctly, and eventually, you can cut those older leaves off.

 

 

How To Treat An Overwatered Calathea

If you have yellow leaves and brown crispy edges, then you've been too kind to your Calathea and have overwatered it. Take the plant out of its pot. Don't squeeze the water out of the soil ball as you'll damage the roots,  Wrap tissue around the roots and let the tissue absorb the extra water.

If your plant doesn't survive you can purchase new Calatha crocata plants here. (affiliate link)

 


Repotting A Calathea

Calathea plants should be repotted in the Springtime once the clocks have moved forward an hour. The best compost to use is a coco coir based compost such as Coco Grow (affiliate link).

If you are interested in houseplant care I have published some more blog posts:

How to make a bromeliad flower - which also details how to water, feed, repot, and make an indoor bromeliad tree.

How to care for an Oncidesa Sweet Sugar Orchid - the dancing lady orchid

How do I look after a Zygopetalum Orchid?

 

Rosie Nixon
Follow Rosie Nixon:

Photography Tutor and Gardener

Rosie is a garden photographer, writer and nature lover. She enjoys soaking up nature and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that flutters, flies, buzzes, creeps or crawls! She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography. Rosie has been featured on TV on BBC2's The Beechgrove Garden and she uses the outdoors as her natural light studio. Her work can be seen at one of Scotland's only photography galleries - Close Gallery, 4b Howe Street, Edinburgh. If you'd like to receive the latest leavesnbloom blog posts by email click here.

Rosie Nixon
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36 Responses

  1. Avatar
    noel

    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!

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    Floridagirl

    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"!

  4. Avatar
    Ami

    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 🙂

  5. Avatar
    Curbstone Valley Farm

    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!

  6. Avatar
    Melanie

    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.

  7. Avatar
    Meredith

    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. 😉

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    James Missier

    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.

  9. Avatar
    Noelle

    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 🙂

  10. Avatar
    Titania

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

  11. Avatar
    Ever Green Tree

    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

  12. Avatar
    easygardener

    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.

  13. Avatar
    Kimberly

    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!!

  14. Avatar
    joey

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

  15. Avatar
    debsgarden

    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.

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  17. Avatar
    maiaT

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

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    noel

    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!

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    Emily33

    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!

  22. Avatar
    Rosie Nixon

    @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 :).

  23. Avatar
    Rosie Nixon

    @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.

  24. Avatar
    Emily Stubbs

    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

  25. Avatar
    Emily Stubbs

    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?

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  27. Avatar
    Anonymous

    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.

    • Avatar
      Rosie Nixon

      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.

  28. Avatar
    Adel Kawthar

    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

  29. Avatar
    Anonymous

    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!

    • Avatar
      Rosie Nixon

      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.

    • Avatar
      Rosie Nixon

      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.

  30. Avatar
    Anonymous

    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?

    • Avatar
      Rosie Nixon

      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?

  31. Avatar
    Anonymous

    Hi, I'm Emma, not green fingered AT ALL but was gifted with this beautiful plant. I was keeping on the window in direct sunlight, but after reading this I'm promptly changing that. What I did want to find out is, should I take it out of the plastic pot and leave it in the vase also I think I'll need some more smile for this, can I dig it up from the garden or do I need to buy some compost or something and where can I find 'food' to be giving it once a month? It came with some and I fed it, but that was 4weeks ago, I'm sure it's getting hungry by now.
    Thanks for the info, I do hope you can help.
    Emma.