Skip to content

How to Care for Calathea Ornata (Pinstripe Plant)


Calathea Ornata (Calathea Pinstripe) is a tropical species of evergreen, perennial plants in the Marantaceae family, native to South America. The Marantaceae family is also known as the Arrowroot or ‘prayer plant’ family as their leaves tend to fold together at night, like hands folded in prayer. 

The Calathea Ornata leaves are large, dark glossy green on the top and a beautiful deep purple or mauve on the underside. The leaves are lined with pale pink to white ‘pinstripes’ along the veins away from the midline, towards the leaf margin. 

With thick, full foliage, Calathea ornate grows to about 60cm to 90cm in height and 60cm to 90cm wide, making it an ideal houseplant to grow in containers, year-round. 

Caring for Calathea Ornata can be a little tricky but once you get the balance right, it doesn’t need too much in the way of ongoing maintenance. In this article, we explore everything you need to know about how to care for Calathea Ornata successfully: 


Calathea Ornata Care

Calathea Ornata tends to be a little fussy when it comes to temperature, light, water and humidity. If it is not entirely happy with any one of these elements, it will show you! Luckily, it also recovers quite well and once you get the balance right, it will live happily for years without too much fuss. 

Like most plants, it takes some trial and error to find the perfect setup and get your maintenance routine in place. These are basics to get right: 

Creating the perfect growing environment: Location, Space, Light, Containers and Potting Mix 

As an upright and deep-rooted plant, with large leaves, Calathea ornata requires a location where it will have enough space to grow and a pot that is deep and heavy enough to stabilize and support it. It also needs to be in a location where there is plenty of filtered light and relatively high humidity. 

Let’s look at each aspect individually:   

Space and Location 

Indoors, Calathea Ornata is a compact plant that will grow to about 60cm in height and about the same in width. It needs enough space to grow to its full size. 

Make sure that it is not overcrowded by other plants and that there is enough room around it to allow for good air circulation. This allows moisture and humidity in the air to reach all the leaves while allowing excess water to evaporate. 

Light Requirements 

Calathea Ornata will do well in low to bright light, as long as it is indirect or filtered light. Indirect sunlight from a nearby window is best, just make sure that it won’t be in direct sunlight, which will damage the leaves and bleach their color. 

If there will be a little direct sunlight, for part of the day, you will need to have a curtain or blind to filter the light.  

Temperature and Humidity 

These plants like moderate temperatures and medium to high humidity. Temperatures between 18 and 23 Celsius (65 to 75 Fahrenheit) are ideal. It will happily tolerate warmer conditions (as long as there is enough humidity) but it won’t tolerate cooler temperatures, below 15 Celsius / 60 Fahrenheit.

The humidity level should be above 50%, ideally around 60% to 70%. If your room is quite dry, you can use a humidifier to supplement the ambient humidity. Misting it manually with a spray bottle in the mornings or placing it over a pebble tray also works well.  

Choosing the right container

The best pots for a Calathea Ornata is one that is appropriately sized for the plant and has excellent drainage. As an upright and deep-rooted plant, a pot with more vertical depth works better than a wide, shallow pot. 

Choose a pot that is the right size, oversized pots tend to retain too much water and the soil gets compacted and waterlogged more easily, which won’t be good for your plant.  

The best potting soil for Calathea Ornata 

The best potting medium for pinstripe plant is one that is light and airy, but retails water well and offers enough organic nutrients. A good mix to use is 2-parts peat moss and 1-part perlite. You can also add some bark or charcoal too. This creates a well-draining mixture that still retains some moisture and provides a little organic nutrient too. Look for a pH of 5.6 to 7.5 (acidic to neutral). 


How to Care for Calathea Ornata – Watering, Feeding, Pruning, Propagation and Pest Control 

Once you have the basic elements right, it is time to perfect your ongoing maintenance routine. Play around a little and see how your plant responds – pinstripe plant can be quite fussy and they will let you know immediately if they are not happy!

Why Are My Calathea Ornata Leaves Curling or Getting Brown Tips?

Look out for drooping leaves, curling leaves and brown tips – if you see any of these, they are unhappy about something. It is usually water, both over and under-watering will result in leaves that are not as perky, glossy or deeply colored as usual. Whereas bleached or faded leaves usually indicate too much light.  

Keep an eye on your plant and see what it likes and dislikes, then adjust accordingly. Once you find the right balance, it gets much easier! However, you can use the following as a good starting point: 

How often should I water my Calathea Ornata?

Calathea Ornata needs to be kept moist but not too wet. Consistency is key here – they need to be watered in small amounts, often.  They do not need to dry out completely between watering and should be allowed to retain a small amount of moisture at all times. 

That said, they can’t sit in waterlogged conditions either, as it will lead to root rot, where the roots rot and die, often killing the plant too. To avoid this, make sure the pot drains very well and make sure there is no water sitting in the drip tray after watering. 


During the spring and summer, you can feed your pinstripe plant every second or third week with a diluted balanced liquid fertilizer. Look for one with an equal ratio of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (look for equal NPK numbers on the bottle) and dilute it to half of the recommended strength. 


There is no need to prune or cut back your pinstripe plant, other than to neaten it up and keep it in shape. Happy, healthy plants will regenerate quite quickly during the spring and summer, so it is best to give it a trim during this time of the year if you want to neaten it up. Cut stems back to the base if you are removing them and new stems will replace them, with a leave on the end of the stem. 

Propagating Calathea Ornata  

The best way to propagate Calathea Ornata is to divide mature plants when you’re repotting them. Remove the plant from its pot and gently separate it into two or three sections, each with one or two stems and their roots intact. 

Repot the divided sections into separate pots, using fresh potting medium (peat, perlite and bark or charcoal). It is best to do this at the start of the growing season, in early spring.  

Controlling Pests and Diseases

Like most house plants, Calathea Ornata occasionally suffers from a pest infestation. The most common pests found on these plants are Spider Mites, Mealybugs, Scale and Aphids. The best way to treat these is by cleaning them manually off the leaves with a damp cloth and warm, soapy water or a natural Neem Oil mixture. 

Spray the leaves and stems with the mixture, allow it to sit for a few minutes and then wipe each leaf and stem with a damp cloth (damp with the same mixture). You can then rise the leaves off or wipe them down with a clean cloth. This treatment may need to be repeated a few times to get them all off.  

The most common diseases found on Calathea Ornata are fungal and bacterial diseases. These generally show up as spots or lesions on the leaves, which may spread or get larger, and are sometimes wet and ooze. Treatment can be tricky but copper fungicides and bacterial sprays work well. However, the best method to use is to cut away affected leaves as soon as the lesions appear to prevent the disease from spreading. Dispose of the infected leaves away from other plants and sterilize your tools.


In conclusion, Calathea Ornata is a beautiful and interesting plant to keep indoors. They have large, beautiful, leaves with pinkish/whiteish ‘pinstripes’ on the top and a deep purple/mauve underside. The plant is an upright growing, compact, medium-sized plant and makes a great houseplant. Caring for Calathea Ornata can be a little tricky as it can be fussy about water, light, humidity and temperature but once you have found a routine that works, they are not difficult to care for at all!     

Calathea Ornata For Sale

You might be wondering where to buy a Calathea Ornata. The best place to buy the Pinstripe plant is on Amazon. Buy now before it goes out of stock! See below for the Calathea Pinstripe available for purchase:

[lasso ref=”pin-stripe-prayer-plant-calathea-ornata-easy-house-plant-4-pot” id=”551″ link_id=”84″]

1 thought on “How to Care for Calathea Ornata (Pinstripe Plant)”

  1. Pingback: How to Care for Calathea Setosa (Ctenanthe Setosa) - Garden Crafted

Comments are closed.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Receive a 10% off coupon code to our store.

You have Successfully Subscribed!