Calathea ‘Triostar’: care tips & propagation


My fascination with the world of plants led me to study horticulture. Whether they are crops or ornamental plants, whether they are found in the tropics or are native to our region, each plant has its own special characteristics.
I love to be inspired by the incredible variety in botanical gardens and try to bring as much nature as possible into my flat and onto my balcony.

Favourite fruit: mango, banana
Favourite vegetables: garlic, aubergine

Calathea ‘Triostar’ boasts wonderfully variegated leaves with touches of pink. However, this tropical beauty is not the easiest to care for and requires a little houseplant know-how.

Calathea ‘Triostar’ in garden bed
Calathea ‘Triostar’ is a special houseplant [Photo: Andi WG/]

Finding the right location and offering plenty of humidity are important prerequisites for ensuring your Calathea ‘Triostar’ thrives. Read on to learn how to keep triostar calatheas happy and healthy for as long as possible.

Calathea ‘Triostar’: origin and properties

Calathea species are native to the tropical parts of the Americas and belong to the arrowroot family known as Marantaceae. It is difficult to assign Calathea ‘Triostar’ to the correct genus, as the genera Calathea and Stromanthe are very similar. This plant is most likely actually Stromanthe thalia, or Stromanthe sanguinea as it was called up until a few years ago. But for all intents and purposes, the names are used synonymously and refer to the same plant.

Calathea ‘Triostar’ owes its name to its tricolour leaves. The tops of the leaves have cream, green and light pink variegation and the underside of the leaves is a bright pink. The leaves are lanceolate and have entire margins. Triostar calatheas grow up to an average height of 30 cm when kept as houseplants and form rhizomes. As with many tropical houseplants, Calathea ‘Triostar’ rarely flowers due to the suboptimal conditions. However, in its natural habitat, it produces pink tubular flowers.

Calathea ’Triostar’ in a garden
Calathea ‘Triostar’ plants growing naturally in a botanical garden [Photo: Peter Etchells/]

Tip: At night, Calathea ‘Triostar’ leaves fold upwards, revealing their beautiful, vibrant pink undersides.

Planting Calathea ‘Triostar’

Triostar calatheas need a well-lit location out of direct sunlight. They also need high humidity levels of at least 55 %, otherwise the leaves can get brown tips and may start to shrivel up. Do not place your triostar calathea next to a radiator, as the air there becomes very dry, especially in winter.

Tip: High humidity also helps to keep pests that prefer a dry environment away from the plant.

Many-coloured calathea ’Triostar’ leaves
Calathea ‘Triostar’ leaves have unique colouring [Photo: Kanda Saelee/]

The optimum temperature for these calatheas is 21 to 27 °C. In winter, choose a cooler place of 18 °C. Avoid a spot with cool draughts. Calathea ‘Triostar’ does not form deep roots, so a wider, shallow pot is better. A wide pot has the additional advantage of a larger soil surface area which allows more water to evaporate. This helps to increase the humidity directly around the plant. A loose potting soil, such as our Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost, is a good choice for this calathea. The wood fibres in this substrate offer the roots a loose structure, thus allowing enough oxygen to get to the plant’s roots. To increase your triostar calathea’s soil oxygen capacity and prevent waterlogging, mix in about 30% expanded clay. When potting or repotting, bear in mind that Calathea ‘Triostar’ plants can grow up to 30 cm in width and so require pots that can accommodate this. Place the plant in the soil so that about 2 cm of the stem is covered.

Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
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  • Perfect for all your house, garden & balcony plants
  • For strong & healthy plants as well as an active soil life
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

Calathea ‘Triostar’ care

Although they are not the easiest of plants, with a little practice and intuition, triostar calatheas can be very beautiful and rewarding houseplants.

Keep the soil moist, but never wet. Water your Calathea ‘Triostar’ as soon as the topmost soil feels dry. You will need to water less in winter as lower temperatures mean less water evaporates. Tropical plants love high humidity, so either use a humidifier or regularly mist the leaves. Try not to use water that contains lime to water or mist your Calathea ‘Triostar’. Rainwater is ideal.

Triostar calatheas are less picky when it comes to nutrients. Fertilise yours every three to four weeks with a high-quality, lime-free liquid fertiliser. Simply dilute the fertiliser in some water and water the plant as usual. Our Plantura Liquid Houseplant Food contains all the nutrients houseplants need as well as microorganisms that support root growth.

Liquid Houseplant Food, 800ml
Liquid Houseplant Food, 800ml
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  • Perfect for a wide variety of houseplants & foliage plants
  • Liquid fertiliser for robust plants & healthy growth
  • Quick & easy application - child & pet friendly

Unfortunately, spider mites love calatheas. A tell-tale sign you are dealing with these small, yellow or red insects is the fine webbing they leave behind. On closer inspection, you may even be able to spot the individual mites.

Note: Generally speaking, most calatheas are quite similar when it comes to location and care. Find out everything you need to know about calatheas in our separate article, from care to their origins to repotting and more.

A young potted Calathea ’Triostar’
The leaf edges will turn brown and dry if there is not humid enough [Photo: Cathy Php/]

Calathea ‘Triostar’ propagation

The easiest way to propagate your Calathea ‘Triostar’ is by dividing the mother plant. The best time to do this is in spring. Here are step-by-step instructions for dividing triostar calatheas:

  • Take the plant out of the pot and carefully remove the soil from the roots.
  • Locate a rhizome with a shoot and at least three leaves and use a sharp knife to cut it away from the mother plant.
  • Plant the mother plant back in the pot.
  • Place the rhizome cutting in a separate container with sufficient space.
  • If the new shoot is very young and has few roots, we recommend using sowing soil. Our Plantura Organic Herb & Seedling Compost is slightly lower in nutrients and encourages young plants to form strong roots.
  • After planting the daughter plants, water them well and ensure sufficient humidity by using an indoor greenhouse or placing a plastic bag over the young plant. Remember to air it out regularly to prevent mould from growing.
  • You will know if you have successfully propagated your Calathea ‘Triostar’ if new leaves form.
  • In spring, repot your calathea using a more nutrient-rich soil.

Tip: You can also propagate many other types of calathea by division. Read our separate article on how to care for and propagate the beautiful Calathea orbifolia.

Potted Calathea ’Triostar’ plants
Young triostar calatheas need a little more attention to help them form strong roots [Photo: RANDY IMANUEL/]

Are triostar calatheas poisonous?

No, Calathea ‘Triostar’ is not poisonous to humans or animals. Nonetheless, these plants are not considered edible.

Looking for new tropical plants to add to your indoor jungle? Another popular tropical houseplant is the nerve plant, which grows near the ground in rainforests and has characteristic vein or nerve-like patterns on its leaves.