Calathea types: the most beautiful species & varieties


Having grown up in the countryside, nature and self-sufficiency have always been big part of my life. I live and breathe nature and had the chance to delve even deeper into this interest during my studies in agricultural systems science at university.

Favourite fruit: apples, blackberries and plums
Favourite vegetables: potatoes, peppers and courgettes

The variety of Calathea add a warm feel to any room. Here you will find a summary of the most popular and beautiful Calathea species and varieties.

many different prayer plant types and colours
The variety of Calathea species is diverse and colourful [Photo: PIYANAT PRONPRASIT/]

Prayer plants (Calathea) can be found in many homes as ornamental, evergreen exotics. But the range of species and cultivars is even more diverse than you might think. We want to introduce you to some of the most beautiful Calathea types.

Calathea species: Calathea orbifolia

Calathea orbifolia is one of the most popular Calathea species. Its dark green leaves are adorned with symmetrical, light green to silver-grey vertical stripes. The rounded, calathea curled leaves have a silvery green underside. The Calathea orbifolia flower grows up to 100 cm tall, making it one of the largest species. The nyctinasty – the leaf movement between day and night – is particularly noticeable.

Vertical striped leaves of calathea orbifolia plant
The characteristic stripes of Calathea orbifolia [Photo: Rasmus Kopperud Riis/]

Calathea ornata

Calathea ornata is a very special variety. Its leaves are dark green on top with symmetrical pink stripes that have given the plant the nickname calathea pinstripe: it did not get its species name “ornate”, meaning “ornamental”, for nothing. The underside of the pinstripe calathea plant leaves is dark red. The variety ‘Beauty Star’ has especially beautiful leaf markings. The plant grows wider than it is tall: it reaches a height of just 40 to 50 cm yet develops long leaves of up to 60 cm long.

calathea ornata pinstripe leaf pattern
Calathea ornata with elegant, symmetrical stripes [Photo: Ratree Nanta/]

Calathea warscewiczii

The species Calathea warscewiczii, or calathea jungle velvet, comes from the tropical region of Central America. The velvety dark green leaves have light green or reddish markings on top with dark red on the underside. Calathea warscewiczii often produces brilliant white flowers in January or February, even in our part of the world. The plant needs more space than most other Calathea types, as it can grow up to 2 m tall and particularly wide.

White flower and velvet green leaves of calathea warscewiczii
Bright white Calathea warscewiczii flower [Photo: sasimoto/]

Calathea rufibarba

When the leaves of Calathea rufibarba mature, they display a change of colour. The young leaves are a vibrant shade between light and dark green that fades with age. The long, narrow leaves with wavy edges are particularly eye-catching. The underside of the leaves is coloured a beautiful reddish purple. Calathea rufibarba grows up to 60 cm tall. Popular varieties include ‘Wavestar’ or ‘Elger Grass’.

calathea rufibarba wavy green leaves
Calathea rufibarba forms narrow, long leaves that are lightly patterned [Photo: sharohyip/]

Tip: To keep your plants vibrant and healthy, it is important to fertilise them regularly. A plant fertiliser such as our Plantura Liquid Houseplant Food is suitable for all Calathea types. This plant food’s specially adapted nutrient ratio provides the plants with the essential nutrients while its microorganisms promote 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

Calathea lancifolia

Calathea lancifolia, also known as the rattlesnake plant or Calathea insignis, has pointed leaves that become longer with age. The light green leaves are patterned with dark green, symmetrically arranged, ovals and a dark green leaf margin. The bold purple underside of the leaves enhances the Calathea lancifolia’s beauty. A common variety is ‘Insigne’ which grows up to 60 cm tall.

calathea lancifolia plant’s light and dark green foliage pattern
The characteristic pattern on the leaves of Calathea lancifolia [Photo: nlin.nee/]

Calathea makoyana

Calathea makoyana forms oval leaves that are outlined with an intense dark green edge. The leaves are mostly light green with dark green variegation. Calathea makoyana is also known as “peacock plant” because it bears leaf spots that vaguely resemble peacock’s eyes. The plant has particularly dense foliage and grows up to 75 cm high.

Variegated and spotted foliage of calathea makoyana
Calathea makoyana plant is also called “peacock plant” because of its leaf spots [Photo: Firn/]

Calathea roseopicta

The species Calathea roseopicta is widespread across South America and can be identified by its particularly large, roundish leaves which are light green with a dark green leaf edge. The leaves, whose brushstroke texture looks like the work of an artist, can take on different colours, for example, the variety ‘Dottie’ has strong pink accents. The underside of the leaves is stunning bright purple. The plant reaches up to 50 cm tall. Other popular varieties include ‘Corona’ or ‘Surprise Star’.

Calathea roseoptica light, dark green and pink foliage
The Calathea roseoptica leaves looks as though they were painted by an artist [Photo: Ralf Liebhold/]

Calathea crocata

The tops of Calathea crocata leaves are blue-green, while the underside develops a dark purple colour. It has no distinctive leaf markings. However, Calathea crocata is more likely than other varieties to produce its yellow-orange flowers in this part of the world. Popular varieties include ‘White Star’ and ‘Bicajoux’ which produces special pink flowers. Calathea crocata grows up to 60 cm tall.

Calathea crocata with dark green leaves and orange flowers
This species develops its yellow-orange flowers in this country [Photo: mvhelena74/]

Calathea leopardina

Last but not least, Calathea leopardina grows pointed, light green leaves with dark green variegation. It is one of the more understated Calathea species. The underside of the leaves of the plant, which grows up to 75 cm, is subtly light green.

calathea leopardina pointed, light and dark green foliage
Calathea leopardina has subtle yet pretty leaf markings [Photo: Veroja/]

Have you recently got yourself one of these beautiful prayer plants? Read all about the plant and how to care for it in our introduction to Calathea.