Marantas Vs. Calatheas: The Ultimate Guide To Arrowroot Houseplants

Are you searching for a unique and visually stunning houseplant to add to your collection? Look no further than the arrowroot family, specifically the Marantas and Calatheas. These plants belong to the Marantaceae family and are known for their folding-leaf movement and similar growing conditions.

However, there are some key differences between the two that every plant enthusiast should know. In this ultimate guide to arrowroot houseplants, we’ll dive into the similarities and differences between Marantas and Calatheas. From their distinct appearances to their care and maintenance requirements, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to choose the perfect arrowroot plant for your home.

Whether you’re a seasoned plant parent or just starting out, this guide is sure to satisfy your subconscious desire for innovation in your indoor garden.

Key Takeaways

  • Marantas and Calatheas belong to the same family, Marantaceae, and exhibit folding-leaf movement.
  • Marantas are the only genus with the common name Prayer Plant, while Calatheas can be considered their sibling, with varieties like Calathea roseopicta Medallion, Calathea makoyana, Calathea lancifolia, and Calathea orbifolia.
  • Both Marantas and Calatheas require similar care, preferring areas away from direct sunlight, high humidity, and moist soil, but the former can take slightly cooler temperatures and are more forgiving about humidity.
  • These distinctive plants can give your home a unique tropical look and capture more moisture from the air, but are unlikely to produce flowers and seeds when grown indoors and are sensitive to watering, air temperature, and humidity.

Differences in Appearance

Now, let’s take a closer look at the differences in appearance between Marantas and Calatheas. While both plants have large, patterned leaves, there are distinct differences between them.

Maranta leaves have strong symmetrical patterns, often with brightly colored veins and ribs. In contrast, Calathea leaves come in a wide variety of colors, often featuring bright colors and painted designs.

In terms of color variations, Marantas are known for their striking burgundy and purple undersides, while Calatheas can have a range of colors, from deep greens to pinks and purples. Some Calathea varieties even have metallic or iridescent sheens on their leaves.

Both plants are visually impressive and can add a unique tropical touch to any living space.

Care and Maintenance

To care for these plants, make sure you keep them away from direct sunlight, provide high humidity, and water consistently to avoid dry leaf edges. Here are some tips to help you maintain healthy Marantas and Calatheas:

  • Watering frequency: These plants prefer moist soil, but don’t overwater them. Allow the soil to dry slightly between watering, and make sure the pot has good drainage.

  • Humidity levels: Marantas and Calatheas thrive in high humidity. You can increase humidity by misting the leaves regularly, placing a tray of water near the plant, or using a humidifier.

  • Temperature: Both plants prefer warm temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C), and should be kept away from cold drafts.

  • Fertilizing: These plants benefit from regular fertilization during the growing season (spring and summer). Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 2-4 weeks.

By following these care guidelines, you can enjoy the beauty of Marantas and Calatheas in your home for years to come. Remember to keep an eye on the soil moisture and humidity levels, and adjust your care routine as needed to keep your plants healthy and thriving.

Propagation and Reproduction

If you want to propagate and reproduce your tropical houseplants, there are two main techniques you can consider: stem cuttings and division.

For stem cuttings, you should find a healthy stem with several leaves and make a clean cut just below a node. Remove the lower leaves, leaving only a few at the top. Then, dip the cut end in rooting hormone and plant it in moist soil. Cover the cutting with a plastic bag to create a humid environment and place it in indirect light. Be sure to keep the soil moist and mist the cutting regularly. In a few weeks, you should see roots forming and new growth emerging.

Division is another effective way to propagate your arrowroot houseplants. This method involves separating the plant into smaller sections, each with its own roots and leaves.

To begin, remove the plant from its pot and gently separate the roots. Use a clean, sharp knife to cut through the roots and separate the plant into sections. Each section should have several leaves and a healthy root system.

Repot each section in fresh soil and water thoroughly. Keep the newly divided plants in a warm, humid environment and avoid direct sunlight until they have established themselves. With proper care, your Marantas and Calatheas will thrive and produce beautiful foliage for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Marantas and Calatheas safe for pets?

Looking for indoor pet safe plant options? Marantas and Calatheas are not toxic to pets and can be cared for with pet friendly care. Avoid toxic alternatives while adding unique, moisture-capturing tropical flair to your home.

Can Marantas and Calatheas be grown outdoors?

Yes, Marantas and Calatheas can be grown outdoors in warm, humid climates with filtered sunlight and well-draining soil. In colder winter conditions, they should be brought indoors or protected from frost. Proper care is essential for their survival.

How often should Marantas and Calatheas be fertilized?

To keep your marantas and calatheas healthy, fertilize them every 2-4 weeks during the growing season. Use organic fertilizers for a more sustainable and eco-friendly option, and apply in the morning when the soil is moist.

Do Marantas and Calatheas attract pests?

Common pests that can affect marantas and calatheas include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. Prevention techniques include regular cleaning and inspection, while natural remedies like neem oil and DIY pest control solutions can be effective in treating infestations.

What is the lifespan of Marantas and Calatheas?

Marantas and Calatheas have a lifespan of several years with proper care. These plants can be propagated by division or stem cuttings. Pruning techniques involve removing yellow or damaged leaves to promote healthy growth.


Now that you’ve learned the similarities and differences between Marantas and Calatheas, you can confidently choose the perfect arrowroot houseplant for your home.

Remember, Marantas have more oval-shaped leaves with distinct patterns, while Calatheas have more round-shaped leaves with softer patterns.

Both plants require similar care and maintenance, including filtered light, high humidity, and moist soil.

Propagation for both plants can be done through division and stem cuttings.

By understanding the unique qualities of each plant, you can provide the necessary care and attention for your arrowroot houseplant to thrive.

Whether you choose a Maranta or Calathea, you’re sure to have a stunning and unique addition to your plant collection.

Happy growing!