Propagating Calathea

sugi_c(9a)March 1, 2013

Hi there,

Has anyone successfully propagated Calathea ornata via cuttings? I know it can be done by division but I was wondering if it's possible by just sticking a stem plus leaf into soil?



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The plant has leaves whose stalk act like branches, it has no single stem like other plants and in therefore very difficult to propagate by cutting, but here are some guidelines, if you choose to try:

Propagate calatheas by taking 6 inch stem cuttings and rooting them in a 50% mixture of peat and sharp sand. Keep cuttings in a warm and very humid place such as a greenhouse until they have rooted.

Otherwise, propagate by division as follows:

Check the pot to see if the Calathea is crowding.
Place your hands wide-spread on the top of the pot. Spread your fingers so the stems of the plant are between them. Cover the soil with your hands.

Turn the pot over atop a spread out newspaper. If the plant doesn't come out of the pot immediately, tap on the bottom.

Use your fingers to carefully separate the roots of the plant. Make certain that every stem has at least one leaf and roots.

Plant in smaller pots using the same soil mixture that the parent plant had. Keep the plants moist and out of direct sunlight in a cool area.

Cover the plants with plastic tenting to keep the humidity in, if your house is dry. In a few weeks, you should see signs that the new plants are maturing.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 5:30PM
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Thank you so much for the instructions. The mother plant isn't big enough to divide, and in the process of repotting some full stems with leaf attached fell off. I initially stuck those into soil and posted this.

Since your reply, I've chopped off the leaves and stuck the bottom 6 inches into a peat/bark/sand mix, watered and then stuck the entire pot into a ziplock bag. :-) that's about as close to a greenhouse as I will get for now. It's by a sunny window and insid where it's about 70 degrees consistently.

I guess we shall see, but if I see any sign of new life, I will update. No big deal if it doesn't work, as mom is fine and not particularly my favorite plant anyway. :-)

Thank you for the tips!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 12:32PM
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I found them in a google search, Grace. I have a few very large plants and have never tried propagating them. I know they can be cut to the top of the pot and rebound just fine, though.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 12:59PM
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I've done that to a previous plant, too, Kay. Quite awesome. :-)
You know, I did a google search before posting here -- but only found "propagation: by division" or "not recommended"-- and then I was thinking surely someone here would know if it is at all possible!

Thanks for finding the info (and at least possibility) for me.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:44PM
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