A challenge is ever worthwhile for many indoor plant growers, and almost all the calatheas will provide just this: anyone who is successful in growing them may well feel proud of their achievements. But it must be emphasized that the majority of the calatheas will require all the skill of the experienced grower.
They do at times oblige with a few flowers, but the principal attractions are the many shapes and colours of the leaves. All calatheas need warm temperatures of not less than I8°C (65°F) and shade from direct sunlight. Also moist conditions in the vicinity of the plant are almost as important as moisture at the roots themselves, but excessively wet compost must be guarded against, so an open peaty compost that drains freely is recommended. One of the most satisfactory ways of supplying the necessary conditions is to grow calatheas in bottle gardens or terrariums.
There is a range of interesting and colourful species all as difficult as each other. Calathea makoyana (also offered as Maranta makoyana) has oval leaves of extraordinary colouring and pattern which result in the common name of peacock plant. C. insignis has longer, more slender leaves in many shades of light and dark green and an attractive purple on the reverse, while C. ornata is even more distinctive with oval dark green leaves striped with pink which changes to white as the plant x again the leaves are purple •
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