Calathea Rufibarba Care Guide


Also known as the Prayer Plant or furry feather Calathea. The Calathea rufibarba is native to the tropical rainforests of Brazil.


The Calathea Rufibarba prefers a medium light. If he is placed in a bright room, keep him away from any windows as the bright sun will burn his leaves or cause them to curl. While Mike likes medium light he will be tolerant of lower light in the winter months when sunlight is minimal.


Getting the balance may be tricky as he won’t like his soil to completely dry out or be too soggy. In the winter time you can reduce his watering schedule to once a week but always check his soil is dry before you water him.


The Calathea Rufibarba from a humid climate and needs high humidity to thrive. To replicate his natural habitat you can place him next to a humidifier, group him with other humidity loving plants, use a pebble tray or place him in a bathroom.


The perfect indoor temperature for Calathea Rufibarba is between 18-24 degrees celsius. As long as the indoor temperature doesn't dip lower than 18°C Mike will be happy. He will not recover from cold damage so keep him warm.


To promote growth use fertiliser every 4-6 weeks in the months from March-September. Make sure to dilute the fertiliser to a quarter strength to avoid fertiliser burn to his roots.


The Calathea Rufibarba is fast growing and will produce a lot of new growth over the spring and summer months. Repot him every year to give him more room to grow. You can check the bottom of the nursery pot. If you can see his roots sticking out the bottom, it's time to repot.



Curling leaves - The curling leaves are a sign that Calathea Rufibarba is suffering from the cold. Have a look around the home to make sure Mike is not close to any windows, radiators or doors that could be causing draughts.

 Drooping leaves - The Calathea Rufibarba prefers his soil to be semi moist without drying out completely between each water. When the soil dries out Mike foliage will start to droop and this will indicate that he needs a drink. If the first few inches of soil is bone dry to touch, it’s time to water Mike. It’s worth noting that Calathea’s leaves move with the light. The leaves appear droopy during the day and will move upwards in the evening. 

Yellow leaves - Yellow leaves often indicate that Calathea Rufibarba has been overwatered. You can remove this leaf by cutting the stem at the base of the plant. Reduce his watering schedule especially in the winter months.

 Brown edges: The brown edges could be caused by a variety of things. 

  1. The Calathea Rufibarba is sensitive to hard water which could be causing the leaves to brown. Use filtered or rainwater moving forward.
  2. Lack of humidity levels. Be sure that he is is near a humidifier or a pebble tray is used underneath his pot.
  3. Occasionally the brown tips could be from over fertilising, it is good to note that Calathea’s roots are very sensitive. Always dilute a generic houseplant fertiliser. 



Top tip 1: The Calathea Rufibarba is very draft sensitive. He will suffer from cold damage if he is placed in a draughty spot. Keep him away from any open windows or draughty hallways. 

Top tip 2: To promote growth use our fertiliser every 4 weeks in the spring and summer months. Always dilute to a quarter strength. 

Top tip 3: Always water and mist Mike with filtered or rain water. Harsh chemicals found in tap water will cause his edges to brown. 

mike iggy ziggy fortifying-houseplant-fertiliser peat-free-soil