Calatheas (also known as prayer plants) are a difficult plant that needs highly specific conditions to survive. These plants need tropical growing conditions, humid environments, pure water, and very specific soil moisture. If any of these things are incorrect, the plant can die quickly. Reviving a failing prayer plant is all about restoring a proper balance. Ensure the proper soil moisture, avoid direct sunlight, get the right soil acidity, and prune dying yellow leaves. Steps like these will help your plant to bounce back and recover in about a month.
3 Tips to Save a Calathea Plant that’s Dying
Calatheas, also known as prayer plants, are fussy plants that can die fairly easily. The best way to revive them once they begin dying is to ensure proper care conditions. This means following a proper watering schedule with high water quality, achieving ideal temperature, and making sure soil conditions are ideal. Below, we’ll get into the most effective care tips and the steps you should take to save your tropical plant.
Ensure Proper Soil Moisture
Excess water and lack of water are the most common causes of plant diseases in calatheas. A healthy plant needs the right moisture level. For calatheas, this means watering enough to provide moist soil and humid conditions. Soggy soil and dry soil will both result in wilted leaves and fungal disease. Make sure your calathea is growing in moist soil that is given time to dry out a bit between waterings.
- Poor soil moisture is the most likely culprit behind a dying calathea.
- Water calathea once the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) have dried out.
- Water calathea once per-week. Too much water can kill the plant.
- Make sure your prayer plants are only watered with pure or distilled water.
- Tap water contains fluoride, which can kill calatheas.
If your calathea is growing in a pot, make sure it has an adequate drainage hole and well-draining soil. Poor drainage will cause water to pool. This will eventually cause root rot. Additionally, avoid tap water when watering your calathea. Only pure water (such as distilled water) will work for calatheas. Tap water can kill them due to the minerals and fluoride in the water.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
Calathea plants are used to growing in the shade. They are rainforest plants that are usually well below other, taller plants and trees that block the sun. Direct sunlight can scorch calathea leaves and kill the plant. When reviving your plant, it’s important to make sure it is adequately shaded. Otherwise, you will just be recreating the conditions that led to the entire plant withering away in the first place.
- Calatheas do best with medium indirect light.
- Avoid direct sunlight which can kill off entire leaves.
- If your calathea is in direct sun, move it to an area with indirect light.
Another solution is to grow calatheas as indoor plants since indirect sunlight is ideal for them. The rule of thumb is that calatheas thrive in medium indirect light (though they can tolerate quite a bit of shade). Medium-light is defined as diffused light or dappled shade.
Prune Dead or Dying Calathea Leaves
If your calathea is suffering, disease can spread from infected leaves to healthy leaves. To prevent this, it’s important to prune any yellowed leaves to keep the plant healthy. Even if the leaves aren’t diseased, it’s best to remove the dead ones so new healthy leaves can grow in their place.
- Trim away unhealthy and infected leaves so healthy leaves can grow in their place.
- Calatheas can grow seemingly endless leaves, so there is little danger of over-pruning.
- Be sure to use sharp scissors to cleanly remove dying leaves.
Use a sharp pair of scissors or garden shears to prune your Calathea. Remove the following: crispy leaves, brown leaves, yellowed leaves, droopy leaves, and dry leaves. Unless the leaves are green and healthy, it’s best to remove them to ensure healthy growth.
Can You Bring a Calathea Back to Life?
Despite their reputation for being finicky plants, calatheas can recover from many issues remarkably quickly. Your prayer plant can spring back to life so quickly it’ll look like a miracle. The most serious issues that calatheas struggle to overcome are plant diseases like root rot. However, even this can be handled with proper watering care. Below, we’ll discuss what reviving a prayer plant looks like and how long it will take to revive.
Can You Revive a Calathea with No Leaves?
Unlike a lot of other plants, calatheas can lose all of their leaves and still come back swinging. Calatheas are renowned for their seemingly endless leaf growth and being able to handle a bit of abuse. You shouldn’t test that by abusing your plant. However, it is good to know you can make mistakes.
- Prayer plants can bounce back from losing all of their leaves.
- This plant is very forgiving and can survive gardening mistakes.
Prayer plants are very forgiving so long as you spend a bit of extra time ensuring proper care conditions. A few weeks of proper watering, ideal light conditions, and ample humidity should cause your plant to regrow its leaves quickly.
How Long Does it Take to Revive a Calathea Plant?
It generally takes 3–4 weeks for a calathea plant to recover from transplant shock. This is the base recovery time frame. Other shocks can take a bit longer to recover from. In most cases, it will take a month for your plant to revive itself. If your calathea has experienced extreme shock, it may take a little longer to bounce back.
- Calatheas can recover from most issues within 3–6 weeks.
- The worst issue a prayer plant will need to recover from is overwatering.
Improper watering is generally the worst non-disease issue a calathea can encounter. Once you correct to a proper watering schedule, your prayer plant will recover within 6 weeks. If your calathea has not recovered after 6 weeks, consult your local garden center for more intensive advice.
How Do You Bring a Calathea Back to Life?
The calathea plant has a reputation for being fussy but it is remarkably resilient. Where most plants would die quickly with any mistreatment, the prayer plant keeps hanging on. Still, you want to do everything you can to provide ideal growing conditions for your calathea. This will ensure that you don’t have to spend time reviving it in the first place. Here are the key things to remember about reviving prayer plants:
- Make sure calatheas get proper soil moisture (soil is moist and well-draining).
- Keep calatheas out of direct light (medium indirect light is best).
- Prune away dying leaves regularly to ensure new growth.
- Calatheas are very forgiving plants that can handle some abuse.
- A calathea can bounce back from most issues within a month.
- Calatheas can even recover from losing all of their leaves.
Be sure to avoid tap water when watering calathea plants. Additionally, let the soil dry out a bit between waterings so that the roots don’t rot. With a little care, pruning, and attention to soil conditions, your plant will be rid of its dead leaves and sprout new ones.