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How To Propagate Calathea in 3 Easy and Simple Ways

Prayer plants are a popular option among home gardeners because of their colourful, patterned leaves and low-light tolerance, but they can be a little more difficult to keep happy than your ordinary houseplant.

The prayer plant can grow strong and adorn your environment if you follow a few guidelines and take good care of it.

Learning how to propagate Calathea is a very simple process. There are many different ways to go about it. At first glance, one might not think that propagating this plant is necessary because of its beauty.

However, there are several problems with letting your plant be without considering propagation.

  • First, the plant’s natural growth is slow. This makes it hard to achieve a mature size without sacrificing valuable growing space for other plants.
  • Second, the leaves are extremely sensitive and tend to show signs of damage much more quickly than other houseplants. For instance, holes in leaves may be caused by bugs or mishandling.
  • Third, many of Calathea’s natural colours and patterns are quite brief. This makes them highly desirable by collectors and means that you may end up with several plants trying to achieve a single look.

For these reasons, propagation is important for having a plant with mature looks and plenty of space to grow. 

How To Propagate Calathea
How To Propagate Calathea? via Reddit

A Guide on How To Propagate Calathea

There are two main methods of propagation, division and cuttings. Both methods have specific purposes and should be done at different times. In general, you will want to divide the plant every couple of years to keep it from getting too large for your space.

It would be best to propagate by cutting when you would like a new plant but do not have any mature plants available. Let’s dive deep into the world of propagating Calathea. 

How To Propagate Calathea Via Division

Dividing your plant is very simple. The best time to do this is in the spring or fall when the temperatures are not too hot.

Make sure that you have time for both halves of your divided plant to recover before expecting new growth on them. You will need a sharp knife, potting soil, rubber bands, and containers around 7.5 cm deep.

  1. The first thing you will want to do is place the plant you want to divide on a flat surface. Make sure that all soil has been removed from it to have good access to the root system.
  2. Next, gently cut through the roots with your knife until you have two halves of equal size. Take special care not to damage or break any of the roots.
  3. Once you have the halves, place one in a pot around 7.5 cm deep and cover it with soil to just above where the root ball begins.
    • Then place the other half into its pot and cover it as well.
    • You can then water your newly divided plants and ensure they are getting enough light.
    • They must be exposed to low amounts of light during the recovery process.
    • This will help prevent damage to the plant’s leaves and focus its energy on creating new roots.
  4. If you would like, at this stage, you can section off the original pot so that you know which part is which if one or both plants happen to die.
  5. Within a couple of weeks, new leaves will begin to sprout from your divided plant and eventually roots as well. You should not need to water them very often during the recovery process.

How To Propagate Calathea Via Cuttings

How To Propagate Calathea 2
Can I propagate this Calathea Medaillon cutting? via Reddit

There are several different ways to propagate through cuttings; most gardeners prefer to root them in water. Gather together some jar or glass with a lid, clean sand or rocks for weight, sphagnum moss, cutting tool, and some rooting hormone.

  1. The first step is to soak the sphagnum moss in water until thoroughly saturated. Then, place a small amount of sand or rocks in the bottom of your cup so that the plant will have weight when you put it into the container.
  2. Next, you will want to cut off just below a node. A node is an area on the stem of a plant where leaves are produced. Using your rooting hormone, cover the bottom 2/3 of the cutting’s length with it.
  3. Finally, place the sphagnum moss into your jar over top of where you just cut, wrapping it around to coat both sides in sphagnum moss. You can then place your cutting into the jar, making sure that it stands straight up.
  4. Within a couple of weeks, you should start to see roots form at the bottom of your cutting. Once this happens, you can take your plant out and transplant it in soil like normal.
  5. If you would like to speed up the rooting process, you can place your jar in an area with indirect sunlight where it is warm. This will help keep the roots healthy and ward off the fungus that could form on them if they grow too long without soil.

There are many other ways to propagate via cuttings; some good options include rooting in water with powder rooting hormone or rooting hormone gel, rooting in soil and even cloning with a rooting machine.

How To Propagate Calathea Via Seeds

Propagating with seeds is fairly simple and involves many steps as propagating via division or cuttings. First, you will want to gather some pots around 7.5 cm deep, fresh organic potting soil, seeds (best if they are around 6 months old), and something to poke holes in the soil with.

  1. The first step is to place enough soil in your pots so that when you place them on their side, the top of the soil will be around an inch below the rim of the container.
    • Then you need to poke several holes in the soil.
    • The number of holes you need to make will depend on how many seeds you are planting and what kind they are.
    • For example, if you are using a peat pot with holes already poked into it, all you have to do is sow your seed evenly throughout the pot, making sure not to plant them too close to the sides.
  2. For seeds with a high germination rate, meaning they produce a higher percentage of plants from each seed, you can plant them 2-3 times as deep as their size. If they have a low germination percentage or use a container with pre-made holes in it, you will want only to plant them 1/4 to 1/2 an inch deep.
  3. Finally, close up your container and leave it in a warm area with indirect sunlight. In around 3-5 weeks, you should see sprouts begin to emerge from the soil. You can then transfer the seedlings into individual pots when they have developed their third set of leaves.

You can propagate via seeds in many other ways, such as with a seedling tray or by sowing the seeds directly into the ground. In addition to this, some plants will produce “runner” plants that you can transplant and grow on their own, producing an entirely new plant from a single source. 

>> Related Post: Why Are My Calathea Leaves Curling? (4 Worthy Reasons)


Final Remarks

Calathea is a popular houseplant because of its lovely foliage. These foliage plants come in various forms, sizes, and patterns.

The patterns on the leaves are so delicately designed that they sometimes appear to be hand-painted. Now that you know how to propagate Calathea, you can share your knowledge with others and help them produce more plants from a single source.