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How to Prune Calathea – 4 Effortless and Effective Steps

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Calathea, also commonly referred to as Calatheas or prayer plant, is a genus of flowering plants which belong to the family of Marantaceae. Calathea is native to the tropical Americas and is a widely popular species of indoor plants worldwide.

Calathea has large cup-shaped leaves with a stunning vibrant green color. Calatheas bloom in summer and produce white, purple, or yellow flowers. However, the gorgeous leaves of calathea often steal the show and are considered more beautiful than their flowers.

Calathea is a straightforward maintenance indoor plant that can thrive in low indirect light, making it the perfect indoor plant for homes, offices, and restaurants.

As astonishing as their large, vibrant foliage can be, it still needs proper pruning to keep the plant healthy and groomed. If you do not know how to prune calathea, then keep reading this article to find out!

How to Prune Calathea
when do you prune your calathea? – via Reddit

Growth Rate of Calathea

Knowing how fast a plant grows helps you better understand how often you might need to prune in. in the case of calathea, their growth rate depends upon their environmental conditions.

For example, a healthy calathea can grow up to 4 feet; however, the calatheas grown indoors can only fully grow to about 2 feet tall.

Their growth rate is slower than other house plants, and their growth goes nearly dormant during the months of winter. Calathea does not require very frequent pruning, but it may still need pruning to keep it in good shape and eliminate any diseased or wilting leaves.

If some leaves are growing more extensive or a stem is mainly sticking out, then it is okay to trim it to keep the plant in a good and contained shape.

When Should You Prune Calathea?

Since the growth of calathea goes dormant during the months of winter, you should avoid pruning it in the wintertime because the plant will not grow. However, it is acceptable to trim the plant if it is wilting or if any part is sticking out.

The best time to prune calathea is during the spring or early summer. During this time, the growth rate of calathea is at its peak, so the plant will recover quickly after pruning.

How to Prune Calathea 2
Should I prune my calathea? – via Reddit

How Frequent Should You Prune Calathea?

Calathea does not require pruning as often as other plants. Pruning it once or twice a year will suffice or possibly even less frequent than that.

Now, as we have discussed all the crucial and fundamental points as to how often and when you should prune calathea, let us now show you how to prune calathea.

Items Needed for Pruning Calathea

Since calathea is a relatively more little houseplant with delicate and thin stems that are non-woody and easy to cut, you need a pair of small scissors. Usually, a small team of sharp scissors with long blades to reach the inner parts will work best. For that purpose, you can use bonsai scissors.

You can also use sharp bypass pruners for more significant varieties of calathea. Wear gardening gloves and sterilize your tools with rubbing alcohol before pruning.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Prune Calathea

After sterilizing your tools, now it’s time to prune your calathea. Follow this easy guide with step-by-step instructions on how to prune calathea.

Step 1: Pruning the Stems

To keep your plant healthy, keep it in good shape, and control its growth, you must prune it. Take a sharp pair of scissors and cut the stalks of calathea near the soil.

Step 2: Trimming the Brown Crisp Edges

If you see that some of the older leaves of your calathea are browning or have crisp brown edges, then it needs trimming. First, take small scissors and sterilize them. Now gently hold the affected leaf in one hand and cut around the edge using the scissors with the other hand.

Step 3: Pruning the Yellowing Leaves

It is usual for calathea to shed older leaves. If you see any yellowing or wilting leaves, you can cut them. Trace the stalk of that leaf and cut the stem from the bottom. Repeat it for other yellowing leaves.

If wilting yellow leaves are abundant, then it means that the plant’s conditions are not good. Take proper care of the plant’s preferred environmental conditions to keep it healthy.

Pro Tip: Never cut the leaf alone while leaving its stem behind. It will make clutter and make the plant look unruly, sucking out water and nutrients.

Step 4: Pruning Diseased Leaves

If you see any pest or disease affecting your calathea, then you need to prune it immediately. First, cut off the affected parts and clean the tools afterward to avoid spreading the disease. Next, clean the leaves thoroughly and spray them with neem oil, an organic disinfectant.

Keep the chopped-off plant foliage affected by a disease separately and dump them properly so that they do not transfer any diseases or pests to other plants.

Important Tip While Pruning Calathea

While pruning, do not go overboard by chopping off all the leaves. Only prune/trim 20% of the leaves, or if your plant is already struggling, then only prune about 10% of leaves. It will ensure that the plant has enough foliage left to recover from pruning and sustain its growth and photosynthesize to meet its needs.

Shaping Calathea for Healthier Growth

Calathea may grow dense overlapping foliage which may cause overcrowding. In addition, the smaller inner foliage can make it crowded and cause fungal infections due to high humidity.

Pruning the inner smaller foliage allows better air circulation and lesser chances of fungal diseases. Pruning the overlapping inner leaves won’t change the plant’s shape as such, and it will enable a higher supply of nutrients to the larger and more productive leaves.

Calathea Pruning After-Care Tips

After you have pruned your calathea, follow these tips to ensure good growth and healthy plant recovery.

  • Do not fertilize calathea right after pruning. It does not have a high nutrient requirement anyway.
  • Give ample water after pruning to avoid drying out and help with the shock of trimming.
  • Spray your plant with a mister to keep it moist and provide the right conditions.
  • Keep the plant in an area with indirect sunlight. Bright direct sunlight will damage the plant.
  • Calathea is a tropical plant and prefers a warm environment. They can not do well in colder temperatures, and their growth stunts during the winter season. The ideal temperature to keep them is between 60-85o F.
  • For being native to tropical lands, calatheas prefer a pleasant humid environment. To ensure a healthy growing plant, keep the humidity at 50-60%. If the air is dry or hot, you can use a mister or air humidifier to keep the plants happy.


With vibrant foliage, easy-going, and low-maintenance nature, calathea makes a perfect indoor plant. You can add this plant to your indoor plant collection or keep it in your office space to give it a pop of color and a nice refreshing look.

If you are a beginner at indoor plants, then this is your perfect match. And don’t worry about its pruning because we have shared step-by-step instructions on how to prune calathea. Please leave us your feedback in the comments!