Calathea loeseneri

7 Mar

Calathea loeseneri (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Calathea loeseneri (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Bright to low indirect light

Flowering period: All year round

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 90cm

Eventual Spread: 90cm

Hardiness: 10a, 10b, 11, 12

Family: Marantaceae

Calathea loeseneri is an evergreen tropical perennial with a clump forming habit. Its mid green leaves have a light green midrib, are ovate with entire margis, up to 40cm long and 15cm across.  Its white/ pale pink flowers are up to 7cm across and appear terminally on erect stems. Its roots contain rhizomes which aids its slow spread.

Calathea loeseneri, commonly known as Star Calathea or Brazilian Star Calathea, is native to north west South America. In its native habitat it grows as a tropical woodland understory plant.

The etymological root of the binomial name Calathea is derived from the Latin calathus menaing ‘flower basket’, in reference to its flowers. Loeseneri is named after Ludwig Edward Theodor Loesener (1865 – 1941), a German botanist, however he was not responsible for first describing this plant.

The landscape architect may find Calathea loeseneri useful as a foliage houseplant with attractive flowers, suitable for bright to low light locations.

Ecologically, Calathea loeseneri flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

Calathea loeseneri Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Calathea loeseneri Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Calathea loeseneri prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

When maintaining Calathea loeseneri as a houseplant its soil should be watered regularly. Watering should be reduced during the winter months. Its preferred active growing temperature rages from between 16ºc to 24ºc, it will tolerate a temperature as low as 10ºc. Feeding with weak fertiliser solution should be carried out once a month during the growing season. The leaves may be sprayed with water to increase humidity. Red spider Mites, Mealy Bug and Scale Insects may attack this plant.

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