True to its common name, Beauty Star is one of the most dramatic, elegant, and boldest foliage plants in the genus calathea.
Their patterned leaves make them quite a sight to behold. But, as actual tropical plants, they can be finicky about their growing conditions.
Calathea beauty star loves medium to bright, indirect light, so northern or western exposure is ideal. It prefers moist yet well-draining soil, high humidity, and warm temperatures in the 65-85°F (18-29°C). Feed with a well-balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer once monthly from spring through summer.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through calathea beauty star watering, humidity, temperature, and light requirements, plus any extra care it may need to thrive.
- What Does a Calathea Beauty Star Look Like?
- Calathea Beauty Star Care Details
- First Steps after Purchase
- How to Care for Calathea Beauty Star
- Common Calathea Beauty Star Problems and How to Fix Them
- Calathea Beauty Star Care Tips
What Does a Calathea Beauty Star Look Like?
Calathea beauty star will steal the show no matter where you place it in your home, thanks to its elegantly striped foliage. It has emerald green oblong leaves with feather-like stripes in iridescent white and pink on the upper side.
The underside sports deep purple markings. The stems are deep burgundy, grow fairly upright, and run down to the base of the plant.
Their colorful leaf pattern isn’t the only reason these plants make for excellent houseplants. They’re reasonably dense, lush, and boast upright, sprightly growth, marrying well with other common houseplants.
Like other Marantaceae plants, the calathea displays a rather mesmerizing behavior that has earned it the nickname “prayer plant”.
In the morning, leaves open out from the center to catch as much light as possible. At night, however, they fold up, mimicking the act of praying.
Moreover, calathea beauty star freshens and rids the air of toxins and other pollutants. And calls for easy, if not fairly low maintenance. Its aura will bring to life even the dullest corner in your house.
As if that isn’t terrific enough, they’re non-toxic to humans, dogs, and cats, making them an excellent houseplant for parents of curious pets.
Calathea Beauty Star Care Details
|Origin||Brazil and other parts of South & Central America|
|Scientific Name||Calathea ornata|
|Common Name||Calathea ‘Beauty Star’|
|Max Growth (approx)||Up to 2 ft. (24 in.) tall and wide|
|Watering Needs||Make sure to keep the soil evenly moist. Water deeply and thoroughly when the top inch of the soil is dry, often after every two to seven days during the growth period.|
|Light Requirements||Medium to bright filtered or indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight as it’ll scorch and discolor the leaves.|
|Humidity||Happiest in high humidity environments, preferably higher than 60%. Mist regularly to boost relative humidity and avoid browned leaf tips & edges.|
|Soil||Thrives in peat-based, well-draining soil. It should be evenly moist but never soggy.|
|Fertilizer||Use standard balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half recommended strength. Apply once every 4 weeks from spring through summer. Fertilizer application isn’t necessary during winter.|
|Season||It’s a perennial plant that blooms in summer. The growth period is during spring and summer.|
|Temperature||Loves warm environments, so keep temperatures steady within the 65-85°F (18-29°C) range. Ensure the ambient temperature doesn’t dip below 60°F (15°C).|
|Pests||Commonly spider mites and mealybugs, but scales, aphids, and fungus gnats can also be seen.|
|Diseases||Keep an eye on fungal leaf spots like Alternaria; Fusarium wilt, and bacterial blight.|
|Propagation||Easily propagate using divisions or stem cuttings.|
|Pruning||Only prune away damaged, diseased, or rotting leaves. Trim at the stem for new foliage to emerge there.|
|Re-potting||Wait a year or longer to repot with peat-based potting mix after purchase. After that, repot every 1-2 years. Best repotted in early spring before new growth emerges.|
|Toxicity||Non-toxic to humans, dogs, and cats.|
|USDA Plant Hardiness Zone||11, 12|
First Steps after Purchase
Your newly arrived calathea beauty star will need a little extra love and TLC to get used to its new home.
- Pick a sweet spot for your new baby: Most plants will include a care guide; follow instructions to the tee. An ideal spot should be warm, humid, and receive lots of medium to bright, indirect light. If it arrived in a poorly lit box, start with a brighter spot to perk it up immediately.
- Prune away damaged foliage: Your plant may come with damaged leaves. Trim away any torn, dead, diseased, or shriveled leaves. This will give it a neat appearance and encourage healthy growth.
- Check soil moisture: If the top inch of the soil is dry, water until the potting mix is evenly moist but not soggy. If some leaves are wilted, browned, or crispy, you must give it a good soak.
- Inspect for pests and diseases: Even if there aren’t any visible bugs, spray with insecticidal soap or horticultural oils like neem oil. It’s better to err on the safe side since most nurseries and greenhouses are sometimes infested with pests and diseases.
In most cases, you may have to boost relative humidity around your new beauty star. Simply install a humidifier near your plant or use a water tray filled with pebbles or humidifier.
How to Care for Calathea Beauty Star
 Calathea Beauty Star Light Requirements
Despite what its name may suggest, don’t reach for the stars when it comes to light exposure. As native tropics, calathea beauty stars are used to being canopied by large trees and often receive short bursts of sunlight during the day.
Most calatheas can’t tolerate more than two hours of direct sunlight.
Too much sunlight will scorch the leaves, causing them to pale and lose their flamboyant markings. So keep it away from south-facing windows or direct sun.
Instead, calathea beauty star plants are happiest with medium to bright indirect or filtered light. In most areas in USDA Hardiness zones 11 &12, that means placing your plant in front of a north-facing window. West and east-facing windows can also let in ideal light.
The location will influence how well your plant will thrive. Calathea beauty star specifically appreciates warmer temperatures that hover around 65-85 °F (18-29 °C).
Like most tropical houseplants, this calathea ornata variety is susceptible to the effects of sudden temperature changes. Be mindful of cold drafts and frost. The same is true if your plant sits in the path of hot air.
Ensure ambient temperatures don’t dip below 60 °F (15.5 °C). If you see brown spots, drooping, and wilting, cold is probably wreaking havoc on the foliage. Avoid uninsulated windows, entryway doors, and heat register.
Like most tropical plants, this calathea does well in a spot with high humidity. You should keep relative humidity amply above 50%, but higher than 60% is more preferable.
Ideally, you should nestle your plant in a consistently humid room, such as the bathroom or kitchen, for set-and-forget-it care. Of course, regular misting can also do the trick.
Alternatively, you can use a humidity tray. Simply layer pebbles on the tray and fill it with water below pebble level. Your potted calathea will sit on top of the water tray.
Better still, you can bring your houseplants closer. This will help create a humid microclimate for your calathea beauty star. Ensure there’s proper aeration and all of them are healthy and pest/disease-free.
When all’s said and done, it’s a no-brainer to use a humidifier like Pure Enrichment (check the price on Amazon) that can ensure optimal humidity at all times.
 Misting/ Spraying
Mist, spray, or spritz the leaves of your calathea beauty star at least twice weekly. This is incredibly important during wintertime when the air is dry and crispy.
Misting will not only boost humidity levels but can also deter spider mites. These common pests thrive in extremely dry. For best results, mist or spray directly above the leaves.
I highly recommend using lukewarm or room temperature water. Never cold or hot water.
 Calathea Beauty Star Soil
Moisture is of paramount importance to your calathea beauty star. So go for well-draining peat-based soil that will remain consistently moist but not soggy. Any specialty potting mix formulated for African violets is ideal.
You can use any traditional potting mix. Make sure it’s peaty by adding one part perlite and two parts sphagnum peat moss. You can also add in one part loamy soil.
It’s important that the container has ample drainage holes. Calatheas hate standing in “wet feet” as they’re prone to root rot in waterlogged soil. On top of that, they thrive in slightly acidic soil with optimal soil pH of about 6.5.
 Fertilizing Calathea Beauty Star
Calathea beauty star is a heavy grower, reaching its maximum growth size of up to 2 feet in just a year. Aside from using a rich, fertile potting mix, you must fertilize it often to support robust growth.
For full, luscious calathea, feed your plant once every 4 weeks throughout the spring, summer, and early fall. Reduce fertilizing during winter almost to a stop.
Use a liquid or water-soluble houseplant fertilizer at half the recommended strength for best results. You must water your plant well ahead of fertilizer application. This will help reduce the chances of root burn.
 Propagating Calathea Beauty Star
Propagating in Soil
Propagating your calathea beauty star in the soil is if you use root divisions.
- Unpot your plant, gently shake off the soil, and work them apart. This is best done when repotting your calathea. Each division should have several stems and a healthy mass of roots.
- Plant each division in a separate shallow pot. The soil should be lightweight, airy, and well-draining.
- Keep them evenly moist and very warm. Cover the pot and plant with a polythene bag until you see new growth.
Be patient – it can take a few weeks to see any visible growth.
Propagating in Water
Although trickier, you can also propagate a calathea beauty star in water.
- Cut healthy stems below a leaf node to create cuttings
- Dip the cut in rooting hormone and propagate the cuttings in a glass of water
- It’s crucial that you change the water after every 2 or so days
- Plant directly in the potting mix when a good mass of roots emerge
- Mist the new plant occasionally and keep the soil consistently moist and not wet.
 How to Repot Calathea Beauty Star
After purchase, you may not have to repot your calathea beauty star for a year or longer. However, your plant will be due for repotting after every two to three years. This helps replenish nutrients, get rid of pathogens, and ditch salts accumulated in old soil.
Like most experts, I must assert that you repot early in spring just before the growth spurt. This should be easy enough:
- Unpot your plant, making sure to check for root rot. Gently shake off as much of the old soil as possible.
- Trim away any damaged or decaying roots. Then treat with hydrogen peroxide.
- The potting mix goes into the pot first. Again, any potting mix concocted for African violets is perfect for your calathea. You can prepare yours using a regular potting mix, plus 2 parts peat, 1 vermiculite/perlite, and 1 part loamy soil.
- Repot and water thoroughly
- Place it in a shadier spot until you notice new growth
 Pruning and Trimming
As the older leaves age, they become yellow, browned, and lose some of their beautiful patterns. For aesthetic reasons, you should trim them away. You must also prune your plant to clean any damaged or rotting leaves.
Trim them at about the point where leaves join the stems. New leaves will emerge from the same point, allowing your calathea to look perkier and fuller.
Common Calathea Beauty Star Problems and How to Fix Them
You’re not the only one who finds your calathea beauty star irresistible. Although hardy and mostly trouble-free, they’re susceptible to spider mites. These tiny red arachnids suck the sap out of the leaves and manifest in the form of white webbings on the backside.
Spider mites reproduce and thrive in very dry, hot conditions. If the leaves suddenly become blotchy or turn yellow, that’s your cue that spider mites have moved in. Other common pests that may invade your calathea include:
- Fungus gnats – small pests that look like whiteflies. They scare easily when you shake your plant.
Here’s how to control pests on your calathea:
- Blast the pest off your calathea using a strong shower of water
- Rub both sides of the leaves with a cotton ball dipped in alcohol to kill mites
- Spray your plant with insecticidal soap, or a high-quality non-toxic Organic Neem Oil to suffocate the pests.
- Cycle back after every 7-10 days until all pests are gone.
Your calathea beauty star can also fall victim to various fungal and bacterial infections. The most common ones are those that result in root rot. They’re typically encouraged by damp conditions and waterlogged soil.
Calatheas can also be inflicted by leaf spot diseases, especially those caused by fungi, including fusarium leaf spot, helminthosporium leaf, and Alternaria leaf spot.
They often start as tiny brown or rusty spots encircled by a yellow halo. These leaf spots expand and merge into large blotches.
While rare, bacterial blight can affect your calathea, most notably bacterial wilt, and pseudomonas blight.
They cause an array of brown or black specks that spread over the leaves over time. If not treated early, they can be fatal. Cucumber mosaic virus is another potential disease.
Prevention and early detection are critical. That’s because most topical fungicides are less effective on calathea blights and leaf spots. Isolate affected plants immediately and trim away diseased foliage without delay.
 Calathea Beauty Stars Leaves Browned on Edges
If you spot curled leaves with brown tips and edges, you look at a case underwatering or too much light. The two often go hand in hand.
Water your plant thoroughly and move it to a shadier spot to recover. Once the leaves have bounced back, park it at a spot where it’ll receive bright, indirect light.
 Calathea Beauty Star Drooping
Drooping is another sign that your plant needs a drink. This is especially the case if the leaves are curled, browned on the edges, and crispy on the surface.
Overwatering, root rot, and various diseases can also cause drooping. The best course of action is to treat the underlying cause.
 Calathea Beauty Star Leaves Falling Off
The leaves of a calathea beauty star will fall off in a severe case of dehydration. The leaves will first curl, crisp up, and then drop off.
Old leaves may also turn yellow, wilt, and fall off. Other possible causes include transplant/repot shock, temperature stress, and root rot.
 Calathea Beauty Star Leaves Curling
Calathea beauty star leaves may curl due to too little soil moisture. Make sure to water once the top inch of the soil is dry.
Ensure high humidity (more than 50%), avoid direct sunlight, and remove from the path cold/drafts.
Curling can also be a result of poor water quality. If that’s the case, the curled leaves are browned on the edges and burned on the surface with a yellowish shade.
Use filtered or distilled water instead of tap water, or let fluoride and chlorine evaporate overnight.
Calathea beauty star is not toxic to humans, cats, or dogs. This is excellent news for parents of curious pets.
Calathea Beauty Star Care Tips
- Water your plant when an inch of topsoil is dry. Ensure the soil is evenly moist but not wet.
- Prune away any dead or yellow leaves to encourage a more luscious, fuller growth
- Avoid watering with tap water. Instead, use rainwater, filtered, or distilled water
- Dust the leaves regularly with damp clothe to unclog the pores. Don’t use any shine products.
- Place in a warm, humid spot that gets bright, indirect light