Calathea is characterised by the markings on the leaves and the rich choice of leaf shapes, from round and oval to spear-shaped. Those leaves not only have air-purifying properties, but also join in people's daily routine thanks to their day and night rhythm. There is a kind of joint between the leaf and the stem that allows movement. When it gets dark the leaves close, and if it’s quiet enough you can hear the rustling of the closing leaves. When it gets light they unfold again.
Calathea grows in tropical rainforests in warm and damp conditions. It particularly thrives there in sheltered spots without too much light, around forest giants that filter the light.
There are many different Calatheas. There are a few species that are sold as flowering plants, of which C. crocata - with orange flowers - is the best-known with cultivars such as Tassmania and Candela. Other flowering Calatheas are C. warscewiczii (white) and C. ‘Bicajoux’ (pink). The other Calatheas are stunning decorative foliage plants with unusual leaf markings and colours. Many species feature a claret-coloured back to the leaf. C. lancifolia and C. makoyana have been known for a long time; more recent varieties are C. rufibarba, C. zebrina and C. orbifolia. Calathea is available in sizes ranging from small compact plant to potted giant.
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