How do I propagate Calathea Ornata plant?
Calatheas Onata are propagated by root division. The plant should be at least two years old before you try to divide it, and the best season to do it is in the spring when you’ll be repotting it.
Although it may seem intimidating to just tear your precious plant into two or more smaller plants, dividing a Calathea Ornata plant is an easy, straightforward, and sort of natural process.
Clumping perennials are designed to reproduce by division – each set of leaves from the mother plant is equipped with its own root systems so it can live as an individual plant from the start.
On the other hand, if clumping plants are never divided, they will suffer and may die out in the center.
How Do I Divide Calathea?
Even though dividing a large-clumped plant is good for it, it still represents a stressful activity for the plant. Thus, good preparation and careful execution of clump division is the essence of success.
Here are steps to take to divide your Calathea successfully.
- A day before division, soak your plant(s) nicely – you want it to have enough water in its system so it can take a period of disturbance and re-rooting. Also, hydrated roots will be less prone to division damage.
- Before taking the plant out of the pot, get new pots with substrate mixes ready, so you can instantly plant your new Calathea plants (putting them in the new soil ASAP will cause the plants less stress).
- Hold one hand over the top of the soil/root ball and carefully turn the pot upside down while holding the plant and the clump by its base. If the pot is heavy or bulky, turn it to the side and carefully scoop the plant out.
- Most Calatheas have fragile root systems that require careful and gentle division, best done by hand. It is inevitable to damage a few roots, but if you damage too many of them, it could negatively impact growth after division.
- You need to control the conditions for the newly-divided plants carefully. Keep them in a room with sufficient humidity (translating to “as much as humidity as possible”), but with reduced light for two to four weeks until you notice that the plants have started growing actively again. The soil should always be moist but never damp.
- Each time you re-pot your plants – every few years in the spring, as soon as you notice the clump overgrowth – plan on dividing them again to ensure healthy and vigorous growth. Remember that while dividing a clumping plant is momentarily stressful and slightly risky, it is good for the plant in the long run.
Can You Propagate Calathea By Cuttings?
Unfortunately, Calathea Ornata cannot be propagated by cuttings. The leaves and the leaf stems don’t seem to have enough plant tissue to support rooting.
The only alternative to root division is to start new Calathea plants from seeds. These are not a frequent find, but they can often be bought at retailers online.
To Sum It Up
You can – and should – propagate your Calathea plants every few years by root division. That way, you’ll get two or multiple new, fully-formed plants right away.
After two to four weeks of TLC in high humidity and lower light conditions, the newly divided and planted Calatheas will be ready to fill your rooms with some jungle plant glory or stun your friends as a beautiful gift.