Fabulous houseplants: Calathea rufibarba

houseplants Calathea rufibarbaEver on the lookout for awesome houseplants, I’m always tickled when I find one that consistently performs well in our home. And that happens to be Calathea rufibarba.

I bought mine a couple of years ago from the Plant Farm in Spokane Valley and just love it.

This plant has an upright growth habit with long, curvy leaves. But what really stands out is the purple undersides of the leaves, which you can easily see without having to stand on your head!

During this time of year, our house is a bit on the cold side (primarily at night) and the air is very dry. But my Calathea doesn’t seem to mind one bit. It’s home is in our guest bath where it gets indirect sunlight, which is exactly what it needs although it does well even in lower light conditions, too.

houseplants Calathea rufibarbaOne thing I’ve noticed is that it really like its water, and it will tell me if I’ve let the soil get too dry. Fortunately, the few times that’s happened, it’s been very forgiving and quickly recovers. However, I should add a reminder not to overwater them because no plant wants its roots to be in standing water.

This plant is commonly called “Fuzzy Feathers,” which seems appropriate due to the leaves’ shape and the fact that the undersides have little hairs on them. While researching it, I noticed it prefers warm, humid settings (hmm, my house is not even close to that!) and that you should water it with distilled or filtered water. I’m not doing that either, but we are on a well, so the water doesn’t have any chlorine in it. One source mentioned how these are great plants for a terrarium setting.

I’ve also read that you can propagate Calatheas through division. One source indicates very few Calatheas will flower while another indicates Calathea rufibarba has yellow blossoms. Wouldn’t that be cool?! I’ll keep you posted on that front.

This plant will grow from 2 to 3 feet tall; mine is just over 2 feet at this point. I plan to up-pot it into a slightly larger pot in the spring.

I wholeheartedly give Calathea rufibarba two thumbs up!