How to Grow and Care for Calathea Warscewiczii

Calathea Warscewiczii on white countertop.

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Calathea warscewiczii is a rare type of calathea known for its soft, velvety leaves. As a houseplant, it grows best with moist, well-drained soil and bright, indirect light. Calathea warscewiczii's foliage has light green veins and ribs over deep green, with burgundy or purple undersides. This tropical plant is native to the jungles of Central America, but it's often kept indoors in cooler climates.


Note that Calathea warscewiczii was recently reclassified as Goeppertia warscewiczii, but both names describe the same plant.

 Common Name:  Jungle velvet calathea
 Botanical Name:   Goeppertia warscewiczii (formerly Calathea warscewiczii)
 Family:   Marantaceae
 Plant Type:   Herbaceous, Perennial
 Mature Size:  3-4 ft. tall, 3-4 ft. wide
 Sun Exposure:   Partial
 Soil Type:   Well-drained
 Soil pH:   Neutral
 Hardiness Zones:   11-12 (USDA)
 Native Area:   Central America

Calathea Warscewiczii Care

Some general tips to ensure your Calathea warscewiczii does well are to plant it in well-drained potting soil that holds moisture, and be sure to put it in a place with medium to bright indirect light. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings, and fertilize with balanced houseplant fertilizer once per month in spring and summer.


Like other calatheas, Calathea warscewiczii requires medium to bright indirect light to thrive. Put this plant in a north- or east-facing window, or several feet from a south- or west-facing window out of direct sun. Too much sunlight can sunburn the leaves and cause dry, brown spots to develop.


Pot your Calathea warscewiczii in a well-drained potting mix. You can use standard houseplant potting soil as long as it has good drainage, but we encourage you to make your own. Blending one part potting soil, one part coconut coir, and one part perlite is a great mixture for houseplants.


Water your Calathea warscewiczii when the top inch or so of soil has dried out. Check soil moisture regularly to determine when the plant needs water rather than watering on a set schedule. While the soil should stay mostly moist, it's important that your plant never sits in water.


Because additives in tap water like fluoride can cause plants like Calathea warscewiczii to develop brown tips, you may want to use distilled water or rainwater instead.

Temperature and Humidity

Calathea warscewiczii grows best in conditions that mimic its tropical native area. If possible, keep this plant in a space between 65 and 85 degrees and at least 50 percent humidity. It may be necessary to run a humidifier in the room with your plant to add moisture to the air, especially in winter.


Calathea warscewiczii isn't a heavy feeder, but your plant will benefit from monthly fertilizing during the growing season. Use a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength in the spring and summer. Water the plant before applying fertilizer.


Calathea warscewiczii doesn't require significant pruning, but it's a good idea to keep it looking tidy. Use sharp scissors or pruners to snip away dead or dying leaves at the base of the stem as they appear. If the plant blooms, remove the flowers after they fade to support leaf growth.

Propagating Calathea Warscewiczii

You can propagate Calathea warscewiczii by division. Like other calatheas, this plant doesn't like its roots to be disturbed, so handle the root ball as delicately as possible during the process.

To propagate Calathea warscewiczii, you'll need a small plant pot, potting mix, sterilized shears or scissors, a clear plastic bag, and optional gardening gloves.

  1. Carefully top the plant out of its pot and examine the root ball. Look for sections of rhizome with leaf growth attached.
  2. Use your hands and gently pull apart the root ball to remove the rhizome and its leaf growth. If you can't tease the roots apart with your fingers, you can cut them apart.
  3. Fill the plant pot partially with fresh potting mix. Place the division in the pot and fill in with potting mix until the soil line is at the same place it was on the mother plant. Water the new plant well.
  4. Put the division in a warm place with bright, indirect light. Tent the plastic bag over the plant to create a humid microclimate. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Repeat this process with other divisions of the mother plant.
  5. When you see new leaf growth, the division has recovered and can be cared for as usual.

Potting and Repotting Calathea Warscewiczii

Since Calathea warscewiczii's roots are so sensitive, it's best to avoid repotting until the plant is potbound. Signs include roots growing out of the holes in the bottom of the pot or if growth is stunted no matter what other interventions you might try. Go up only one pot size and always use fresh soil when repotting. To keep from disturbing the roots more often than necessary, plan to divide your plant during repotting if you'd like to propagate it.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases 

As with other calatheas, Calathea warscewiczii is particularly susceptible to spider mites. Inspect your plant regularly and watch for wilting or curling leaves, webbing, or tiny white marks on leaves—all signs of spider mites. This plant can also be affected by other common houseplant pests like aphids, mealybugs, and scale.

Common Problems With Calathea Warscewiczii

Calathea warscewiczii, like other calatheas, isn't the most easygoing plant. Keep an eye out for these signs of trouble and act quickly to keep your plant healthy.

Leaves Turning Yellow

Yellow leaves are a common symptom of overwatering. Check the plant's soil. If it's very wet or soggy and you've been watering regularly, stop watering and wait until the top inch of soil has dried out to water again. Make sure the plant is in a pot with adequate drainage, and be sure to empty drip trays so it never sits in water. Note that the occasional yellow leaf on an otherwise healthy plant is totally normal.

Curling Leaves

Curling leaves can be caused by pests like spider mites or by underwatering. Examine the plant for signs of pests, check the soil moisture, and adjust accordingly.

Browning Tips

Browning tips on Calathea warscewiczii can be caused by overly dry conditions. Run a humidifier near the plant, group it with other tropicals to create a humid microclimate, or move the plant to a more humid room, such as a bathroom. Browning tips can also be caused by chemicals like fluoride and chlorine in tap water. Switch to distilled water or rainwater instead.

  • Is Calathea warscewiczii hard to care for?

    In general, calatheas are considered more difficult to care for than many low-maintenance houseplants. They need high humidity, have specific watering needs, and don't do well when their roots are disturbed during repotting or dividing. They still make great houseplants, but they need a little extra care and the right conditions.

  • Where should I put Calathea warscewiczii?

    Put Calathea warscewiczii in a warm, humid place with bright, indirect light. Make sure the plant is out of direct sunlight, which can burn the leaves.

  • Can you grow Calathea warscewiczii indoors?

    Yes, Calathea warscewiczii makes an excellent houseplant with the right care and proper conditions.