Plant Care: Goeppertia Orbifolia (Calathea)

Aug 7, 2023

Indoor gardening can be quite an exciting venture for you, having all the lush greenery thrives and the beauty of nature gracing our living spaces. But how can you perfect in-house gardening? Exploring the art of caring for the specific plant you wish to grow is essential. In the present case, Goeppertia orbifolia is commonly known as Calathea orbifolia.

You might not want to risk housing this plant without prior knowledge. Whether you’re a seasoned indoor gardener or just starting your green journey, I will give you valuable insights on how to grow and care for Calathea Orbifolia, ensuring it flourishes beautifully in your home. Thank me later!

Getting to Know Goeppertia Orbifolia

Native to the tropical regions of South America, The Goeppertia orbifolia, also known as the Calathea orbifolia, is a true gem of the forest floors. This captivating plant, belonging to the Calathea family, is known for featuring large, round, oval leaves adorned with mesmerizing silver patterns. I like it for its striking appearance and graceful demeanor, which make it a favorite among indoor plant enthusiasts.

The Calathea orbifolia is a popular houseplant because it is relatively easy to care for. To truly understand and cater to a plant’s needs, origins, and natural characteristics, recreate its preferred environment.

Calathea Orbifolia Plant Care: The Perfect Growing Environment

Calathea orbifolia often flourishes when provided with an environment closely resembling its native habitat.


One crucial consideration for your Calathea orbifolia is lighting. While it enjoys bright, indirect light, it’s best to shield it from direct sunlight, which can lead to leaf burn. Too much direct sunlight can often scorch the leaves, while too little light will cause them to lose color. A north-facing window is ideal, but an east- or west-facing window with sheer curtains will also work perfectly for you. It is therefore of great importance to discover the ideal locations in your home for this plant and how to adjust lighting conditions to keep it content.


In addition to proper lighting, temperature plays a significant role in the well-being of your tropical beauty. Calathea orbifolia is not tolerant of cold or drafty conditions. You therefore ought to provide a warm and humid environment, with temperatures of approximately  65°F to 75°F ( 18°C to 24°C), which will keep your Calathea orbifolia thriving. I often advise one to maintain consistent temperature and humidity levels, especially during seasonal changes for the flourishing of your home plant.


The Goeppertia orbifolia prefers a well-draining, slightly acidic soil rich in organic matter. Therefore, a good potting mix for this plant would be a mixture of peat moss, perlite, and orchid bark. The peat moss will help to retain moisture, the perlite will help to improve drainage, and the orchid bark will help to add air to the soil. 

The soil should also be slightly acidic, with a pH of around 6.5. The type of soil and potting is quite essential for the growth of any indoor house plant and specifically Goeppertia orbifolia; I’ll thus refer you to the below instructions;

  • Avoid using potting mixes that are designed for cacti or succulents, since their mixes are too draining for your Goeppertia orbifolia.
  • If you cannot find a potting mix specifically designed for tropical plants, you can make your own by mixing equal parts peat moss, perlite, and orchid bark.
  • Remember to report your Goeppertia orbifold every year or two into a pot that is one size larger. This will help to ensure that the plant has enough room to grow.

Watering and Moisture

I’ll often describe watering as an art in indoor gardening, and Calathea Orbifolia care demands thoughtful attention in this aspect. Striking the perfect balance between too much and too little water is vital to prevent problems like root rot or leaf curling. Exploring the watering needs of your plant and learning practical tips on the same helps you ensure it receives the right amount of moisture.

The Calathea orbifolia just like the  Italian Ice Weed strain likes to be kept moist but not soggy. Do not forget to water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry. You can also help keep the soil moist by placing the pot on a tray of pebbles filled with water. Additionally,  it is crucial to use filtered or distilled water to help you avoid the harmful chemicals present in tap water.

Fertilizing for Optimal Growth

For the plant to achieve robust growth and vibrant foliage, proper fertilization is essential. Fertilizer gives the indoor plant the nutrients it needs to grow and thrive. The Calathea orbifolia plant requires a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nitrogen helps the plant to produce new leaves, phosphorus helps the plant to form roots, and potassium herein helps the plant to resist pests and diseases.

The fertilizer ought to be applied to the Goeppertia orbifolia once a month during the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing. I’ve also achieved excellent results while using liquid fertilizer or a slow-release fertilizer. However, if you are using a liquid fertilizer, then dilute it according to the instructions on writing the label. Moreover,if you are using a slow-release fertilizer, align with the directions on the package. Holding all the information constant, the following precautions ought to be held in mind;

  • Avoid over-fertilizing the Goeppertia orbifolia, as this can damage the plant. However, use less fertilizer than more.
  • Water the plant thoroughly before fertilizing. This will help to prevent the fertilizer from burning the roots.
  • Apply the selected fertilizer to the soil around the plant, not directly on the leaves.
  • Do not fertilize the plant if the soil is wet.
  • If you use a liquid fertilizer, apply it in the morning so the leaves have time to dry before nightfall.

Humidity and Misting

The Goeppertia orbifolia prefers high humidity. If you live in a dry climate, you can help to increase the humidity around the plant by placing it in a room with a humidifier. The ideal humidity level for the Goeppertia orbifolia is relatively around 60% or higher. The leaves will automatically curl if the humidity is very low, and the plant may not thrive. If the humidity is too high, the leaves may start to turn yellow.  Some additional tips for increasing the humidity around your Goeppertia orbifolia from my experience include:

  • Placing the plant on a medium-sized pebble tray filled with water.
  • Grouping the plant with other plants that also prefer high humidity.
  • Mist the leaves with water regularly.
  • Employing the use of a humidifier in the room where the plant is located.

When one adheres to these tips, they will ensure that your Goeppertia orbifold has the humidity it needs to thrive. Furthermore, some of the personally observed signs that your Goeppertia orbifolia is not getting enough humidity include:

  • The leaves start to curl.
  • The leaves start to turn yellow.
  • The leaves start to brown at the edges.

If you notice any of these signs, swiftly apply the listed tips to increase the humidity around the plant.

Managing Pests and Diseases

Vigilance is crucial in indoor gardening, and part of nurturing Calathea orbifolia involves keeping an eye out for pests and diseases. It is evident that pests and diseases can often be a significant problem for Goeppertia orbifolia plants. 

Being a derivative of the genus Calathea, some common pests that can attack these plants include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale, while common diseases that can attack these plants include leaf spot, root rot, and wilt. I’d therefore call upon you to inspect your Goeppertia orbifold plant regularly for signs of pests and diseases. And eventually, if you notice any pests or diseases present, take action immediately to control them.

Some tips for preventing pests and diseases on your Goeppertia orbifolia include:

  • Inspect your plant regularly: In my honest opinion, this is the best way to catch pests and diseases early when they are easier to control.
  • Isolate new plants: Before bringing a new plant into your home, quarantine it for a few weeks to ensure it is not carrying any pests or diseases.
  • Water your plant properly: Overwatering can often lead to root rot, which is a prevalent disease in Goeppertia orbifolia plants.
  • Keep your plant clean: Dust and debris can harbor pests and diseases, so it is vital to keep your plant clean.
  • Rotate your plant: Often rotating  your plant will help to prevent pests and diseases from getting established.

Pruning and Propagation Techniques

Regular pruning is essential for maintaining the aesthetic appeal of your Calathea orbifolia. The Calathea orbifolia can be propagated by division or by leaf cuttings. To propagate by division; carefully separate a young plant from the mother plant and replant it in a new pot. To propagate, cut a healthy leaf from the plant and remove the bottom few inches of the petiole. Finally, dip your cutting in the rooting hormone and plant it in a pot of moist potting mix.

Don’t Go Yet Until You Know This

Holding all the above Calathea orbifolia care information constant, you can help your Goeppertia orbifolia plant reach its full potential.   This will only happen after adhering to the additional tips and making your plant enjoy its beauty for years to come.

  • If your Calathea orbifolia‘s leaves start to curl, it is a sign that the plant is not getting enough humidity. Try increasing the humidity around the plant or misting the leaves with water regularly.
  • If your Calathea orbifolia’s leaves start to turn yellow, it is a sign that the plant is getting too much water. Allow the soil to dry out slightly before watering again.
  • If your Calathea orbifolia‘s leaves start to develop brown spots, it is a sign that the plant is not getting enough light. Move the plant to a brighter location.

Bottom Line

Armed with the knowledge and insights on Calathea orbifolia care, you are now ready to cultivate a thriving plant in your home. From experience, I can confidently tell you that the Goeppertia orbifolia is a beautiful and easy-to-care-for plant that can add a touch of tropical flair to any home. With proper care, this plant can thrive for many years. You can do it!