Pinstripe Calathea (Calathea ornata)

Calathea ornata, commonly known as the Pinstripe Calathea, is one of the most popular varieties of Calatheas.

Calathea ornata is an evergreen perennial native to the humid subtropical and tropical climates of Central and South America.

It’s admired for its bright green, striped leaves that appear slightly lighter on its edges.

This Calathea is a great addition to a terrarium or semi-aquatic vivarium with its low light, humidity, and temperature requirements.

Quick Stats:

Scientific Name:  Calathea ornata

Family:  Marantaceae

Common Names:  Pinstripe Calathea, Pin-Stripe Prayer Plant

Habitat:  Rainforests

Height: 3 to 9 feet in the wild

pH Range: 5.5 – 6.5

Temperature: 65°F to 85°F

What Is Calathea ornata?

Calathea ornata, or the Pinstripe Calathea, is an evergreen perennial native to South America. It’s an elegant houseplant with attractive variegation.

The oval-shaped, bright green leaves have white stripes that are highlighted on the edges, giving this plant its unique appearance.

The Pinstripe Calathea is a low-light, humidity, and temperature-loving houseplant that will thrive in a tropical vivarium setup.

Pinstripe Calathea ornata | The Complete Plant Care Guide

Calathea ornata Facts

Calathea is a genus of plants, native to Central and South America, that is highly sought after due to its unique and beautiful foliage.

There are around 300 species and many hybrids of Calatheas. Many of the species are sold in nurseries and online, due to their eye-catching foliage.

You may also find them in the wild in tropical rainforest habitats.


The pinstripe Calathea is a very beautiful and eye-catching houseplant. As mentioned before, it has bright green leaves which are striped with white bands and highlighted on the edges.

Each leaf is oval-shaped and is held up by a slender petiole. The foliage of this Calathea is so delicate and tender, that a slight touch can take away its beautiful stripes.


The subtropical and tropical climates of Central and South America are the native habitats of Calathea ornata.

This tropical terrarium plant is commonly found in humid climates like rainforests, where plenty of moisture and humidity is available.

The ideal temperatures for this Calathea should range from 65°F to 85°F, otherwise, the leaves may turn yellow.

pH Preference

Calathea ornata prefers a mildly acidic environment with soil pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5.

If the pH level of the soil is too low, the leaves of this plant can turn yellow.

It’s also important to note that this plant is sensitive to fluctuations in soil pH.

Vivarium Type

Pinstripe Calathea is quite an easy-going species. With that in mind, it will not be too complicated when choosing the type of enclosure it is grown in. It is best to try and replicate the plant’s natural habitat as much as possible.

Doing so will make it easier to provide this foliage plant with its basic needs. The proper setup and theme of the enclosure will make a big difference to the overall look and health of the plant. Be sure to choose setups that are moist and high in humidity.

Here are recommended vivariums it will do well in:

  • Paludariums – Half aquatic/ half terrain-based enclosure.
  • Ripariums – Mostly aquatic-based enclosures with some terrain features present.
  • Aquariums – Fully aquatic-based enclosure with little to no dry terrain.

Vivarium Placement

The pinstripe Calathea does best when placed in the background of an enclosure.

It needs plenty of room to grow and should be situated away from direct sunlight.

It is best placed between taller plants, to provide shade and diffused light.


This Calathea will do best in a well-drained terrarium soil mix. A good mix that holds moisture but also allows airflow is an ideal choice.

The soil should not be too acidic or too alkaline or it can cause the leaves to yellow or turn brown.


Calathea ornata is a low light-loving plant and as such, it should be placed in areas that receive diffused indirect terrarium light.

Direct sunlight should be avoided since it can burn the delicate leaves of this Calathea.

When you’re placing this plant in an enclosure, find a location away from direct light and keep its base shaded with other tall plants.

Buy Calathea ornata

When buying Calathea ornata, there are a few things to keep in mind. Making sure the plant is healthy when purchased is essential for its success in a vivarium or pond. Vegetation that is already in poor conditions will have a very hard time adjusting to new environments.

Click the image below to learn more about the current price and other relative info about this plant.

Calathea ornata Care & Propagation

Calatheas can be propagated using stem or leaf cuttings. To propagate stem cuttings, cut a stem at least 6 inches long, and make sure the stem has at least 2 leaves.

Remove the leaves near the cut end and place them in moist soil, then cover them with plastic to keep the soil moist. Keep your cutting in a warm, brightly lit area and it should be rooted in 2-3 weeks.

To propagate a leaf cutting, cut a leaf at the base and make sure it’s at least 6 inches long. Place the cutting on moist soil and make sure it is kept moist until it’s rooted.

How To Grow

Calathea ornata needs to be kept warm and humid. High humidity levels should be maintained, as this plant is sensitive to dry air.

It should be kept away from direct sunlight and near a source of diffused indirect light. Keep the plant out of drafts and place it in a place where it can receive plenty of air circulation.

Water when the soil feels almost dry and uses only low pH water, as the plant is sensitive to changes in the pH level.

Fertilize every few weeks during the growing season with diluted fertilizer.

Water Requirements

The pinstripe Calathea should be watered often enough to keep the soil moist.

It prefers a high level of moisture and should be watered when the top layer of soil feels dry to the touch.

Overwatering is not advised, as this can cause the leaves to yellow or even rot.

Plants Similar To Calathea ornata

Adding diversity to an enclosure is key to an aesthetically pleasing setup. Try mixing up the look of your vivarium with different flora that can easily co-exist in the same types of environment.

Furthermore, if for some reason you find Pinstripe Calathea hard to acquire or would like to consider something similar to this terrarium plant

Here are other plants you might see will do well with or in place of Calathea ornata:

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The pinstripe Calathea is a beautiful and delicate plant that can add a beautiful touch to any home or terrarium.

This plant requires little maintenance and care but is sensitive to environmental changes. Its bright green leaves, striped with white bands and highlighted on the edges, bring out its unique beauty.

The pinstripe Calathea prefers a moderately humid environment, low light, and moderate temperatures, which makes it perfect for a terrarium or semi-aquatic vivarium.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, pinstripe Calathea plants are considered rare and hard to find in some parts of the world.

It is recommended to water Calathea ornata regularly, typically one to two times a week with lukewarm water. The soil should be kept moist but not soggy.

Yes, Calathea ornata is an indoor plant. It originates from the tropical forests of South and Central America, so it does not tolerate cold temperatures and needs plenty of humidity for its environment. It is often cultivated for its attractive, patterned foliage.

Calathea Ornata typically grows to be 23 feet in height and width.

No, Calathea ornata do not grow very quickly. They typically take several months to reach their full size.

To keep Calathea ornata happy, make sure to provide the plant with bright, indirect light and keep the soil evenly moist. Water when the top inch of soil is dry and mist the foliage to maintain high humidity. Protect the leaves from direct sunlight, as it can cause them to turn yellow. Provide temperatures between 6585 degrees Fahrenheit and fertilize monthly with a balanced soluble fertilizer.

Yes, pinstripe calathea enjoy being misted with water to help them retain moisture and boost the humidity in their environment.

Pinstripe calathea leaves may curl and become crispy due to a few different causes, such as overexposure to sunlight, irregular watering schedule, low humidity, or nutrient deficiencies. To fix the problem, move the plant to an area with higher humidity and away from direct sunlight, and adjust the watering schedule. Additionally, try fertilizing the plant with a balanced watersoluble fertilizer to replenish any depleted nutrients.

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