Rescue Tips: How to Save a Dying Calathea Plant

Have you ever wondered how to save a dying calathea plant? Whether you’re an experienced plant parent or a beginner, witnessing your beloved calathea wilt can be disheartening. But fear not, because we have expert advice to help you bring your dying calathea back to life.

But first, let’s address an important question: Is it actually possible to revive a dying calathea plant? Many believe that once a calathea starts wilting, it’s a lost cause. However, we challenge this common belief and present you with proven strategies to rescue your ailing calathea.

calathea plants

Understanding the Needs of a Calathea Plant

Before taking any measures to save your dying calathea plant, it is crucial to understand its specific care requirements. Calathea plants are known for their vibrant foliage and unique patterns, making them popular choices among houseplant enthusiasts. However, they can be quite sensitive and have specific needs to thrive.

Here are some important calathea plant care tips to keep in mind:

  1. Lighting: Calathea plants prefer bright, indirect light. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight as it can scorch their leaves. If the leaves start to fade or curl, it may indicate inadequate lighting.
  2. Temperature and Humidity: Calatheas thrive in warm and humid environments, ideally between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 27 degrees Celsius). They also prefer higher humidity levels, so consider using a humidifier or placing them on a pebble tray to increase moisture around the plant.
  3. Watering: Proper watering is crucial for calathea plants. They prefer consistently moist soil, but overwatering can lead to root rot. Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry, and ensure proper drainage to prevent waterlogging.
  4. Soil and Fertilizer: Calatheas thrive in well-draining and nutrient-rich soil. Use a mixture of peat moss, perlite, and compost for optimal growth. Fertilize the plant with a balanced houseplant fertilizer during the growing season, following the package instructions.
  5. Pruning and Maintenance: Regularly remove yellow or brown leaves to maintain the plant’s overall health. Dust the leaves occasionally using a damp cloth to ensure proper photosynthesis.

Read our all plant care tips by clicking here.

Additionally, it is essential to be aware of common calathea problems that you may encounter:

  • Leaf Curling: Curling leaves can indicate low humidity levels, overwatering, or inadequate lighting.
  • Brown Leaf Tips: Brown tips may be a sign of underwatering or low humidity. Adjust your watering routine and humidity levels accordingly.
  • Leaf Browning: Browning leaves can be caused by direct sunlight or harsh drafts. Move the plant to a more suitable location.
  • Pest Infestations: Calatheas are susceptible to pests like spider mites and mealybugs. Regularly inspect the plant for signs of infestation and treat them promptly using appropriate pest control methods.
How to Save a Dying Calathea Plant

By understanding the needs of your calathea plant and addressing any issues it may face, you can ensure its health and enjoy its stunning foliage for years to come.

Identifying the Signs of a Dying Calathea

Recognizing the symptoms of a dying calathea is crucial when it comes to rescuing it and reviving its vitality. By accurately identifying the signs, you can take the necessary steps to troubleshoot and address the underlying issues. Here are the common indicators that your calathea plant may be wilting or in decline:

  • Wilting leaves: Drooping or sagging leaves are a clear indication that your calathea is experiencing distress. The leaves may appear limp, curled, or even turn brown at the edges.
  • Discoloration: Yellowing or browning of the leaves, especially along the veins, can be a sign of nutrient deficiencies, overwatering, or root problems.
  • Leaf droppage: If your calathea is shedding leaves excessively, it’s a sign that something is not right. This can occur due to environmental stress, improper watering, or nutrient imbalances.
  • Lack of new growth: A dying calathea may show a lack of new leaves or stunted growth. This could be caused by inadequate lighting, poor soil quality, or improper care.
  • Dry or soggy soil: Checking the moisture level of the soil is essential. Overly dry soil indicates a lack of water, while excessively wet or waterlogged soil can lead to root rot or fungal issues.

By observing these signs, you can quickly identify if your calathea plant is in distress and take the necessary steps to revive it. In the following sections, we will explore various methods and techniques to rescue your dying calathea leaves and troubleshoot any potential issues that may be affecting your plant’s health.

Assessing the Environmental Factors

When your calathea plant starts to decline, it’s essential to assess the environmental conditions it is experiencing. Several factors can contribute to its deterioration, including inadequate lighting, poor humidity levels, and incorrect temperatures. By evaluating these elements, you can identify and address the issues that may be causing your calathea to wither. Let’s explore each of these factors in detail:

calathea plants


Calathea plants thrive in medium to bright indirect light. Insufficient or excessive light can affect their growth and overall health. Inspect the location of your plant and determine if it is receiving the right amount of light. If it’s placed in a dim corner or directly under harsh sunlight, it could be a reason for its decline. Consider relocating it to an area with more suitable lighting conditions.


Calatheas prefer high humidity levels to mimic their natural tropical habitat. Dry indoor air can cause the foliage to dry out and brown at the edges. Increase the humidity around your plant by placing a tray of water nearby, using a humidifier, or grouping it with other plants. Mist the leaves occasionally to provide additional moisture.


Calatheas thrive in temperatures between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C). Drastic temperature fluctuations or exposure to drafts can stress the plant and lead to its decline. Ensure that your calathea is placed away from cold drafts, air conditioning vents, and sources of heat, such as radiators or heaters.


Assessing environmental factors such as lighting, humidity, and temperatures is crucial in identifying the potential causes of a dying calathea plant. By providing the right conditions, you can help revive your calathea and restore its vitality. Let’s move on to the next section, where we will discuss adjusting watering and drainage practices to further aid in reviving your plant.

Environmental FactorImpact on CalatheaPotential Solutions
LightingInadequate light leads to weak growth and pale foliage, while excessive light can cause scorching and browning of leaves.– Place the plant in a location with medium to bright indirect light
– Use sheer curtains or blinds to filter excessive sunlight
– Consider using artificial grow lights if natural light is insufficient
HumidityLow humidity causes dry leaf edges, while high humidity promotes lush growth and vibrant foliage.– Increase humidity by using a humidifier or placing a tray of water near the plant
– Group the plant with other moisture-loving plants
– Mist the leaves occasionally with room-temperature water
TemperaturesExtreme temperatures and drafts can stress the plant and lead to leaf curling, discoloration, or browning.– Keep the plant away from cold drafts and direct exposure to heating or cooling sources
– Maintaining a consistent room temperature within the optimal range
– Consider using temperature-regulating devices, such as insulation wraps during extreme weather conditions

Adjusting Watering and Drainage Practices

When it comes to reviving a dying calathea plant, proper watering and drainage practices are crucial. These two factors play a significant role in the plant’s survival and overall health. In this section, we will discuss the right techniques for watering your calathea, including the frequency and quantity, as well as the importance of ensuring adequate drainage.

Watering Techniques

The key to watering a calathea plant is finding the balance between drought and overwatering. Underwatering can cause the plant to wilt and droop, while overwatering can lead to root rot and other diseases. Here are some important watering tips to revive your dying calathea:

  • Water your calathea thoroughly until water drains out of the bottom of the pot.
  • Allow the top inch of the soil to dry out before watering again.
  • Use room temperature or lukewarm water to avoid shocking the roots.
  • Avoid misting the leaves directly as it can encourage fungal growth.

Ensuring Adequate Drainage

Proper drainage is essential to prevent waterlogging and root rot in a calathea plant. Here’s how you can ensure adequate drainage:

  • Choose a well-draining potting mix specifically formulated for tropical plants.
  • Use pots with drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.
  • Avoid leaving your calathea in standing water; empty the saucer after watering.
  • Consider adding a layer of rocks, pebbles, or perlite at the bottom of the pot to improve drainage.

Remember, overwatering is one of the most common causes of a dying calathea. It’s better to underwater your plant slightly than to overwater it. Monitor the soil moisture and adjust your watering practices accordingly.

By adjusting your watering and drainage practices, you can significantly improve the chances of reviving your dying calathea plant. Remember to be patient and observe the plant’s response to the changes you make. With proper care, your calathea can bounce back and thrive once again.

Diagnosing and Treating Pest Infestations

Pests can wreak havoc on the health of your calathea plant and contribute to its decline. It’s essential to be aware of common pests that affect calathea plants and know how to diagnose and treat infestations effectively to ensure the well-being of your plant.

Common Pests Affecting Calathea Plants

Calathea plants are susceptible to various pests that can cause significant damage if left untreated. Some of the common pests that may infest your calathea include:

  • Mealybugs: These small, cottony insects can be found on the leaves or in leaf axils of your calathea. They suck sap from the plant, leading to stunted growth and yellowing foliage.
  • Spider Mites: These tiny arachnids are usually found on the underside of the leaves. They feed on plant fluids, causing webbing, yellow speckling, and overall decline in the plant’s health.
  • Fungus Gnats: These small flying insects lay their eggs in the soil. The larvae feed on the roots of your calathea, causing yellowing leaves, wilting, and stunted growth.

Diagnosing Pest Infestations

It’s essential to be able to identify the signs of pest infestations in your calathea plant. Look out for the following symptoms:

  1. Visible pests: Check the leaves, stems, and soil for any signs of insects or pests. Use a magnifying glass if necessary to spot the small pests.
  2. Damage to leaves: Look for chewed or discolored leaves, holes, or webbing. These can indicate the presence of pests.
  3. Stunted growth: If your calathea is not growing as expected despite providing proper care, it may be a sign of pests affecting the root system.
  4. Wilting or yellowing leaves: Pests can cause damage to the plant’s vascular system, leading to wilting or yellowing leaves.

Treating Pest Infestations

Once you have identified a pest infestation in your calathea, prompt action is crucial to prevent further damage. Here are some effective methods to treat and control pest infestations:

1. Isolate the plant: Move the infected calathea away from other plants to prevent the infestation from spreading.

2. Manual removal: Carefully remove visible pests using tweezers or a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

3. Natural remedies: Use organic insecticidal soaps or oils to treat your calathea. Neem oil is a popular choice as it is effective against a wide range of pests.

4. Systemic insecticides: If natural remedies don’t work, as a last resort, you can use a systemic insecticide specifically formulated for houseplants. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

It’s essential to monitor your calathea plant closely after treating the infestation. Repeat the treatment as needed until the pests are entirely eliminated.

Reviving Wilting Calathea Leaves

Wilting leaves are a telltale sign that your calathea plant is experiencing distress. To revive wilting calathea leaves and restore their vibrancy, it’s essential to address the underlying causes and provide the necessary care.

Proper Watering

One of the main reasons for wilting leaves is improper watering. Calathea plants prefer consistently moist soil, but not waterlogged conditions. To revive your wilting calathea, follow these watering tips:

  1. Water your calathea thoroughly, ensuring the top inch of soil is moist.
  2. Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings, but avoid letting it completely dry out.
  3. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot and further stress the plant.

Humidity Adjustment

Calathea plants thrive in humid environments. If the air is too dry, it can cause the leaves to wilt. To increase humidity and revive your calathea, try the following methods:

  • Place a humidifier near your plant to create a more humid environment.
  • Mist the leaves with water regularly, especially during drier months.
  • Group your calathea with other plants or place it on a pebble tray filled with water to increase humidity levels.

Leaf Care Techniques

Taking care of the leaves is crucial for reviving wilting calathea. Follow these leaf care techniques to promote their recovery:

  • Remove any yellow or brown leaves to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and improve their ability to absorb light.
  • Avoid placing your calathea in direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves and worsen wilting.

Expert Tip

“Reviving wilting calathea leaves requires a combination of proper watering, humidity adjustment, and dedicated leaf care. By addressing these factors, you can bring your calathea back to its lush and vibrant state.” – Jane Green, Plant Care Expert

Common Causes of Wilting Calathea LeavesReviving Techniques
Inadequate wateringProper watering techniques
Dry airHumidity adjustment methods
Disease or pestsTimely treatment and care

Addressing Root Issues and Soil Problems

Root issues and soil problems can be detrimental to the overall health of your calathea plant. If you find yourself wondering, “Is my calathea dead?” or “How to revive a calathea?”, it’s essential to check for root-related issues and soil problems that may be causing your plant’s decline.

Start by gently removing your calathea plant from its pot and examining the roots. Healthy roots should be firm, white, and free from rot or mushy texture. If you notice any signs of root rot, such as a foul odor or blackened roots, it’s crucial to take immediate action.

If the roots are healthy, the next step is to assess the soil. A well-draining and nutrient-rich soil mix is crucial for the optimal growth of a calathea plant. Ensure that the soil isn’t compacted and has proper aeration to allow the roots to breathe.

If you suspect soil issues, consider repotting your calathea using a fresh potting mix specifically formulated for houseplants. Be sure to choose a pot with good drainage to prevent waterlogged conditions that can contribute to root problems.

“Root issues and soil problems can be detrimental to the overall health of your calathea plant.”

Once you have addressed any root or soil issues, it’s essential to monitor the plant’s progress closely. Provide optimal care in terms of watering, lighting, and humidity to promote its recovery. With proper attention and care, your calathea can make a remarkable comeback and regain its vibrant beauty.

Providing Adequate Light and Humidity

Proper light and humidity levels are essential for the well-being of your calathea plant. Ensuring the right conditions will not only help save a dying calathea but also promote its long-term health. Here are some tips to optimize light and humidity for your calathea:

1. Lighting Conditions:

Calathea plants thrive in bright, indirect light. They prefer being shielded from direct sunlight, as it can scorch their leaves. Place your calathea near a north-facing window or create a filtered light environment using sheer curtains or a thin fabric.

Expert Tip: If you notice your calathea’s leaves are fading or burning, it may be a sign that it’s receiving too much light. Adjust the placement accordingly.

2. Humidity Requirements:

Calathea plants originate from tropical regions and thrive in high humidity environments. To provide adequate humidity:

  • Group your calathea with other plants to naturally increase humidity levels.
  • Mist the leaves regularly, especially during dry seasons or if your home has low humidity.
  • Use a room humidifier to maintain optimal humidity levels, particularly during winter when air tends to be drier.

Remember, maintaining consistent humidity is crucial to prevent your calathea from drying out and losing its vibrant foliage. By taking steps to optimize light and humidity, you can ensure a healthy and thriving calathea plant.

Implementing Maintenance Practices for Longevity

Regular maintenance practices are essential for the longevity of your calathea plant. By implementing these tips and practices, you can ensure that your calathea remains healthy, thriving, and problem-free for years to come.

First and foremost, it is important to establish a consistent watering routine for your calathea. This tropical plant prefers moist, but not soggy, soil. Water your calathea when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, ensuring that you provide sufficient moisture without overwatering. Remember to use room temperature water to avoid shocking the plant.

In addition to proper watering, maintaining the ideal humidity levels is crucial for calathea plant care. Being native to tropical regions, calathea plants thrive in high humidity environments. To increase humidity levels around your calathea, you can mist the leaves regularly, place a humidifier nearby, or create a pebble tray by adding water-filled trays beneath the plant’s pot.

Regularly inspect your calathea for any signs of common issues such as pests, yellowing leaves, or brown leaf tips. If you notice any problems, take immediate action to address them. For example, if pests are detected, use organic insecticidal soap to eliminate them without harming the plant.


How can I save a dying calathea plant?

To save a dying calathea plant, it is important to assess and address environmental factors, adjust watering and drainage practices, diagnose and treat pest infestations, revive wilting leaves, and address root issues and soil problems. Follow the detailed steps in each section to revive your fading calathea.

What are the care tips for a calathea plant?

Calathea plants require specific care to thrive. Provide them with indirect, filtered light, maintain high humidity levels, water them regularly but avoid overwatering, use well-draining soil, and ensure temperatures range between 60°F and 75°F. Regularly check for pests and ensure proper airflow around the plant.

How can I identify signs of a dying calathea?

Signs of a dying calathea include yellowing or browning leaves, wilting or drooping foliage, stunted growth, pest infestations, and root rot. Observing these symptoms will help you identify and address the specific issues causing your calathea’s decline.

Why is my calathea dying?

Your calathea may be dying due to various reasons, including inadequate lighting, low humidity, over or underwatering, pest infestations, root issues, and soil problems. Assessing these factors will help you determine the specific cause of your calathea’s decline.

How should I adjust my watering and drainage practices for a dying calathea?

Adjusting your watering and drainage practices is crucial when trying to revive a dying calathea. Water your plant when the top inch of soil feels dry, ensuring that excess water drains out properly. Avoid standing water, as it can cause root rot. Use a well-draining soil mix to ensure proper moisture levels.

How can I diagnose and treat pest infestations on my calathea?

Pests like spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids can infest calathea plants. To diagnose pest infestations, check for visible signs such as webbing, tiny insects, or sticky residue. Treat them by washing leaves with mild soapy water, using natural pest control methods, or using insecticidal soap or neem oil.

How can I revive wilting calathea leaves?

Reviving wilting calathea leaves involves adjusting watering practices, increasing humidity, misting leaves, placing the plant near a humidifier or pebble tray, and removing any yellow or brown leaves. These steps will help provide the necessary moisture and improve the overall health of the plant.

How do I address root issues and soil problems in a dying calathea plant?

Address root issues and soil problems in a dying calathea by inspecting the roots for rot or damage, repotting the plant using fresh, well-draining soil, ensuring proper drainage, and trimming any unhealthy roots. These measures will help rejuvenate the plant’s root system and promote healthier growth.

How can I provide adequate light and humidity for my calathea?

Provide your calathea with bright, indirect light, avoiding direct sunlight that can scorch the leaves. Protect them from drafts and provide high humidity levels by misting the leaves, using a humidifier, placing the plant near a pebble tray with water, or grouping it with other plants.

What maintenance practices should I implement to ensure the longevity of my calathea plant?

To ensure the longevity of your calathea, maintain consistent care. Regularly dust the leaves, keep an eye out for pests, monitor soil moisture levels, trim any dead or damaged foliage, and provide a stable environment with proper lighting and humidity. These practices will promote a healthy and vibrant calathea.

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