Sick Calathea houseplant leaf with dry brown and yellow leaf spots

How to Save a Dying Calathea Plant?

Calathea plants are known for their stunning foliage, with intricate patterns and vibrant colors that add a touch of beauty to any indoor space. However, sometimes these lovely plants can start to show signs of decline, leaving plant owners worried about their survival. But fear not! In this simple guide, we’ll explore how to save a dying Calathea plant and bring it back to life. By assessing the plant’s condition, diagnosing the problem, and taking appropriate action, you can give your Calathea the best chance of recovery. Let’s dive in and revive your struggling plant!

Assessing the Plant’s Condition

Before diving into the rescue mission, take a moment to assess the overall condition of your Calathea plant. Look out for the following signs:

  1. Wilting Leaves: Are the leaves drooping or wilting, even when the soil is adequately moist?
  2. Yellowing Leaves: Do you notice yellowing or browning of the leaves, especially at the tips or edges?
  3. Root Health: Gently remove the plant from its pot and examine the roots. Are they mushy, brown, or emitting a foul odor?

Taking note of these signs will help you understand the extent of the plant’s distress and guide you in the right direction to save it.

Diagnosing the Problem

Now that you’ve assessed the plant’s condition, it’s time to diagnose the underlying problem. Several factors can contribute to a dying Calathea plant. Some common issues include:

  1. Improper Watering: Overwatering or underwatering can stress Calathea plants. Determine if the soil is consistently too wet or too dry.
  2. Low Humidity: Calathea plants thrive in high humidity environments. If the air in your home is dry, it can negatively impact the plant’s health.
  3. Inadequate Lighting: Insufficient or direct sunlight can cause leaf discoloration, growth issues, and overall decline.
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By identifying the specific problem(s) affecting your Calathea, you can tailor your rescue plan accordingly. In the next sections, we’ll explore various solutions to address these issues and revive your beloved plant. Stay tuned for practical tips and techniques to save your dying Calathea!

Adjusting Watering and Drainage

One of the key factors in saving a dying Calathea plant is getting the watering and drainage just right. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Proper Watering Technique: Ensure you water the Calathea plant when the top inch of soil feels slightly dry. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot. Aim for evenly moist soil, but not waterlogged.
  2. Well-Draining Soil: Use a well-draining soil mix specifically designed for houseplants. This helps prevent water from sitting around the roots, leading to root rot. Make sure your pot has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.

By adjusting your watering technique and ensuring proper drainage, you’ll help prevent further stress on the plant and promote healthier growth.

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Providing Adequate Humidity

Calathea plants originate from tropical regions and thrive in high humidity environments. Here’s how you can boost humidity for your struggling Calathea:

  1. Misting: Regularly mist the plant’s leaves using a spray bottle filled with room temperature water. This creates a humid microclimate around the plant.
  2. Pebble Tray: Place a tray filled with water and pebbles beneath the plant’s pot. As the water evaporates, it increases the humidity around the plant.
  3. Grouping Plants: Cluster your Calathea with other houseplants. As they release moisture through transpiration, it creates a more humid environment collectively.
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By providing adequate humidity, you’ll recreate the tropical conditions that Calathea plants adore, helping them recover and thrive.

Optimizing Lighting Conditions

Calathea plants prefer bright, indirect light, simulating the dappled sunlight found in their native habitats. Consider the following tips for optimal lighting conditions:

  1. Indirect Sunlight: Place your Calathea in a spot away from direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves. Opt for a location with filtered or indirect light.
  2. Bright Environment: Calathea plants enjoy bright spaces but not intense or harsh lighting. Find a spot near a north or east-facing window that provides gentle, indirect light throughout the day.

By finding the right balance of lighting conditions, you’ll help your Calathea regain its vibrant foliage and promote healthier growth.

In the next sections, we’ll explore additional steps to save your dying Calathea plant. Stay tuned for tips on trimming, pruning, and providing ongoing care. Together, we’ll bring your plant back to life!

Trimming and Pruning

To revitalize your dying Calathea plant, don’t be afraid to give it a little trim and prune. Follow these steps:

  1. Remove Dead or Yellowing Leaves: Trim off any dead, brown, or yellowing leaves using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. This helps redirect the plant’s energy to healthier foliage.
  2. Prune Leggy Stems: If your Calathea has long, leggy stems with sparse foliage, consider pruning them back. This encourages new growth and a bushier appearance.

Remember to disinfect your pruning tools before and after use to prevent the spread of diseases. Trimming and pruning will rejuvenate your Calathea and stimulate healthy growth.

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Patience and Persistence

Saving a dying Calathea plant requires patience and persistence. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Consistent Care: Provide regular care, maintaining the adjusted watering, humidity, and lighting conditions discussed earlier. Be consistent and avoid sudden changes that can stress the plant.
  2. Observe and Adjust: Continuously monitor your Calathea’s progress and make adjustments as needed. Each plant is unique, so be attentive to its responses and adapt your care accordingly.
  3. Time for Recovery: Reviving a dying Calathea plant takes time. Be patient and allow your plant the opportunity to recover and regain its health. Growth may be gradual, but with care, you’ll see positive changes over time.

Remember, each plant has its own resilience, and with your dedication, your Calathea has a good chance of bouncing back to its former glory.


Saving a dying Calathea plant requires a combination of care, adjustments, and a little TLC. By assessing the plant’s condition, diagnosing the problem, and taking appropriate actions such as adjusting watering and drainage, providing adequate humidity, optimizing lighting conditions, and trimming as needed, you can give your Calathea the best chance for recovery.

Remember to be patient and persistent in your efforts. With time, your Calathea will show signs of rejuvenation and healthier growth. Embrace the journey of nurturing your plant back to health and enjoy the beautiful foliage it brings to your space.

By following these simple steps and giving your Calathea the care it needs, you’ll witness the transformation of a struggling plant into a thriving and vibrant centerpiece. So, don’t lose hope—let’s save your dying Calathea together!

About the author

Victoria Nelson

Victoria Nelson is a passionate gardener with over a decade of experience in horticulture and sustainable gardening practices. With a degree in Horticulture, she has a deep understanding of plants, garden design, and eco-friendly gardening techniques. Victoria aims to inspire and educate gardeners of all skill levels through her engaging articles, offering practical advice drawn from her own experiences. She believes in creating beautiful, biodiverse gardens that support local wildlife. When not writing or gardening, Victoria enjoys exploring new gardens and connecting with the gardening community. Her enthusiasm for gardening is infectious, making her a cherished source of knowledge and inspiration.

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