Calathea Ornata Day and Night Nyctinasty Dance Movements


Calathea ornata and all Calathea species are famous for nyctinasty movements, it is the dance-like movement of this plant in response to day and night change. It is a fascinating thing about nature that it exists in everything. This plant leaves movement happens in response to change in the day and night cycle. But some people experience that their Calathea ornata has droopy leaves and it is not closing at night, it happens when you mess up the plant’s diurnal cycle.

When this plant moves to open its leaves during daytime it looks like someone is lifting his hands for prayers, and when the leaves close at night, it looks like one is saying Amen at the end of the prayer. It is the main reason this plant is called the prayer plant.

Calathea ornata droopy leaves occur due to negligence, you can avoid this situation by being a little more careful. Negligence and carelessness are the main cause of all problems. But for leaves drooping, problems like overwatering, excessive heat, and low humidity are the leading causes.

Why are we discussing drooping leaves with nyctinasty movement, the reason is that in the nyctinasty movement Calathea ornata leaves move up and down. This plant first rises like the sun and then goes down as the sun set, in some cases, people confuse leaves drooping, but with leaves drooping scenario there will be a halt in nyctinasty movement.

Calathea Ornata Nyctinasty Movement

Nyctinasty is the circadian base movements of this plant that happen in response to the day and night transition. A circadian clock is a biochemical oscillator that works with transition or change in a solar day. Calathea ornata is also one of those plants that work with the circadian clock, opening its leaves during the daytime and closing it at night.

The Nyctinasty movement differs from specie to specie and plant to plant. In the case of flowers during the daytime, flowers are opened whereas at night bottom petals of flowers grow at a faster rate than the upper petals it forcing the upper petals to get closed. Whereas in the case of Calathea ornata it is totally a different scenario.

In this image a calathea ornata plant is shown from the top.
Calathea Ornata

In terms of the scientific process, nyctinasty occurs because of a chemical called phototropin. A process known as phototropism is responsible for the nyctinasty. Phytochrome is a type of photoreceptor in microbes and plants that can detect light, and act as a receptor or starting point of this process, when the light falls on it the chemical called phototropin is released and the plant start moving. The phenomenon of phototropism or movement of the plant toward light was discovered before phytochrome was discovered. Charles Darwin was the one who wrote about it in his book ‘‘The Power of Plant Movement,’’ published in 1880. Phototropism happens because of a gene product known as phototropin. Indirectly phototropin is responsible for the day and night prayer movement of this plant.

Calathea Ornata Leaves Drooping

Calathea ornata plants require a lot of care as a plant to grow well. There are many things you need to take care of when you got Calathea ornata in your house. But for the drooping issue, negligence like overwatering, excessive heat, and humidity problem are reasons, and the owner himself is the culprit. You can identify these causes. Once you know what is the problem behind prayer plant leaves drooping then you can get rid of it with recommended measures.

Overwatering Issue can Cause Calathea Ornata Leaves Drooping

Calathea ornata requires a good amount of water for growth and propagation. If you are watering your plant even if your upper soil is wet then you are overdoing it. You can check whether your plant needs water or not by putting the first 2 inches of fingers in the soil if the soil is wet it and you are still watering it then you are overdoing it otherwise if it is dry then your plant needs water. Overwatering results in leaves drooping disturbing the water cycle in the roots system eventually leading to shoot problems

In this image a calathea ornata plant is shown from the top.
Calathea Ornata

Excessive Heat and Low Humidity can Cause Drooping of Leaves in Calathea Ornata

In the summer season, it is common for Calathea ornata leaves to experience drooping problems. Most people think that on a hot summer day, leaves should curl, but it is not the case. On hot, dry summer days, Calathea ornata loses a lot of water due to transpiration, and to maintain water level as well as temperature; it starts absorbing water from roots, because of which its leaves start drooping.

It is a normal thing but you will not encounter this scenario if you have placed your plant in a greenhouse or inside the house. It happens when your plant is alone outside on the balcony. So, you can relax now.


All problems result from negligence and misconceptions. You just need to look for the Calathea ornata care and propagation guide and make sure that you follow all recommended parameters. If you want your prayer plant to keep dancing then just take good care of your Calathea ornata. Low humidity, overwatering, and temperature mismanagement are the key problems, just avoid these scenarios and the rest will take care of itself.

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