Calathea Ornata Yellow Leaves Causes and Solutions


It is hard to take care of things when you are not aware of their nature and needs. At the current time climate change, unpredictable weather, and heat waves are making plant care hard for people. If you have plants like Calathea ornata or Calathea orbifolia at your home, a little negligence can ruin your plant beauty. In the case of Calathea ornata, yellow leaves are the most common problem owner can face. But you can avoid it with a little care for your Calathea ornata.

People like to decorate their houses with Calathea ornata, because of its pink stripe leaves ornamental beauty. In most scenarios, the owners are not aware of their plant needs which led to different problems like yellowing of leaves or root rot.

If you are worried because your Calathea ornata leaves turning yellow, then you can relax a little now, we are here for you with the proper solution. But before we discuss the solution we must identify what caused it, elimination of the danger is more important than solving it. Our approach will be “prevention is better than cure”.

In this image Calathea Ornata Yellow Leaves Causes are discussed.  Contaminated water, impure water, root rot, pest problem and improper fertilizer are main causes of it.
Calathea Ornata Yellow Leaves Causes

It is normal for plant leaves to turn yellow in winter or in shedding season, but if your Calathea ornata yellow leaves spots are appearing offseason then it is a problem. You just need to identify the cause behind it and eliminate it. We will discuss different causes behind it one by one and see what are the possible solutions for all of them. When you have identified the cause behind your plant’s yellow leaves just prune the damaged area, and the rest will take care of itself provided the conditions are optimum for plant growth.

Water Quality and Quantity Problem

Calathea ornata is a tropical plant it requires pure water like rainwater or soil water to grow and propagate. Impure water or hard water is the main reason in urban areas which led to damaged leaves. Hard Water contains calcium, magnesium, and chloride ions in it. Calcium ions are present in the form of calcium carbonate which can choke the roots in the soil, where chlorine and magnesium ions can disturb the chemical stability of the soil and fertilizer you are using. In case you are using tap water, then it is the main cause of Calathea ornata yellowing.

In case of compromised water quantity root issues and leaves, issues are common. When you overwater your plant, it will suffocate the roots leading to root rot and yellow leaves whereas in the case of underwatering leaves will dry up and turn yellow. So, it is important that you take good care of water for your plant.

You can check whether your Calathea ornata need water or not, just dip your upper 2 inches of fingers in the soil if the soil is wet that your plant doesn’t need water and if the soil is dry then you need to water your plant.

Humidity Problem and Calathea Ornata

Calathea ornata natural habitats are high humidity areas, with 70% to 80% level of humidity. If you have this plant at home and you are not aware of the humidity level of your surrounding then this negligence can pose a lot of problems for you and your plant, Calathea ornata yellow leaves are a common issue among the problems you can face in the result of this negligence.

In this image a Calathea Ornata plant is shown.
Calathea Ornata

You can avoid this issue with little care and awareness. You can use a moisture meter, hygrometer, or any other equipment to check the humidity level. It is a little expensive approach. In case you are a gardener then you can place your Calathea ornata in the same set of plants, plants will create a closed system and you can remain worried free, just make sure you place a small water pond or some water source in your garden. A plant humidity tray and plant humidifier are also good options for this case.

Direct Sunlight and Calathea Ornata Leaves

Calathea ornata cannot tolerate direct sunlight for a long time, they are tropical area plants that require filtered or indirect sunlight. You must place your plant in the greenhouse or at the window 0.8m away from the window glass.

All plants require some specific spectrum of light for good growth and propagation. For Calathea ornata the growth spectrum will be in shady sunlight, photosynthesis requirement varies from plant to plant and area to area. Calathea ornata is a mesophyte plant with a high water requirement and filtered sunlight need, make sure you take good care of it otherwise your leaves turn yellow. Seeing your Calathea ornata pink beautiful leaves turn yellow is not a good experience.

Stress Issues because of Continuous Shifting

Calathea ornata leaves start to turn yellow when you continuously shift your plant from one area to other. Plants need to maintain their temperature and system according to the change in environment, but continuously changing their position led to stress issues for your plant.

Calathea Ornata Leaves

When you move your plant from one place to another, light spectrum, humidity needs, moisture, temperature requirement, and airflow all these things are change. This continuous transition turns Calathea ornata leaves yellow. To avoid such a situation place your plant in one good spot and take care of its needs.

Temperature Problems

It is a well-known fact that plants can’t grow without a good temperature. Calathea ornata range of temperature for growth is from 19°C to 28°C. When the temperature starts to fluctuate, it led to different problems for your plant. When the temperature is very high, it causes its leaves to turn yellow but at low temperature, leaves start to curl first and then turn yellow.

You can avoid this problem by keeping an eye on the temperature or placing Calathea ornata in an area where the temperature is good or its growth. You can use a greenhouse system with horizontal airflow (HAF) fans, or you can employ HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system). With such structural modification, you can maintain the temperature according to Calathea ornata needs.

Use of Improper Fertilizers

Calathea ornata is a temperature and humidity sensitive plant, and it needs a balanced fertilizer to grow properly. Mostly seasol fish emulsion, liquid fertilizer, or compost like worm castings are used for Calathea ornata as fertilizer. Improper use of fertilizer can disturb the chemical structure of soil leading to the yellowing of Calathea ornata leaves. Make sure you read the recommendation and customer guide if you want to properly apply fertilizer for your plant.

In case if you are using solid fertilizers, you have to flush the soil from time to time so mineral accumulation in the soil does not deprive the plant’s roots of oxygen. For this purpose, it is recommended to use liquid fertilizers.

Recommended Fertilizer for Calathea Ornata

People like to keep things simple and it is the reason most people use the Jack’s Classic All Purpose 20-20-20 fertilizer for Calathea ornata. It is an easy to use balanced fertilizer for plants highly recommended for foliage plants like Calathea ornata.

Pests and Diseases

Calathea ornata is easy prey for pests like spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and scale. Attacks by these pests are a major cause for the turning of Calathea ornata leaves yellow.

Spider mites mostly attack in the dry season; for Calathea ornata owners maintain the high moisture level solving the spider mite problem. But this doesn’t make your plant safe from other insect infestation. By using the best horticultural oils and best insecticidal soaps, you can avoid this issue.

Besides these pests, problems like root rot, leaf-spot disease, rust, botrytis, southern blight, and powdery mildew can also damage your Calathea ornata.

Root Issues and Yellowing of Calathea Ornata Leaves

In most cases, Calathea ornata majority problems are related to roots in one way or other. Overuse of fertilizers, overwatering, improper soil and a low humidity environment all these situations can disturb the soil structure, eventually resulting in damaged roots which cause yellowing of Calathea ornata leaves.

Pot Problems

Choosing the right pot for your plant can save you from a lot of issues. Airflow, oxygenated roots, plant growth and soil moisture all these things depend on your plant pot. In case if you choose the plastic pot with no holes then you need to keep an eye on your Calathea ornata, whether its soil is good, roots are in good condition and your plant needs water. Because chances of root rot are high, a little negligence ruins your plant’s beauty turning them yellow.

In the case of the terracotta pot, the issue is not this severe. Because in this pot your plant has an oxygen exchange system, root rot problems chances are less and you don’t need to change soil this frequently. It is recommended to use a terracotta pot if you want to avoid Calathea ornata yellow leaves.


Calathea ornata yellow leaves are something that every owner should avoid. You are likely to face this condition when you are not aware of your plant need, it is recommended that you follow the Calathea ornata care guide to avoid this situation. If you are in this situation you need to make sure that first you identify what is the cause behind it and then prune the damaged leaves. Just correct the cause behind it and then you can be worry free.

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