This attractive, low maintenance houseplant is a small shrub that typically reaches 2-5 feet in height. Its ornamental foliage shines best in semi-shade and may earn the nickname "Prayer plant" due to its unusual growing habit, in which the leaves stand at attention during the day and fold in prayer at night.
Regular watering, although not too excessive, is recommended for this houseplant to continue its vibrancy. Water it about once or twice a week, and allow the soil to dry between waterings. Moderate water is recommended for best results and to minimize the risk of root rot.
Calathea vittata is also suitable for outdoor growing in USDA hardiness zones 9-11, although take caution of sudden temperature changes. Plant it in a soil that drains well, and provide multiple hours of shade and protection from temperatures below 40°F. Since it's native to tropical climates, it can be grown in a pot in colder regions and brought indoors during extreme temperatures. When the weather warms up and plants come back outside in the following year, it's important to gradually reintroduce it to direct sun, as the leaves will burn if exposed too quickly.
With lush foliage and effortless upkeep, the Prayer Plant is a contemporary favorite among gardeners. Unlike most other plants, its unusual growing habit adds to its charm. Its striking leaves make it great for indoor decor, and relatively easy to take care of.