What kind of soil is used for Calathea?

The Classic Calathea is a popular indoor plant. The plant makes the best indoor decoration even in a small space. Calathea is known for its attractive and beautiful leaves with a unique attractive shape. 

Calathea needs more attention and care while growing if you keep the plant happy by choosing the right soil. With a little knowledge about the soil for the plant, you can buy or better make your own soil for the plant. 

 In this article, you will learn more about Calatheas soil, components, mix, and DIY soil to make on your own.


Also Read: What Kind of Soil Is Used for Cactus?

What is Calathea?

Calathea is a flowering genus plant from the Marantaceae family, native to tropical Americans. Calatheas leaves are large and colorfully patterned and they are not toxic to pets. The slow growth and less care make it the best indoor companion. They can produce flowers in yellow, white, and purple in color which blooms in summer. With proper care, this plant can live for more than 3 years.

Types of Calathea

  • Calathea Ornata– They prefer warm climates. The bright-colored leaves love to live in Colombia regions. Mainly used for ornamental purposes. The plant has dark green leaves with pink stripes in them.
  • Calathea Orbifolia– They are grown as houseplants. The leaves are oval shaped with white vein lining all over with silver shade in it. They are native to Brazil and can grow to heights of over 2 feet.
  • Calathea white fusion– This type is the rarest of this variety. It has a small leaf that can grow over 4 ft tall. They love soil that is full of drainage components in it.

What is the Soil pH for Calathea?


The Ideal soil pH for Calathea is 6.5 to 7.0. Calathea likes to grow best in slightly acidic soil. If the soil is too alkaline, it may affect the plant. To make your Calathea soil acidic, add peat moss to it. pH is tested to find the potential of hydrogen and uses a chemical scale to identify the nature of the soil. Testing for soil pH is the first step in getting to know the soil. Ph can range from 0 to 14. Any soil with a pH higher than 7 is alkaline and less than 7 is acidic. Do a pH test to find the soil pH level. 

What Kind of Soil is used for Calathea?


The best soil for Calathea is no soil. Calatheais adapted to fewer nutrients and full drainage soil making the need for soil less. They prefer a growing medium that is looser with lots of air pockets, unlike regular soil. Regular soils may trap water and make soil damp which may lead to root rot and plant death.

Stay away from garden soil which is less porous. Avoid Clay or loamy soil which may get compacted and prefer sand-based soil. Some of the soilless potting mixes also are not suitable for Calathea. Instead, look for a potting mix specially made for cactus or orchids which gives the right place for the plant. Calathea can get water from the air in a way also from bark or moss.

Components which are Best Soil for Calathea

Three main components that should be present in the soil to make it the best soil for Calathea are:

Well-Drainage- A well-draining soil is essential for calathea. If grown in a pot, it needs a drainage hole for proper drainage. Water sitting in the pot may lead to fungal disease and destroy the root. Adding pebbles to the pot with soil will help solve the problem. Adding coco coir will improve drainage in the mix of the calathea.

Good aeration- Calathea likes light soil that should have good aeration. As they love dry and porous soil to get the proper aeration, giving that will help them grow. Providing extra aeration to the soil will boost the growth of the plant.

Texture- The texture of the soil for Calathea should be from coarse light. The Calathea soil prefers very light and loose soil which also holds enough moisture which helps in root growth. The texture of indoor and outdoor soil can vary as one will be in a pot and the other in the land.

What kind of potting mix is good for Calathea?

Calathea prefers a well-draining potting mix that is coarse and provides aeration to the plant root. An orchid mix with sand mix is perfect for Calathea soil. To make the soil more porous add coconut husk, pumice, and perlite. Keep a check on the acidity level of the soil and don’t miss out on any change in soil which may affect the plant.

How to Prepare a Potting Mix for Calathea?

To prepare the potting soil for Calathea, add one part of the Perlite, and one part of Coco coir to one part of the Pine Barks. Depending on the texture of the mix, add one or two parts of coco coir to it to improve the aeration. You can add perlite (volcanic rock) or gravel or marbles to increase the drainage of the soil.

The preparation of a potting mix for Calathea is easy and cost-efficient. Succulent, cactus soil is quite opposite to garden or potting soil. Succulent soil loves to have very good porous drainage but having that for this plant might be a wrong idea. Adding potting mix directly for calathea makes the root of the plant rot. But adding the minerals and mending the soil to improve drainage and aeration will make the potting mix doable. 

DIY Tips to make soil for Calathea at Home (Complete guide)

Soil for most plants can be made by mixing potting soil or some minerals and organic matter. But for Calathea, it needs a soil-less mix. Calathea is very picky about their choices to grow with a very light mix with no compaction. So, making a Do-it-yourself soil is your best choice. To make your own DIY soil for your Calatheaplant:


  • Collecting all the ingredients before making the soil.
  • Take time to mix the ingredients.
  • Learn other items like reading a pH tester, types of nutrients, and its uses.

Now you can start making the DIY with the below-given ingredients and follow up,


  • Gear up with gloves to avoid dirt from the soil.
  • Measuring cup or instrument to measure the ingredients.
  • Bucket or vessel to make space to mix the soil.
  • A small shovel/ Trowel to mix the soil.
  • Dust mask.


  • Perlite– Perlite is formed from volcanic emission. They make the best aeration for the succulent soil.
  • Peat moss– This soil amendment is made from peat bogs. This active decomposing peat moss is used to hold water in the soil.
  • Coconut coir– The coconut fiber is made from coconut husk and used for many purposes. They are used in soil to improve soil texture, drainage, and aeration.
  • Sand– The sand is added to give a loose texture to the soil. The coarse sand is added to reduce the clay content in the soil.
  • Compost– Compost is a mixture of organic waste formed and added to soil to enrich it. 
  • Pine Bark- Pine bark is a herbal extract that is available in the UK under the trade name Pycnogenol. It’s rich in several bioflavonoids that have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
  • Pumice– Formed from volcanoes when they erupted explosively. The liquid explosion is formed to pumice rock making the aeration for the soil.


Mix 1

  • 1 Part Pine Bark
  • 1 Part Perlite
  • 1 part Coco Coir

Mix 2

  • 1 Part Potting soil
  • 1 Part Bark or perlite or charcoal


After collecting all the required ingredients and tools add the measured ingredients to the bucket with the help of a trowel and equal parts of Coco coir, perlite, and pine bark and mix it well so all are mixed for mix 1. Add one part of pine bark, perlite, and coco coir to potting soil and mix all well to make the best soil for your Calathea. If you are using a potting mix then add the required amount of porous to it and other nutrients to reach the pH requirement of the plant.

Where to Buy Soil for Calathea?

Soil for Calathea can be bought in a nearby commercial store or online. Store-bought soil is ready-made to use but may contain fertilizers. Online, you can make your choice based on your research with review, rating, and the right mix mentioned in the label. With whatever way of buying the soil, adding some soil conditioner will help for the betterment of the plant as well the soil.

3 Best Commercial Brands to buy soil for Calathea

Fox Farm 


The Fox Farm organic potting soil is all natural ready to use a potting mix with worm casting. This product from Fox farm is mentioned as ideal for seedlings. The pH level in this soil is adjusted to make the most of the soil for the containers or potted plants. The soil is lightweight and well-aerated which makes it also suitable for all natural mix grown plants. The nutrients in this soil makes it perfect for both indoor and outdoor gardening. The soil is mixed to adjust ph levels of the potted plants which helps in the growth of the plant healthier.


what kind of soil is used for Calathea

Miracle-gro Cactus, palm, and citrus potting mix is ideal for your citrus tree and they give all the essential nutrients the citrus-loving plants will thrive. This fast-draining formula has sand and perlite in it to create the best environment for the plant. This soil is fortified with nutrients to prevent diseases in the plants. This is best with the added plant food which makes it super filled with nutrients.



Miracle-Gro Houseplant potting mix is a peat moss, coconut coir, and perlite which provides well draining indoor soil mix for plants. They are not specifically made for Calathea but are best and value for money. This soil is less prone to gnats and other common household pests. This is a certified product but Mulch and soil with the industrial standards. The soil can feed indoor plants for up to 6 months. The product comes with how-to-use and care tips for indoor plants on the label.

No Name of the product Quantity




1 Fox Farm organic potting soil   29
2 Miracle-gro Cactus, palm, and citrus potting mix 4 15
3 Miracle-gro Houseplant potting mix 4 12

Can I use Garden soil and Orchid soil for Calathea?


No, you can’t use garden soil for Calathea. Garden soil will have lots of clay content in it which is not suitable for this. Garden soil will be heavy, damp, and moisture retended which is quite the opposite for this Calathea soil. Garden soil should be avoided if Calathea is grown in pots. When using garden soil in pots, use more drainage components to avoid compaction. 

Yes, orchid soil can be used for Calathea. Orchid soil tends to have the right acidity which is suitable for the plant. Orchid soil has well drainage and porous soil which make it the best substitute for Calathea. 

Can Calathea grow in Cactus Soil?

Yes, Calathea can grow in cactus soil. Keeping a check on the sand in the soil will only make the difference. Cactus plants need more sandy soil than Calathea. Often the term cactus and succulent are used indifferently. You may find labels in soil bags stating cactus and succulent soil. As the characteristics and needs for both cactus and succulents are common, they can be used for one another. Since Cactus soil can be used but for better result cactus mix with no soil will do best.

Selecting the Right Pot for Calathea


Picking the right pot for Calathea is crucial because of its nature. The right pot for a Calatheais categorized with the size and material of the pot. 

The pot for the plant can be plastic, ceramic, or wood. But the best one for Calatheais plastic because the plant needs soil to be porous and well-draining. Making holes in the plastic pots will prevent overwatering.

The size of any plant can not be fixed. There is no perfect size pot for plants. Giving the plant a pot that is two sizes bigger than the plant will be good. In that way, repotting can be done in a year or two.

When and How to Repot a Calathea?

Repotting Calathea Two a year during summer will enrich the plant with nutrients in the new soil. Repotting can be done at certain times,

  • When the plant has outgrown the pot or container in which it grows.
  • When its plant is externally damaged due to any cause. 
  • Fungal or bacterial infections can damage the soil.
  • Root rot is not a major problem and the plant can recover on its own. But at times, when it gets severe repotting should be done to save the plant and root.
  • When the store-bought plant is in a small pot disregarding its size, repotting is a must. 

Repotting should not be done in yellow leaves, dropping leaves, dryness, sunburn, and insect-invaded soil.

  • To repot this plant, selecting a container or pot regarding the size of the plant is the first step. The two factors which determine the pot size are Water requirement and growth space.
  • Loosen the plant from the pot with a shovel or butter knife and lift it out.
  • Remove the root from the pot to add it to a new mix.
  • Place the plant in a new pot with a new mix and fill in the sides to make the plant straight.
  • Adding nutrients or amendments to make up for the lost nutrients.

Pests in Calathea


Some other common problems could be pests. The Calathea is not much prone to pests but there should be a check on it. There are chances they are affected by spider mites, scales, mealy bugs, white flies, and bacterial or fungal diseases. Treating the problem with fungicides and insecticides will help discord the problem. Insects-affected plants show signs with leaves. Keeping a check on moisture as well as plants in the soil will mostly prevent pests. 

Signs You’re Using the Wrong Mix for Calathea

Calathea plants will show certain signs when the mix is wrong. Some of which are:

  • Yellow leaf– The cause of yellow leaf is too much drainage in the soil. It also indicates the bacterial problem in soil.
  • Brown Spot in leaves– This could be a sign of overwatering that too much water is not available in the soil. This mostly won’t happen in calathea.
  • Dry leaves– This sign is for the dehydration of plants. Providing enough water will solve this issue.
  • Dropping leaf– This could be the reason the root is getting too much or little water. Keeping a check on soil texture will help prevent the problem.


Creating the best soil for Calathea place will nurture your plant for full and healthy growth. The best soil will aid the plant to have good aeration, drainage, and nutrients. With the above-mentioned guidelines, you can make your own DIY soil for the Calathea plant. Adding proper care and nutrients will add this place to your indoor collection.


  1. Is Calathea an indoor or outdoor plant?

       Calathea grows best indoors and it can be grown outdoors with the right soil, climate, and sunlight.

  1. Do Calathealike sun or shade?

       Calathea likes shady warm sunlight to grow. Direct sunlight may affect the plant.

  1. Can I spray water on Calathea?

        Yes, you can. This will give the plant tropical nature and refreshment.

  1. Is Cactus soil good for Calathea?

         Yes, cactus soil is good for Calathea.