Another week, another round of repotting! This week we're turning our soily mitts to a notoriously tricky bunch - calatheas and marantas (aka prayer plants)!
These beautiful plants are a must for anyone with a love of colour, texture and interesting foliage, bursting with soft pinks, vibrant purples and range of lush green. With textures that range from smooth and shiny to fuzzy velvets, this group of plants really does have something for everyone.
Alas, being that pretty comes at a price! Getting their watering right can be a challenge even for the most seasoned of green fingers, and some varieties can be quite prone to pests, so it perhaps goes without saying that they need a little extra TLC when it comes to repotting them. But don't let that put you off!
As with any plant, repotting your calatheas and marantas will not only. help them continue to grow, it can also help you get your moisture levels in check to avoid any risk of root rot, and to keep those annoying pests at bay.
Calatheas and marantas are some of the thirstiest plants you can get and have a chunky yet sensitive set of roots on them. This means you'll need a potting soil with lots of water retaining components, like Soil Ninja's Premium Calathea and Maranta Soil Blend, which is filled with charcoal, pumice and perlite. The charcoal also helps remove toxins from water, important for this fussy lot, who can suffer chemical burns even from tap water!
So when to repot your calathea? This should only be done when your plant becomes rootbound in it's current pot. (Quick FYI, rootbound means that the root system has grown to fill the capacity of the pot to the point that plant has stopped growing or started to suffer). We recommend waiting until this point as it helps minimise regular disruption to the rootball.
With this in mind, increase pot size gradually (by 1-2cm at a time) when repotting rather than jumping straight into a much bigger pot. This will minimise onset of root rot or shock to your plant as it settles in to its new home.
First things first, prepare your new pot. Start with a layer of clay pebbles for drainage, then add a layer of Calathea & Maranta soil.
Repotting is a good time to do a bit of tidying up too. Give your plant a once over, using sharp, clean scissors to remove any dead bits before your repot. It's also a good time to take cuttings for propagation.
When ready, ease your plant out of its existing pot. If it is very rootbound, you may need to gently squeeze around the edge of the pot or carefully run a knife around the sides to loosen it. Try not to pull the plant out by the leaves, giving the pot a bit of a tip whilst supporting the leaves with your hand if needed.
Place the plant in its new pot and backfill around the sides with more lovely Calathea and Maranta Soil. Give a little water, but don't overdo it - this is one of the times they can be most prone to root rot, so little and often is key! Keep an eye on it for the next few days, watering as need.
As well as prayer plants, this soil is great for other thirsty plants, including fittonias, angel wing begonias, streletzias, beefsteak plants, peace lilies and spider plants - a real all rounder!