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Calathea Ornata In-Depth Guide: Care & Facts About The Pinstripe Plant

calathea ornata houseplant

The pinstripe plant, also known as Calathea ornata is named for the ornate foliage it features. The dark green leaves with pink to whitish stripes create a captivating contrast that pleases the eye. This tropical houseplant is part of the prayer plant family (Marantaceae), meaning the leaves rise and lower in response to sunlight changes. During this fascinating display of movement, the plant more prominently shows off its purplish magenta undersides.

Scientific Name: Calathea ornata

Common Name: Pinstripe plant, Calathea pinstripe, zebra plant, peacock plant, cathedral plant

Origin: South America (specifically Colombia and Venezuela)

About: With oblong leaves, the pinstripe plant has flashy, glossy foliage. New growth emerges from the center of the plant, and flowers are able to bud with mature, outdoor specimens. The plant can reach 3-9 feet in size in the wild. However, as an indoor plant, it will likely not exceed 3 feet wide by 3 feet tall. 

tall calathea ornata growth

Indoor Care: Enjoying humidity and warmth, this indoor plant likes to have conditions reminiscent (but not identical) to the tropics. Since this is a plant that in its natural habitat lived on the rainforest floor, it prefers indirect sunlight. It’s accustomed to being blocked by tree canopy layers from direct sunso finding a spot that is well-lit but provides filtered light is best. Avoid direct exposure to sun rays, as this may cause leaf burn. In addition, too much sun can cause the pink streaks to fade. Suitable locations include near northern or eastern facing windows or in front of a sunny window shielded by a shade or sheer curtain. 

As for water, the pinstripe plant likes to stay damp throughout the soil. This ensures that the roots are always sufficiently hydrated as this plant is not tolerant of drought conditions. But as with most plants, it will not tolerate overwatering or excess moisture sitting in the drip tray. Just remember to water with lukewarm H2O once the very top layer of soil begins to feel slightly dry to the touch, without keeping the soil saturated.

This exotic evergreen perennial is sensitive to frost and prefers warm climates (with temperatures around 70-85° F). So it will appreciate living in a spot that is free of any drafts. 

pinstripe plant leaf with water droplets

Extra Care: During the spring and summer months, the calathea ornata will benefit from houseplant fertilizer. Apply half the recommended amount about once a month during that time frame and the plant should thrive. Upsize and repot using a well-draining potting mix about once every couple of years to encourage new growth.

If you notice leaf curling (sometimes common in the Calathea genus), your plant may need more moisture in the air. We recommend placing a pebble tray filled with water under the plant pot (just make sure the soil or roots aren’t touching the water). This acts as a built-in humidifier and the plant will take in the water, absorbing the extra moisture. 

Interesting Tidbit: Sometimes Calathea can be sensitive to water. If you notice browning leaf tips, try letting your tap water sit out overnight before watering or use rainwater or distilled water.

Buy Online: 6" Pinstripe Plant

Luckily, the pinstripe plant is non-toxic upon ingestion. The ASPCA considers Calathea plants harmless to humans, cats, and dogs.


  • Seeing the above comment, calatheas enjoy staying moist but not too wet so I’d suggest pots that are ceramic or even the plastic type of nursery pot. I normally go with all clay or terracotta boys but for my calathea I keep them in plastic planters to hold in a bit more moisture.

    Adrianna Jannis
  • It is really enlightening note. However you have not mentioned about the pot this Calathea ornata prefers. What should be the size and what should be the material of pot it prefers.
    Unni Menon

    Unni Menon

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