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Calathea Warscewiczii

Calathea Warscewiczii: Jungle Velvet Calathea Care Guide

Bring the jungle into your home with the gorgeous green and maroon foliage of the jungle velvet calathea.

Calathea Warscewiczii
  • Calathea-Warscewiczii in a black pot

Other names for this plant...

Jungle velvet plant

About The Calathea Jungle Velvet


Calatheas belong to the Marantacea family, also called the arrowroot family or the prayer plant family. Maranta plants are found across the world in low-lying tropical areas, including in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.


These tropical plants are found in the jungles of Central and South America, hence the name jungle velvet. In their natural habitat, they thrive in dappled and low light conditions, warm temperatures, and high humidity common in jungle regions.


All calatheas (also called prayer plants) are absolutely gorgeous indoor plants, but if you want something truly unique, you should get your hands on a jungle velvet calathea.

These plants have deep green leaves covered in light green veins. On the underside of the leaves, there is a deep burgundy or maroon color. This underside is why these plants are called velvet plants - it feels just like velvet when touched!

Jungle velvet plants have broad leaves that close during the night and open once morning rolls around, a neat feature of several plants in the mantara family. What this means is you get a wonderful spectacle of green hues during the day, and burgundy colors at night as the plant's leaves furl closed.

Calathea-Warscewiczii in a black pot
The Calathea Warscewiczii grows to around 20 to 40 inches tall.

You don't have to worry about your home becoming overgrown with jungle velvet plants - they grow about 20 to 40 inches tall and wide - the perfect table plant.

Enough about leaves, what about flowers?

Although your calathea is a flowering tropical plant, you will rarely find that it blooms indoors. Only under the most perfect conditions (which are hard to achieve unless you happen to live in the South American rainforest) will an indoor jungle velvet plant bloom. Its flowers grow in a cone-shaped cluster, and are a cream color, with hints of pink.


The gorgeous coloring of the plant's leaves means it will look stunning in just about any room in your house. But, you do need to keep the plant's needs in mind when you think of where to place it in a room.

Jungle velvet calatheas need bright, indirect light and high humidity. For that reason, it could look stunning in a bathroom that is often used for long, hot showers.

If you happen to have a humidifier at home, you have a couple more options. Place your calathea in the living room on an end table, in the dining room as a focal point in the middle of the table, or on the dresser in your bedroom - just make sure the humidifier is close by.


As we've mentioned, calathea jungles thrive in the tropical rainforest, which means they love indirect sunlight.

That said, these plants enjoy bright light to really make the colors on their leaves pop. Keep your plant in a north or east-facing window where it gets plenty of light but no direct sun. You can also place it in a brightly lit room, like a bathroom with frosted glass.

Direct sunlight will cause the leaves to form brown, dry spots.


These plants are not for forgetful plant parents. Jungle velvets require moderate watering, meaning they prefer moist soil.

Despite their watering demands, they don't adapt well to a set watering schedule. You should rather check the top inch or so of soil - if it is dry, it is time to water! You don't want the plant to constantly sit in wet potting soil as this can cause root rot.

If you stick your finger in the pot and discover moist soil, hold off on watering for another day or two until the top soil layer is dry.


Jungle velvets do best in hot temperatures that are similar to their native tropical environment.

The best room temperature range is between 60°F and 85°F. Of course, it is not always possible to keep your home this hot during winter. It's okay if the temperature drops a bit, but just try your best to prevent sudden fluctuations in temperature.

Your plant should also be kept away from airflow - even warm drafts can harm it. Keep it away from the radiators or heaters in your home in winter. In summer, move your plant so that it is out of direct range of the aircon or any open windows and doors.


Your jungle velvet loves humidity. Honestly, the more humid, the better. But you can't exactly go and turn your home into a sauna.

If you wish to keep your plant indoors then you need at least 50% humidity. The easiest way to achieve this is to place your plant's pot on a pebble tray filled with water (just make sure the plant pot doesn't sit in the water as this will cause saturated soil and root rot).

You can also use a humidifier to keep your plant happy.

Lastly, you can occasionally mist the leaves with distilled water. This won't really make up for a lack of humidity though, so best to stick to a pebble tray or humidifier.


You should pot your calathea jungle velvet in well-draining soil, in a pot with drainage holes. Standard potting soil should be fine, or you can create your own mix with a ratio of one part potting soil, one part perlite, and one part coconut coir.

This mixture works great for many other plants from the tropics, too.


The reason so many plant enthusiasts adore calatheas is because of how jungle-like they grow. They will never take over your whole house, and for that reason, they don't really need pruning.

Some people like to trim their jungle velvet plants a bit once they start looking a little too wild. These plants don't love heavy pruning, so practice restraint!

To prune your jungle velvet, you will need pruners or very sharp scissors.

Start by first cutting off any dead leaves (or leaves that are about to reach the end of their life). Make sure to cut the leaves as close to the plant's stem as possible, and toss the leaf in your trash can.

And, that's it! Don't cut back any healthy leaves; only remove dead or dying ones.


Your plant won't sap all the nutrients from its soil, but it will still enjoy monthly fertilizing, especially in spring and summer.

Water the plant first, and then add diluted liquid organic fertilizer to the soil. The reason for diluting it is simply because jungle velvets don't have high fertilizer demands.

Height & Growth

Luckily you won't have a scene from Little Shop of Horrors in your home as jungle velvet plants don't get very big. They will reach a maximum of 3 feet tall, but typically they range between 20 to 40 inches in height and width.

They have a moderate growth rate, but if you place them in indirect sunlight or a low-light area they tend to grow slower.


Good news! None of the calathea varieties are toxic! This means that they are safe in homes with little kids and animals.

Although these plants are not about to kill you, they can cause some mild upset stomachs if ingested. So, if you have kids that love putting anything and everything in their mouths, or a teething pup, best to keep your jungle velvet plant out of reach.


Yes, calathea jungle velvets are completely safe and non-toxic for animals. Luckily, animals also don't seem to want to eat the leaves or flowers of this plant.

Common Problems

Jungle velvets are not necessarily the best plants for beginners as they present some common plant problems. If you know what to look out for, you can quickly prevent any issues from getting worse.

  • Pests: Jungle velvets are especially prone to getting spider mites. Regularly check the leaves for any white marks, curling, or wilting. They also tend to attract common pests like mealybugs, scale insects, and aphids.

  • Yellow leaves: The first sign that you are overwatering your Calathea warscewiczii is that the leaves are turning yellow. Ensure proper drainage and make sure your plant never sits in water - this will also cause root rot.

  • Curling leaves: Although the leaves fold up at night, curling during the day means you either have spider mites or your soil is too dry.

  • Browning leaves: Brown, dry tips on the leaves mean that the soil moisture is not correct. Your jungle velvet needs humid conditions and moist soil. The brown tips can also be caused by chemicals in your tap water, so use distilled or rainwater where possible.


Is the Calathea Jungle Velvet safe for pets?

Yes! Calathea jungle velvets are the perfect non-toxic plant for people with pets. It could cause mild stomach cramps and some tummy upset if eaten, but it won't have long-lasting effects and your pet will be fine in no time. Best to keep it out of reach, though!

Can you propagate Calathea Jungle Velvet?

Just like other calathea varieties, your jungle velvet does not enjoy having its roots disturbed. You can propagate your plant using division, but handle the plant's roots with care.

Here is how to propagate your jungle velvet calathea:

  1. Gently lift the plant out of its pot.

  2. Check the root ball and try to spot rhizomes where there is leaf growth.

  3. Using your hands, pull apart the root ball (carefully!) and remove the rhizome and leaf growth. In desperate cases, you can cut the roots apart if your fingers won't do the trick.

  4. Partially fill a new plant pot with fresh potting soil and place the newly divided rhizome into the pot. Add more potting mix until the soil is at the same level as it was on the mother plant (to fool the division into thinking it is still in the original pot).

  5. Water the new plant thoroughly.

  6. Place the pot in indirect sunlight with a plastic bag over the pot to ensure humidity. Keep soil moist.

  7. Soon you should see new leaf growth, meaning your propagation was successful!