Tips for Growing a Pinstripe Houseplant

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Though not the most common houseplant, calathea ornata or the pinstripe plant is known for its striking leaves and intriguing visual appeal. Often considered finicky, this tropical beauty will flourish with a little love and attention. If you want a foliage plant that looks great all year long and rewards your effort, or if you simply want a bit of a growing challenge, this is the one for you. Follow these tips to level-up your houseplant game and branch out of your comfort zone with the incredible pinstripe plant. 

Maintain humidity level

Like most tropical plants, the calathea requires some humidity to stay healthy and lush. Place your plant near a humidifier or put it in the bathroom where the shower steam will create a moist environment. You can also mist the leaves every day with room temperature water, which will provide adequate moisture. Another low-maintenance idea is to set the pot in a pebble tray with a little water in the bottom. As the water evaporates, it will provide a cloud of humidity for your plant. 

Water requirements

Let your pinstripe plant dry out slightly between waterings. It is not drought-resistant, so it is important not to let the soil dry too much but wait to water until the top layer of soil is no longer wet. 

As mentioned above, the pinstripe plant can be a little finicky. If you are following all of these tips and still notice that the leaves are burned or tinged yellow on the edges, your tap water could be to blame. Instead of pouring the water directly onto the plant from the sink, allow it to sit overnight to let the chlorine and fluoride evaporate. Trim off any dead or dying leaves and continue allowing tap water to rest before watering. 


Make sure that your plant is in a pot with adequate drainage, as sitting water can cause wilt that could kill the calathea. A plastic nursery pot is often the best choice since it will retain moisture while still allowing excess water to drain out. 


Place your calathea in an area that receives bright, indirect sunlight. It should be filtered light, which means that placing it in a windowsill or a bathroom without natural light probably isn’t the best idea. Keep it somewhere that gets consistent, moderate light. 


Because the pinstripe plant is native to the tropics, it is important to keep it somewhere that doesn’t experience extreme temperatures. Don’t keep it near a fireplace or a drafty window, as such intense temperature variation could harm your plant. Try to place it somewhere where the temperatures ranges between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit and monitor the area to ensure that your plant isn’t exposed to any cold drafts.


Apply fertilizer as recommended on the package every few months during the spring and summer to keep your pinstripe plant strong and healthy. A generalized houseplant fertilizer should be adequate, but make sure that it contains iron to give your plant a nutrient boost. 

Keeping all of these tips in mind can certainly be overwhelming, especially if you have other houseplants that you are trying to keep happy and healthy. Unfortunately, the pinstripe plant doesn’t work in many homes due to dry air, especially in the wintertime. Before you buy any rainforest plant, it is critical to make sure you can provide the following, no direct sunlight, high humidity, and no exposure to cold. If your calathea is struggling, it’s likely that one of those requirements is not being met. You may even have to move it to a few different locations before finding the perfect combination of light, temperature, and humidity to support a thriving plant.

Are you ready to take on this new houseplant challenge? Let us know in the comments below!

-Taylor Ramsey

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