Top 10 Reasons For Calathea Not Growing New Leaves

Calathea plants are a species of plant in tropical forests. They live and thrive in warm soil environments. Many people love this plant for the beauty of its leaves, which have a unique pattern and change over time. So Calatha plants are becoming more and more popular in many homes and offices.

However, if you grow this plant, Calathea not growing new leaves will be one of the most common problems you have to deal with. Although the growth rate of this plant is not very fast, if they do not grow new leaves after 2 weeks, your plant is having some problems. So, let’s learn about the reasons why Calathea plants don’t grow new leaves in this article.

Calathea Not Growing New Leaves – What Are The Causes?

There are many reasons why Calathea plants do not grow new leaves such as inappropriate sunlight, pot size too large, lack of fertilizer, watering too much or too little, low humidity, root rot, shock due to environmental changes in habitats, poor soil quality or diseases, and insects.

Lack Of Light

Light is one of the three most important factors for the growth and development of plants and Calathea plants. Sunlight will promote photosynthesis and generate energy for plants. If there is a lack of sunlight, this process will be interrupted and reduce the rate of plant growth.

Calathea plants prefer warm, indirect sunlight for the best growth. If you place the pot in an area that lacks sunlight for a long time, Calathea plants will grow stunted and lack vitality due to not having enough energy to produce new leaves.

However, you should also not put the potted plants in direct sunlight because they can burn the leaves and tops, making it impossible for new leaves to grow. The ideal location for you to place the Calathea pot is about a meter away from a window and with a curtain to avoid direct sunlight. Or you can also use spotlights to provide light for plants.

calathea not growing new leaves

Size Of The Plant Pot

The size of the pot is also a factor affecting the process of new leaves of the plant. If you plant them in a pot that is too large, most of the energy of the Calathea plants will be used to develop the roots. When the surrounding area is large, the root system will quickly develop and cover that area. From there, Calathea plants will not have enough energy to produce new leaves.

As a rule of thumb, you should use a pot 1 to 2 inches larger than the root ball. This will promote root growth, but will not affect the plant’s new leaves or flowers. You also should not choose a pot that is too small because the root system cannot absorb enough energy and release it to the stem to grow new leaves or flowers.

Lack Of Fertilizer

The growth of new leaves in Calathea plants is a process driven by nutrients in the soil. In particular, if the plant grows many new leaves, it is because the fertilizer contains high nitrogen content. Most of the initial potting soil when you grow plants contains all the nutrients needed for plant growth.

However, over time, those nutrients will be lost and need to be replenished with specialized fertilizers. You should use fertilizers with high NPK content to stimulate leaf growth. Don’t forget to fertilize once a month during the summer, the growing season of Calathea plants to add the nutrients they need. You also should not apply too much fertilizer in a short time because it can burn leaves or die from excessive stress.


Waterlogging is the excess of water in the pot of Calathea plants for too long. It is caused by over-watering. Usually, most of us tend to water more than plants need. Over-watering makes the surface of the soil always wet, sticky, and lacking in oxygen. From there, the fungus will favorably grow and attack plants at any time. When plants are waterlogged, their health declines and there is no energy to produce new leaves.

Waterlogging also makes it impossible for Calathea plants to absorb nutrients and oxygen to carry out biological processes. Therefore, you need to check the drainage hole and the quality of the potting soil to avoid waterlogging. Regularly clean the drain hole to avoid being clogged with moss or compacted soil.

In addition, you should add some ingredients such as coir, gravel, or perlite to create gaps in the potting soil. They will promote excess water to flow outside and create air circulation in the soil. Alternatively, you can also use terracotta pots to promote water evaporation instead of plastic or glass pots.

Lack Of Water

Lack of water is also a condition that prevents Calathea plants from growing new leaves. It causes the entire stem to wilt, dry, brittle, and turn yellow or brown. Water cannot be transported to every cell because the root system cannot absorb water from the soil. The cells on the leaves and stems will begin to shrink and die slowly.

Under these conditions, Calathea plants will not be able to grow new leaves because they struggle to keep the existing leaves alive on the stem. Providing enough water to maintain the ideal humidity is an effective solution to help plants grow and develop at their best. You should water when the ground is 1-2 inches dry and water slowly until the water has soaked into the soil.

Low Humidity

As you know, Calathea plants are native to tropical forests, so they need an environment with high humidity. Therefore, plants will grow and develop best if the habitat can simulate conditions in nature. The ideal humidity for Calathea plants is between 65-75%.

To maintain the ideal temperature for plants, you can use a humidifier or use a pebble tray, a small aquarium, a mini glass room, or a group of plants to limit evaporation. You should avoid placing the potted plant in areas with hot temperatures such as fireplaces or under air conditioners. You can also place them next to other plants to maintain moisture. Misting can also provide temporary moisture to Calathea plants, but it is not the ideal method. Because the water will evaporate very quickly on the surface of the leaves.

The Tree Stump Is Tied Up

If Calathea plants grow larger than the size of the pot, their root system will be tight around. The roots will not have room to continue to grow. From there, the new roots will wrap around or intertwine with the old roots, causing the entire root system to be tight together.

When the root system is tight, it will not be able to absorb nutrients and water from the stems and leaves. Some signs will appear such as roots sprouting from the ground, wrapping around the edge of the pot, yellow leaves, slow growth, and no new leaves. Therefore, you need to move the plant to a larger pot so that the root system grows around. You can also prune some of the roots that are damaged or too long when growing in a new pot.

Stress Due To Implants

If your plants don’t grow new leaves after your transplant or change their habitat, this is completely normal. Calathea plants need time to adapt to their new environment and the root system needs time to attach to the soil and transport water and nutrients to each cell.

Transplant shock usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. During this time, don’t expect any new leaf growth, but keep the growing conditions optimal for the plants to adapt soon. To minimize the time, during the transplant you also need to follow the correct procedure and give the plants time to adapt before transplanting.

Poor Soil Quality

Calathea plants will not be able to grow new leaves or grow quickly if the soil quality is poor or unsuitable. This plant prefers moist, well-drained, and nutrient-rich soil. If the soil quality does not meet the criteria of plants, they will not be able to grow and develop well.

The soil must be well drained to avoid waterlogging and root rot in plants. However, if the potting soil can drain too quickly, it will not be able to maintain the ideal humidity for Calathea plants. If the roots cannot absorb enough moisture, the Calathea will not be able to photosynthesize properly, reducing new leaf growth.

Organic matter such as bark and coir found in most Calathea soil mixes is full of nutrients. If your soil mix doesn’t contain essential nutrients, especially nitrogen, leaf growth will slow down. Therefore, you need to choose potting soil that is of good quality, rich in nutrients, retains moisture, and has good drainage to avoid waterlogging.

Diseases And Insects

Calathea plants, like other indoor plants, are also susceptible to pest and insect attacks. In particular, indoor plants are often placed in areas with little light or hidden corners, so poor air circulation also creates favorable conditions for fungi to grow.

Some insects such as spiders, thrips, flies, and aphids will also attack the tops of Calathea plants, making them unable to grow new leaves. These insects will directly attack the leaves and suck the sap, causing the leaves and stems to dry out and die. So plants will not have enough energy to grow new leaves.

In addition, some diseases are caused by fungi such as leaf blight, black spot, brown spot, or leaf rot. The fungus will appear in wet and waterlogged conditions. Therefore, you need to regularly clean the leaves on both sides, use neem oil to clean the leaves, and prevent pests.


Calathea plants will not be able to grow new leaves if they encounter several problems such as lack of light, lack of nutrients, excessive watering, lack of water, inappropriate pot size, poor soil quality, stress caused by After transplanting, the root is constricted by too small pot size or low humidity.

When plants do not have an ideal habitat, they cannot generate the energy to grow new leaves continuously. Although Calathea plants are also not fast-growing plants. However, if they don’t grow new leaves after 2 weeks then you should also consider.

Calathea plants prefer indirect sunlight every day, warm temperatures, ideal humidity from 65-70%, and fertilize once a month during the growing season. It is wonderful to see Calathea plants every day and the movement of the patterns on each leaf.

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