Calathea Rufibarba Care: The Complete And Best Guide

Calathea Rufibarba is an awesome plant with colorful leaves and ruffled edges. It adds color and texture to any living space, but it does need the right TLC to thrive. Fortunately, giving it the right mix of moisture, sunlight, and nutrients isn’t tough.

Whether you’re a newbie or a pro at gardening, the “Calathea Rufibarba Care Guide” makes sure your Calathea will be happy and healthy for years to come.

About Calathea Rufibarba

Calathea Rufibarba comes from Brazil and warm American regions. It’s part of the Marantaceae plant clan. This tropical year-rounder, also known as velvet calathea or furry feather calathea, has leaves that look like soft feathers.

Because of its soft leaves, Calathea Rufibarba is also known as Furry Feather Calathea and Fuzzy Calathea. This plant, also known as Velvet Calathea, should not be confused with Calathea Lancifolia, which kinda looks the same.

Large yellow flowers will sometimes peek out from under the foliage during the blooming season, adding a surprising pop of color.

This year-round member of the Marantaceae family is famous for its unique look and texture. It has spear-like, bright green leaves with a red underside.

One interesting thing about Marantaceae plants is that most of them are known as “Prayer Plants.” This is because they do this night-movement thing in response to changes in temperature and light. Even though this rhythm is there in Calathea plants, it’s not as strong as it is in Maranta plants. They do, however, have a similar level of sensitivity, and this specific prayer plant needs careful attention.

calathea rufibarba

Calathea Rufibarba Care Quick Overview

Scientific Name Calathea Rufibarba, Goeppertia Rufibarba
Common Name Furry Feather Calathea
Family Marantaceae
Origin Brazil
Growth Rate Medium
Color Yellowish with Green/ Velvet Leaves
Identification Green waxy leaves with jagged outer edges and maroon undersides
Height 23 inches
Soil Soil that drains well
Water Keep soil damp
Temperature 60-75F
Sunlight Some shade’s good
Toxicity Won’t hurt you
Pests Mealybugs, scale, spider mites, White Flies, Aphids
Diseases Root rot, Powdery mildew, bacterial leaf spot

Calathea Rufibarba Care Tips

Ideal Humidity

Calathea Rufibarba likes it best when the moisture is between 40 to 50%. This plant digs a higher level of moisture than most other houseplants.

To give your calathea more moisture:

  • Spray it often.
  • Put a bunch of plants together in a damp terrarium.
  • Use a room damp maker.
  • Put water pots near the plant.

You gotta check the soil dampness often, as Calathea Rufibarba doesn’t dig being over-watered. If you notice wilting hints or brown leaves, it’s likely the moisture’s too down and needs to be bumped up. Watch your plant’s surroundings and tweak the moisture level to make sure your Calathea Rufibarba stays healthy and bright.

Also, keep in mind that some changes in moisture are normal and good for this plant. Perfect moisture levels can vary with the seasons and from place to place.

It’s key to figure out what works best for your Calathea. Understanding the perfect moisture for your Calathea Rufibarba will help keep it healthy and happy, while also keeping its leaves looking great.

humidity for calathea rufibarba


Watering this plant is key to make sure it stays healthy and lively. Water it often, but don’t drown it since this can lead to root rot or other issues. Water when the top soil’s dried up about an inch deep.

Water until it drips out of the drain holes in the pot. Watering two times a week should do, but you may need to water more often depending on the surroundings and how much light your Calathea Rufibarba is getting.

The pot you use can affect your watering schedule. This just means that earthy pots will let H2O leave more quickly than plastic ones.

If there’s too much H2O in the soil, it’ll rot the roots. You should also use clean or boiled water for watering your Calathea Rufibarba, since tap water may have loads of minerals the plant can’t take in.

Watering your Calathea with warmish water is a good move since this will help the roots soak up the good stuff more efficiently. Also, spraying the leaves with a spray bottle two or three times a week can increase moisture.

Top tips: If possible, use filtered, distilled, or rainwater. Let tap water sit for 24 hours before you use it for watering.

Ideal light

Calathea Rufibarba is an always-green tropical plant that loves bright, not-direct sun.

The best light for Calathea Rufibarba should be screened by curtains or sunshades, so it doesn’t get touched by direct sun during the hottest hours of the day.

When your Calathea Rufibarba’s leaves start to turn brown, you’ll know the plant’s getting too much sun. On the other hand, this plant’s leaves might start to droop if it’s not getting enough light.

Don’t show your Calathea Rufibarba to direct sunlight as this could cause big harm or worse. On the flip side, it can live just fine in medium light, so you can put this plant in any not-so-bright spot of your house. It can also handle usual light conditions and some shade.

During winter times, a window facing south with 6–8 hours of light each day is the best bet. If you can’t dodge direct light, Calathea Rufibarba could gain from a light curtain to filter out some of the sun’s harshness.

You can use fake light if there’s not enough natural light. The best fake light can come from fluorescent lights or LEDs and should be put near the plant (no further than a few feet away) for the best outcome.

light for calathea rufibarba

Required temperature

Our Calathea Rufibarba loves warmth, enjoying temps between 60-75°F (15-24°C) during the day and a bit chillier at night.

Watch out for big temp swings since super cold temps can make the leaves of your Calathea Rufibarba lose their awesome color and could maybe harm the plant.

Make sure to keep your Calathea Rufibarba away from chilly windows or drafts! It loves higher humidity, so spraying it often is a good idea.

Keep your Calathea Rufibarba away from things like heaters, vents, hand dryers, and other stuff since they might get touchy about quick switches in temp.

If you’re hunting for a top spot for your Calathea Rufibarba, try placing it near a window facing north that gets indirect sunlight. It will also do well under grow lights, closer to its usual living space.


For this Calathea Rufibarba to do well, soil is one of the most important things in its care. The soil should be light and airy, but also be able to keep dampness and let water out easily.

For the best results, use soil that’s a mix of peat moss and perlite or vermiculite in equal parts. This mix will give the right soil feel and air for Calathea Rufibarba’s roots.

Also, it should have a bit of organic soil feed for the best outcome.

A soil mix that’s rich in organic stuff and drains well is the best soil for Calatheas: To make your own, mix parts of:

  • Compost
  • Potting soil
  • Coconut coir
  • Vermiculite or pearlite

While vermiculite and perlite give enough room between soil bits for more water to let out, compost and coconut coir will keep water.

Be sure to plant your Calathea Rufibarba in a pot with holes for drainage and use soil that will keep the right amount of dampness without getting too mushy.

soil mix calathea rufibarba


Feeding your Calathea Rufibarba is key to its health and growth. Plant feed provides the nutrients that are not in soil and can help your plant do really well.

You should put plant feed on every fortnight during the growing time, from late spring to early fall. Feed the water with a liquid plant feed with lots of nitrogen to help healthy growth

During the winter times, you should cut down the regularity to once a month or you don’t need to feed it at all.

If you accidentally overdo organic plant feeds, the delicate roots are less likely to get burned.

You should use a balanced plant feed with an N-P-K mix of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. Mix the plant feed in lukewarm water and put it straight on the soil, being careful not to let any touch the leaves of your plant. Feeding your Calathea Rufibarba will help ensure its long-lasting health and vitality.


Repotting your Calathea Rufibarba needs some extra care especially for the roots. If your plant is doing well and getting bigger, you can switch it to a new pot every couple years. Fresh soil brings a new stash of plant food, keeping your plant happy.

Signs of repotting:

  • Your plant’s growing quick and pushing out roots so much that it gets all tied up in its roots. Pick a pot that’s a size or two bigger.
  • If your Calathea Rufibarba is getting bigger, you might wanna think about moving it to a larger pot; it dries out pretty quick between waterings.
  • You made more of them and you need to repot. Any time of the year will do if you just need a bigger pot.

Try to repot every couple years, ideally in spring or summer when the root system is already set up and going.

Steps to repot Calathea Rufibarba:

  1. Take off the pot and look at the soil for any bugs or diseases before putting it in new soil.
  2. To get rid of the extra soil, giving it a gentle shake usually does the trick.
  3. You can do this over the new container to make use of the soil.
  4. Fill the container with more soil mix until it’s about halfway full.
  5. Then, make a little hole with your hand in the center to fit the roots.
  6. After putting the Calathea in its new spot, put soil in the leftover space in the pot. To help the soil settle, gently push down on the top of it or tap the bottom of it on the ground.
  7. Finally, water the plant all the way, and then pour out the water from the dish underneath.

When you repot your Calathea, use new soil to give its roots more plant food to take in. When moving to the new pot, you gotta be careful since this plant is super touchy and hates its roots being messed with or touched.

Repotting isn’t needed if the roots are healthy and the soil’s been changed recently. Water Calathea Rufibarba after repotting to help it get used to its new home. Repotting this type of houseplant helps it grow and keeps it healthy and lasting.


Regularly cutting back the leaves can help to keep your plant healthy and looking good. Pruning should be done carefully, using sharp clippers or scissors. Pruned leaves shouldn’t be thrown away; they should be composted or added to a mulch pile.

Pruning can help to stop disease and bugs from setting up camp in the plant. Cut leaves also let more air flowing around which can help cut down on dampness around the plant.

Pruning should be done at least once a month, or more often if necessary. Pruning is an easy way to keep the health of your Calathea Rufibarba and keep it looking top-notch.

Cut back any yellowed or damaged leaves, and always make sure to clean your clippers before and after each use. Pruning is an important part of taking care of a Calathea Rufibarba, so make sure you’re regularly maintaining your plant by cutting off dead or damaged leaves.

pruning calathea rufibarba

Calathea Rufibarba Care propagation

Making more Calathea Rufibarbas can be done in several ways. The easiest and surest method is by splitting it up.

If your plant’s gotten too big for its current pot, splitting it up is a great option.

  • Carefully lift the plant from its pot and carefully pull apart the roots, making sure you don’t hurt them.
  • You can then plant each root separately in a new pot with soil that drains well.
  • Water a little and put it where the sunlight’s not too direct for best results.
  • Pop this cutting in a new pot with fresh soil, and give it plenty of water.
  • Until it starts rooting, keep the pot with the stem in a dim, humid area.
  • Treat it like any other velvet Calathea as soon as it starts to grow new stuff.

Top tips: Propagate Calathea Rufibarba in the spring and summer months while it is growing.

Calathea Rufibarba Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Common Pests

Spider mites

Particularly Velvet Calathea, is an unwelcome but regular issue on houseplants. The first signs you’re dealing with spider mites are tiny brown or yellow spots on your plant’s leaves. When the infestation gets really bad, you may notice thin, gooey webs swarming with red bugs.

To get rid of the spider mites, start by giving your Velvet Calathea a good clean. You’ll need to do this outside, in a tub, or over a sink. If that doesn’t do the trick, try using bug-killing soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil to smother the spider mites.

If you have more plants in your house, you might need to separate the sick ones while you deal with the spider mite situation.


Your Calathea may become infested with mealybugs. They squirt out this stuff called honeydew, which causes black sooty mold and leaves a white powdery coating on the leaves. Yellow leaves will drop from plants with mealybug problems.

You can get rid of adult mealybugs using cotton and a bud dunked in rubbing alcohol. When they touch something, they usually turn orange, die, and leak out the diluted alcohol onto the surviving leaves.

Root mealies will chow down on the roots, for example. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth powder into the soil to help them drink less in between waterings. You can also add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide when watering.

Scale Insects

Adult scale bugs can make little ones even though they can’t move and have a waxy coating on their bodies.

You can scrape off armored scales, but you must do it delicately using an old ID card or your hands. Don’t rip the Calathea Rufibarba leaves off.

To smother scale insects, use neem oil, horticultural oil, or bug-killing soap. If you see crawlers moving about, spray a broad-spectrum bug killer on your plant. Do it again with a second application a week later.

White Flies

If your plants’ leaves look blotchy, discolored, twisted, or are falling off, you may have whiteflies. These pests are cousins of aphids, scales, and mealybugs.

Catch White Flies with sticky traps and keep an eye out for them as they first emerge.

By bringing in some natural enemies like lacewings, dragonflies, ladybugs, parasitic wasps, and praying mantises, you can control them without harming your plants.


Tiny bugs called aphids lovechowing down on your Fuzzy Calathea’s leaves, which leaves behind blotches of black and brown color.

Use neem oil or bug-killing soap to deal with an infestation. A bit of dish soap might also help with the aphids without hurting your plant.

Start by mixing 1 teaspoon of dish soap with 1 gallon of water, and then gradually up the ratio as necessary. Spray this mixture all over your hurt plant, making sure to focus on the undersides of the leaves where aphids like to hang out.

Plant Diseases

This flashy Calathea Rufibarba might get some plant sicknesses. Here’s some that can screw up your plant:

  • Root rot is a real nasty fungus issue that pops up when the soil’s always kinda wet, turning the roots soaked and rotten. It comes up as drooping, leaves turning yellow and kinda black, squishy roots. To keep root rot at bay, make sure the soil drains alright and don’t water your buddy way too much.
  • Leaf spot’s another one that gives you brown or black blotches on your buddy’s leaves. Watering too much, way too much moisture, or lousy air flow can bring this about. To fend off leaf spot, keep the soil draining alright, don’t drench, and sort out better air flow round your buddy.

Fending off these diseases is all about getting your Calathea Rufibarba cozy and giving it some proper love and care

Calathea Rufibarba Care Common Problems

Yellowing Calathea Rufibarba Leafs

A yellow leaf now and then is normal; as leaves get old, they will turn yellow. Yellowing leaves can also mean you’re watering the plant too much.

Leaves of Calathea Rufibarba Drooping

Your plant’s leaves droop at a certain time of the day – it’s just how it rolls. But if its leaves are always leaning down and drooping, your plant likely needs more water.

Calathea Rufibarba Leaf Spots

If you misted your Calathea rufibarba after it’s been out in the direct sun, the sun and water droplets might burn the leaves and cause leaf spots.

leaves of calathea rufibarba drooping

FAQ About Calathea Rufibarba Care

Q: How often should I water my Calathea Rufibarba?

A: Just water your Calathea when the top inch or two of soil is dry. Poke your finger into the potting mix up to the second knuckle. If it feels dry, then it’s time to water your Calathea. Don’t drown your plant, as this can cause root rot and other troubles. Also, you might want to spritz the leaves with distilled or filtered water now and then to keep the air moist around the plant.

Q: What type of soil should I use for my Calathea Rufibarba?

A: This plant likes a soil that drains well and is full of nutrients. A mix of potting soil, perlite, and peat moss makes great stuff for your Calathea Rufibarba. Make sure that the soil is moist but not soggy, as this can cause root rot. Besides that, you might want to add some slow-release plant food for extra nutrients.

Q: What type of temperature does my Calathea Rufibarba need?

A: Your Calathea will be happiest in temperatures between 65-80°F (18-27°C). Try to avoid quick changes in temperature, as this can make the leaves curl or change color. Also, keep your Calathea away from any AC vents or drafty windows.

Q: What type of light does a Calathea Rufibarba need?

A: Your Calathea Rufibarba will do well in medium to bright, but not direct sunlight. If the plant gets too much direct sunlight, the leaves might lose color or change color. You might need to move your Calathea to a less sunny spot if it’s been sitting in direct sun for a while. You can also add some fake grow light for 12-14 hours a day.

Q: Is Rufibarba Considered Toxic?

A: Calathea Rufibarba is totally not poisonous to folks, kiddos, or pets.

Pro Tips for Calathea Rufibarba Care

  • Just make sure ya give it bright, indirect sunlight and keep your Calathea Rufibarba out of direct sunlight, okay?
  • Watering’s super important for your plant’s health; make sure you wait until the top inch of soil is dry before giving it a drink.
  • Keep the air nice and moist, get a humidifier if you need to.
  • Watch out for drafts and sudden temperature changes ’cause they can freak out your plant.
  • Give your plant some liquid plant food once every couple of weeks during its growing season, but don’t worry about feeding it in winter months.
  • Time for a new pot for your plant every two to three years and use a potting mix that drains well.
  • Chop off any faded or droopy leaves as soon as they appear to help keep your indoor jungle looking healthy and vibrant.
  • Remember to wipe down the leaves once in a while with a damp cloth to get rid of dust and soil.
  • Keep an eye out for bugs often and deal with them as needed.
  • Give your Calathea Rufibarba a trim by cutting back the stems to keep them from getting too tall and leggy.
  • Finally, just enjoy checking out the beautiful foliage of your Calathea Rufibarba as it grows and brings some life to your indoor jungle.

Hit up FamiPlants for all your Calathea rufibarba care needs. We can help you with everything from planting and caring for your plants to choosing the perfect spot in your home or office.

Learn more about Other Calathea care resources:

Hi, I'm Cathleen Clemens. I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in plant science. I gained detailed knowledge about various kinds of plants and how to properly care for them. My experience has enabled me to easily detect any issues such as pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, or signs of diseases in the plants.

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