How To Save A Dying Calathea Plant: A Complete Guide

Thanks to their bright foliage and unique designs, calathea plants are a top choice among plant lovers. Even though they’re popular, Calathea plants can be a pain to care for and, if neglected, might start drooping or show other bad signs of being unhappy.

Don’t panic if you see that your Calathea plant is struggling. How to Save a Dying Calathea Plant? We’ll run through the key steps you can take to bring back a dying Calathea plant in this post. We’ll offer you handy tips to help you revive your Calathea and keep it blooming for years to come. So let’s jump in and discover how to perk up your sick Calathea plant!

Common reasons why is my calathea dying

Calathea plants are sensitive and might start to droop or die for various reasons. These often include both care mistakes and environmental issues. Here are some typical reasons why your Calathea might be having a hard time:

  • Bad watering practices: Both overwatering and underwatering can harm your Calathea. Overwatering can lead to root decay, leading to yellowing and dropping of leaves. Underwatering, in contrast, can cause drooping and brown, crispy tips on the leaves. Calatheas like to stay moist but never waterlogged, and their watering needs may increase during hotter months.
  • Too much direct sunlight: Calatheas love indirect sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can cause the leaf tips to turn brown and crispy.
  • Not enough humidity: Calatheas are from tropical places, hence they need high humidity levels. When humidity levels are too low, it can lead to dry brown patches on the leaves.
  • Changing temperatures: Crazy temperature changes or fluctuations can also stress your Calathea, causing it to droop or die.
  • Bad soil quality: Cheap soil and potting mix might not give the necessary nutrients for the plant, causing nutrient deficiencies that might show up as spots on the leaves.
  • Not enough airflow: Bad air circulation can lead to the spread of bugs or disease, causing spots on the leaves or other damages.
  • Not fertilizing enough: Calatheas need regular feeding to thrive. If not fed enough, the plant may show signs of nutrient deficiency.

If you spot your Calathea showing any of these signs, like yellowing or drooping leaves, brown tips or spots on leaves, it’s important to figure out the real reason and fix it ASAP. Remember that preventing is better than curing, so make sure to provide the perfect home for your plant by watering it right, giving it the perfect amount of indirect light, keeping high humidity levels, maintaining stable temperature, using good soil, ensuring great airflow, and feeding it regularly.

dying calathea plant

How to Save a Dying Calathea Plant?

Getting the Light Right

If your Calathea plant is acting up, like with yellowing or wilting leaves, it might be because it’s not getting the right light. Here’s how to save a dying Calathea plant by giving it the light it needs.

Have a Look at the Current Light

Calathea plants like lots of bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can burn their leaves, turning them brown and crispy. If your plant is in a spot with too much direct sun or not enough light, it’s gonna struggle.

Change Up the Light

To give your Calathea plant the right light, move it to a spot with bright, indirect light. You can do this by putting it near a north or east-facing window, where it’ll get lots of diffused sunlight. You can also use sheer curtains or blinds to soften the sunlight and stop direct exposure.

Watch Your Plant

After you’ve switched up the light, keep an eye on your Calathea plant to see if it starts to perk up. Look for signs it’s getting better, like new leaf growth and the overall look of the plant. It might take some time for your plant to bounce back, so hang in there and give it a few weeks to get used to the new light.

Other Care Tricks

While getting the light right is key for a healthy Calathea plant, it’s also important to make sure you’re nailing the other care bits. Keep the plant in a potting mix that drains well, keep the dampness just right, and water it with clean water, not straight from the tap, to stop chemical buildup in the soil.

Proper Watering 


When a plant gets too much water, it can get waterlogged, which might turn the leaves yellow, cause withering, and ultimately kill it. You gotta move fast to save your Calathea plant if you think it’s been drowned.


  • First, take the plant outta the pot and check out the soil. Is it all dried up? If it’s all mushy or soaked, you’ve been hit with a water overload, mate, and you gotta sort it out ASAP.
  • Chuck out any leftover water from the pot and find a bright spot for it, avoiding any full-on sun for a few days, until the soil’s as dry as a desert.
  • During this waiting game, don’t even think about adding more water – too much moisture can rot those roots and just hurt your plant more.
  • Once the soil’s good and dry, you can give your Calathea a drink again. But remember to keep a close eye on it and make sure you’re not about to flood it again in the future.

You should be able to stop from drowning it if you spot the issue in time and let your Calathea dry out completely.


If you’re not giving your Calathea enough water, the first thing to do is check the soil dampness. If it feels dry or has gone hard, it’s time to water your Calathea. Be sure to water slowly and thoroughly until you can see moisture on top of the soil.

Once you’ve watered your Calathea, it’s important to make sure you don’t forget to water it again. You can do this by setting a reminder on your phone or calendar. It’s also handy to keep to a regular watering schedule and learn how much water your Calathea needs each week – more in the summer, and less in the winter.

If not watering enough has caused dried and brown patches on the leaves, brown tips, or wavy leaves, you can try misting it with clean water. This should help increase humidity, which Calathea plants love, and help it look lush and healthy again.

Proper Watering for Calathea

Boost the humidity around Calathea

Calatheas are tropics lovers, so they love a nice warm and humid environment. They aren’t fans of getting too hot or cold, so you gotta find that Goldilocks zone.

To boost the humidity around your Calathea:

  • You can spritz the leaves with water once or twice a week to boost the humidity surrounding your Calathea.
  • Use a humidifier nearby or fill the water tray the plant is sitting in with pebbles or stones.
  • Group your plants together.

By boosting the humidity around your Calathea, you can help it thrive and possibly even save it from dying. Also, be sure you keep the soil damp but not soggy, as too much water can be bad news for the plant.

Look at the soil

Take a look at how the soil where your Calathea is hanging out feels. Too wet or dry? Just poke your finger in there to see. If it’s super damp even a few inches down, well, it’s too wet. If it’s hard and crumbly, then it’s too dry.

If your Calathea’s hangout is kinda like a swamp, you gotta go easy on the watering and ensure your plant has a good drainin’ situation. If it’s like a desert, give it a good drench and ensure the soil’s grabbin’ onto enough water.

Got a feeling that your Calathea’s soil is turning into a swimming pool? You gotta act quick. Take a look at the top layer of soil and make sure there aren’t any little ponds that can pop up from overwatering or lousy drainage.

Your Calathea dreams of well-draining, damp soil that’s rich in organic stuff. If your soil’s not doing the job, it’s time to move your Calathea into a new pot with some fresh soil. Chuck in some perlite or vermiculite to help the drainage.

You can also snag a moisture meter to keep an eye on the soil’s water levels and make sure it’s not too soaked. If it’s more like a water park in there, you gotta hustle to make the soil drain better. Do this by moving your plant into a bigger pot with better drainage and using a potting mix that doesn’t act like a sponge.

Also read: Best Soil For Calathea: How to choose the exact and proper

Look at the roots

Next, look at the roots of your Calathea plant for any sign of rotting or other damage. If the roots are damaged, repot the plant with a new potting mix and keep up with regular watering and fertilizer applications.

If the root check reveals that your Calathea plant is suffering from root rot, you gotta act quickly. Root rot can spread and make even more damage if left untreated.

To remove the infected roots:

  • Use a clean pair of scissors or shears to carefully chop off the affected areas.
  • Repot the plant in a new pot with fresh soil.
  • Put in stuff to help drainage, like perlite or vermiculite, to the soil to check that it is able to drain quickly without getting waterlogged.

It is also important to look at the watering habits of your Calathea plant. If the root check reveals that your Calathea plant is suffering from overwatering, then you should change how you water.

Make sure that the soil has dried up completely in between waterings, check the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, and be sure to dump out any extra water that might have accumulated there.

check the root calathea

Keep the temp steady for your Calathea

Don’t forget, the perfect zone for your Calathea’s health is 65 to 80 °F. By keeping your Calathea in the right temp range, you’re helping it stay fit and flourish.

If the weather goes out of that range, your plant might get hurt. Let’s chat about what happens to the calathea in high or low temps.

High temperatures

If your temp is a few degrees hotter than 80 degrees, maybe even around 85 degrees. Your calathea can get easily stressed out in temps above 85.

Low temperatures

When your Calathea is hit by temps under 60 degrees, the trouble is way bigger. The calathea may handle temps of 50 degrees in the winter, but not any lower.

Considering its natural tropical home, calatheas are super sensitive to cold. You can tell when a calathea is too cold because its leaves may show red, golden, or white marks close to the leaf veins.

If your calathea is hurting from cold shock, especially if the shock is severe, leaves may start to drop off of it left and right. Even the remaining leaves will sag or curl. Again, cell damage stops the leaves from keeping their stiffness, which is the root of this issue.


If you want to keep a steady temp for your Calathea plant, it’s best to dodge places that could get hit by quick changes in temp.

This includes dodging spots near air conditioners and heaters, as these can cause crazy temps that can damage the plant.

Handle Bugs and Plant Disease

If you spot your Calathea Plant is not looking healthy, it might be because of bugs or disease. Dealing with these problems quickly is vital in order to save the plant.

First off, look over the plant closely and spot any bug invasion or disease there.

Common bugs that can attack Calathea plants include aphids, mealybugs, leaf miners, and spider mites. Deal with any bug invasion with bug soap or neem oil mix.

For plant disease, usual problems include fungus problems like powdery mildew, root rot, and bacterial spot. Treat plant diseases with a fungicide or fungus killer.

Also, once you’ve handled any bugs or diseases:

  • Keep a healthy environment for your plant.
  • Pick soil that drains well and has a lot of organic stuff, and water the plant when the top few inches of soil start to dry out.
  • To help stop bacterial and fungus problems, provide proper air movement.
  • Make sure the plant has access to bright, indirect sunlight and cut back on water during the winter months.
  • Keep an eye out for any signs of bugs or disease and take necessary action.

Treat Pests and Plant Disease

Moving Shock in Calathea

Moving shock can happen when a calathea plant is moved from one place to another, especially if the new environment has different lighting and humidity levels than it was used to. Your calathea plant’s leaves may get discolored, wilt, or limp and die due to moving shock.

To help a calathea plant recover from moving shock or stop it altogether, gotta do something.

  • Be careful not to mess up the roots too much when moving your calathea plant as this can damage them and lead to moving shock.
  • Be sure to pick a pot that’s one size bigger than the old one and fill it with fresh, well-draining soil.
  • Water your Calathea well and then place it in a spot with indirect light and lots of moisture.
  • Avoid drafts, direct sun, and low temps, which can all lead to moving shock.

If your calathea plant does experience moving shock, the best thing to do is to wait it out and give the plant time to get used to its new environment. Make sure the soil stays moist but not soggy and mist the leaves every day to increase the humidity levels.

Moving shock should get better after a few weeks, provided that you watch the environment and give your calathea plant the right care. If moving shock keeps up or gets worse, it’s best to talk to a pro so they can figure out any hidden problems. Taking steps to stop or handle moving shock can help you save a dying calathea plant.

How to properly care for the Calathea plant after reviving it

After your Calathea bounces back, it’s all about keeping it happy and healthy. Remember these points when looking after your Calathea:

  1. Make sure it gets enough light, but don’t put it under blazing sun. These plants dig bright light with some shade throughout the day.
  2. Keep the soil a bit damp, but don’t drown it. Water when the top two inches of soil feels dry.
  3. Keep things moist by misting with water often or using a humidifier to keep some moisture in the air around the plant.
  4. Feed your Calathea during its growing season with a general liquid plant food.
  5. Trim it often to keep the plant looking its best and to encourage new growth.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Save a Dying Calathea Plant

Q: How much light does a Calathea plant need?

A: Calatheas are all about shady bright light. They can deal with low light levels, but they’re not fans of the blazing sun. More light means faster growth and brighter colors, but too much sun can scorch the leaves and mess up their color, so keep them out of direct sunlight.

Q: How often should I water my Calathea plant?

A: Like most tropical plants, the trick to keeping Calatheas happy is not letting them sit in a puddle of water. Watering them when the top of the soil is dry works best; this could be every 7-14 days depending on where you live.

Q: What type of fertilizer should I use for my Calathea plant?

A: Feeding isn’t always a must, but it can give your Calathea a nice boost. Try a general plant food that has both big and small nutrients. Follow the instructions on the packet and remember, if you’re unsure, it’s better to under-feed than over-feed.

Q: Should you cut the dead leaves off the calathea?

A: Absolutely, it’s crucial to remove any dead leaves that have wilted or dried out on the Calathea. Getting rid of them helps stop the spread of pests and diseases that could mess with other parts of the plant. Plus, it lets more light and air get to the other leaves which can boost their health.

Q: What kind of soil should you use for a calathea plant?

A: Calatheas are fans of soil that drains well and has plenty of natural stuff in it. A good potting mix like peat moss or coconut coir mixed with perlite is perfect.

Final thoughts

Rescuing a dying Calathea is no walk in the park, but with the right know-how and strategies, you can do it. It takes patience and commitment to give your Calathea the right care, but the payoff of a healthy, thriving plant is totally worth the effort.

Make sure to give your Calathea the right living conditions, water it properly, and feed it enough. If you follow these steps, your Calathea will have a much better shot at bouncing back. How To Save A Dying Calathea Plant is your complete guide on how to do just that. Visit Famiplants for more tips on caring for houseplants.”

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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