Introducing Her Highness, Maui Queen: Calathea Maui Queen is a rare cultivar of the tropical houseplant commonly known as Prayer Plant. For those willing to put a little time and effort into its care Maui Queen is a gorgeous, rewarding plant to tend.
The lovely creamy white feathering and purple undersides add drama and glamor to the vibrant dark green leaves. With some dedication, each evening for many years you’ll be fascinated by the gentle movements of Calathea’s large leaves as it folds itself up for the night.
- Names: Calathea louisae “Maui Queen,” Goeppertia louisae “Maui Queen,” beauty star, cathedral plant, peacock plant, prayer plant, rattlesnake plant, zebra plant
- Origin: Amazon rainforest of Brazil
- Indoor/Outdoor: usually indoors, outdoors in tropical regions
- Height & Structure: up to 3 feet tall by 3 feet wide
- Temperature: 65-85 F
- Flower color: small, inconspicuous, whitish or pale purple
Do repotting or outdoor planting of Calathea in spring or summer.
To ensure healthy roots each prayer plant should be planted in its own pot. In USDA hardiness zones 10b-12, you can plant Calathea Maui Queen outside two to three feet apart.
Maui Queen, like all prayer plants, thrives in bright, indirect light. Calathea will tolerate low light, but its leaves will be droopy and you will not enjoy its full glory. In direct sunlight, its leaves will develop crispy-looking brown edges. The best place for Maui Queen is about six feet from a northern or eastern-facing window. If only a brighter location is available, you can use light-filtering curtains to protect Calathea or place it in the shade of another houseplant.
Calathea needs acidic to neutral, balanced soil with enough drainage to prevent root rot, but also absorbent enough to keep the plant well hydrated. To keep Calathea healthy, aim for a soil pH between 6.0-7.5. Rather than just using potting soil, perlite or coco coir can help with drainage and peat moss can aid in moisture absorption. A good mixture to try is one part perlite, two parts charcoal, two parts orchid bark, and five parts potting soil to give your Calathea the best chance at a long, healthy life.
Prayer plants are evergreen, so the dark, glossy leaves will beautify your space year-round. If Calathea’s specific environmental needs are met, it will grow quickly. During the winter, its growth slows and Calathea needs less water and no fertilization.
Unlike some other varieties of prayer plants, Calathea grows upright and shouldn’t need to be staked. If your Maui Queen is drooping to one side, it most likely needs to be watered.
Calathea is not at all drought resistant and will begin to lose leaves if its hydration is neglected, so plant owners must be attentive to Calathea’s water needs. Although Calathea needs to be watered thoroughly, it likes to wait until thirsty, so it’s best to check the top few inches of soil daily. When it is dry, water Calathea thoroughly, being sure to pour water down into the soil rather than onto the leaves from above. Calathea’s leaves may brown depending on the chemicals in tap water. It may do best with filtered or distilled water or the water collected from a dehumidifier.
In the spring or early summer, feed Calathea a complete fertilizer diluted to half strength. There is no need to fertilize prayer plants during the autumn or winter.
As a native of the rainforests of Brazil, prayer plants require high humidity. 55-65% humidity is ideal. Keep Calathea out of drafts, especially cool ones, and avoid any extreme shifts in temperature. You may want to set the pot on a pebble tray or a humidifier or keep your Maui Queen in the kitchen or bathroom.
Grouping plants together also helps ensure they have enough moisture in the air. Avoid misting Calathea to increase the humidity, because the damp leaves will attract pests.
If your Calathea is planted outside in the northern end of its range, it should be protected with mulch over the winter. Mulching is unnecessary for indoor plants or for Calatheas grown outdoors in higher USDA hardiness zones where the winters are mild.
Use sharp, sterilized gardening shears to trim any dead or brown leaves from Calathea Maui Queen as soon as you notice them.
Because Calathea needs well-drained soil, it is important to choose a pot with a drainage hole so that Maui Queen’s roots aren’t left in standing water. You should only need to repot Calathea every year or two after the growing season at the end of the summer or in the early autumn.
When you do, you can amend the fresh soil with seaweed, fish emulsion, or worm castings and take the time to divide the plant so that the roots don’t become overcrowded. Use a pot one to two inches larger than the previous one to keep your growing Calathea healthy.
Calathea propagates by sending shoots out from its root system. You can separate those shoots whenever your Maui Queen needs to be repotted. You can also propagate prayer plants by snipping a stem below a node with sterile shears and rooting the cutting in water.
When you need to repot Calathea, gently separate the roots and give small plants their own pots.
Prayer plants are fairly resistant to diseases and pests, but they can be weakened by spider mites and mealybugs which drink the sap from the plant’s stem. An invasion of these pests can be treated by cleaning the leaves top and bottom regularly or treating Calathea with neem oil. Another potential problem is Leaf Spot or Cucumber Mosaic Virus. This must be cleared with the appropriate fungicide.
Of the thirty-one genera of the Marantaceae family, Calathea is one of the most popular as a houseplant. There are about sixty species in the genus Calathea, and they are often confused with their cousins of the genus Ctentanthe, Goeppertia, Maranta, and Stromanthe. A couple of hundred species formerly classified as Calathea were reclassified as Goeppertia.
Among the dozens of varieties of prayer plants, Maranta leuconeura is the most common. Other favorites are the rabbit’s foot prayer plant (Kerchoveana) and the red prayer plant (Erythroneura.) Calathea Rosy is a gorgeous variety characterized by light green leaves with a broad, dark border and purplish-red veining and Calathea Freddie has striking green on green striped leaves.
Keeping other house plants near Calathea Maui Queen is good for the plant’s humidity requirements and, with an eye for colors and shapes, can create a stunning display. Fittonia’s variety of patterns and colors can pair well with Calathea. Money Tree is a nice backdrop for Calathea.
The many colors of gorgeous Mandevilla flowers make it an excellent companion for Calathea, and of course, other varieties of prayer plants are a beautiful contrast to pair with Calathea Maui Queen.
Luckily, the beautiful Maui Queen is non-toxic to humans and pets. If it is consumed in large quantities, it may result in some stomach irritation, but it is not dangerous.