One of the most beautiful plants in the world is the white fusion calathea.
With its visually striking variegated painted leaves and undersides with hints of purple, it’s easy to see why people would want this as part of their plant collection.
However, unlike some other houseplants, the white fusion calathea needs plenty of time, care and attention to be able to thrive.
Having said that, as long as you provide it with adequate amounts of humidity and shelter it from direct sunlight – you should be in good stead.
To give you the best possible chances though, we’ve written this helpful care-for guide which will give you everything you need to know when it comes to looking after your beautiful and delicate plant.
Read on to know more!
Humidity Is Key
Above all else, the most important thing to note about this plant is the essential needs for humidity.
Not only does this plant absolutely love humid conditions, but it is critical for the survival of it.
When people ask about the best bathroom plants, this is one that immediately springs to mind due to the humid conditions and generally lack of direct sunlight.
If this is not an option for you though, you may wish to explore other avenues to give it the humidity that it needs. These might be:
A lot of people ask if it is worth buying a humidifier. With a lot of plants that need humidity, you can often get away with the misting technique and an increase in room temperature. However, this plant needs more.
As a result, a humidifier can be a critical purchase. The fact is, without enough adequate humidity, this plant will likely die.
You will notice its leaves begin to crisp and wither – which eventually leads to its untimely demise due to being too dry.
If you are in the market for a humidifier specifically for this plant though, you should look for one that can hold a lot of water and moisture. Seriously – it will need it!
Building Humid Conditions
As we mentioned about some other houseplants, misting and increasing the room temperature can be a way to provide enough humidity for their survival.
However, with the white fusion calathea, this will simply be the starting point. The humidity needs to be very high, so you’d be frequently misting – but you’d need to do extra steps.
Place the plant on pebbles and water in a tray to provide further humidity in the room to begin with – but to really ramp it up, you will likely want to look at a garden dome.
These will not only look really good decoratively, but also provide the humidity that your plant requires!
Water – A Fine Balance
These plants are extremely difficult to care for sometimes due to their water habits.
Whilst it’s important to provide adequate water, they cannot be allowed to settle in it.
Indeed, these plants will need water when the soil is dry but they cannot be given a soaking of water.
If you do this, you run the risk of root rot and likely an early end to your plant.
As a general guide, watering every 5 days and possibly even 10 days is enough, but this will be highly dependent on the humidity the plant is exposed to, along with the amount of indirect light it gets.
The best way this plant deals with water is to be moist all over evenly.
However, it’s important that you do not leave large water droplets to sit on the leaves.
Too much heavy moisture can be problematic on their very delicate foliage.
Here’s some extra tips when it comes to water:
Filtered Or Distilled Water Only
This point cannot be stressed enough for many houseplants but particularly this one. Tap water can have chemicals which can potentially harm your plant. You’ll notice the plant’s edges begin to crisp and turn up.
This is because the water’s chemicals are having almost a reverse effect of what it is intended for. Therefore, it’s always advised to use filtered, distilled or rain water.
What’s more – using filtered or distilled water within a humidifier means less cleaning for you. This is because there will not be as much of a calcium or other mineral build up!
Check The Soil
These plants are indeed very keen on moist conditions, but this does not equate to liking wet and moist soil.
When choosing your soil, ensure that it is good quality and not Miracle Grow, because that can lead to gnats.
You’ll want your soil to be well aerated and well draining – you can even add some peat moss with perlite if you wish.
Calatheas enjoy a healthy mix in their soil like this, so it’s certainly something to consider when assessing your soil situation.
The Right Lighting
This plant is keen for lots of bright and indirect sunlight. Some of the best places it can be are greenhouses due to the glass roofs which allow for light to come through but not all of it.
A good place to think about in your home is somewhere that receives the morning sun or the evening sun – allowing for a gentler amount of indirect sunlight. Some people opt for their bathrooms, even if they have west-facing windows.
You can place over a small opaque film which will “filter” the light and provide the plant with the light it needs, but not too much to harm it.
This is very important because of the delicate nature of the calathea.
The variegated tips of the leaves are susceptible to burning, so keeping them away from too much (and especially direct) sunlight is critical.
You may notice that over time, the colorful nature of the variegated leaves becomes less and less.
This is usually due to overexposure of light, but it also means that the plant has built up somewhat of a tolerance to it.
What we must remember about these plants is that they originate from tropical, rainforest conditions where they thrive.
Therefore, they are used to lots of indirect sunlight – normally sheltered by imposing trees, and lots of humidity due to the heat and water.
In fact, you could say that this plant is among the most fussy of houseplants when it comes to the light it receives. As a result, you could opt for a grow light when it comes to winter conditions.
Not only will it help in those difficult months, but it also provides a more consistent amount of light – just be careful that you do not put the plant directly underneath the bulb.
Provide it with enough adequate room to reduce the risk of burning.
If you do choose this method, allow it to soak up the light for about 12 hours and then check on it and provide it with a rest.
You can actually find some in stores that have automatic timers.
You may need to repot your plant. Here’s some tips for when that comes.
Plastic Pots Are Best
Unlike many other plants, this one does not conform well with clay or terracotta pots because they take too much moisture from the plant through absorption.
As calatheas like to be watered as soon as they’re dry – these pots can ruin things!
Plastic pots therefore are ideal materials for this, but the one thing you have to remember is – whatever you’re going for, you will absolutely need drainage holes!
Leave The Roots Alone
We’re not kidding when we say this plant is delicate – it is really delicate all throughout the plant, even in the roots.
Once you need to repot it, it’s vital that you do not disturb the roots because it will cause significant problems when it is repotted.
You may even notice several problems within a week.
The best thing to do is to create a mold in the new soil and then carefully place the plant inside.
So, what if you think you’ve done everything right but you’re noticing problems with your white fusion calathea? We’ve got the common problems with solutions here.
Check The Basics
Before you look at other problems, always check you’ve got the basics right first. Has the plant got enough humidity, indirect light and water when it needs it?
If the answer is no for one of these, you’ll need to solve this problem before going any further. These are usually where problems lie, so ruling them out is the first step.
The warning signs of their presence are white spots and what look to be cobwebs on the plant, normally under the leaves.
Try to inspect your plant on a weekly basis to avoid an infestation, but if they have caused a problem – consider using a Q tip with neem oil or a spray to get rid of them.
While you can use rubbing alcohol (70%) or a solution with dish soap, the neem oil method almost always is better and less potentially harmful to your plant.
As always though, prevention is best, so regular check-ups and potential quarantine is a good idea, especially when you first have the plant.
Brown Leaves With Crispy Edges
Pretty much any time you see this problem, it is down to the lack of humidity in the room.
It almost always happens initially on the first few days you’ve brought the plant home too, due to it trying to adjust to a new environment.
Try increasing the humidity and checking after a few days on its progress. It may resolve itself after it has gotten used to its new surroundings.
However, another reason this might occur is due to the use of tap water which causes the leaves to burn through its chemicals.
If this is the culprit, you must use filtered water. Additionally, it’s wise to clean out your humidifier if you haven’t in a while.
Curling leaves are usually a result of the previous point. You will need to increase the humidity and check the water you are using.
However, sometimes curling leaves can be a result of overexposure to light – so beware of the plant’s position in the house before you do anything rash.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common frequently asked questions about this plant.
Are White Fusion Calatheas Rare?
Out of the calathea family, the white fusion is the rarest.
How Long Should My White Fusion Calathea Live?
If you’ve followed all the guidance and advice that we and where you sourced the plant from has provided you with to the tee, then you might keep your white fusion calathea lasting for several decades!
How Tall Do White Fusion Calatheas Grow?
At their tallest, you can expect to see them grow to heights of just under two feet.
The Bottom Line
White fusion calatheas are among the rarest and most beautiful of tropical houseplants, but they are also one of the most difficult to look after and keep happy due to their delicate nature.
However, if you follow the guidance that we’ve given you, hopefully you’ll care for your calathea for decades to come!