Calathea Sunlight Requirements

Calathea plants prefer medium indirect sunlight. Sunlight is crucial for calathea plants because the proper light helps them set and retain their uniquely patterned foliage. The leaves may look washed out if the plant does not receive enough light, and too much light can burn the leaves. 

In nature, calathea is an understory plant that lives under the tree canopy. The tree canopy filters sunlight, allowing some light to reach the calatheas below. Medium to bright sunlight will provide enough light for the lovely foliage to grow and thrive without causing sunburn.


Best Rooms To Grow Calathea

The ideal place for a calathea is an east- or west-facing window, where the plant will receive limited light early or late in the day, respectively. Calathea plants can live comfortably several feet back from a south-facing window or closer to the window if there is a sheer curtain to diffuse the light. Move the plant around every few weeks to find a spot with ideal sunlight.

The amount of available sunlight changes throughout the year, so monitor your calathea plants to ensure they continue to receive adequate light. Calathea plants are dormant during the fall and winter but still need medium sunlight. Move the plants to a sunnier window if you notice the colorful foliage losing its intensity during winter.


Providing Supplemental Sunlight To Calathea

Grow lights are a great option to provide increased sunlight during the dark winter months or to make a dimly lit area the ideal spot for your calathea. Many grow lights and lamps feature a timer, so the light will automatically come on each day and ensure your calathea plant receives light for a consistent number of hours. A well-placed mirror can direct light from a south-facing window into darker areas of a home and provide enough light to sustain your calathea plants.

Sunlight Needed For Growing Calathea Outdoors

Calatheas are winter hardy in zones 11 and 12, but many plant owners move their prayer plants outside during the summer. The warm temperatures and increased humidity help a calathea thrive. Place the plant in a shady spot that receives only indirect sunlight, like on a covered porch or patio. Direct sunlight will damage the foliage. Medium indirect light is usually best, but some plants may be able to tolerate bright indirect light. Inspect the plant for faded or burned vegetation and adjust its position accordingly.

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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 03-09-2023