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The Striped Calathea, now Goeppertia ornata, is a striking perennial native to the tropical rainforests of South America. They're also commonly referred to as a 'Pin Stripe Calathea' due to their characteristic markings - thin whitish-pink stripes (that look a little like fishbones) spread across their dark green leaves.
Their leaves can sometimes be seen 'dancing'. That is to say, their leaves move around in response to light changes, and will close / open up when they are exposed to sunlight.
Their leaves are large with long, thin stems and purplish-toned undersides, making them an impressive decorative plant. In fact, they're so pretty that they almost look fake!
Additionally, they can grow quite large (up to 2 ft or 60 cm tall) even while kept as a houseplant, so they're sure to catch the attention of any guests visiting your home.
Stubborn, picky and tricky. Yep, that's what it is, even if it of course can stay alive / thrive with the right care.
Striped Goeppertias want plenty of water, humidity and warmth - but not too much of anything! Try to keep the soil consistently moist, but not overly wet, and never let the plant sit in water. Also try to keep it away from drafts or heating sources, as they can be sensitive to temperature changes.
They love high humidity and will quickly become unhappy without it. If you have enough light in your bathroom then this is an ideal location for this plant, as it will love the moisture and heat that comes from your shower. Alternatively, you can mist it regularly.
The stripes on these plants are a form of variegation (lack of chlorophyll / pigmentation in the leaves), and as such they're sensitive to light. Therefore, it's best to keep your Striped Goeppertia somewhere with bright but indirect light. Without enough light, their foliage can start to look a bit sad, so finding the perfect balance is ideal.
Younger Striped Goeppertias will show more pink tones to their stripes, and they'll steadily become more white in color as your plant ages. However, if yours seems to be whitening prematurely, it could be a sign that it is getting too much sunlight, effectively bleaching the plant. Try moving it to a more sheltered spot in your home.
If possible, try to only water with rainwater or distilled water, as these plants can be sensitive to the chlorine in tap water, which can lead to unsightly markings on the leaves such as crisp, browning edges.
As mentioned above, Striped Goeppertias move their leaves around across the course of the day. If you were to film a time-lapse of your plant over 24 hours or so, you would notice how it closes up its leaves at nighttime and then slowly begins to unfold them again as the sun rises. It's truly a 'living' plant!
They can sometimes be prone to pests such as spider mites, so this is another reason to mist regularly - misting the leaves can help to knock off pests and keep the foliage dust-free, as well as boosting humidity.
This plant is also non-toxic to humans and animals. We still don't recommend allowing your pets to chew on them (it would be a crime to damage such beautiful leaves, after all!), but it's good to know that this plant is a safe choice for households with pets.