Is Your Calathea Losing Its Vibrant Color? Find Out Why and How to Fix It

Have you ever noticed that your Calathea is losing its color? Are you wondering why this is happening?

Calathea is a popular plant that requires very little maintenance. However, it’s common for Calathea to lose its color over time.

Calathea loses its color mainly because of the lack of chlorophyll. This pigment gives plants their green color and helps to photosynthesize and produce food and energy. Without chlorophyll, plants will lose their original color and cease to grow.

In this article, you’ll find information about common causes for the loss of Calathea color, tips to prevent this, and practical solutions to help your plant stay beautiful.

Let’s get started!

Calathea Losing Color

Why Is My Calathea Losing Color?

The main reason behind calathea losing color is the lack of chlorophyll. This happens when the plant is growing under low light conditions, which causes it to lose its ability to photosynthesize and therefore lose its original color. Additionally, nutrient deficiency, inappropriate soil, and age can cause calathea to lose color.

Let’s go over each factor that causes calathea leaves to lose color and explain it in detail.

Inappropriate Watering

When calathea is given too much or too little water than it needs, it will lose its original color. That’s why you need to ensure that you give your plant enough during watering. If you overwater a plant, you’re putting excess water where it doesn’t belong. This prevents the roots from doing their job efficiently. As a result, the leaves won’t receive their needs in terms of nutrients and oxygen, which will cause them to wilt and lose their color. 

Underwatering a plant will prevent the roots from absorbing nutrients. That causes stunt growth, brown leaves, and wilting.

If you don’t give your plants enough water, they will be stressed, and their growth will slow down. If you water too much, your plant may actually die. That’s why you should water your plant following a systematic approach, not a rigid schedule.

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Inadequate Temperature

Temperature is an essential part of growing plants. The right temperature can help them develop healthy stems and produce beautiful foliage.

When temperatures are too cold, your calatheas cannot keep their leaves green. They will be unable to produce the necessary chlorophyll for food and energy. As a result, they will lose their original color gradually.

If temperatures are too hot, calathea leaves can turn brown and die. This happens because the plant uses its energy to cool down instead of producing food. 

Inappropriate Soil

Suitable soil is essential to growing healthy calathea. If your soil isn’t well-draining and rich in nutrients, you’ll see your plant lose its original color even if you provide the perfect lighting, watering, and temperature.

The reason why poor draining soil causes plants to lose color is because of root rot. This phenomenon causes the roots to be unable to absorb nutrients and oxygen from the soil. As a result, the plant will start to wilt and eventually die.

Poor draining soil can also lead to many problems, including root rot, fungal infections, and nutrient deficiencies.

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Inappropriate Lighting

The more light a plant gets, the healthier and more colorful it becomes. However, too much light can cause the opposite effect for calathea. The leaves of this plant can become burned and turn yellow when exposed to excessive sunlight. Even though this may be desirable in some circumstances, it’s not desirable in others.

Poor lighting can also cause calathea to lose color. In fact, when plants are grown in poor lighting, they won’t perform photosynthesis correctly. As a result, they will not get the nutrition they need to grow and produce healthy leaves.


Color loss is a normal part of aging for most plants. This is caused by a decrease in chlorophyll production and a reduction in the amount of these pigments in the leaves. That’s why we should take more care of our plants as they age.

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What Should I Do When My Calathea Loses Color?

When your calathea loses color, you should check for the cause of the issue and act accordingly. For example, if the plant loses color because of low light, you should move it to a brighter location. If the problem is too much water, then you should decrease the amount of water the plant gets.

Caring for Calathea After it Loses Color

The following table summarizes all the actions that you can take to help your calathea gain back its original color. Each action depends on the cause of the problem:

Cause of Calathea Losing ColorSolution
Low LightTo help a plant recover from low light exposure, you should move it to a brighter location and increase the number of hours it is exposed to natural sunlight. Alternatively, you can use artificial light.
Excessive LightYou can save a calathea that was exposed to excess light by either covering it with a shade cloth, placing it in a partially shaded area or even just by moving them inside for a while until the damage heals.
OverwateringCut back severely when watering. Most plants can take a couple of weeks without water if they are in a dry environment. Most plants also will do well if they are allowed to dry out a little bit.
Inadequate TemperatureIf the cause is the cold temperature you can bring your plant into the house and let it stay there for a few weeks. Plants can’t survive periods of freezing temperatures if they’re kept outdoors.
Poor DrainageIf the poor drainage is caused by the pot you can re-pot your calathea in a pot that provides drainage. Clay and ceramic would be the best options in this case because they are good for air movement and drainage. If the drainage problem is caused by the soil you can add a porous medium like sand, gravel or pebbles to the potting mix. This will allow air to reach the root zone and makes water drain out of the pot.
Lack of Nutrients In this case, it is best to provide your calathea with a healthy dose of fertilizer and water. Be sure to use a fertilizer that is designed specifically for calathea. A balanced all-purpose fertilizer with a 10:10:10 NPK ratio is what we recommend for this plant.
AgeYou can keep your calathea healthy as it ages by making sure it receives proper sunlight and water. You can also re-pot it every couple of years to help rejuvenate its roots and encourage new growth.
Actions to Take when Calathea Loses Color

Before implementing any of the actions above, you should consider that yellow and wilted leaves can’t be rejuvecan’t. However, when you give the plant proper care, it will start growing new healthy leaves quickly. Therefore, all you can do when your plant loses color is to cut the unhealthy leaves, take action to correct the problem, and wait for the plant to shine again. 

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How to Prevent Calathea from Losing Color?

To prevent calathea from losing color, you should try to mimic the native habitat of the plant, which is south American jungles. This plant grows healthy leaves in its natural habitat because it is exposed to high humidity, indirect sunlight, and temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you want to mimic the natural habitat of calathea and therefore prevent it from losing color, then you should follow the directions below:

Location: If you are growing calathea indoors, the best place is near a window or a sunny spot. But you can use artificial lighting if you don’t have natural sunlight. Also, growing calathea in the kitchen or bathroom can help the plant get more humidity.

Temperature: The key to keeping your calathea happy is to keep the air temperature within a range of 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re unsure you’re providinyou’reright the amount of light for your plants, use a thermometer to measure the temperature around your plant. After that, you can use a thermostat or a heater to keep the temperature within the appropriate range.

Humidity: The easiest way to ensure high humidity levels for your plant is to mist it regularly, but using a humidifier is the most accurate way to reach optimum humidity. 

Watering: calathea grows best when the soil is not too wet or too dry. To achieve this level of precision, you will need to check the soil regularly using a moister meter and water the plant according to the soil’s moisture level. Moisture meters are easy to use and can be found online and at your local garden store. The meter should be inserted into the soil until the tip touches the surface. You can water your plant if the moister meter indicates that the soil is dry.

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