Calathea Freddie: How to Care for This Zebra Plant

The Calathea Freddie, otherwise known as the ‘zebra plant, is a staple in any plant lover’s collection. These beautiful leafy plants symbolize new beginnings and inject a little bit of the tropics into your home. In this blog post, we’re sharing all there is to know about this massively popular plant species.

The Calathea Freddie is one of the world’s most popular plants, but is this classic green beauty made for you and your home? Read on to find out.

How to Identify Calathea Freddie

Playfully nicknamed ‘the zebra plant,’ the Calathea Freddie’s most identifiable features are no doubt its striped green leaves. The Calathea Freddie has shiny, elongated leaves in a mixture of light and dark green. The stripes on the Calathea Freddie alternate between dark and light green, giving these luscious plants their apt nickname of zebra.

Calathea Freddie’s are evergreen, meaning they flourish and grow all year round! During the spring and summer months, the Calathea Freddie flowers beautiful, small white flowers.

The most unique feature of the Calathea Freddie is its light-dependent changes. The Calathea Freddie’s leaves open up during the day due to light absorption. At nighttime, the Calathea Freddie withdraws its leaves to get a peaceful night’s sleep.

Many believe the Calathea Freddie symbolizes new beginnings due to their response to sunrise. If you’re ready to accept change in your life, the Calathea Freddie might be the perfect companion to have!

A Calathea Freddie can grow to 2-3 feet inside the home. The leaves on the Calathea Freddie average around 4″-7″ when fully grown. The Calathea Freddie can get pretty big, so make sure you have room in the home for this stripey beauty!

How to Grow Calathea Freddie From Seed

Calathea Freddie

Like most tropical plants, the Calathea Freddie isn’t the easiest plant to grow from seed. If you’re going to grow the Calathea Freddie from seed, you need to be attentive and patient.

  • Grow your Calathea Freddie in a small pot or propagation tray.
  • In the pot or tray, mix a 1:1 combination of peat and coarse sand.
  • Lightly moisten the soil before placing the Calathea Freddie seeds around 0.5-1 cm deep.
  • To create humidity, cover the tray or pot in plastic or under a propagation cover.
  • Place the pots in indirect, warm sunlight.
  • Make sure you keep the soil moist at all times.
  • When the seedlings reach 3-4 cm, transfer them to individual pots (be very careful not to damage them whilst doing this!)

How to Propagate Calathea Freddie

The Calathea Freddie can not be propagated using seeds obtained from the stem of the leaf. This is because plant tissue in the Calathea Freddie is not equipped to grow new roots and develop into a separate plant.

Other tropical plants can be used for propagation, including the Calathea Dottie. However, if you’re hoping to propagate your potted plants, the Calathea Freddie is not the one to go for.

Calathea Freddie Growing Conditions

The Calathea Freddie is a topical plant, and so it can be rather fussy about its growing conditions. Ideally, the Calathea Freddie enjoys warmer, bright climates. However, the Calathea Freddie will survive in colder environments if treated correctly.

In an ideal world, the Calathea Freddie would have high humidity, medium to high indirect sunlight exposure, and constantly moist soil. However, if your environment doesn’t provide these things naturally, you need to be extra attentive to your Calathea Freddie.

If you live in a low humidity area, you’ll need to mist your Calathea Freddie or invest in a plant humidifier. Make sure you’re constantly checking the Calathea Freddie’s soil. If it’s too wet, drain water from its soil.

The Calathea Freddie needs high levels of sun exposure due to its tropical nature. Therefore, position your Calathea Freddie in the warmest and brightest area of your home but make sure it isn’t exposed to direct sunlight for too long as, like other plants, the Calathea Freddie can catch sunburn on its leaves.

How to Plant Calathea Freddie

Calthea Freddie

As you can probably tell, the Calathea Freddie might be beautiful, but it’s extremely fussy. This high-maintenance plant isn’t easy to look after. If you’re planting the Calathea Freddie at home, here are a few things you need to know.

Calathea Freddie Potting & Soil

All tropical plants enjoy well-draining soil to prevent root rot. The Calathea Freddie is fast-growing, so you’ll need to re-pot your plant every year around spring and summer. Make sure the new pot has enough room for the plant and its expanding roots.

Calathea Freddie Water Requirements

The Calathea Freddie soil should always be moist. Caring for the Calathea Freddie can be so difficult because of its water requirements. The soil the Calathea Freddie is in needs to remain moist but never overwatered. If you over-water your Calathea Freddie, make sure to drain the soil as quickly as possible.

Calathea Freddie Light Requirements

Calathea Freddie’s are very sensitive to light exposure. This is because one of Calathea Freddie’s best features is its response to light and darkness. However, as is the same with all tropical plants, monitoring their sunlight exposure is crucial.

Spending too long in direct sunlight can burn and damage the leaves of the Calathea Freddie. Position your Calathea Freddie on a windowsill where it can receive indirect sunlight for the majority of the day. Move the Calathea Freddie if it’s spent too long in the sun. Discolored leaves are the best way to tell if your plant is sunburned.

Best Calathea Freddie Fertilizer

The Calathea Freddie doesn’t demand a lot of fertilizing. If you’re going to use fertilizer on your Calathea Freddie, use a tropical fertilizer. The best time to fertilize your Calathea Freddie is during spring and summer. This is when the majority of growth and flowering occurs.

Best Calathea Freddie Companion Plantings

Calathea Freddie Companion

Like most tropical plants, the Calathea Freddie likes the company of its own kind. Other tropical plants are wonderful companions for the Calathea Dottie and will enrich your plant collection.

Calathea Freddie Diseases and Common Problems

Root Rot

The Calathea Freddie might be a standout plant, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less susceptible to common diseases. For example, root rot is common in the Calathea Freddie.

If your Calathea Freddie develops root rot, you need to gently remove it from its pot, tend to its roots (cut away any damaged areas), and allow the plant to dry before repotting it in fresh draining soil.

Brown, Curling Leaves

The Calathea is constantly thirsty, and if it’s feeling particularly parched, it will tell you through its leaves. Brown curling leaves means the Calathea Freddie is dehydrated.

To resolve this issue, soak your Calathea Freddie in water for twenty minutes. Then, allow the soil to dry before giving the plant one final long soak before draining.

Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering. Yes, the Calathea Freddie is extremely fussy and doesn’t want too much water either! To fix this, prune the damaged leaves and wait for the Calathea Freddie’s soil to dry out before watering it again.

Spotted Leaves

Spotted leaves or unusual discoloration means the Calathea Freddie isn’t satisfied with the water content. These high-maintenance plants want the purest water possible. So if you’re noticing spotted leaves, try purifying the water you give your Calathea Freddie with a water purifier.


Many houseplants develop pests. If you want to remove pests in a non-toxic way, you need to be extra attentive to your Calathea Freddie. First, trickle a stream of water over your plant to remove any pests.

Then, make sure the water levels, sun exposure, and humidity are perfect for the Calathea Freddie, as this will help them grow stronger and deter unwanted pests.

If you want to use a chemical remover, make sure to purchase a tropical plant pest remover.

Calathea Freddie Treatments and Maintenance

Plant Mister

Daily plant maintenance for the Calathea Freddie includes pruning dead leaves, maintaining moist soil, and dusting its leaves with a damp cloth. If you live in a colder climate, you may also want to mist your plant regularly using a plant mister.

Where to Buy Calathea Freddie Seeds Online

As is the case with most tropical plants, tracking down Calathea Freddie seeds isn’t always easy. These stripey green beauties are popular in the home, but not many choose to grow their houseplants from seeds.

If you’re one of the unique few that are keen to grow your Calathea Freddie from seed, you can often find Calathea Freddie seeds on these websites:

Where to Buy Mature Calathea Freddie Online

Mature Calathea Freddie’s are much easier to find. If you’re searching for the perfect website to purchase your Calathea Freddie online, these websites provide millions of Americans with happy and healthy Calathea Freddie’s to brighten up their home and complete their green spaces:


Question: Does the Calathea Freddie Flower?

Answer: Yes! The Calathea Freddie flowers beautiful, dainty white flowers during the spring and summer. A healthy Calathea Freddie will produce the most beautiful flowers.

Question: Can I keep a Calathea Freddie in the bedroom?

Answer: The Calathea Freddie can survive in any room that provides its optimum growing conditions. If your bedroom gets enough light and your Calathea Freddie will be thrilled there.

Question: Is the Calathea Freddie toxic to dogs?

Answer: No! The Calathea Freddie is the perfect non-toxic plant. Suitable for dogs, cats, and children, the Calathea Freddie is the plant in the home.



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