One of the most popular varieties of Calathea, the Pinstripe Calathea is an incredible houseplant but can also be pretty fussy. Even small adjustments to their care or environment can cause some serious issues with these plants so it’s important to know what to look out for and why certain problems arise.
In this post, we will outline several of the most common problems that Pinstripe Calathea plant parents face, as well as methods to fix the issue and stop it from harming your plant in future.
Causes of yellow leaves on a Pinstripe Calathea
This is probably the most common reason why Pinstripe Calathea plants develop yellow leaves and this is always where we would start in the diagnostic process.
To check if overwatering and subsequent waterlogged soil and root rot is the cause of the yellowing leaves on your Pinstripe Calathea, take your plant out its pot and see how much moisture is in the soil. Overwatering will also cause the root system to go dark brown/black in colour. Replace the soil if waterlogged and adjust your watering schedule in future to make sure you leave enough time for the soil to dry out properly.
If too much intense direct light is hitting the leaves of your Pinstripe Calathea, this can cause yellow burnt patches. This happens mostly during summer as the sun is stronger and out for more of the day. Move your Pinstripe Calathea to a slightly shadier spot to prevent any more from developing across your plant and cut off the worst affected leaves.
This is a more worrying cause of yellow leaves on your Pinstripe Calathea as it is trickier to treat. If you suspect pests, then inspect the leaves closely (using a magnifying glass can help you spot them on your plant). Use neem oil daily for a week to treat the pests and cut away the worst affected yellow leaves.
The natural ageing process.
There is one more cause of yellow leaves that is actually nothing to worry about; natural ageing. As your Pinstripe Calathea (and other houseplants) matures, it will prioritise growing bigger new growth over its oldest leaves.
These will then often turn yellow before dropping off your plant. As long as the rate of yellowing continues to be slow (one or two every year) then you shouldn’t worry about this at all.
Why is my Pinstripe Calathea losing leaves?
Getting the right temperature is critical to your Pinstripe Calathea’s health and if your plant is exposed to extremely cold air then it can cause them to drop a few leaves. The best way to monitor changes in the temperature and prevent more leaves from falling off is to use a digital thermometer. This will help ensure your Pinstripe Calathea is not being exposed to any particularly low temperatures.
Environmental shock and stress.
Things such as moving your plant to a new spot in your home, repotting, propagation or being knocked around a lot in a move for example, can cause some level of stress for your plant. This stress can often cause your Pinstripe Calathea to lose a few leaves as a result. But as long as the environment and care are right, this leaf drop should be temporary and after about a week or two, you shouldn’t see any more leaves falling off your plant.
If your Pinstripe Calathea is only losing a few leaves each year but nothing in the environment is changing that would indicate an issue, then this leaf drop might be natural. As we mentioned above, Pinstripe Calathea plants can sometimes lose a few of their oldest and smallest leaves in favour of using the energy for new growth. These will usually turn yellow before falling from the plant.
Causes of a drooping Pinstripe Calathea
Too much water.
If your Pinstripe Calathea has waterlogged soil then this can cause root rot which cuts off nutrients, moisture and oxygen from your plant, causing it to droop down and look visually limp. If this is the cause of your droopy Pinstripe Calathea then it can often mean you have caught the issue quite early which is good. This means by replacing the waterlogged soil with fresh mix, trimming away some of the rotting roots and adjusting your watering schedule should be enough to bring your plant back to full health in no time.
Too little water.
It might seem strange that the two extremes can have the same impact, but underwatering can indeed also cause your Pinstripe Calathea to droop down. This is because it also damages the root system, depriving your plant of what it needs to thrive and be strable.
Slowly reintroduce watering by giving your Pinstripe Calathea a bit of water each day for one full week. Adjust your watering habits to prevent your Pinstripe Calathea from drooping again in future.
Causes of curling leaves on a Pinstripe Calathea
Pinstripe Calatheas naturally curl and uncurl their leaves (as most Calathea varieties do) so you want to make sure you aren’t mistaking this for an issue. Monitor your plant to see if the leaves are uncurling or not and go from there.
If the leaves on your Pinstripe Calathea are permanently curled and you don’t see any movement throughout the day, then it suggests there is another issue, such as underwatering. Curling up their leaves is the best way for plants to retain as much moisture as possible. To confirm if this is the cause, inspect the soil and give your Pinstripe Calathea plenty of water over the next few days.
Curling leaves can also indicate that your plant is stressed from being exposed to hot or cold airstreams. Things such as air conditioning vents, fans, radiators, cookers and drafty windows can cause havoc to your plant’s health. Luckily, curling leaves is one of the early signs of trouble so if there are no other visible problems, then you have probably caught the issue early. Use a digital thermometer to check that your room sits within the ideal temperature range for your Pinstripe Calathea.
Low humidity levels.
Humidity is often forgotten as people fixate on giving their plants the right amount of water and sunlight. However, if the air in your home is really dry then it can mean your Pinstripe Calathea starts to curl its leaves. The best thing to do is buy a humidifier as this will take care of keeping a stable humidity level next to your Pinstripe Calathea.
It can be confusing that a lot of the same issues can be caused by violently different factors and this does make diagnosing the issue tricky sometimes. This is why it’s really important to keep a close eye on your Pinstripe Calathea for the weeks following any changes to their environment or care routine. This will help you establish whether or not the changes you made are having a positive impact or if something else is to blame.
To learn more about the care requirements needed to keep your plant thriving, check out our Pinstripe Calathea care guide.
Written by Billy Dawson