The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Tropical Introspection

 In Go Go Green Thumbs

Written by: Sumati Shah


There’s a lot going wrong with this Calathea orbifolia, but there’s a lot going right too. (Familiar theme? Come with me…it’s just houseplants)


What’s certain, is that things are seldom perfect, and that’s perfectly ok (if for no other reason than resistance to change is futile!).

I’ve had this super luscious plant for longer than I can remember – at least 15 years now – it started in a 6″ pot and at the time I just decided to chance it and see if that vigourous root system would fill a 10″ pot.

The answer is yes. This is Good!

The Bad is that I don’t think I’ve repotted this plant in the last 10 years. I confess.

It also has a history of being subjected to drought and drowning spurts. A clear schedule or a single ‘plant carer’ is best to avoid unintended drownings!

There’s evidence of some root rot happening – that’s the Ugly.

Rule of Green Thumbs: Try, Observe, Learn, Adapt – Try Again!

Let’s go back to the Good:

This plant, known to be a little fussy, is also SUPER rewarding and extremely resilient  – Ask me how I know!

So I’ve learned now that no matter how many pauses and delays I put in between  each of those steps that my own green thumb tells me…. that this plant will bounce back!

I need to find a whole new solution for this one…an 8″ pot maximum for starters.

I’ll consider my options, gather my resources (surely I already have a suitable pot?) and then repot whenever that all comes together during the winter or maybe early spring. (The Sequel)

No panic, no guilt tripping myself and rushing around to fix it all today so I can feel better about it.

Just taking a straightforward look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly as it comes along and deciding (finally) it’s time to let the Good show itself off properly; and that’s as close to perfection as it gets!

Any houseplants you’ve been ignoring? Let’s hear about it!

(Local Peeps: Anyone interested in divisions or cuttings?)

*Edit: The underside of these leaves are all a deep rich purple burgundy.  It just doesn’t show from above. As it’s a Calathea, the underside is the feature of the show every evening when the leaves tilt upward / closed.  


Go Go Green Thumbs!



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