Posted 1M ago by @KeyDogrose

My calathea suddenly started drooping dramatically
This started about a week ago with the right side, I thought it was overwatering so I put some cloths on it to absorb water and left them to recover, but they haven't and about two days ago the right side followed suit. I'm really worried. Any advice?
Welcome to Greg, Ellie. From what I know about this picky plant, the leaves curl upward in a response to conserve water. The leaves try to hold off dehydration.

How wet is your soil?

How well does your pot drain? These plants want water to drain from the pot but they can't be in dry soil.

My only other concern is that the plant has been in distress for so long that the leaves are damaged.

If that's the case, time won't help the leaves correct the issue but cutting the leaves to the soil will allow for the plant to grow new leaves.
@KeyDogrose Hello 👋and welcome to Greg, Ellie!

Also you pot doesn’t have drainage. So be careful watering it. @sarahsalith is 💯 correct.

Water. Calatheas enjoy weekly waterings, allowing the top 2' of soil to dry out partially. In winter, we recommend watering less frequently to prevent overwatering and root rot. This plant is not very drought tolerant, and extended periods of dryness will cause leaf edges to brown.

Calatheas thrive in medium, indirect sunlight but tolerate lower light levels too. Bright direct sunlight can cause the stunning colours on their leaves to fade, with prolonged exposure likely to burn and scorch their leaves.

Ideally, they prefer a humidity level of 50 percent or more, with more sensitive varieties requiring higher humidity levels—around 60 percent. You can increase humidity levels by using a humidifier (which will benefit human inhabitants as well) or by placing their pot over a tray filled with pebbles and water.
I just went through this. Calatheas will grow to a certain point and then die back during winter because it’s a bulb/rhizome plant. Make sure it has drainage though before you do anything.

Place it In a warm room and grab the plant by the root ball then gently pull or tug until the soil lifts with all of the roots. The not-so-fantastic starter soil they use will pull up with it if it’s a wet mass and any soil left at the bottom is excess that shouldn’t be there. Gently remove any of the medium from the roots. Be careful: they are fibrous tendrils that dangle like tentacles but you’ll notice and leave those alone. Once you get to the very root ball, it’ll be firm so leave it alone. You can check to make sure there’s no mesh grill on it. If so, it’s up to you to remove it or not. Treat the roots with hydrogen peroxide to cease the fungus spores if you have any.

Set the plant aside on paper towels. Next, mix some fresh soil with lots of perlite to help aerate, add a bit of shredded bark, a few carbon chips and pinch of worm castings if you want to. Get a smaller size pot. A slatted orchid pot is usually best with these fussy plants. Size: You can figure this out by plopping your plant into the pot and seeing if the roots will be somewhat snug but not too snug. It’s ok if you size down. Lord knows I have done it many times to prevent a total loss. 😁

Add a little mixture to your pot and set your plant aside, then continue to fill. Do not push down on the soil. It is meant to be fluffy. Make sure you discard all of the old soil and get rid of it in a sealed bag to keep it away from the fresh soil. Do not water. At all. Trim away any dry or old stems which will bring disease later and you don’t want that.

Move your plant to a warm room with bright lights, add a humidifier to help the foliage not crisp. If you have any stems that don’t perk up and have creased over, trim them off with a pair of sharp scissors sanitized with rubbing alcohol. In about a day, watch for any leaves that are standing and praying. Do not touch. Just let it be. No need to water. Any stems that refuse to stand and pray you can choose to cut or leave on but they’ll be rotting near the base and that’s ok. Just trim them off with a set of scissors or shears and your plant should start to improve.

It’s totally ok for it to look smaller or sparse but this is often the nature of having plants like this and probably having inadequate drainage. It’s no different from the outdoor tropicals that die back every year. They need that moment of death to rise again and grow bigger and fuller since they are focused on multiplying to become fuller for the next spring and summer.

Plants that come from bulbs or corms are like the Phoenix of the zodiac. Don’t touch me. Don’t bother me. Just know that I’m going to 🪦 so I can come back like a 🔥and rise out of the ashes bigger and better than before. I swear they are all scorpios. I’m convinced they are just because of the attitude they give.

If you end up with only even one leaf, don’t be disheartened. Leave at least one leaf to help it grow but if you don’t have any, the roots will send you a new leaf after a few weeks of spoon watering an empty pot. I’ve been there with Kate, Katherine, Pinky, and now Cassie. They all had drainage but they can come back with time and patience. It’ll be ok! You’ve got this and knowing it’s the nature of the plant to sometimes do this is the hardest for many to understand when it’s the easiest to accept. Once you do, you just shrug and say, “Oh, we’re doing THAT again? Ok… “

They all have a personality. Don’t worry. They speak to you. Just listen.

Here’s Rosie before and after her meltdown. Adequate drainage and still acting up. Pinky was DOA due to no drainage and she’s been coming and going on and off but she’s tiny. I hope this helps for future care of these plants!

Left: Perfect in November
Right: Pitalin this morning after I followed the advice I provided above. All of her leaves had fainted last week. I cut off tons but I cared more about the roots and she’s already got a new leaf about to unfurl. Never give up; Never Surrender! 🚀
Thank you all for all your advice, I will try to keep it in mind and remember it all.

So, what I'm hearing overall is I need to repot them with better drainage, cut off any dead leaves and don't water it to let it recover.

Then, later on, make sure to water it once a week, slightly less in winter and make sure it always stays in a humid area, with no direct sunlight.

Is that right?

I don't currently have a humidifier, I just mist them daily, so I'll look into getting one, as well as a water meter or whatever those things that measure dampness are called. Any advice on brand or will any do?
For now, unless told otherwise, I'm going to repot it with better drainage and a smaller pot, cutting of any dead or crispy leaves with cutters sanitised as best I can. Buy a humidifier as my house is far too cold for the tray method and then wait and see if it grows back stronger in the spring.
I just unpotted them, and what do you know, there was absolutely 0 drainage and about an inch deep of rock solid soil at the bottom 😱

I don't know how the hell I didn't know that, or why on earth I did that in the first place. Thank you all so much for your help, hopefully now they have lovely new soil, a slightly smaller pot and plenty of space for drainage they'll feel better in no time.

The humidifier and water meter will be here in the next few days and I swear I will always leave room for drainage from now on