Calathea orbifolia tropical plant in an office indoor garden by Dan Jones / CC BY 2.0
The Pinstripe plant or Geoppertia ornata comes with elliptical, dark green, pointed leaves with thin whitish-pink stripes that look like a painter quickly applied them with a thin brush. You may also hear this plant referred to as G. ornata majestica, and it’s native to the southeastern portion of Columbia and the southwestern portion of Venezuela. It has an upright growth habit, like most types of prayer plants, and it can get up to three feet tall and wide at full maturity. When you repot this plant, it likes to have slightly alkaline to slightly acidic soil, like many hibiscus plants.
Beauty Star is a very popular cultivar of this category, and it has elliptical, pointed leaves that are very light green with dark green edges and centers with pink, creamy stripes on the leaves. When you compare it to the species plant, this one is different because it has light green patches behind the creamy pink striping. Since it underwent a species reclassification, you’ll find it sold under Beauty Star Calathea, and it also has an upright growth habit that can get up to 18 inches wide and tall.
Musa Ornata by Dinesh Valke / CC BY-SA 2.0
The meaning of this type of prayer plant’s name is rose painted, but this tropical plant’s common name and the description simply can’t do this plant justice. It’s hard to describe everything that goes on in the pattern you’ll see on the plant’s foliage unless you see it for yourself.
For starters, it has a feathery pink or cream outline on the oval-shaped leaves, and the leaves are dark, wide, and have light green striping with a bright pink color on the midrib. There are also wider green margins. As the new leaves grow, the purple undersides are easy to spot. You can find this species growing in Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and Peru, and it’s also called C. illustrus and Calathea roseopicta. G. Roseopicta will get up to a foot wide and 18 inches tall.
Dottie is another culviare you should look for in this category, and it has oval, dark green leaves that are so dark they’re almost black, and it has feathery, thin pink outlines and midribs with dark purple or red undersides. You’ll often hear this plant called rose-painted calathea ‘Dottie’ and Calathea roseopicta ‘Dottie.’ This plant will get between 12 and 18 inches tall and wide at full maturity.
A third cultivar in this category is G. rosepicta ‘Rosy’ that has rounded, large leaves with greenish-black margins that surround a silvery-mauve interior that can also be a bright fuchsia with pink undersides. You may hear this cultivar referred to as C. roseopicta ‘Rosy’ or the rose-painted calathea ‘Rosy.’ It can get between one and two feet tall and wide at full maturity.
Calathea roseopicta by Dick Culbert / CC BY 2.0
Offering feather-shaped, long leaves, this type of prayer plant is big on texture. It comes with very wavy leaves in a dark green coloring with tiny hairs covering them that lend a very fuzzy, soft feel. So, the common names of the Velvet Calathea and the Furry Feather Calathea make sense.
Since the genus name changed with this plant, this native to the northeast portion of Brazil is also commonly referred to as Calathea rufibarba. This prayer plant offers an upright growth habit that tops out at three feet tall with a 20 inch spread. The flowers are bright yellow and showy, and it was the recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit in 2012 in the ornamental category.
Calathea Rufibarba by Maja Dumet / CC BY 2.0
Gray Star is a very popular cultivar of the Calathea setosa variety that makes a great houseplant. This variety offers elliptical, long leaves that form a point, and they have dark leaf veins with a pale silver coloring with purplish-red undersides. The understated flowers on this type of prayer plant are white and tiny when they bloom. It’s also one of the bigger types of prayer plants on the list, and it tops out at three feet wide and five feet tall.
Ctenanthe setosa 03 by Scott Zona / CC BY-NC 2.0
Stromanthe thalia is a type of prayer plant that has lance-shaped, long leaves that come to a point and are dark green with very pale midribs and purplish-red undersides. You’ll find this plant being sold under the S. sanguinea name, and sanguinea name refers to the ruddy coloring on the underside of the leaves. This also lends to the rather unfortunate name of the Bloody Prayer Plant. It’s native to Brazil, and it has an upright growth habit that can reach three feet wide and five feet tall when you grow it outside on your patio. As a houseplant, it usually stays roughly three feet tall and wide. When it flowers, you’ll get showy white and red coloring.
‘Triostar’ is a cultivar of this type of prayer plant that you may be interested in adding to your indoor plant setup. It also shares the Never Never plant name, and it has a colorful mix of pink, white, and green variegation on the leaves with pinkish-red undersides. They are symmetrical motifs on this plant, and it displays a light marbling on each leaf that is unique. You may hear this plant referred to as ‘Triostar’ stromanthe, S. sanguinea ‘Triostar’ or ‘Tricolor’ stromanthe. It can spread out two feet and reach three feet wide.
Thalia by Joy Weese Moll / CC BY-NC 2.0
This type of prayer plant can look like it has an entire jungle in the foliage when you look at it. It has oval-shaped, large leaves with yellow highlights and several green hues all within a feathery outline with broad green margins. When you look at the underside of the leaves on this type of prayer plant, you’ll get the same pattern but it has purple instead of green.
This cultivar is also called ‘Flamestar’ or Calathea veitchiana ‘Flamestar.’ Among all of the types of prayer plants on the list and their cultivars, this one is going to be the hardest to find. It has an upright growth habit that tops out at 24 inches. If you look at the ‘Medallion’ cultivar in this category, it has a feathery pattern on rounded leaves. Along the midrib, you’ll see a pale green blaze surrounded by darker green coloring and pale green, wide leaf margins that enclose the creamy feather-shaped outlines. The undersides of the leaves are maroon or purple in color.
This patterned type of prayer plant is often mistaken for the rose-painted calathea or Calathea roseopicta, but it’s a totally different species. There is a very strong family resemblance between the two plants, and it’s easy to see why they get confused. However, there aren’t any stripes on this plant like the G. roseopicta plant has, and the feathery pattern is much more bold and distinct. It can get up to two feet tall and wide at full maturity.
Calathea Veitchiana by Dick Culbert / CC BY 2.0
This stunning tropical type of prayer plant is also called jungle velvet, and this references the velvety, large leaves this plant displays. Jungle Velvet’s foliage tapers to a point with an ovoid shape, and the leaves are usually very dark green with an emerald coloring along the midrib and deep burgundy undersides.
It was previously classified as a calathea, but this Central America native is commonly called C. warscewiczii, Calathea warszewiczii, or the Jungle Velvet Calathea. Unlike most of the other plants in the arrowroot family, this one will produce very showy, large flowers. The flowers start out as a cream color and switch to yellow and then pink. It’s also a larger houseplant to grow, and it can easily reach 40 inches tall and wide.
Calathea warszewiczii, known as Jungle Velvet. By Dick Culbert / CC BY 2.0
The final type of prayer plant on the list has elliptical-shaped, large leaves that will taper to a point and have light green coloring with dark green, wide stripes that fork at the leaf margins. The foliage’s underside is also green. Due to the stripes, many people call this the Zebra Plant, and it’s native to Brazil. It offers a fountain-like growth habit and can get two or three feet tall with a two or three foot spread.
starr-070906-8751-Calathea_zebrina-leaves by Forest and Kim Starr / CC BY 2.0
We’ve outlined 20 stunning types of prayer plants you can consider adding to your home or garden this year. They do require slightly more maintenance to keep them thriving and happy, but they’ll reward you by offering a large, brilliant houseplant that brings a touch of the tropics to your space.