Why Is My Calathea Rufibarba Drooping? Causes and Solutions

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Calathea rufibarba, also known as the velvet calathea, is a popular houseplant known for its beautiful, textured foliage. However, it is not uncommon for owners to encounter drooping leaves, which can be a cause for concern. In this article, we will explore the possible reasons behind drooping leaves in Calathea rufibarba and offer practical solutions to help you maintain a healthy, vibrant plant.

Understanding the care requirements and potential issues that could lead to drooping leaves is essential for any calathea owner. With the right knowledge and attention to detail, even the most temperamental plants can thrive in your home. So, let’s delve into the world of Calathea rufibarba and discover the secrets to keeping its leaves perky and beautiful.

Understanding Calathea Rufibarba


The Calathea Rufibarba, also known as the Furry Feather or Velvet Calathea, belongs to the Marantaceae family and exhibits a unique trait called nyctinasty. This phenomenon causes the plant to change positions, drooping, and folding its leaves according to the time of day and temperature changes (source). Such behavior is considered normal for this variety of Calathea and is the reason behind the nickname “Prayer plants”.

Ideal Growing Conditions

To ensure the healthy growth of your Calathea Rufibarba, it is important to replicate its natural environment. This plant thrives in a well-draining potting mix containing potting soil, compost, coconut coir, and perlite or vermiculite (source). Watering should be done every 5 days, once the top 1″ of soil has dried (2.5cm).

Bright indirect light is a necessity for the Furry Feather Calathea, so placing it near an east or west-facing window is recommended. A suitable temperature range would be between 64-73 degrees Fahrenheit (18-23 degrees Celsius). Moreover, humidity levels should be maintained above 60% to keep your Calathea Rufibarba happy and healthy (source).

Understanding the characteristics of Calathea Rufibarba and providing it with the right growing conditions will help to ensure the plant remains healthy and vibrant.

Common Reasons for Drooping

Watering Issues

Calathea rufibarba drooping can be a result of improper watering habits. Overwatering can lead to root rot, causing the plant to stop absorbing water and nutrients, eventually resulting in drooping leaves (Bloomsprouts). On the other hand, underwatering causes the soil to become too dry, leading to droopy leaves as well (Simplify Plants). To maintain the appropriate level of moisture, water the plant roughly every 1 to 2 weeks, allowing the soil to dry out halfway down before watering again (Garden Superior).

Inappropriate Lighting

Inadequate lighting can also contribute to the drooping of Calathea rufibarba leaves. Calathea plants grow best in low to medium light and may experience stress when exposed to direct sunlight or placed in a dim environment. It is important to find a balance between providing enough light and ensuring the plant is not exposed to harsh lighting conditions.

Temperature and Humidity Problems

Calathea rufibarba thrives in warm, humid environments. If the temperature is too low or the humidity is insufficient, the plant may start to droop. To avoid this issue, maintain a comfortable temperature range and provide adequate humidity for the plant. Depending on the climate, you may need to use a humidifier or place a tray of water near the plant to maintain optimal humidity levels.

Bearing these factors in mind can help you prevent drooping in your Calathea rufibarba and ensure its overall health and well-being.

Disease and Pest Issues

Identifying Common Diseases

Calathea rufibarba is susceptible to a few common diseases that can result in drooping leaves. These may include root rot caused by overwatering, which suffocates the roots, preventing them from absorbing nutrients.

Fungal diseases like Botrytis and powdery mildew can also affect your calathea, causing weakened foliage and eventually drooping. To identify these diseases, look for:

  • Discoloration or browning of leaves
  • Fuzzy or powdery growth on the leaves
  • Rotting, mushy, or discolored roots

Pest Problems

Pests can also cause drooping in calathea rufibarba, as they feed on plant juices, weakening the foliage. Common pests affecting calatheas include spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs. To identify these pest problems, look for:

  • Small, discolored spots on leaves
  • Sticky residue on leaves or nearby surfaces
  • Visible tiny insects or cottony masses

Preventing and treating both diseases and pest issues require proper care and attentiveness. For diseases, avoid overwatering and ensure good air circulation. For pest problems, regularly inspect your plant and use appropriate insecticidal soaps or treatments when needed.

Reviving Your Drooping Calathea

In this section, we will discuss various methods to help revive your drooping Calathea Rufibarba. These approaches are divided into three sub-sections:

Adjusting Care Techniques

Improper care techniques may contribute to your Calathea Rufibarba drooping. Make necessary adjustments for a healthier plant:

  • Ensure optimal watering by feeling the soil in the pot, neither too dry nor too wet(source).
  • Provide adequate light, but avoid direct sunlight that can cause harm to your plant(source).
  • Maintain humidity levels by using a humidifier or placing a tray with water under the pot(source).

Quick Fixes

Immediate actions can be taken if your Calathea Rufibarba requires urgent attention:

  • Trim any yellow or dead leaves to encourage new growth(source).
  • Check for pests, such as spider mites, and treat/eliminate them accordingly(source).

Long-term Solutions

Lasting solutions can help prevent your Calathea Rufibarba from drooping again:

  • Regularly assess the plant’s water, light, and humidity requirements to ensure a suitable environment(source).
  • Rotate your plant for even light exposure and growth(source).
  • Repot your Calathea Rufibarba every 2-3 years with fresh, well-draining soil to promote healthy root development(source).

Preventative Measures

Maintaining Optimal Environment

To prevent drooping in your Calathea rufibarba, it’s essential to create an environment that supports its growth. Start by ensuring your plant receives the right amount of light. Calatheas thrive in indirect, bright light, but they can suffer in direct sunlight or in overly dark conditions (source).

Another crucial factor to consider is humidity. Calatheas need a high humidity level, so it’s important to maintain a level between 50-70% (source). To achieve this, you can use a humidifier, place a tray of water near the plant, or group it with other humidity-loving plants.

Monitoring Plant Health

Keeping an eye on your Calathea rufibarba’s health can help you spot potential issues and avoid drooping. One critical aspect to monitor is the watering schedule. Overwatering or underwatering can cause drooping leaves. Aim to water your plant when the top inch of the soil feels dry, and ensure proper drainage to avoid waterlogged conditions.

In addition, pay attention to the quality of the water you use. Calatheas are sensitive to salts and chemicals commonly found in tap water. Using filtered or rainwater can help prevent browning or drooping leaves.

Lastly, inspect your Calathea for signs of pests, as they can damage the plant and cause drooping. Common pests include spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs. If you notice any infestations, treat them promptly using insecticidal soap or neem oil.


In summary, your Calathea rufibarba may exhibit drooping for several reasons. One of the primary causes of drooping is improper watering – both overwatering and underwatering can lead to this issue. To prevent water stress, allow the soil to dry out partially before watering again, and adjust the frequency based on the plant’s exposure to light and heat.

Additionally, keep in mind that Calathea rufibarba thrives in a specific range of environmental conditions. Provide bright indirect light, temperatures between 64-73°F (18-23°C), and humidity above 60% to create an optimal environment for your plant.

Lastly, consider your plant’s nutrition. Too much or too little fertilization can contribute to drooping leaves. To correct any imbalances, flush the soil with distilled water and maintain a consistent feeding schedule.

By carefully monitoring your Calathea rufibarba’s water, light, temperature, and nutrition needs, you can successfully prevent drooping and maintain a healthy, vibrant plant.

We suggest watching this video to learn more about why your plant is drooping.