Calathea Rufibarba | Velvet Calathea Care Guide

The Calathea Rufibarba, also known as Furry Feather Calathea, is an exotic plant native to the Amazon rainforests. The plant is famous for its bright green leaves with purple undersides. The long, slender leaves transition from light green when young to darker shades as they mature and turn maroon. If you’re looking for an adorable and exotic houseplant, Calathea Rufibarba is an excellent option. 

Calathea Rufibarba | Furry Feather Calathea

The fuzzy, furry feather Calathea is one of the unique plants in the Calathea family. The stems and leaves’ undersides are covered with fine hair-like fuzz that has earned many names like “furry Calathea” or “furry feather Calathea.” Some gardeners also call it “Velvet Calathea” due to its soft and fuzzy leaves.

  • Botanical name: Goeppertia Rufibarba
  • Common name: Velvet Calathea, Calathea Rufibarba, Furry Feather Calathea, Calathea Bluegrass, Fuzzy Calathea
  • Origin: Amazon Native Tropical Plant
  • Family Name: Marantaceae
  • Plant Height: 1.5 – 3 Feet
  • Ideal temperature: 68 – 74° F
  • USDA Hardiness zone: 10-12

Prominent Family Members: Calathea Medallion, Calathea Ornata, Calathea Orbifolia, Calathea Lancifolia, Calathea White Fusion, Calathea Louisae, Calathea Musaica

How do you care for Calathea Rufibarba?

Calathea Rufibarba can grow up to the maximum height of 3 feet and quickly develop dense clusters of leaves. It is reasonably easy to care for; there are a few things you should keep in mind if you want your plant to thrive all year round. This care guide will discuss the water requirements, sunlight needs, humidity levels, and other care needs of Calathea Rufibarba. We’ll also cover typical issues, pests problems, and toxicity information.

Bringing Fuzzy Calathea to your Home

Bringing Calathea Rufibarba to your home requires a more precautionary approach than any other plant because it is challenging to spot pests in dense and furry leaves of this plant and can be hiding pests. We recommend keeping the new plant at a distance from other houseplants for a minimum of two weeks.  

It is also very possible that stress caused by being moved will result in less quality-looking foliage up until they get accustomed to new surroundings. Therefore don’t get alarmed if you notice some unhealthy laves. It is a better approach to trim the unfit leaves so that the healthy foliage of the plant will be able to get more nutrients.

watering requirements

How often do you water Calathea Rufibarba?

The Velvety Calathea comes from rainforests and thrives in moist soil. Therefore, you’ll have to water your plant regularly, ensuring the soil remains damp. Please make sure that soil below an inch from the surface always remains moist. However, please ensure you are not overwatering and making the soil soggy.

Excessive water in the soil will cause the roots to rot. The watering frequency also depends on size and type of pot, and frequency could be multiple times per week or less than once every few days.

It may take some time until you can discover the correct watering schedule for Calathea Rufibarba. Therefore, we recommend repeatedly checking the soil for dampness and closely monitoring the leaves state during the early days of plant in your home before finalizing the watering schedule. Also, the watering schedule depends on how quickly the water is consumed or evaporated. For instance, the watering frequency will reduce during the winter.

The leaves of the Calathea Rufibarba plant can be sensitive to minerals in tap water. If you’re noticing burnt tips and leaf edges on your plant, it might mean that it is being exposed to too many minerals, and this could lead them down an unhealthy path.

Try using filtered or distilled drinking supply for watering; however, rainwater can be used if distilled water is not available. An extra precaution that can help if you intend to use tap water is to let minerals in water settle down by keeping tap water in a can for 24hrs before watering. Please use water at room temperature for watering, instead of cold water.

sunlight requirement

Light Requirements

Calathea Rufibarba is a plant that loves bright indirect light and plenty of it. Avoid direct sun exposure for this beauty and ensure to place the plant at least 3 feet away from the window, so they get enough natural brightness without being scorched by direct sunlight. Though Rufibarba prefers lots of indirect light, it can thrive in shadier conditions too.

humidity and temperature

Humidity and Temperature

Calathea Rufibarba being tropical prefers high humidity levels, and the optimum range of humidity is 50-60%. Furry Calathea can handle low humidity for short periods; however, If the air becomes too dry for a more extended period, you’ll begin to notice things going wrong with your beloved houseplant. The leaves will start drooping and crisp, eventually showing signs that they’re about ready to snap off at their stems.

If you want to give your plant the best chance of success, try keeping it in an area with high humidity, like near a bathroom or kitchen. There are numerous methods to increase humidity indoors, or you can invest in a humidifier suitable to your plant needs.

Calathea Rufibarba hails from warm amazon jungles; therefore, it loves warm, cozy weather. A temperature of around 65°F to 90 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for Furry Calathea. It can tolerate slightly lower temperatures for a short duration but will not thrive if kept cold for long.

maintenance and cleaning

Cleaning and Maintenance of Velvety Calathea

Rufibarba Calathea has leaves that are fuzzy and dense. To clean them, you may have to put in more effort than other plants because of their nature. It will be beneficial to give Velvety Calathea a lukewarm shower to keep it neat. Please be careful that soil should not become soggy or washed away while showering the plant. 

Leaves of Calathea can be cleaned with a wet cloth. You can also add soap to the water solution for better cleaning. Test your soap solution on just one leaf before application to ensure that the mixture will not harm the leaves. Giving your plant a good trim helps keep it clean healthy and promotes new growth.

soil requirement

Geoppertia Rufibarba Soil Requirements

Calathea Rufibarba thrives excellently in soil that is well-draining as well as able to retain moisture. Calathea Plants prefer to have slightly acidic soil with a PH of around 6.5. You’ll be able to find many soil varieties available for sale at your local garden center or online, explicitly made for Calatheas.

However, if you intend to make your soil mix, use the following ingredients to make a nutritious soil mix for Furry Calathea.


Furry Calathea is easy to grow and doesn’t require much fertilizer. Calathea Rufibarba has been raised as an indoor houseplant for years, and It does well with half the strength of general-purpose houseplant fertilizer. We recommend fertilizing less if possible or going by what feels suitable for you personally when caring about these beautiful living artwork pieces. Fertilizing will help them grow strong, healthy roots and lush foliage, but be careful not to overdose on the plant.


Repotting Furry Feather Calathea

Repotting your plant is an essential part of its care. If you notice that the pot has become too small for all those roots or signs like lackluster growth and poor health, do not hesitate to repot.

Calathea Rufibarba is not a rapid grower. Under normal circumstances, if your Furry Calathea is flourishing, it will outgrow its pot in two years. Moreover, soil can be depleted of nutrients, and you may require repotting if you are not using fertilizer. However, if you see faster growth rates, you may notice that repotting is needed after one year. When repotting, a one or two sizes larger pot shall be selected. Please use the potting soil mix appropriate for your Calathea.

Follow these simple steps for successfully repotting the plant;

  • Water your Furry Calathea one day before repotting.
  • Prepare the soil mix as we have recommended under soil requirements.
  • Fill the new pot with soil mix up to half of your desired soil level.
  • Make a crater in soil, which you have placed in the new pot.
  • Remove the plant from the existing pot. While removing the plant, pay attention to removing the plant from the base.
  • Shake the roots to remove extra soil.
  • Place the Rufibarba roots in the crater.
  • Fill the pot with soil mix up to the required level.
  • Gently press the soil from the top surface.
  • Thoroughly water the plant, ensuring excess water is removed from the bottom tray.

How do you propagate a Furry Feather Calathea?

Calathea Rufibarba, unlike other houseplants, cannot be propagated via rooting from stem or leaf cuttings. Moreover, seeds for Calathea Velevety are also not easily germinated. Instead, it can be multiplied by dividing the plant from roots and stem during repotting.

We recommend propagating your Calathea Rufibarba in Spring or summer as those are the growing seasons for this plant. The best approach is to propagate the plant is when you are going for repotting. When repotting your Velvety Calathea as it has outgrown its pot, the plant can be divided into more plants with ease. Depending upon the size and growth of your Calathea, it can be divided into two, three, or four plants.

Follow the following simple steps additional to repotting to achieve propagation.

  • Untangle the roots once the plant is out of the pot during repotting.
  • Cut a stem from the stem cluster to make a cutting.
  • Place the cutting in a new pot and water it thoroughly.
  • Place the new cutting in a dark and humid space.
  • Once you notice a new growth on the plant, treat it like any other Rufibarba Calathea.

Toxicity of Rufibarba Plant

Pets are attracted to Calathea Rufibarba leaves because of their shape. Eating houseplant leaves in large quantities, even if it is nontoxic, can be harmful to pets and plants. Therefore, If your pet likes to eat vegetation, then it’s best if you keep them away from the plant to avoid problems. There haven’t been many negative health issues linked with Calathea Rufibarba but since toxicity information often changes, it’s a good idea to talk about these things beforehand with your vet.

common problems

Common Problems


The general rule of thumb is that pests might not be an issue if you have high humidity. However, mealybugs and leaf scales can still occur under these conditions, though they generally dislike the wetness. You could use diluted alcohol solutions to treat visible infestations on plants; make sure that it’s not stronger than 60%. It is also recommended to remove the pests’ heavily attacked leaves. You may use the insecticide to treat mealybugs and spider mites for more severe cases where large colonies or lots are going around.

Excessive Misting

Frequent misting of Rufibarba leaves can cause fungal disease, which shows symptoms as spots on the leaves. Furthermore, if you mist the plant and leaves are exposed to direct sunlight before the mist has evaporated, it will cause burn marks on the leaves. These marks cannot be cleared by rubbing and cleaning.

Leaves Yellowing

When leaves on the plant start to turn yellow, it’s usually an indication that they’ve been over-watered other than the natural death of the leaf. Overwatering can cause the rotting of roots and eventually kill off a healthy plant if left unchecked for too long. So please be mindful about how much water you give to your Calathea Rufibarba .

Calathea Rufibarba leaves Yellowing

Why is my Calathea Rufibarba drooping?

Drooping leaves are a natural part of Calathea Rufibarba’s movements during day and night. However, If you notice that your plant’s leaves remain drooped and pointing down at certain angles, it means the plant is dehydrated, and there might not be enough water for it.

Are Calathea Rufibarba plants hard to care for?

Calathea Rufibarba is an easy-going plant, and taking care of this beauty is not a daunting task. However, the plant is anxious about ambient conditions and will thrive in humid conditions with moist soil and low to medium indirect sunlight. The plant does not react well to minerals present in hard water, so if possible, use rainwater or distilled water for the watering needs of Velvet Calathea.

Is Calathea Rufibarba indoor or outdoor?

Calathea Rufibarba grown as an indoor plant because of unfavourable outdoor conditions. However, if your outdoor temperatures remain above 60 F and humidity levels are reasonable, you can plant it outdoors. Please make sure to plant the Rufibarba Calathea under a shade as the plant cannot tolerate direct sunlight.

Is Velvet Calathea rare?

Velvet Calathea is a fairly common houseplant, and you can purchase it easily from local garden stores, as well as Amazon and Walmart.