You would assume that when one gets to close on 40 houseplants dotted around the house, that that would be enough! Alas, I’m a sucker for a good-looking houseplant and have just bought a stunner which may also come in handy given the current ‘toilet roll’ shelf shortages!
Calathea rufibarba is less like a houseplant and more like a guilty pleasure as it’s velvety leaves beg to be stroked! The common name for this plant is the Velvet Calathea, which comes from the soft-to-touch, fuzzy texture of the underside of the leaves.
The Calathea rufibarba has an upright habit with distinctively slim, rippled leaves which are a deep, lush green on top and a dark burgundy on the underside.
A native tropical American plant, you wouldn’t think it would like the conditions of the average UK house and yet, this gorgeous baby just thrives in indirect light, so a room which gets sun and is warm is perfect, just make sure that the sunlight isn’t directly hitting the leaves.
As with all houseplants, it doesn’t want to be positioned in a draft and enjoys a bit of humidity so give it a light mist every now and again. It also doesn’t want to have a soggy bottom so keep it evenly moist but not saturated.
Not only does Calathea rufibarba look stunning, in common with many other houseplants, it is also great at purifying the air – perhaps another advantage to having a lot of houseplants around at the moment!
Given all that though, my favourite thing about Calathea rufibarba is that, a little like a Prayer plant, the leaves fold upwards and inwards slightly at nighttime and given it already has an upright growing habit, you get to enjoy much more of the soft, velvet, burgundy underside of the leaves.
In the current ‘toilet roll’ shelf shortage, I’ll be fine with my supply of soft, velvety leaves!