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If the calathea develops brown or yellow leaves, it is usually because the houseplant has received the wrong care. The following article explains how ideally to proceed in such a case.

In a nutshell

  • common cause is improper care
  • wrong location often causes discoloration
  • Check the humidity in the room
  • remove discolored sheet immediately
  • Age of the leaf can also be a cause


If the leaves of the calathea suddenly change color, turn yellow or brown, and even curl up, then, as a rule, it is not a question of a disease. It is usually due to the wrong care or the unsuitable location that the Korbmarante reacts with its leaves:

  • originally native to the rainforest
  • there is light shadow near the ground
  • a lot of humidity
  • humic soil
  • however, trees also need a lot of nutrients
  • consider when caring for and choosing a location

Check location

Compared to other indoor plants, the Korbmarante, which requires very little care, reacts quickly with discoloration of the leaves if the plant is in the wrong location. Therefore, this should be checked first in such a case. Not only can a leaf become yellow or stained, curling is also a sign of the wrong location:

  • too much sun exposure
  • choose a bright location
  • protect from direct sun
  • on windowsill with curtain
  • Attach the awning from the outside
  • lower the blinds
  • do not place on a south-facing window sill
  • Draft causes brown plant leaves
  • put in a protected corner
  • not in front of a tilting window

Tip: If you have a heated and humid conservatory or a greenhouse, then the Korbmarante feels most comfortable here. Because their natural environment of the rainforest is recreated in such a room.

change care

If not cared for properly, there are many causes for the brown discoloration of the leaves. It is important to pay attention to the right watering. The plant needs a lot of moisture, including from the air:

  • avoid too little humidity
  • put a bowl of water next to the pot
  • an electric humidifier can also be helpful
  • Avoid dry heating air in winter
  • Don't let the soil dry out
  • Avoid waterlogging
  • water regularly and moderately
  • watering a lot better than once a week

Check fertilization

When it comes to fertilizing, the phrase "a lot helps a lot" definitely doesn't apply. Because if the calathea receives too much fertilizer, the plant will indicate over-fertilization with yellow leaves. In such a case, it is not enough to just cut off the affected sheet:

  • Remove the plant from the pot
  • Remove old soil from roots
  • discard old soil from pot
  • Wash the container well
  • fill in new substrate
  • normal fresh potting soil is sufficient here
  • Don't fertilize for the next few weeks
  • after that only moderately
  • better to skip than too much fertilizer again

Tip: You do not have to dispose of the old soil from the container. For other plants that need a lot of fertilizer, the old substrate can still be used and can continue to be used.

natural causes

If the leaves of the calathea are already older, it may well be that one or the other leaf has turned yellow to brown. In such a case, it is not due to incorrect care:

  • Leaf pattern is slowly fading
  • yellow discoloration is visible first
  • later brown
  • eventually dries up completely
  • affects only single sheets
  • depends on the age of the sheet
  • just remove it close to the ground
  • so new leaves can be formed

Tip: It is important if you discover a discolored leaf on your basket marante that you remove it as soon as possible. Otherwise the plant will continue to put its energy into the old leaves and less into the formation of new ones.

frequently asked Questions

My basket marante raises its leaves every evening, what am I doing wrong?

The answer to that is, you're not doing anything wrong. Because it is a completely natural process for this plant to raise its leaf stalks in the evening. It looks like the entire plant is closing in bloom at dusk. In the morning, when it slowly gets light, the basket marante opens again.

Can the calathea go outside in the fresh air in summer?

If it is warm enough and the place is protected from direct sunlight, then this is not a problem in summer on warm days. It is also important that the soil in the pot does not dry out, which can happen quickly on very hot days. A lack of humidity in such dry and hot periods could also become a problem on the balcony or terrace. On the other hand, you can often spray the panels or the floor covering with water on hot days.

Why is my calathea suddenly drooping?

If the calathea leaves are neither yellow nor brown, but just hang down limply, then this can also have various causes. Here you should definitely check the location for both solar radiation and drafts. You should also look at the substrate, because the plant could be too dry.

Would it be a measure to cultivate the Korbmarante in hydroponics?

The root ball of the calathea must not dry out and should always be a little moist. However, waterlogging should be avoided. The plant is therefore well suited for hydroponics, as the water level can always be checked here, the water in the container also evaporates upwards and can be fertilized with long-term fertilizer. So you only get a little fertilizer, always enough water and a humidity around the container is basically also available.

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