Calathea rufibarba - Purple Velvet Calathea

Sprouts of Bristol
Checking local availability

This Calathea's beautiful, long, thin leaves stand out thanks to both their colour and texture. While the tops of the leaves are a lush forest green, the undersides are tinted red and they are covered in tiny hairs, giving them a fluffy texture which is both aesthetic and tactile. The wavy texture of the leaves, alongside the fluff, adds extra interest to the plant and brings a little part of the rainforest into your home. Give this plant a nice humid spot with plenty of bright light and it will reward you with plenty of textured, colourful foliage!

Scientific Name
Calathea rufibarba (basket plant with a red beard)

This plant has recently changed Genus, so the scientific name is now technically Goeppertia rufibarba, though Calathea is still most commonly used

Common Name
Velvet Calathea, Purple Velvet Calathea, Furry Feather Calathea

Native to tropical rainforest in Northeastern Brazil

Thrives in bright, indirect light, but will tolerate some shade as the red undersides of its leaves stop too much light escaping.

Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out in between watering; if possible, use rainwater rather than tapwater, or at least allow tap water to sit out for 24 hours to allow chemicals in it to settle. Water with tepid or lukewarm water to avoid shocking the plant.

This plant needs high humidity, so will appreciate regular misting or the introduction of a humidity tray. Do not put it close to a radiator or other heat source which might dry it out.

Plant in fast draining, but moisture retentive soil. A mix with added bark or perlite would, or one designed for Calatheas or Marantas, be ideal. Repot every two years in spring, and water a day in advance to combat transplant shock.

Feed every four waters in the growing season, reduce to every six in autumn and winter. Pre-water the soil before applying 'ready to use' products to protect the roots.

Ideal temperature is above 20°C; make sure it does not get colder than 12°C in winter.

Yes, but too much nibbling won't be good for pets, small humans or the plant!

Sprouts Top Tips
This plant can be fussy so choose your location carefully. If it's in an especially bright spot a humidity tray is a good idea to help maintain humidity levels!


Check out The Sprouts Blog

Sprouts insights to house plants, gardening, our favourite brands and plant hire case studies.
Ten of our most popular houseplants - Sprouts of Bristol
With nearly four years of business under our belt, and many more years of looking...
Jessy EdgarJun 07, 2024
Slugs… snails… and how to stop them eating your garden plants? - Sprouts of Bristol
It's an age old question. You might have tried salt, copper tape, egg shells, sheep...
Jessy EdgarJun 04, 2024
Spider Plants: Why Rhianna loves them, and why you should too - Sprouts of Bristol
Maybe your granny has one, or your parents. Maybe you see them in your local...
Rhianna BanghamMay 30, 2024