Calathea Medallion

OFFICIAL NAME

Calathea roseopicta

ALSO KNOWN AS

Prayer Plant

ORIGINS & CLIMATE

South America | Tropical

ABOUT THE
PLANT

Show-stopping leaves on this one! This Calathea has big round leaves with a frilly ridged texture. The leaves are graced with painterly brush strokes in various shades of green, while the undersides are a vibrant magenta.

HOW MANY GREEN THUMBS?

diva status, bright indirect, drought averse, mid-size, bushy or dense, clusters, tabletop, shelf, pet friendly, prayer plant, tropical, patterns, color, ruffled, variegation, low light tolerant

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Calathea Medallion

The basics

Water Needs

This plant prefers to stay fairly moist, but certainly not soggy sopping wet. Check the soil frequently in summer to determine if it's starting to dry out. In winter, you can be a little more lax, allowing the top inch or so to dry out before watering again.

Water

Preferred Light

Your Calathea will thrive in medium to bright, indirect light. Try to keep away from rays of direct light as this will likely scorch the leaves and fade the pretty leaf patterns.

Light

Humidity Needs

A humidity lover, for sure. Calatheas are generally known for their diva-like qualities and humidity is one of the toughest things to get right for a happy Calathea. Even a slight drop in humidity can quickly lead to crispy brown leaf tips.

Humidity

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but will not accept exposure to cold drafts or dry heat from vents. The leaves are likely to wilt dramatically and begin to yellow.

Temperature

Toxic or Not?

A non-toxic plant pal! You can introduce this plant to your whole family, pets and children included. While it'll be a sad day for you and your plant if someone takes a nibble, you don't have to worry about poisoning anyone!

Toxicity

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant can grow up to 2 ft tall with a similar spread (when mature and with enough light)!

Size

Overall Look

Generally low, bushy clusters of relatively short, densely packed stems. Leaves stand upright at night and spread down and out during the day. Works best on a table or shelf to show off the incredible foliage.

Format

Leaf Look

Big round leaves with a frilly ridged texture. Various shades of green create a concentric pattern of brushstrokes on the front, while the undersides are a vibrant magenta.

Leaf Shape

Pro Tip

Notorious for their goldilocks ways, Calathea can also be particularly sensitive to minerals in tap water. If you notice yellowing or browning tips and have already ruled out humidity, watering, and temperature as the culprits, you might try leaving a pitcher of water out for 24 hours or so, at which point most of the bothersome minerals will have evaporated.

Pro Tip

Did You Know?

Not only are Calatheas showstoppers with their gorgeous leaves. They can move! Calatheas are equipped with a special little joint where the stem meets the leaf, allowing them to raise their leaves at night (as if in prayer) and lower them during the day to capture the most light.

Fun Fact

Water

|

Keep soil just moist, but not soggy.

Water Needs

This plant prefers to stay fairly moist, but certainly not soggy sopping wet. Check the soil frequently in summer to determine if it's starting to dry out. In winter, you can be a little more lax, allowing the top inch or so to dry out before watering again.

Light

|

Medium to bright, indirect light.

Preferred Light

Your Calathea will thrive in medium to bright, indirect light. Try to keep away from rays of direct light as this will likely scorch the leaves and fade the pretty leaf patterns.

Humidity

|

Sensitive to low humidity—keep in a humid spot.

Humidity Needs

A humidity lover, for sure. Calatheas are generally known for their diva-like qualities and humidity is one of the toughest things to get right for a happy Calathea. Even a slight drop in humidity can quickly lead to crispy brown leaf tips.

Temperature

|

Can adapt, but doesn't like sudden change.

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but will not accept exposure to cold drafts or dry heat from vents. The leaves are likely to wilt dramatically and begin to yellow.

Toxicity

|

Non-toxic. Completely pet safe!

Toxic or Not?

A non-toxic plant pal! You can introduce this plant to your whole family, pets and children included. While it'll be a sad day for you and your plant if someone takes a nibble, you don't have to worry about poisoning anyone!

Size

|

An in-betweener. Not too big, not too small.

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant can grow up to 2 ft tall with a similar spread (when mature and with enough light)!

Format

|

Low bushy clusters of densely packed stems.

Overall Look

Generally low, bushy clusters of relatively short, densely packed stems. Leaves stand upright at night and spread down and out during the day. Works best on a table or shelf to show off the incredible foliage.

Leaf Shape

|

Round leaves with ridges and a painterly pattern.

Leaf Look

Big round leaves with a frilly ridged texture. Various shades of green create a concentric pattern of brushstrokes on the front, while the undersides are a vibrant magenta.

Pro Tip

|

Can be extra sensitive to the minerals in tap water.

Pro Tip

Notorious for their goldilocks ways, Calathea can also be particularly sensitive to minerals in tap water. If you notice yellowing or browning tips and have already ruled out humidity, watering, and temperature as the culprits, you might try leaving a pitcher of water out for 24 hours or so, at which point most of the bothersome minerals will have evaporated.

Fun Fact

|

These leaves are on the move!

Did You Know?

Not only are Calatheas showstoppers with their gorgeous leaves. They can move! Calatheas are equipped with a special little joint where the stem meets the leaf, allowing them to raise their leaves at night (as if in prayer) and lower them during the day to capture the most light.

Beyond The Basics

Soil & Potting

Thrives in a rich, very well-draining potting mix—you can use a good quality potting mix labeled for indoor plants or make your own mix. You can try a 2:1:1 mix of peat moss, potting mix, and perlite. Ensure the pot has the appropriate drainage and don't forget to pour out any excess water collected in the drainage tray or cachepot.

Repotting

Try to repot every 1-2 years in the spring, especially when tending to a younger plant. Increase the pot size by about 2 inches each time or until you're satisfied with the size. It's still important to repot at this stage, but it'll be an exercise of refreshing the soil, keeping the pot size the same, and possibly doing some root trimming to restrict the plant's growth. More on repotting here.

Feeding

If you're not already planning to repot, you can fertilize during the spring and summer months. Once to every two months should be plenty. No fertilizer is necessary during the winter when plant growth naturally slows down. You can try a balanced liquid or water-soluble fertilizer—always diluted more than the recommended strength. More on using fertilizer here.

Grooming

While no specific pruning is required for this plant, it's always good practice to regularly remove yellowed or dying leaves and any fallen plant debris. Ensure your scissors or pruners are sanitized to avoid spreading disease or pests. If you're dealing with browning leaf tips and have resolved the underlying issue (usually humidity or water type), you can carefully trim these tips back if the look bothers you.

Propagation

Propagation by division is super simple with this plant. The plant's underground rhizomes will push out their own offsets. These developing plants, or pups, can be  separated into independent plants by simply making a clean cut through the rhizome (the much thicker, horizontal "root"). You can pot up this baby plant directly in soil. The best time to propagate is always in spring or summer when the plant is most resilient. This is also an excellent opportunity to repot the parent plant. More on propagation techniques here.

Variants

Calathea is an incredibly varied genus of plants, but they share a few traits in common—including the striking multicolored leaf patterns and their ability to move! A few of our favorites include Calathea Orbifolia, Rattlesnake, Rufibarba, Zebrina, Ornata, Warcewiczii, and Makoyana.

TrOUBlESHOOTING

Why are the leaf tips on my Calathea browning?

Symptom

Leaves turning brown just on the edges or tips. These edges may gradually change from yellow to brown, crispy, and possibly a bit curled.

Cause

Browning just on the edges of tips is usually a reaction to low humidity. Since many of our houseplants have tropical origins, they also thrive in humid conditions. Our average indoor humidity is usually adequate, but some plants are simply more sensitive to changes in humidity than others. You may notice this more acutely when conditions are particularly dry—like when you turn on the heater in winter.

Calathea are also notorious for being a little picky about the type of water they receive. If your tap water has a higher concentration of minerals, a Calathea might react with browning leaf tips.

Solution

Try to accommodate your plant's needs by locating them in more naturally humid places, like the bathroom or kitchen, or grouping a bunch of humidity-loving plants together. But the only way to truly guarantee increased humidity is to get a humidifier!

If you suspect your tap water may be to blame, you can try using rainwater if you have a reliable way of collecting it. Or, simply leave a pitcher of the tap water out for 24 hours or so, at which point most of the bothersome minerals will have evaporated.

Once you've addressed the problem: If the brown tips bother you, you can trim them back. Do your best to follow the shape of the leaf to help them look natural. Also, try to cut just short of the discolored edge so it doesn’t expand.

More on leaf changes here.
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Why are the leaves on my Calathea wilting and yellowing?

Symptom

Multiple leaves are wilting and turning yellow—particularly the older, lower leaves. You may also notice stunted growth and mushy stems.

Cause

This could be a reaction to a sudden change, like when your plant is exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents. But the most likely culprit is overwatering and initial signs of root rot. When a plant's roots sit in waterlogged soil for too long, a fungal infection can quickly take over, causing the roots to rot (turning brown and mushy).

Solution

First, ensure that your plant has appropriate drainage (both in terms of well-draining soil and plenty of drainage holes in the plant's container).

If you think you've caught the overwatering early on, you can simply let the plant dry out more than you have been. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out before watering again. Continue monitoring and only water when needed. You may also try using chopsticks (or something similar) to poke holes in the soil to help the roots get more oxygen. And finally, you can try to "wick" the excess moisture out of the soil by placing the whole pot (with drainage holes) in a tray or container with dry soil. This new layer of dry soil should soak up some of the excess moisture from the waterlogged areas around your plant's roots.

However, if you suspect a serious case of root rot, you'll definitely need to take a peak at the roots by removing the plant entirely from their container. If there are any black and mushy roots, trim them back completely before repotting with fresh soil in a new or sterilized container.

More on leaf changes here.
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Why are the leaf patterns on my Calathea fading?

Symptom

Leaf variegation and pattern are fading away, giving your plant a washed out appearance.

Cause

This is usually a sign that your plant is getting too much light. In a worst case scenario, the leaves may begin to burn or bleach completely.

Solution

You may be pushing the limits on how much direct sun your plant can handle. Try moving it out of reach of those direct rays of sun or moving to a spot that receives only minimal direct sun in the mornings or evenings.

More on lighting here.
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Why are the leaves on my Calathea curling inward/outward?

Symptom

Leaf edges curling, either inward or outward. Usually accompanied by some discoloration.

Cause

Leaves curling inward is often a sign of dehydration from either too much light or not enough water. Leaves curling outward is more likely a sign of not enough light or too much water.

Solution

The key is a well tuned balance between the amount of light and your frequency of watering. Instead of going by a set schedule, check-in with your plant to see if they need the water or not. You'll want to allow around half the soil to dry out completely before watering again. While this may be on a consistent schedule for some months, as the seasons change, so will the amount of light and therefore your watering schedule must shift.

More on watering here.
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Why are there tiny pinpricks on my Calathea?

Symptom

Pale areas across the leaf that look dusty or like tiny pinpricks on closer inspection.

Cause

Unfortunately, these are a tell-tale sign of spider mites. These wretched pests pierce the surface of your plant's leaves in order to suck out the nutrients—leaving behind pale areas and pinpricks. These pests seem to love the textured surface of the Calathea leaf since it produces anchors for them to easily build their webs and hide their eggs. Left unchecked, these buggers can decimate a plant.

Solution

Whenever you're dealing with pests, the first step is to isolate you plant away from all your other plants to avoid potential spread. Next, you can begin a regimen of neem oil, diluted with  water a bit of mild soap. You'll want to spray this solution liberally all over your plant, including leaf undersides. And repeat the treatment every few days to ensure you've eradicated the pest and any eggs.

Preventative measures include maintaining good air circulation and avoiding overly dry conditions. Spider mites in particular love warm, dry conditions.

More on pests here.
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