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Zebra plant, Rattlesnake plant, Prayer plant, Peacock plant, Cathedral plants, you have probably heard all these names, and what they have in common is a massive Calathea family.
These are frequently used nicknames which are usually the result of some specific pattern, colors, and other properties of the plant. They are all seen in homes worldwide because they are not only of stunning appearance but quite easy to grow.
I’m gonna introduce you to Calathea Medallion (also known as Calathea Roseopicta), and its requirements for watering, pruning, repotting, and much more. Stay tuned, there will be plenty of useful tips!
How to Grow Calathea Medallion
Generally speaking, there are two types of plants, those that are very demanding and the others which are low-maintenance ones.
Guess which group Calathea Medallion belongs to?
That’s right, even those who have just entered the great gardening heaven will have no problem taking care of this lovely plant, as neither of the care segments is complicated at all.
In my instruction manual, you will get a unique opportunity to:
- learn about the watering requirements of this plant
- find out how to prune and propagate it properly
- learn about repotting and fertilization
- find out all the common problems and solutions to them
- get to know numerous practical tips to make it grow healthier
Without further ado, let’s get down to business!
Related: Calathea – The Ultimate Caring Guide
Different Types of Calathea
Just so you know, there are no multiple sorts of Calathea Medallion, but there are indeed numerous types of Calathea plants.
They are known both by their Latin or botanical names, but even more by their picturesque common names, inspired by their colorful and patterned leaves.
This family is truly big, this genus has several dozen species, and the great thing is that more or less, care procedure is quite similar for all of them. There are some slight differences, but generally speaking, they have approximately the same requirements.
Here are some of the most commonly kept ones from this family:
- Calathea Leitzei
- Calathea Makoyana
- Calathea Zebrina
- Calathea Orbifolia
- Calathea Ornata
- Calathea Roseopicta
- Clathea Vittata
- Calathea Lancifolia
- Calathea Beauty Star
- Calathea Rufibarba
- Calathea Musaica
- Calathea Fasciata
In this guide, I shall discuss the specific needs of Calathea Medallion, but I will also do my best to cover as many different Calatheas as possible with dedicated articles for each of them.
The great thing about this sort of Calathea (and all the other sorts), is that you don’t have to water it every day. Make sure the soil is evenly moist, but never allow it to be soggy or completely dry out.
Neither of these two is good for your plant. The first environment can lead to plant rotting, the other may lead to brownish and crispy leaves.
If we are discussing the watering frequency, always think-balance. If you want me to give you some average timing, then I’d say around once a week is good.
However, don’t forget that numerous factors have an impact on that. The outside temperature and air humidity, the conditions inside your home, the plant’s overall condition.
Then, it also depends on the season. When your plant is in the active growth (spring/summer), when the temperatures are higher, it will require more water. Quite opposite, during colder months, its needs for watering will be diminished.
So, I always say it’s best to observe your plant and follow its specific needs. If you skip ONE day and water it the next one, it’s okay, it’s much better than let it become waterlogged.
QUICK TIP: If you want to check the soil moisture level, and you don’t have any of the fancy devices that do so, just stick your finger in the soil. This test will help you determine whether your plant needs water or don’t. If about an inch below the surface is dry, your plant could use some watering.
Related: Best Plant Humidifiers and a Buying Guide.
Do I need to pay attention to the water temperature?
Yes, again, neither of the extremes is good for your plant. You cannot water it with boiling liquid, but you shouldn’t do so with the water from your fridge.
Room temperature is what’s the best for Calathea Medallion, and any other plant.
You can buy distilled water, or rainwater, they are most suitable for your plant. Tap water can be used as well, but never a freshly poured one.
Why so? Because fluoride from it can damage your plant. Not if you do it once (if you’ve done it by accident), but if you repeat it several times- you could see the consequences.
So, you can leave it overnight and use it tomorrow, and there you have it, problem solved.
Knowing that this plant doesn’t like soggy environment is more than enough to evaluate the best type of soil for it.
Opt for a well-draining one, but which has the ability to remain moist. It may sound confusing when you read it, but there are already so many various mixes that fulfill these criteria.
How about some DIY?
Yes, if you have time, and you want to provide your plant with the very best environment you can, then you can make the potting mix which will fit the abovementioned demands.
Take 50% potting soil, mix it with 20% orchid bark and 20% charcoal to it, and add 10% perlite- these “ingredients” are exactly what enables excellent draining while maintaining the desirable level of soil moisture.
Simple, but powerful, isn’t it?
Light and Temperature Requirements
Besides watering and soil, other important factors to pay attention to are temperature and light.
This plant prefers a warmer environment, but not too hot. It thrives on temperatures between 18-23°C, with 15°C being the minimal acceptable temperature for Calathea.
Draught is very dangerous to plants, so be careful where you accommodate it. On the other hand, it has to be a well-ventilated place, so try to adjust these two.
As for the light, don’t expose it to direct sunlight. It’s a variegated plant, and it cannot develop properly if placed on the excessive sunlight. Moreover, its patterns on the leaves may start to fade when spending too much time on direct light.
Diffused light is the best choice, so find some slightly shadier place where it will receive the necessary amount of light, but won’t be exposed to it directly.
You have plants that need to be fed quite often, as they have more frequent demands for some growth boosts, otherwise, they could die.
Calathea Medallion, is, luckily, not one of them. If all the conditions are satisfactory, and you take regular care of your dear plant, then once a month is more than enough.
This is usually done during active growth- spring and summer. When your plant is in the passive phase, you don’t have to fertilize it at all.
As for the type of fertilizer, all-purpose ones will be suitable. The only thing to pay attention to is that it’s rich in nitrogen.
And yeah, never pour more than the instruction says or make a heavier solution than the one given on the label. It WON’T make your plant grow better or faster, you can only burn it.
QUICK REMINDER: Don’t forget to water your plant after fertilizing! Even if you use the mildest possible fertilizer on the market, it’s still a bit of a shock for the plant.
There’s nothing particularly complicated about pruning this adorable plant. As the leaves are not too tiny or of tricky shape, even those who are just getting started with gardening.
Pruning, in the first place, is done to keep the plant strong and healthy, but some people do it for cosmetic reasons to say so.
You’d be happy to hear that this particular one can survive with no pruning at all if the plant itself is a healthy one and you care about it regularly.
All that needs to be done is to remove brown and dead leaves, or if the plant is ill, cut the diseased parts of it.
What you need to pay attention to is not to damage your Calathea by cutting off too many leaves, or a too big portion of the damaged part of the leaf.
As for the whole leaves, you can pinch them off with your fingers, there’s no need to use some special tool. If they have already fallen, well, you just need to throw them away, that’s all.
How to trim the damaged leaf?
Sometimes, if your plant has longer sessions of underwatering or underwatering, it begins to suffer, and the consequences are usually seen on the leaves.
You will start noticing the brownish, yellowish, and crispy areas around the rims, but don’t worry-this is the stage where there’s still hope for your plant.
What you need is some tool, punning sheers or scissors, and you can get down to business.
The essential thing to do before cutting is tool disinfection. If you use dirty tools, with some leftovers from the previous pruning, you seriously risk infecting it even more.
Now, you hold the leaf gently with your one hand and trim just the affected part of the lead plus approximately one mm extra to make sure there no crispy or brownish parts remain.
Keep on maintaining the plant as usual and it will recover soon. Besides, the removal of the brownish edges promotes new growth, so you are doing your plant a favor.
You have so many plants that can be successfully propagated in water, but Calathea is not one of them. In this case, you do it by division, just like with Calathea White Fusion or any other similar sort.
As you can conclude from the name, SOMETHING needs to be divided to get material for new plants. It’s the roots, and here’s how the procedure goes:
- Extract your plant from its container.
- Shake it gently and wash it a bit so to get a better view of the roots.
- Depending on the size of the roots, divide the mass into two, or three parts with some sharp tool, such as a knife or trowel.
- Division completed!
And just so you know, the best time for propagation is when you repot the plant, so to avoid shocking it. Yes, no matter how much a plant can benefit from the transplantation and a more comfortable environment, it’s still a bit of a shock for it.
Also, don’t propagate the diseased plant, because, as you can assume, you can only get the diseased new plants, which won’t be able to develop properly, and no one needs that.
What comes after division?
The next thing to do is to germinate the spores. You need to place them on top of a smaller container of sphagnum moss and then accommodate that pot on a plate with water.
Mist them daily, and pay attention to water on the plate, make sure there’s some always. Germination takes place around 2 to 3 weeks.
Once that happens, you can plant the new divisions, and wait approximately 2 to 4 weeks for the Calathea to settle properly and continues its growth. Don’t let the soil become soggy, just make sure it’s moist.
Calathea Medallion is not a type of plant which changes its size too quickly and drastically, so the repotting won’t have to be done too often. Approximately, once a year, or even once every other year is more than enough.
Apart from looking for the “bigger home”, transplantation is also done to replenish the soil, to bring some new portion of nutrients to your plant.
Repotting in a Nutshell
The repotting procedure begins a day before. How so? Well, to make the whole process less stressful for your plant, you need to water it a day before you transplant it.
What you need is a new container, potting mix (the commercial or your DIY one), and the party may begin:
- Pour the soil at the bottom of the container and fill around one-third of it. Press it with your fingertips to firm it well.
- Extract your plant from the original pot carefully and loosen the rootball. You can shake it slowly, and then gently crumble away approximately one-third of the mix around the roots.
- Inspect the roots to see if there are any suspicious signs of potential illnesses and diseases.
- Place your Calathea in its new home and add soil until you cover the rootball completely. Firm it well by pressing it, pour some water it, and place it back to where it was accommodated.
- Give it about two to three weeks to get used to a new pot, and it will resume its normal course of development.
HOT TIP: If you have noticed that your Calathea is root bound, you need to transplant it as soon as possible. It’s not just a matter of aesthetics, but a huge threat to its health. Such roots are susceptible to fungal diseases, and that’s quite a nasty problem to deal with.
How to choose the right container?
When any plant is relocated to a new pot, you usually choose one size bigger than the current container. That’s to give your plant enough space to accommodate properly and get used to the new environment. This works for Calathea but any other plant as well.
As for material, it can be plastic, ceramics, whatever you prefer, as long as it fulfills the most important condition- proper draining hole. Without it, you will gradually create a too soggy soil for your plant, and it will start suffering.
There are also plenty of cute and decorative pots if you can some stylish home for your lovely plant, and that’s fine as long as the hole at the bottom exists.
DID YOU KNOW?
It’s possible to “modify” your plant’s growth a bit, you can do so by choosing the adequate pot to make it happen. If you want it to widen a bit, then take a slightly larger container.
If you want it to remain of the same size, then reuse the one you already have. Of course, you need to wash it first, because if there are some bacteria left, your plant won’t be able to develop well when transplanted.
Calathea Medallion Problems and Solutions
Even when you take the very best care of your plant, some issues occur, but it’s not a reason to panic immediately.
There’s always some way to fix things, at least the majority of those situations, so let’s see which problems can you expect and how to solve them.
1. Drooping/curly leaves
If your plant looks somewhat sad (dropped, as you wish), it’s usually a sign that you are watering it too much. Cease the watering to see if it can recover, but don’t put it on the radiator to dry it, it won’t help, and it can only lead to root rotting.
2. Brown and crispy edges
One of the reasons for this us underwatering, the other is too cold temperature. There’s one more- too dry air.
Stick to the watering schedule to avoid any of the two extremes. Pay attention to the ventilation in the room, but mind the draft, air conditioners, and heaters as well.
3. Yellow leaves
Quite opposite from the previous, it’s a signal that your plant needs more water, it’s thirsty. Yes, I said it doesn’t like soggy water, but you cannot leave it in a desert as well. (Inspect the soli with your finger!)
4. Patterns on the leaves fade
This means that your plant is exposed to direct sunlight. The solution is simple, just relocate it, and after a couple of days, it should go back to normal.
The most important is that you don’t change the conditions drastically, because that shocks your plant.
5. The soil has an odd smell
If you’ve noticed this, then the roots of your plants have probably started rotting. One of the reasons for this is overwatering, the other is some fungal infection or some other disease inside the roots.
This is undoubtedly one of the trickiest situations to solve. Check the roots, and if it seems like it could be saved, that it has at least some healthy part, take it and start a new plant.
Take it with a grain of salt, because it may not be able to develop at all, or it could survive, it’s hard to tell. But at least you can say you’ve tried everything to save it.
6. Most common pests
As with the majority of plants, spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids are the ones invading Calatheas as well.
If the plant is mildly infested, then you can solve this with a DIY spray: a cup of water, tablespoon of vegetable oil, and tablespoon of mild dish soap. You can also mix a cup of water and ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol and wipe the leaves gently.
If the problem is more severe, then look for some specialized product that kills those annoying pests.
Is Calathea Medallion poisonous to pets and people?
Absolutely not! Of course, it doesn’t mean you can make a salad of it, it’s still a decorative plant. What I mean is that you won’t have to worry about your four-legged friend grabs a teensy bite out of curiosity.
We all know how cats are curious, and there are many plants dangerous to felines but this one is not problematic for cats, dogs, and even for adventurous kiddos wandering through the house. That’s why it’s one of the most favorite indoor plants.
Is it necessary to mist Calathea Medallion?
Yes, it’s advisable to do so. This plant belongs to the ones that like a humid environment, so occasional misting will make it happy and healthy.
Also, it’s a great way to prevent crispiness in leaves, which are the result of not enough water.
Can I revive a dying Calathea?
It depends on the cause of dying. If it’s the result of overwatering or underwatering, then just change the tactics and your plant will get back on its normal course.
If it doesn’t get enough air or its too draughty around it, then relocate it.
However, if the roots are overly infected or too rot, then there’s not much to be done. The only hope is the separation of one part of the root, provided that there’s a healthy one.
How about the root-bound Calathea plant?
If you want the upper part of your plant to look even more stunning, you can achieve so when you let the roots bound. When repotting, use the same container or a new one but of the same size, that’s how you will limit the space for roots.
But, if they tangle too much, you will get quite the opposite effect, and you will create an environment prone to infections and diseases, so better be careful and don’t push the luck.
Is this plant used to purify the air?
It may not be the most famous for this property, like Ficus, Spider Plants, Aloe Vera, and others, but it certainly improves the quality of air inside your home.
I heard some rustling sounds during the night. Did it come from my Calathea?
Yeah, it wasn’t a peculiar dream, it was your plant moving its leaves.
There’s a small joint where the leaf is connected with stem, and it produces the sound when the leaves close. It happens during the night, and when the morning comes, the leaves reopen.
What’s the average Calathea size?
It depends on the type but on average its 40 to 60 cm. The speed of the growth will depend on overall conditions and your care.