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Calathea Musaica is known for its mosaic structure and pattern of the leaves, making it a really popular but still a rare and unique plant.
It belongs to a huge Calathea family, and it’s just one type of more than who knows how many different types of Calathea (known to us).
Here’s how to keep Calathea Musaica healthy and my master tips for taking care of it.
- Humidity and Temperature
- Soil Requirements
- Problems and Solutions
Name Variations and Reclassification of Calathea Musaica
Firstly, we should clear out some confusion regarding the name.
Calatheas are a widely popular group of plants from the Marantaceae family, especially loved in the gardening community. There are over 300 different types of Calathea plants. There are:
- Calathea Rufibarba
- Calathea Zebrina
- Calathea Lancifolia
- Calathea Vittata
- Calathea Medallion
- Calathea Leitzei
- Calathea Makoyana
- Calathea Roseopicta
- Calathea Ornata
- Calathea Orbifolia
- Calathea Fasciata
- Calathea Beauty Star
and much more that are pretty popular.
Calathea Musaica is also mostly known as Calathea Network.
It is also considered to be a member of the prayer plants’ group because of the way leaves fold up in the night.
What you should also keep in mind is that some of the Calathea plants have recently been reclassified.
Even though Calathea Musaica is still the most commonly known name, you can find them under the names of Goeppertia kegeljanii ‘Network’, which is a new name, or even Goeppertia Bella or Calathea Bella.
Related: Calathea – The Ultimate Caring Guide
Things to Know Before Starting Calathea Musaica Care
When it comes to Calatheas in general, some people consider them a bit finicky to care for. That doesn’t mean that it is not possible, it just means that you should have all the information before you start this journey.
They can react very badly to moving, especially from a greenhouse to a room that is too warm or dry, so keep that in mind before bringing them home.
You will need to provide them with great conditions from the start to help them adapt well to their new environment.
If the plant reacts poorly at first because of a stressful change, that doesn’t mean you can’t fix the conditions around it.
Being indoors, Calathea Musaica is protected from the cold, sudden drops of temperature and even wind.
Try not to put it somewhere with a high circulation of air, such as a hallway.
If you are planting Calathea Musaica yourself, the best time to do it is in early spring, preferably March.
The great thing about Calatheas it that they give of really clear signs if the conditions are not ideal. We will mention the signs shortly, so your only job will be to keep some of them in mind and try to help the plant grow as best as possible.
Another important thing is that Calathea Musaica is pet friendly and not toxic, so they are completely safe if you have pets that are a bit curious.
Calathea Musaica Humidity and Temperature Requirements
In order for you to properly take care of your Calathea Musaica, you need to understand some things about its origin that will have a great influence in creating a care routine for your plants.
Calathea Musaica is technically a rainforest plant. It is native to Central and South America and it is especially common in the tropical Brazil.
This information is extremely important because there are certain conditions that Calathea needs in order to stay healthy and grow.
You need to try and imitate warm rainforest environment. Calathea Musaica needs very high humidity and stable temperatures.
If you provide them with some extra humidity, they will grow more than usual so that is a great way to make them grow faster.
The temperature should preferably be somewhere between 18 and 26 degrees Celsius (64 to 79 Fahrenheit). This is very convenient because it makes it a plant perfect for indoor gardening!
How to Adjust Humidity for Calathea Musaica Care
- Occasional misting
If you really want to invest in your Calathea Musaica, you can get a humidifier and keep it next to the plant. The humidifier is the best and most effective way to preserve high humidity around your plants.
Related: Best Plant Humidifiers and a Buying Guide.
Depending on where you live, the chances are that the air is too dry for a proper Calathea Musaica care. The humidifier is a versatile product so having one in the house will be handy anyways.
It is really easy to customize the settings of a humidifier to the area you live in.
Ideally, with or without the humidifier, there should be around 50% humidity.
Because Calathea Musaica prefers high humidity, you can even keep it in your bathroom, unlike so many other house plants. The only thing to keep in mind here is that it still needs the proper amount of light, so only place it in there if you have bathroom windows.
One way to increase humidity is by keeping Calathea Musaica in a pot with a wide tray filled with water and pebbles. This way, the water will evaporate and keep the moisture and the air around the plant humid.
That is especially effective whilst the plant is small, but it might not be good enough when it gets bigger.
Another way of increasing humidity is also by misting occasionally the air around the plant with sprinkler. If you decide to do this, you should avoid being too direct on the leaves and instead spray around the pot.
Some people consider this method not very effective, because you’ll need to do it often, but I find it very useful.
Signs of Wrong Calathea Musaica Care
With all of these techniques, you need to make sure not to overdo it and give the plant too much moisture. That can lead to fungus growth and rotting.
On the other hand, if you don’t give them enough humidity they tend to get brown edges on their leaves.
So, how do you balance these things?
Lighting Requirements for Calathea Musaica Care
Another essential condition for growing Calathea Musaica is proper lighting.
Calathea Musaica enjoys indirect lighting or partial shade as it mimics the shade it would naturally get from other higher plants around in the rainforest. So, place it somewhere with indirect light!
Some morning sun is also good, as long as it is not too harsh.
For example, keeping them on a window seal can be bad but a shelf should be just perfect.
Any place with bright ambient light will be just fine.
Changing Calathea Network Location
Another reason to keep them out the sunlight is that they are sensitive and prone to getting sunburn. If they do get sunburned it will manifest as brown ends of the leaves.
The yellow color on the leaves will form from too much light as well as too little light. If you notice this, you need to change the location of the pot. Moving them a couple of feet away will lead to a drastic change in lighting.
Both dry soil or direct sunlight exposure can cause the leaves to curl up a bit.
In case you see curled up and dried leaves, you should check if the soil is dry. If you find that it is moist, it means the curling of the leaves is caused by too much sunlight and you should try moving it somewhere a bit darker. Don’t worry, the leaves will go back to normal in a couple of days.
Watering Calathea Musaica
Even though some people think Calatheas can be a bit finicky regarding their care and watering, that is really not the case. You just need to keep some things in mind.
Preferably watering once a week or for example, every five to eight days would be perfect. They prefer to have more moisture but not a completely wet soil all the time.
Whichever period between watering you do, it is important that you stay consistent as much as you can.
If you notice that the surface is has dried out, it’s time to water again. Don’t let the whole soil dry out completely. The first inch or two can be dry, but only if the plant is bigger.
Calathea Musaica needs more watering in spring and summer during the biggest period of growing and less frequent watering in the colder months, late fall and winter.
Be careful though, excess watering can to harm to the plant and the roots, causing them to start rotting. The good drainage system will help you prevent this from happening.
On the other hand, curled up leaves can indicate dry soil and not enough water so keep that in mind as well.
What Type of Water to Use for Calathea Musaica
Because of their origin, Calathea Musaica is very sensitive to water quality. That means that you should preferably use rainwater or distilled tap water.
Regular tap water can have a lot of chemicals such as minerals, calcium carbonate, chlorine, fluoride, bromine and many more.
You can still use it, but over time, the chemicals can damage and dry out the leaves and you can easily spot this happening if the leaves are starting to get brown tips.
So, if the leaves on your Calathea Musaica are turning brown, you’ll know that there’s something in the water that does the bad juju.
In case you can collect rainwater, that would be a bullseye. You can use it on Calathea Musaica but depending on where you live, it might not be enough for the amount of water Calathea Musaica needs.
An easy option is to buy distilled water from your local store as it is in general better for any plants you might have, including Calathea Musaica.
In case you don’t want to buy specific distilled water, you can also just leave tap water sitting overnight and then water the plants in the morning with it.
When you keep the water overnight it gives a chance to the minerals and the fluoride in the water to sink to the bottom part, leaving the top of your watering can with more filtered water. This way the water is not as harsh as regular tap water.
Proper Soil for Calathea Network
Because it requires a lot of water, it is essential for the Calathea Musaica to have well-draining soil. Soil that keeps to much moisture can increase the chances of growing fungus or the rotting of the roots.
Ideally, the pH of the soil should be between 6 and 7.5, making it somewhere between acidic and neutral.
The soil should not be as dry as the one you use for cacti and also not as dense as the one that traps too much water. A golden middle!
Some soil mixtures are okay but if you feel like they are not a good fit for Calathea, or if they trap too much moisture, you can create your own by mixing some soils.
For example, you can add perlite to your mixture. One good recipe is to mix perlite and soil at around 1 to 3 ratio. That way you will increase drainage and help the soil get more oxygen.
Another option that proved well is to mix regular garden soil and coco peat.
As we mentioned before, dry soil can cause the leaves to curl up, so that can also be one of the symptoms of a poor soil choice.
Best Fertilizer for Calathea Musaica Care
If you just got your Calathea Musaica and the stem is still small, the suggested amount of fertilizer (on the package) might be too strong and can burn the young plant.
You should dilute it at half strength to avoid over-fertilizing the plant.
Fertilization should be done during the period of growth which means during the warmer months, at the start of spring and summer. Two times a year is enough for a small plant.
Never fertilize on the dry soil, saturate the soil with water first and then fertilize. That way you won’t burn the roots and damage any new stems that might appear.
Calathea Musaica should be repotted every other spring or summer into a new pot with fresh soil.
Obviously, you can even do it more often if you need to but know that it is a stressful process for the plant so don’t overdo it.
If you take the plant out of the pot and you see a lot of bounded roots it means the repotting is already necessary. Also if you notice that the roots are visible at the top or bottom of the pot, it’s a sign it is getting a bit crowded inside.
While repotting, the first thing you should do is check the condition of the roots. If you see they are getting overcrowded you need to find a bigger pot for the roots to keep spreading in the new environment.
Also, you should clear out the old soil as much as you can now so that the plant can get more out of the new and healthier soil.
Now, try to divide any bound roots as gently as you can. This will help them grow in the future without any tangles.
Don’t worry too much if some of them break or fall out, it’s natural and it will be better to lose them now ten to move them to a new soil.
If you don’t do these steps, it will be so much harder for the plant to adapt to the new pot.
Keep an eye out for any parts that started rotting and cut them off carefully.
In the new pot, press the soil around the plant to avoid the air pockets that could be trapped inside.
Add a rich compost to help the stressful process for the plant.
Pots for Calathea Musaica
Calatheas are considered to be medium size plants.
Since Calatheas are growing in shrubs and can grow up to 60 centimeters high and wide, you should get a generous size pot.
This will allow to roots to grow and spread without any limitations.
If your plant is still small, you don’t have to worry about that at the start as you will probably have to repot it soon anyways.
Because of the previously mentioned humidity issues get a wide and deep tray for around the pot to fit enough pebbles and water.
Another important detail is to get a pot with a good drainage hole so that the moisture isn’t trapped inside the soil.
When it comes to the material of the pot, that is totally your preference.
Both ceramics and plastic pots were shown to be fine for growth and maintenance.
Propagating Needs of Calathea Network
If you find that the stems are beginning to overcrowd the pot, it means that it’s time to propagate the plant.
You should to all propagating preferably in the spring, as it the most natural period of their growth.
You are not required to use fertilizer or rooting hormone while propagating, it is completely your preference.
Plant Division of Calathea Musaica
Calatheas Musaica is simply propagated with plant division.
You can also propagate with dividing the plant whilst repotting.
To get new separate plants, you need to carefully divide them into a couple of different small clumps so they can be transferred easily to their new pots.
Take the plant out of the pot and carefully clean the soil around. Try not to damage the roots.
After that, divided loosened up parts and get them ready for repotting. Plant them in a new pot with rich soil and compost.
Further on, just take care of them as you would with your other Calathea Musaica.
Is Propagating with Water Possible?
This is not a way to propagate Calathea Musaica, simply because such cuttings don’t have the tissue necessary for root development. Division is definitely the best and the only way to do so.
What about Propagating with Leaves?
The same goes here, you cannot propagate by separating leaf node cuttings. Even though this method works for vast majority of indoor plant, this particular Calathea isn’t one of them. It’s not possible to propagate Calathea Musaica by leaf cuttings.
Pruning Calathea Musaica
Calathea Musaica doesn’t need a lot of pruning especially if you plant it properly.
Occasionally dead leaves can appear but you shouldn’t worry. That is quite a normal occurrence.
Also if the leaves get brown tips, you can simply cut those parts off.
Calathea Musaica Problems and Solutions
Pests – spider mites
Spider mites are the biggest pest and a threat to Calathea Musaica.
The first symptoms of spider mites will be fine and small webs on the leaves. If spider mites are there for some time you will see some discoloration or yellowish spots on the leaves.
Since Calathea Musaica is so susceptible to getting spider mites you need to keep an eye out for them. There is only a couple of things you can do to protect them since spider mites are quite common pests.
As soon as you see any signs, you should clean the whole plant with a damp tissue or some water.
We mentioned misting before, though it is not the best way to increase the humidity drastically, when it comes to spider mites, it is a great weapon.
Misting the leaves is a form of prevention against spider mites. It can protect from them since spider mites are known to like drier conditions more and will avoid wet leaves.
If you suspect or notice that your Calathea Musaica or any other plant in the house has gotten spider mites, it is time to try to reduce to damage they bring.
Separate your plants and keep them away for each other just to prevent any possible further infection and spreading.
What to do if the leaves start to wilt
It’s somewhat natural for the leaves of Calathea Musaica to wilt as the plant grows and regenerates itself. You can lose them but don’t panic, just cut them off to help new ones appear in their place.
If the stem dries out, dies or you lose the leaves there is a chance the roots are actually still healthy so you can just keep trying and it can probably grow back new leaves with your proper care.
Frequently Asked Questions
How fast does Calathea Musaica grow?
This lovely plant grows from a rhizome, which expands gradually as time goes by. After 2 or 3 years the plant will become rootbound. Their maximum height is approximately 2 feet, after which their growth stops.
Can you root calathea in water?
No, this plant cannot be propagated from leaf or stem cutting, so consequently, you cannot root it in water. That’s because those cuttings don’t contain the necessary tissue to establish new roots.
Can you propagate calathea musaica?
Yes, you can. This plant is propagated by root division, so don’t expect a new plant overnight. Then the best time to divide the roots is when repotting.
Are calathea and maranta the same?
Both plants are widely known as prayer-plants, but they aren’t the same. The genus Maranta is closely related to the genus Calathea, and they have some things in common, but basically, these are different plants.