Leading the pack of calatheas with flashy foliage is Calathea Medallion. With its round, deep green leaves and captivating patterns, it’s no wonder this purportedly fussy showstopper is stealing the hearts of plant lovers everywhere.
If you’ve been on the lookout for a head-turning houseplant to bring life and personality to your space, then look no further, my friend. Calathea Medallion is here to take the stage.
In our Calathea Medallion care guide, we’ll cover its unique charm and how to keep it happy and healthy indoors and out. A plant that follows the sun but doesn’t move at night? Let’s explore!
Calathea Medallion Plant Care Guide
History, Habitat, and Characteristics
You’ll find the origins of the cultivar Calathea Medallion (Goeppertia veitchiana ‘Medallion’, previously Calathea roseopicta ‘Medallion’) in the lush forests of Brazil, where it lives on the forest floor, thriving in warm, humid conditions and dappled sunlight.
Calathea Medallion, also called Rose Painted Calathea, is renowned for its breathtaking foliage. Its leaves paint a mesmerizing canvas of multiple shades of green in bold, contrasting patterns. Each plant is a work of art, with patterns featuring dark green centers and lighter green edges with delicate, intricate veins.
What truly sets the Calathea Medallion apart is its heliotropic behavior, which makes it seem almost alive as it follows the sun. In the evenings, as the sun sets and photosynthesis comes to an end, the plant lifts its leaves as if saying, “Leaf me alone, I’m sleeping!” Come morning, the leaves lower once more to catch the sun’s rays — a fascinating sight to behold.
Because of this nightly leaf movement, calathea plants are often referred to as “prayer plants.” However, they aren’t true prayer plants, which actually belong to the Maranta genus. While calathea are in the Marantaceae plant family, along with maranta, they aren’t nyctinastic, meaning their leaves don’t fold together at night (even though they do move up).
Hailing from the tropical forest floor, Calathea Medallion flourishes in medium-bright light — think dappled sunlight, not harsh rays. Calathea plants can, however, tolerate some low indirect light.
To recreate the perfect forest floor ambiance, place your Calathea Medallion in an east-facing window, or a bit away from a west-facing window.
A north-facing window may do in a pinch, but it may not provide enough light. You’ll have to experiment with the exposure in your home. But be cautious with south-facing windows, which can be too bright. Maintain a safe distance to avoid overexposure to direct sunlight.
Is your Calathea Medallion basking in the right light? Keep an eye out for these signs:
Too little light: Slow, leggy growth, drooping leaves, or lost vibrancy in foliage patterns might indicate your plant craves more light.
Too much light: Scorched leaves, brown spots, or curling leaf edges could signal overly harsh light. Time to turn down the sunshine!
Our lighting tips:
- East- or west-facing windows are ideal for Calathea Medallion.
- Low-light situation? Boost your plant’s happiness with a full-spectrum LED grow light.
- Beware of south-facing windows — they can provide too much direct sun. Keep your plant at a safe distance.
Your best bet is to water your Calathea Medallion when the top section of the soil is dry, the first inch or so. Use your finger to test, and if it’s ready, give it a good soak until water flows from the pot’s drainage holes.
Calatheas are quite sensitive when it comes to water, so it’s important to use filtered tap water or distilled water to avoid damage caused by chlorine or heavy elements in tap water.
Consider bottom-watering to ensure the plant absorbs just the right amount without overdoing it. This method has its own risks, though. If you let the plant sit in water for too long, you may damage the roots.
Test the soil for wetness every 10 minutes, and water from the top once every month or so to flush excess nutrients from the soil, especially if you fertilize.
When your Calathea Medallion isn’t getting enough water, it may show signs of distress. The leaves can develop brown edges and become crispy, often curling inward. In more severe cases, the tallest stem may begin to droop, signaling that it’s time for a good watering. Remember, underwatering can lead to a sad, wilted calathea.
On the other hand, overwatering can be just as harmful, if not more so. If your Calathea Medallion is getting too much water, you might notice yellow leaves, mushy stems, and persistently moist soil. It’s crucial to strike the right balance to prevent issues such as oxygen deprivation and rot.
Our watering tips:
- Water when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch.
- Opt for filtered tap water or distilled water to avoid harming your calathea with chlorine or heavy elements.
- Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
- Water from the bottom if you’re prone to overwatering, but do so carefully.
Temperature and Humidity
Calathea Medallion is a true tropical plant, preferring warm temperatures of 65-80°F. It’s important to protect your plant from cold drafts and chilly windows, because temperature fluctuations can leave it feeling under the weather.
Feeling the chill? If your Calathea Medallion is subjected to low temps, you’ll likely see curled leaves, wilted foliage, or a very sad-looking plant. On the flip side, high temperatures may leave your plant feeling crispy, and the leaf edges might turn brown.
Now, let’s talk about humidity — you need to find the sweet spot for Calathea Medallion plants. Aim for a relatively high humidity level around 50%-60%, at least. Consistency is crucial, as not enough or too much humidity can throw your plant off balance.
When humidity dips too low, your plant may present you with curled leaves or dry, brown edges. Overly damp conditions can make your plant a prime target for fungal foes and pesky pests (an unwanted outcome, for sure).
To raise humidity:
- Humidify and conquer: Keep a humidifier nearby to ensure a consistent humidity level for your indoor plants.
- Pebble tray patrol: Set up a pebble tray filled with water, making sure the roots and soil aren’t sitting directly in the water (we don’t want soggy soil).
- Gather ’round: Group your Calathea Medallion with other tropical plants to create an oasis of shared humidity through transpiration.
- Breathe easy: As you work to increase humidity, don’t forget to maintain good air circulation — avoid overcrowded foliage to keep stagnation and disease transmission at bay.
Soil and Planting
A thriving Calathea Medallion plant relies on the right soil composition and pot selection. Calatheas don’t really like their roots disturbed, so avoid repotting until your plant has outgrown its pot.
When repotting your Calathea Medallion, create a well-balanced soil blend of one-third cactus/succulent soil, one-third nutrient-dense soil, and one-third perlite. Add some coco coir (an eco-friendly alternative to peat moss) and orchid bark. This mix provides the perfect balance of drainage, nutrients, and loose soil that the plant needs.
But don’t forget the pot! Plastic or nursery pots are generally better than ceramic or terracotta pots, which can either retain too much moisture or cause the plant to dry out, respectively.
(If you do use a ceramic pot, make sure it has drainage holes or double-pot with one that does).
To keep transplant shock at bay after repotting, consider using a product like SuperThrive for the first watering. This extra step helps your plant adjust to its new home and bounce back quickly.
For Calathea Medallion, fertilizer can be helpful, but not completely necessary. If you do decide to fertilize, only do so during the growing season and be cautious not to overdo it. You can even cut your regular houseplant dosage in half.
Over-fertilizing may lead to yellowing leaves or a white, crusty buildup on the soil surface.
In these cases, simply cut back on the amount and frequency and flush the soil with water to wash away excess salts. Keep in mind, it’s always better to under-fertilize than to apply too much.
Propagating Calathea Medallion can expand your collection and help you develop your horticulture skills. Propagation for this indoor plant is done through division, meaning you’ll separate multiple stems emerging from the soil to create individual plants.
Propagate Calathea Medallion via division:
- Get your workspace and materials ready. First things first, gather a clean, sharp pair of gardening shears or scissors, fresh potting soil, and new pots or containers for the divided plants. Make sure all your tools are sterilized so you don’t accidentally spread any Calathea Medallion diseases during propagation.
- Carefully take the Calathea Medallion out of its pot. Be careful not to damage the roots, but gently squeeze the sides of the pot or tap the bottom to loosen the root ball if needed.
- Check out the root ball and find the divisions. Take a good look at the root system, and find those natural divisions where multiple stems emerge from the soil. These divisions will become your new individual plants.
- Split up the divisions. Now, using your hands or a sterilized tool, slowly tease apart the root ball to create the divisions. Be careful with the roots, but don’t stress too much if you break a few minor ones during the process — they’ll grow back.
- Pot the divisions in new containers. With your divisions all set, plant each one in a new pot filled with fresh soil. Make sure the pot has excellent drainage, and keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.
- Take good care of the new divisions. Put your newly potted divisions in bright, diffuse light. Keep the humidity high and the soil consistently moist, but not soggy. In a few weeks, your new plants should be well established.
Our propagation tips:
- For the best results, divide your Calathea Medallion during the growing season, ideally in spring and summer.
- Water your Calathea Medallion plant thoroughly a day or two before dividing to make division easier.
Calathea Medallion plants require a bit of extra attention to thrive. Get to know the telltale signs of an issue and how to fix it, and you’ll be well-equipped to maintain a healthy and vibrant Medallion plant.
Root rot is a common issue that results from overwatering and lack of proper drainage, when the roots sit in soggy, poorly drained soil for too long. You’ll know your plant has root rot if it’s failing, emitting a foul odor, and has roots that are dark and mushy. Overwatering, and the resulting root rot, will easily kill your plant.
To save it, remove it from the pot and trim away any slimy, discolored roots. Then, repot the plant in fresh soil, adding perlite, pumice, or LECA for improved aeration and drainage. Remember to let the soil dry out between waterings — and always have drainage holes in your pot.
Pests and Diseases
Calathea Medallion plants, like most houseplants, can sometimes face issues with pests and diseases. Don’t worry, though — we’re here to help you identify, fix, and prevent these problems.
Fungal diseases might sneak up on a Calathea Medallion, especially if it’s been hanging out in damp conditions. If you spot white, fuzzy patches on the leaves or stems, it’s time to take action.
Get rid of any affected leaves or stems and apply a fungicide as directed (the label will guide you). Keep the area around your Medallion plant clean and well-ventilated to ward off any future fungus invasions.
Spider Mites, Aphids, and Mealybugs
Despite their tiny size, this trifecta of pests can cause significant damage to your calathea plant. If you see fine, spider-like webbing or small brown or yellow spots on the leaves, your plant might be dealing with spider mites.
Also, keep an eye out for aphids or mealybugs. Sticky residue or tiny white dots on the leaves are telltale signs of aphids’ unwelcome presence. And you’ll recognize mealybugs by their cotton-like appearance.
If you notice any of these pests, first things first — isolate your calathea to prevent the pests from spreading to other plants. Then, using a damp cloth or strong spray bottle of water, gently remove both the pests and their webs.
To send them packing, mix neem oil and peppermint soap, and spray it onto the affected areas. Keep a close eye on your Calathea Medallion to catch any pests early and prevent them from causing serious harm.
Because calathea plants like consistently moist soil, they’re more vulnerable to fungus gnats than a plant that likes to dry out. Fungus gnats can be really annoying, but it takes them a while to really damage your plant.
Water carefully and use sticky traps to cut down on fungus gnats. Serious infestations may call for fresh soil.
And that wraps up our Calathea Medallion guide! With its mesmerizing patterns and striking foliage, this unique tropical houseplant is surely a sight to behold.
Calathea Medallion care summary:
- Provide moderate to bright indirect light, and avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.
- Keep soil consistently moist but not soggy, using filtered or distilled water for best results. Tap water can often have minerals that a calathea plant is sensitive to.
- Maintain a humidity level of around 50%-60% for a happy Calathea Medallion.
- Use a well-draining soil mixture and proper pot choice for optimal growth.
We hope this guide has been helpful and inspires you to welcome a Calathea Medallion into your home! As always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.
Take care and happy gardening!
Are Calathea Medallion plants considered to be prayer plants?
Not really. Calathea Medallion plants are part of the same plant family, Marantaceae. The prayer plant is part of the Maranta genus, whereas calathea are in the genus Goeppertia.
Species within the Marantacaeae family of plants are known for their unique daily movement, or heliotropism, but where prayer plant leaves fold up at night as if in prayer, Calathea Medallion leaves merely rise and fall with the sun.
Is Calathea Medallion toxic?
Good news for plant enthusiasts with pets or small children: Calathea Medallion is considered nontoxic. While it’s always wise to keep plants out of reach, you can find comfort in knowing that this beautiful tropical plant poses no serious threat to your little ones or furry friends.
Does Calathea Medallion bloom?
Calathea Medallions, in their natural habitat, can produce blooms. However, it’s not very common for them to flower indoors. If you’re fortunate enough to witness this rare occurrence, you’ll be treated to delicate, small flowers that typically grow at the base of the plant.
Is Calathea Medallion now known as Goeppertia veitchiana?
Technically, yes, but the name still hasn’t really caught on. Calathea Medallion, previously known as Calathea roseopicta ‘Medallion,’ is now classified under the genus Goeppertia and referred to by the scientific name Goeppertia veitchiana.
The reclassification of the Calathea genus is due to new insights and taxonomic research in the plant family Marantaceae. Many species formerly classified as Calathea have been moved to the Goeppertia genus, Calathea Medallion included.