Calathea musaica is native to Brazil and is one of the easier Calathea varieties to care for. Also known as Calathea network, its impressive foliage pattern makes it stand out from other houseplants.
Calathea Musaica Appearance
Calathea musaica features two-toned leaves in an intricate, mosaic pattern. The plant reaches a height of 2 feet (0.6m) and a width of 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 m). Small, white flowers appear on short stalks, though flowering indoors is rare.
Calathea Musaica Sunlight Requirements
Calathea musaica tolerates a wider range of light conditions than other Calathea varieties. The Calathea network prefers bright, indirect light from a North or East-facing window but placement in a bright room will suffice. Avoid direct sunlight as it burns foliage and causes the intricate foliage pattern to fade.
Water with distilled or rainwater when the top 1 inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Moisten the soil until the water runs through the pot’s drainage holes, then empty the drip tray of excess water. Do not allow excess water to stay in contact with the Calathea musaica’s roots as this leads to root rot.
Temperature and Humidity
Avoid exposing the Calathea network to hot or cold drafts. Maintain temperatures between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 30 degrees Celsius) for optimal growth. Humidity levels of 50 to 80 percent are recommended and can be supplemented with regular misting of the plant’s leaves. Correct ongoing low humidity by filling a tray with pebbles and water, placing it beneath the plant’s pot.
Soil and Fertilizer Requirements
Proper Calathea musaica care requires growing in a potting soil mixture amended with perlite and coarse sand to improve drainage. Add 10 percent organic material, like worm castings or compost, to the soil to act as a slow-release fertilizer. The organic material is often enough to feed the plant for one to two years. If not using organic supplements, feed with a liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to ½ strength once every 4 to 6 weeks in the spring and summer.
Calathea Musaica Propagation
Division is the only method for propagating Calathea musaica as it will not multiply by cuttings. Divide mature plants when several new shoots appear beside the mother plant. Water the Calathea network the day before division to reduce stress. Lay the pot on its side and slide the mature plant out. Use your hands to separate the root ball at natural divisions, ensuring each retains a healthy root ball. Fill a suitable-sized pot ⅓ full with a potting soil and perlite mixture and plant the new divisions, backfilling with soil to stabilize the plant. Water as normal and place the pot in the recommended light and temperature conditions.
Calathea Musaica Pests and Diseases
Mealybugs, thrips, spider mites, fungus gnats, and scale are common pests for Calathea varieties . Improper Calathea musaica care makes them more susceptible to infestations. Inspect your plant at each watering for signs of pests which include visible insects, honeydew, damaged leaves, and fine webs. Remove pests with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol or with a fingernail in the case of scale. Follow up by treating the plant with neem oil or an insecticidal soap.
Root rot is caused by overwatering your Calathea musaica. In the early stages, the disease is treated by removing the plant from its pot and disposing of affected roots. Trim dark, mushy roots with sterilized shears and repot the plant in fresh soil. More advanced root rot requires spraying the roots with 1 part hydrogen peroxide mixed with 2 parts water to kill the bacteria before repotting. Decrease moisture and provide the recommended heat and humidity. Continue to inspect the roots until all are white and firm.
Calathea musaica is an excellent starter plant for those not familiar with the demands of the Calathea family. While still specific care needs, they are more forgiving than other varieties and an excellent introduction into this beautiful house plant species.
Calathea Musaica FAQ
The Calathea network is a slow-growing Calathea and, on average, requires repotting every two years or when the roots begin to grow through the pot’s drainage holes. Repot in the spring and take the opportunity to divide large plants into separate pots.
No, all Calathea plants are considered not toxic to pets.
No, despite its impressive appearance it is often found anywhere houseplants are sold.
Common causes for yellow leaves are improper watering, low temperatures, pest infestations, or plant stress from rehoming.
Prune dead leaves or dried leaf edges with a sharp pair of sterilized shears. Removal of damaged leaves allows the plant to direct its energy into healthy foliage growth.