Calathea roseopicta care | Rose painted Calathea

Calathea roseopicta, also known as the rose painted Calathea, is a stunning large-leaved prayer plant. It has been selectively bred into many different leaf patterns all known under different names (such as Calathea ‘Medallion’, ‘Eclipse’ and ‘Dottie’), which means there are plenty of varieties to choose from. Calathea roseopicta care can be somewhat challenging, but it’s the perfect plant if you’re looking for a real eye-catcher!

Keep reading for everything you need to know about Calathea roseopicta care and growing Calathea roseopicta in your own home.

Name(s) (common, scientific) Rose painted Calathea, rose painted prayer plant, Calathea roseopicta
Difficulty level Moderate
Recommended lighting Indirect
Water Keep lightly moist
Soil type Well-draining

Calathea roseopicta care

Like other Calathea species, Calathea roseopicta is naturally found in rainforests in South-America. This gives us some good care indications to keep in mind when growing this plant at home.

Rainforests are very humid and this plant definitely appreciates high humidity and moist soil. It isn’t used to receiving direct sun, as most sunlight is naturally blocked out by larger trees.

Calathea roseopicta houseplant - Rose painted Calathea care and info

Calathea roseopicta light, location & temperature

Light

This plant can’t handle direct sunlight and needs to be placed in a spot that receives bright but indirect light. It’s is often marketed as being suitable for very dark locations, but unfortunately, this is a bit of a myth.

Although Calathea roseopicta might survive in a location with little light, it won’t thrive or put out any new growth. Place it on a windowsill or at least close to a window that gets plenty of light throughout the day.

Did you know? The darker the foliage, the more light a plant needs to maintain that spectacular leaf color. A Calathea roseopicta ‘Dottie’, for example, might revert to greenish leaves if you don’t provide enough light.

Location

When choosing a location for your Calathea roseopicta, there are a few factors to keep in mind. Its lighting needs mean it appreciates being placed near a window that doesn’t receive direct sun.

Because it likes plenty of humidity, it will love a spot in the kitchen or bathroom, which are often a little more humid than the rest of your home. You can even keep these guys in a terrarium, an old aquarium or a simple plastic bin lined with sphagnum moss! This helps keep the moisture in.

Temperature

Because Calathea roseopicta naturally grows in rainforests, it won’t respond well to low temperatures.

Room temperature works just fine: if you’re comfy, so is your Calathea. Be sure to avoid drafts and place the plant a few inches away from cold winter windows and A/C’s. Also keep some distance from heaters, as the air around them will be too dry.

Tip: Looking for more Calathea tips? Have a look at the general Calathea care guide.

Calathea roseopicta houseplant - Rose painted Calathea care and info

Calathea roseopicta soil and planting

Soil

When putting together a soil mixture for your rose painted Calathea, it’s important to keep in mind that this plant likes lightly moist soil but doesn’t appreciate wet feet at all. This means you need a mixture that retains some water, but also allows excess moisture to drain quickly.

Most sources recommend a peat-based potting soil mixed with about 1/3 perlite to improve drainage. This works fine for the plant, but unfortunately peat isn’t the most sustainable potting material. You could try using coco coir instead, as it should also hold water quite well.

Potting

Pot-wise, plastic nursery pots should work well. The holes in the bottom allow excess water to drain while the plastic material prevents the soil from drying out completely.

You can place the nursery pot inside a decorative outer pot and take the plant out to water. Place it back once it has drained well in the sink.

Tip: Do you feel your rose painted prayer plant is struggling and something might be wrong? Have a look at the guide to problems with Calathea to help you identify the issue.

Juvenile Calathea roseopicta (rose painted prayer plant, a common houseplant.

Watering Calathea roseopicta

Watering is where things go wrong for many new Calathea roseopicta owners. It can be a little difficult to find the right balance, as this plant likes moist soil but hates standing in a layer of water.

During the growing season, try watering a little bit multiple times a week as soon as the top of the soil has dried out. To avoid haphazard watering, poke a finger into the soil if you’re not sure what the moisture levels are like.

During wintertime, when the plant is putting out less or no new growth, you can reduce the watering frequency. Let half of the soil dry out, though never allow it to go bone dry! You’ll probably be watering only once a week or less during this time.

Tip: If you’re watering correctly but still feel like your Calathea roseopicta is not doing well, it might be a good idea to switch to bottled water or to collect rainwater. This plant, like many others, is sensitive to the minerals in our tap water. Remember to regularly flush the soil with distilled water.

Calathea roseopicta fertilizer

You can fertilize your Calathea roseopicta during the growing season as long as it’s putting out new growth.

A basic houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength should work well.

Black and pink leaves of a cultivar of the rose painted prayer plant, a popular houseplant.

Propagating Calathea roseopicta

Turning one houseplant into more houseplants for free sounds like some kind of witchcraft, but it’s perfectly possible! Propagating Calathea roseopicta doesn’t work using normal stem cuttings, so you’ll have to use the division method. The easiest time to do this is if you were going to repot your plant anyway.

You can learn more in the guide to Calathea propagation!

Buying Calathea roseopicta

The rose painted prayer plant is one of the more common prayer plant species and you should be able to find it at most plant stores and garden centers.

Keep in mind that there are many different varieties with different colors and patterns, though leaf shape will always be the same. You can buy a Calathea online.

Did you know? Seriously, I’m not kidding when I say there are a lot of Calathea roseopicta cultivars out there. There are 13 on Google Patents alone, from well-known ones like ‘Dottie’ to such obscure names as ‘HGV09’.

Google Patents

Is Calathea roseopicta toxic to cats and dogs?

Like other prayer plants, Calathea roseopicta should be non-toxic to cats and dogs (and kids). Yay!

Do remember that ingestion of any plant can cause tummy aches in your pet.


If you have any more questions about Calathea roseopicta care or if you want to share your own experiences with this stunning prayer plant, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

If you love Calatheas, don’t forget to have a look at the pinstripe Calathea care guide as well.

Cover photo: Calathea by skpineda. Thank you!


6 thoughts on “Calathea roseopicta care | Rose painted Calathea”

  1. Hi there,

    We have a magnificent Calathea roseopicta but it has become very tall and sometimes its stems bend over and crease when it ‘opens’. Do you have any advice on how to support some of the very long stems?

    Thanks!
    Sophie

    Reply
    • I think the first thing I’d try is just the simple stick method to support the stems. If you gently connect the bottoms of the stems to a stick or little pole I think that should help a lot. 🙂

      Reply

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