Sometimes calatheas are called prayer plants because they raise their leaves at night like prayer plants. In the evening, the leaves of calathea plants fold upright at the base of the stem, as if the plant is folding its leaves upward to pray. This process is called nyctinasty.
Calathea medallion plants thrive in medium to low light, similar to their native habitat in tropical forests. You should keep the plant out of direct sunlight. Otherwise, it can suffer from leaf burn. Calatheas grow well in low light environments but grow better in medium to bright light.
The best location at home for a calathea is in a room that gets plenty of light. These variegated plants need enough sunlight to keep markings and patterns on their leaves vibrant. However, you can also place the tropical plant in a north-facing room or shaded corner where it will also grow well.
Bright, direct sunlight will scorch the leaves and cause the tips of the leaves to turn brown. If leaves start turning brown, move the plant pot away from direct sunlight. You will have to prune dead, brown leaves to improve the calathea appearance.
Water a calathea medallion whenever the top 1” (2.5 cm) of the potting mix has dried. Thorough watering after the soil has partly dried nourishes roots without making the soil too soggy. When watering a calathea, ensure that water drains out the bottom. You should also avoid letting the plant stand in water.
Grow calathea medallion plants in a porous potting mix with good drainage. The worst thing for a calathea—and most houseplants—is to let them sit in waterlogged soil. The ideal potting soil for calathea plants should be a mixture of peat moss, perlite, and potting soil. This combination holds enough moisture but allows for adequate drainage.
Other ingredients to create a suitable potting medium are charcoal, coco coir, or orchid bark. If you want to buy a commercially available soil, a good quality African violet mix is ideal. The soil should be fertile, hold enough moisture, and drain well.
The ideal temperature range for calathea medallion plants is 65°F to 80°F (18° – 27°C). Average room temperatures are suitable for your houseplants to thrive. Keep the room temperature even. So, this means keeping plants away from hot sunlight, radiators, or air conditioning flow to avoid stressing the stunning houseplants.
Keep humidity levels high when growing calathea plants indoors. To humidify the air around your plant, mist the leaves, use a room humidifier, or place on a pebble water tray. You can also group houseplants so that there is enough moisture in the air.
Feed your calathea medallion plant every four weeks during the growing season—from spring until the end of summer. Use a balanced houseplant fertilizer and dilute it to one-fourth strength. Avoid over-fertilizing your calathea plants, or they may become leggy, suffer from root burn, or die.
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