When it comes to foliage plants, Calatheas are one of the most gorgeous, and Calathea Medallion is on the top of the list. Learn all you need to know about calathea medallion care and make this gorgeous plant thrive in your home.
Calatheas can be fussy and dramatic if they don’t get the proper care, but most people shouldn’t really have many issues with growing Calathea Medallion variety. This one is one of the easiest to grow. You need to know what these plants like, forgive the occasional dry tip, and you will have a gorgeous and happy plant.
In this guide, we’ll explain all there is to know about the basic care for this plant and help you troubleshoot any issues you might have with it.
How to Care for Calathea Medallion
- Bringing the plant home
- Light conditions
- Humidity and temperature
- Toxicity Information
- Pests and other common issues
Plant name: Calathea veitchiana Medallion
Common names: Calathea Medallion, Medallion Prayer Plant
Native to: Ecuador
Light: Bright indirect to medium
Care: Keep soil moist, allowing only the top layer to dry. High humidity is best. Does well with room temperature.
Common problems: Leaf browning, some pests, root rot if overwatering.
Toxicity: Considered non-toxic for humans, cats and dogs.
Bringing the Plant Home
Calathea plants are especially prone to some pests (spider mite), so thoroughly check your plant when you bring it home. Even if you don’t spot any, quarantine the plant for two weeks, keeping it a good distance away from others to prevent any pest spread.
These plants are known to be fussy, so you can expect your plant to struggle a little for a while (a week or two) as it adjusts to its new environment. Avoid adding to that stress, do not repot the plant, and do not fertilize at this time.
Calathea Medallion Light Requirements
As with any other calathea, aim for bright indirect light. They will do well in lower light settings too.
This means your plant should be getting indirect light throughout the day. The morning sun is great. Avoid afternoon sun, especially if it’s strong. Diffused cloudy day sun is OK. Winter afternoon sun if it’s not too strong.
If your plant gets too much light, the patterns on the leaves will become paler. You might even start seeing brown crispy edges on the leaves with too much light exposure.
Too little light and you won’t see much growth.
How often Should you Water calathea Medallion?
Proper watering routine is key in keeping any calathea plant happy!
Calathea medallion is no exception. It’s a thirsty plant that hates being waterlogged.
Depending on many factors, you are looking at watering your calathea medallion from multiple times per week to once every two weeks.
To know when to water your plants check the top layer of soil. You can either use your finger or a skewer (like checking the dough when baking). Push your finger in the soil to the first knuckle. If the soil is still moist, you are good, and if the soil is dry, it is time to water.
You shouldn’t water your plant if the soil is still very moist or damp at the top, as this can lead to overwatering.
Size of your plant, the soil used, light, type of pot, conditions in your home, and time of the year all play a role in how often you will water your calathea medallion. Even if you have two of these plants, their watering needs may drastically differ. Just for example, if you have one in a brighter spot, the water will evaporate faster than with a plant that is in a shadier location.
You will need to water your plant less frequently in the winter.
Terra Cotta pot VS Plastic Pot
The type of pot you have your plant in plays a big role in your watering routine. The soil in terra cotta pots will dry a lot faster than soil in plastic pots.
We recommend plastic pots, or other less porous pots, for Calathea medallion.
How to water Calathea Medallion and What Kind of Water to Use
You now have a grasp on how often to water now; let’s talk about how to water your plant and what kind of water is good for your calathea.
When you are watering your plant, water thoroughly. If you are watering from the top or if bottom water, make sure all the excess water drains from the holes once you are done. Calatheas don’t like to sit in water, and this can lead to root rot.
Both bottom watering and watering from the top is OK for calatheas. If you water from the bottom, switch things up occasionally, watering the plant from the top to flush the mineral buildups from fertilizing from the soil.
Calatheas are very picky when it comes to the water you use for watering them. Tap water is usually not good for them (this depends on the quality of your tap water). Using tap water can cause chemical burns on the leaves.
Your best options are distilled water, filtered water or rainwater.
The water should be at room temperature when watering.
Humidity and Temperature
This plant thrives in high humidity. If you want to keep its foliage in good shape, you should maintain at least 50% air humidity, but aim higher if possible.
If you notice the leaves start getting brown edges or brown tips, the humidity is likely too low. You can increase humidity around your plant with an air humidifier by making a humidity pebble tray or adding more plants around it.
Misting the plant will give it a humidity boost, but it won’t last long. It is beneficial, but misting alone might not be enough to keep your calathea medallion happy.
Calathea medallion will do well in average room temperatures. They will do well in temperatures from 65 to 85 degrees.
Make sure your plant isn’t exposed to rapid temperature changes, avoid placing them in drafty areas.
Keep them away from sources of heat too (radiators).
Pruning and Cleaning
All calathea types don’t require pruning often. You will only need to remove old dead leaves on occasion or a leaf that might be visually distracting (brown edges etc.).
Large leaves allow for easy cleaning. Use a damp soft cloth and gently wipe the leaves. You can also use a cleaning solution (a drop of dish soap in a bucket of water) – this will clean the plant and act as a mild insecticide, removing any pests and pest eggs from the leaves. If using the soap, first try it on one leaf as not all dish soaps are made the same, and some your calathea medallion might not like.
You can also shower the plant. Carefully rinse the plant with lukewarm water.
All potted plants need regular fertilization as the nutrients in the soil are limited, and the plant is slowly using them up.
Calathea medallion needs regular fertilization during the growing season (don’t fertilize it in winter), but it isn’t a heavy feeder.
If you have a fertilizer specialised for Calathea plants, fertilize as instructed by the manufacturer.
If you use general houseplant fertilizer or fertilizer for foliage plants, it’s best to use less than indicated on the packaging. Use half the recommended strength and use less often. If the packaging indicates to use the fertilizer weekly, use it once or twice a month. It’s easier to overfeed a calathea than underfeed it.
If you water your plant from the bottom, make sure you water from the top occasionally to flush excess mineral buildup from fertilizing.
As your plant grows, it will outgrow its pot, and roots won’t have any room to grow. Generally, you are looking at repotting every two years or so.
That said, don’t repot if it isn’t necessary. Repotting is stressful for any plant.
Repot your plant when you notice it is rootbound – the roots will start growing from drainage holes and can even grow above soil.
If you are moving your calathea medallion to a bigger pot, use a pot that is only one or two sizes bigger, never more. When the pot is too big for the plant, it can easily be overwatered.
If you want to keep your plant the same size and in the same pot, you will need to trim the roots.
Repotting is best done at the start of the growing season (spring).
Good soil is essential. You need soil that has good drainage so it won’t get waterlogged. It also needs to retain moisture well.
If you are using general potting soil, you can add perlite and peat moss (or similar). This makes the general potting soil retain moisture better ad well ad making it drain better.
As foliage plants, especially tropical plants, have become a staple in many homes, you can get readily available soil mixes specially mixed for these types of plants.
Propagation of calathea plants is done by division.
When you are repotting the plant, divide it at root level.
Is Calathea Medallion Poisonous? Safe for cats, dogs, humans?
ASPCA lists all prayer plants as non-toxic to pets (and humans). You can safely grow this plant in your home if you have small children or pets.
That said, ingesting houseplants is never a good idea and should be avoided. Even if the plant is safe, it is not meant for consumption.
Plant toxicity information can also change over time.
Pests, Common Issues and Other Frequently Asked Questions
Calatheas are prone to some pests and some issues. Learn which ones and what to look for.
Fungus gnats are quite common as Calathea Medallion requires the soil to be moist at most times and fungus gnats love that. Yellow sticky traps will help control the population, and some pesticides are quite effective at eliminating them.
Spider mites are another pest that loves Calathea plants. While these generally don’t like high humidity, they will gladly make an exception for Calathea. They are really easy to miss until their numbers grow and you spot their signature webbing. Manually remove them (rinse with water or wipe down leaves) as much as possible. Treat plants with pesticides (organic or not) for a few weeks to get rid of them.
Thrips are quite common too. These are hard to see, and they move (jump away) quickly. The larvae are white, and adults are black – small thin insects. You might notice silvery streaks on leaves which are their tell-tale sign. Treat fast and also treat other plants as these easily spread around.
Mealy bugs and aphids can be found as well.
Most diseases on your plant will come from watering issues.
Fungus can develop if the soil is damp and there isn’t enough ventilation around your plant.
Root rot can develop from overwatering too.
Viral diseases are possible too but aren’t often seen with plants indoors.
Why are Calathea Medallion Leaves Yellow?
If you notice a yellow leaf occasionally but your plant is otherwise healthy, it’s an old leaf dying.
If you notice more leaves yellowing the cause is usually over-watering or pest infestation.
Calathea Medallion Leaves Curling?
If you notice the leaves are curling it’s likely your plant is severely dehidrated or the air humidity is way to low.
Pests such as spider mite can make the leaves curl too so be sure to check for pests.
There are many reasons for this issue. If you see brown tips, the issue is likely low humidity. Small browning on the edges can be caused by tap water or fertilizer. Brown spots are usually a sign of pests.
We have an article dedicated to this issue that will help you figure out the cause for browning leaves.
Is it Possible to See Calathea Medallion Flowers Indoors?
It is not impossible for Calathea medallion to flower indoors, however, it is not likely. The majority of calathea varieties won’t flower indoors (calathea crocata being an exception) and that goes for Calathea Medallion as well.
As this one is one of the less sensitive calathea plants, the chances are slightly better.
How Big Does Calathea Medallion Grow?
With proper care this plant has the potential to grow to an impressive height even indoors. The size of the leaves will be breath taking too.
You can expect this plant to grow as big as 3 feet (1 m).