A gorgeous plant that can be kept indoors, the Calathea medallion offers beauty and also an interesting feature – during the day, depending on how much light is in the room, the leaves will move either up or down!
The Calathea can be a tricky plant.
But whilst many varieties can be high maintenance with specific requirements and in need of a bit of extra care, the medallion variant is generally one of the less fussy types of Calathea around.
Follow our guide and you will be a Calathea growing pro in no time.
Calathea Medaillon Care
Calathea Medallion plants require lightly moist but well-draining soil. Water as the top layer begins to dry out and avoid saturating the soil. Keep the plant in a bright room but away from direct sunlight. Fertilize only in the growing months and restrict water in the dormancy period.
Calatheas like a moist but not waterlogged environment. Use a mix of perlite or bark with potting soil for the best effect effects. Maintain pH levels at 6.5 and avoid exposure to high fluoride environments.
To mix the perfect soil for your Calathea medallion start with potting soil and bake in 10-20% orchid bark and 10% perlite.
If you don’t have that to hand do not worry – you can also try peat and sand at a ratio of 3-1. Make sure your soil is not high in fluoride – you can add some dolomite to reduce the levels.
Store purchased soils will work well too – there are some for example that are tailored for cacti that should provide an appropriate environment.
Make sure any store-bought soils are low on potassium (as it negatively affects the color) and higher on nitrogen, which promotes lush green leaves.
Calathea medallion likes dappled light conditions. Indoor Calatheas should be placed in areas of indirect sunlight. Keep your plant away from bright south-facing windows. A corner near a window is ideal – your Calathea medallion can benefit from indirect light without being scorched.
Wherever you place it, make sure you avoid bright direct sunlight hitting your Calathea medallion – intense rays can bleach its gorgeous leaves.
Indirect but bright light is, therefore, best, however, the Calathea medallion will also do well in lower levels of light too.
In fact, this tolerance of low light levels makes it an ideal plant for areas with little sunlight. This includes ground-floor apartments and areas like hallways without windows.
The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged. Water when the top of the soil is beginning to dry out. Make sure you have drainage holes to allow water to flow through. When watering, allow the water to sit in an open pot overnight to dissipate any fluoride or chlorine.
Calathea medallions do not like to dry out, and they enjoy being in a moist soil environment that mimics their native tropics.
Do not make the mistake of treating your Calathea medallion like a cactus and letting it dry out extensively between watering.
Water as the top level begins to show signs of drying out – this may be as frequently as twice or three times a week in the summer months. But be sure to not overwater.
Keep your Calathea medallion in temperatures that are at a minimum of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Better still is a minimum of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid any exposure to frost, draughts and cold winds. Look out for drooping leaves, discoloration or slow growth which are signs of low temperatures, and move to a warm location immediately.
Given that the Calathea medallion hails from tropical climes, it is no surprise that warm temperatures are required.
65-85 degrees Fahrenheit is preferred, and this is generally an easy level to maintain in the average home.
Be careful however that it is not exposed to draughts of cold air – for example if it is beside a window – especially in the winter months.
Keeping your Calathea medallion outside is also a bad idea if you live in areas that regularly experience temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
At the other end of the scale, anything above 85 degrees Fahrenheit is verging on too warm, and risks to dry out the soil.
Make sure you move the plant away from any radiators or fireplaces.
If the temperature is too hot the leaves will begin to curl up so take action quickly.
Humidity levels should be kept high – at between 50%-60% – to mirror the levels experienced in the wild. Promote higher humidity levels by using a tray filled with water and stones placed directly under the plant. Humidifiers work well too in environments with very low humidity.
The Calathea medallion is slightly less fussy on humidity requirements than other variants – and can live with levels towards the lower end of the 50% range.
If you suspect low humidity may be affecting your Calathea medallion try placing it among other varieties of the same plant, as this can promote humidity levels.
You can also try moving it to more humid areas of the home, such as the bathroom or kitchen.
Fertilize your Calathea medallion during the growing season but ensure not to over-apply. Too much fertilizer promotes leggy growth and can even kill the plant. Do not fertilize during the dormancy period and leave intervals of between 3 and 4 weeks even in the summer.
Calathea Medallion fertilizer should be lower on potassium and higher on nitrogen.
During the winter period the plant will essentially go dormant, so it is not necessary to fertilize then. During the growing season, fertilizer should be applied every few weeks.
A standard fertilizer tailored for houseplants will usually be sufficient. Make sure that you flush out the soil after the growing season and fertilizer time is over. This will get rid of any buildup of unnecessary nutrients that have formed over time in the soil.
Calathea Medallion is a slow-growing plant. The low-light environment promotes slow but steady growth patterns. Do not expect your Calathea medallion to grow to more than 2 feet in height. Flowers can appear, but only if the plant is outdoors.
Prune off any old growth that is yellow or crispy to maintain the lush appearance.
Do not worry if your Calathea medallion stops growing altogether in the winter season. This is the dormancy period for the plant and you should not expect any new growth.
During this time it is important not to fertilize the plant. You should also reduce watering levels too as the growth rate slows in order to avoid the roots becoming saturated.
Despite the fact that the Calathea medallion will not grow particularly large, you should make sure the pot has sufficient space.
This species does not like to be root bound. If you do repot, do not worry if the plant seems to slow growth for a few weeks after – this is normal as it settles in to its new environment.
How to propagate Calathea Medallion
Propagate your Calathea through the root splitting method. Use clean tools to cut the roots in half. Replanting should be done in the same potting mix as the mother plant. Once repotted, water well, keep out of bright light and ensure a temperature of over 65 F with humidity levels at 50% or above.
The best time for propagation of your Calathea medallion is after the winter when the plant will begin to emerge from dormancy for the growing period.
A couple of days before your anticipated propagation, give the plant a good drink. On propagation day, gently take the plant from the pot and slowly shake to remove any excess soil.
Using a sharp knife separate any new growth clumps into new plants with their own root systems.
Use a pot smaller than the one the mother plant is in and fill it with a potting soil mixed to the same consistency as the mother plant.
This will need to be well-draining but hold some moisture. Add perlite to the potting soil, or create a mixture of sand and peat to get good drainage.
Water enough to wet the soil but do not soak through. Place the pot in a bright location but protected from direct sunlight.
If you propagate in the early months of spring, make sure too that the pot is kept out of draughty areas as well.
Common problems with the Calathea medallion
Look out for pests such as mealybugs, spider mites and aphids. Inspect regularly around the plant, under the leaves and in the soil. Treat yellowing or crispy leaves with humidifiers or misting. Reduce watering if your soil is soggy to avoid root rot.
Pests do seem to like to pay a visit to the Calathea medallion plant. Spider mites – which are so small they can barely be seen and are usually only discovered when the eggs are laid – are a common problem.
They will eat and destroy the leaves and stem, causing it to roll up and shrivel. Check on the purple underside of the leaves for what may look like a fine sprinkling of white dust.
If you notice spider mites or any other creepy crawlies then rinse off the plant with a hose of water. Then, you may need to gently scrub at the leaves with soap and water until they are completely gone.
Excessive watering and poor draining soil can give rise to a condition known as root rot. Unfortunately it is hard to detect, and the signs often appear above the surface only too late.
You may notice the plant becoming mushy from the base, a foul smell or damp soil even if you have reduced watering.
The latter is a sign that the roots have become affected by a fungal infection to the point that they cannot absorb any water or nutrients from the soil.
Unfortunately at this point it is unlikely you will be able to save the plant. Avoid root rot altogether by ensuring you water only when the soil begins to dry out and that your soil is made from a well-draining mix.
Calathea Yellow leaves or crispy brown edges
Yellow leaves can be a common sign of distress in your Calathea medallion. Unfortunately it can mean one of many things, so there may be a little trial and error involved until you work out a cure.
Check the environment of the Calathea medallion against the points in this guide. Soil should not be soggy but lightly moist.
Light should be bright but indirect. Fertilizer should be applied in intervals of at least 3 weeks in the growing period. The plant should not be exposed to any draughts or temperatures under 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Frequently asked questions about Calathea medallion
Why does my Calathea medallion look different between night and morning?
The Calathea medallion is often mistaken for a prayer plant as its leaves fold up at night and open up again in the morning!
Should I put my Calathea medallion on a sunny window?
No, your Calathea medallion should be placed in a bright room but in indirect sunlight. Too much sun can burn the leaves.
A beautiful houseplant, the Calathea medallion usually attracts quite a few comments from visitors. Keep it happy by following the tips in this guide and you won’t go wrong.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.