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Calathea musaica (Mosaic Calathea)

Mosaic Calathea, Calathea bella, Goeppertia bella, Calathea musaica, Calathea kegeljanii, Calathea kegeliana,

Calathea musaica, Mosaic calathea, houseplant, house plant

Calathea musaica, recently reclassified into the genus Goeppertia, making it Goeppertia kegeljanii, is a fascinating houseplant revered for its intricate leaf patterns and robust growth.

Calathea musaica – Mosaic Calathea: An In-depth Look

Calathea musaica features a striking mosaic-like pattern on its leaves, which gives the plant its name. The leaves are light green with a complex network of fine dark green lines that create a transparent effect. This unique patterning resembles the intricate design of mosaic art, making it a highly decorative plant.

Native: This species is native to Brazil, thriving in the warm and humid conditions of the tropical rainforest understory. It is accustomed to dappled sunlight and the moist, fertile soil found in its natural habitat. It belongs to the arrowroot family (Marantaceae), along with the Prayer Plant.

Plant Type and Habit: Calathea musaica is an evergreen perennial with a clumping growth habit. It grows upright, with leaves emerging on long stalks from the soil, forming a dense and lush appearance that can add a touch of the tropics to indoor spaces.

Size: Typically, Calathea musaica reaches a height of about 2 feet (60 cm) and can spread out to about the same width. Its moderate size makes it suitable for indoor cultivation, where it can be displayed prominently as a focal point.

Flowers: While Calathea musaica can bloom, producing small and inconspicuous flowers, it is rarely grown for its flowering capability. The blooms are secondary to the plant’s visually striking foliage.

Foliage: The plant’s foliage is its most notable feature, with each leaf showcasing a mesmerizing mosaic pattern that captivates the viewer. The leaves are glossy, heart-shaped, providing a canvas for the intricate patterns.

Hardiness: Calathea musaica is hardy in USDA zones 11-12. It is not frost-tolerant and must be kept in environments above 60°F (15°C) to thrive.

Uses: Primarily used for its ornamental value, Calathea musaica is a popular choice for interior decoration, adding visual interest and a natural aesthetic to homes, offices, and commercial spaces.

Toxicity: Calathea plants are non-toxic to cats, dogs, and humans, making them a safe choice for pet owners and families. Their sap may irritate sensitive skin.

Benefits: Beyond its ornamental appeal, it improves indoor air quality by filtering out pollutants.

Calathea musaica Care

Caring for Calathea musaica involves creating a balanced environment that mimics its native tropical habitat.

Light: Prefers bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can scorch its leaves, while too little light may cause them to lose vibrancy. A spot near a window with sheer curtains or an east-facing window is ideal.

Soil: A well-draining, peat-based potting mix is suitable. Incorporating perlite or vermiculite can improve drainage.

Water: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out slightly before watering again. Use distilled, rainwater, or filtered tap water to avoid brown tips caused by fluoride and other chemicals in tap water.

Temperature and Humidity: Thrives in temperatures between 65°F (18°C) to 75°F (24°C). Avoid sudden temperature drops and cold drafts. Requires high humidity levels, ideally above 60%. Low humidity can lead to brown leaf tips and edges. Use a humidifier, place the plant on a pebble tray filled with water, or group it with other plants to increase surrounding humidity.

Fertilization: Fertilize every 4 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) with a diluted, balanced, liquid houseplant fertilizer. Reduce fertilization in fall and winter.

Pruning: Trim away yellow or brown leaves at the base to keep the plant looking tidy and to encourage new growth.

Cleaning: Wipe leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and help the plant breathe.

Repotting: Every 2-3 years or when the plant becomes root-bound. Spring is the best time for repotting.

How to Propagate Calathea musaica – A Step-By-Step Guide

Propagating a Calathea plant, like many other members of the Calathea genus, is best done through division. This method ensures the new plants have a good start with established roots and foliage.

Choose the Right Time: The best time for propagation is in late spring when the plant is in its active growth phase.

Prepare Your Tools and Workspace: Ensure you have clean, sharp scissors or a knife, pots for the new plants, and appropriate potting mix (peat-based or similar to what the parent plant is in). Sterilize your tools with rubbing alcohol or a bleach solution to prevent the spread of disease.

Remove the Plant from Its Pot: Carefully take your Calathea plant out of its pot. You may need to tap the pot’s sides or gently pull the plant by the base to ease it out.

Inspect and Separate the Rhizomes: Look for natural divisions in the root ball where the plant has formed distinct clumps or sections. These are your propagation points. Gently tease the roots apart with your fingers or cut through them with your clean, sharp tool if necessary. Ensure each division has a good amount of roots and at least one or two shoots (leaves).

Pot Up the Divisions: Fill your new pots with a suitable potting mix, making a hole in the center for the division. Place each division in its pot, ensuring it sits at the same depth as in the original pot. Fill around the roots with more potting mix, gently firming to support the plant.

Water and Care for Your New Plants: Water each new Calathea plant thoroughly after potting to settle the soil around the roots and eliminate air pockets. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Place the new plants in a warm, humid spot with indirect light, similar to the parent plant’s preferred conditions.

Monitor and Maintain Humidity: To ensure high humidity, you can cover the pots with plastic bags to create a greenhouse effect. Ensure to open the bag daily for fresh air and check the soil moisture.

Be Patient: Growth may be slow initially as your Calathea plant adjusts and develops new roots and foliage. It can take several weeks to see significant growth.

Calathea care, Houseplant care

Calathea musaica: Pests, Diseases, Common Problems

Calathea musaica is relatively resistant to major problems, but like all indoor plants, it can encounter some pests, diseases, and common issues.

Pests

Spider Mites: These tiny pests can be identified by the fine webs they weave on the plant. They cause yellowing or speckled leaves. Increase humidity around the plant and wash it with a strong stream of water. For severe infestations, use insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Mealybugs: These white, cottony pests tend to cluster in leaf axils and under leaves, sucking sap and weakening the plant. Remove with alcohol-dipped cotton swabs or apply neem oil.

Aphids: Small, soft-bodied insects that can be green, black, brown, or pink, aphids typically feed in groups on the undersides of leaves. Combat them with a gentle spray of water, neem oil, or insecticidal soap to protect the plant’s health and appearance.

Scale insects: Hard or soft-bodied insects that attach themselves to the stems or leaves, causing yellowing and growth stunting. Scrape off with a fingernail or use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Insecticidal soap or neem oil may also be used.

Diseases

Root rot: Often a result of overwatering, leading to brown, mushy roots and wilted leaves. Prevent by ensuring good drainage and letting the soil partially dry between waterings. Affected plants may need repotting with fresh soil after cutting away any rotten roots.

Leaf spot: Fungal or bacterial infections causing spots on leaves. Avoid wetting foliage when watering and improve air circulation. Remove affected leaves and treat with fungicides if necessary.

Common Problems

Brown Leaf Edges/Tips: Often a result of low humidity or fluoride in tap water. Use distilled water or rainwater and increase humidity around the plant.

Curling Leaves: Can indicate under-watering or too low humidity. Ensure consistent soil moisture and raise humidity levels.

Fading Leaf Color: Insufficient light can cause the vibrant patterns of your Calathea to fade. Provide bright, indirect light, but avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Calathea Musaica Easy to Care For?

Calathea Musaica is moderately easy to care for, provided its specific requirements are met. It demands consistent moisture, high humidity, and indirect light. While not the most demanding plant, maintaining the right environment, especially humidity levels, can be challenging for some caretakers.

Does Calathea Musaica Move?

Like other members of the Marantaceae family, Calathea Musaica exhibits nyctinastic movements, meaning its leaves move in response to the light cycle. The leaves may lift and fold slightly at night, then spread out during the day, though the movement is generally more subtle than in some other Calathea species.

What is the Difference Between Calathea Musaica and Network?

Calathea Musaica and “Network” refer to the same plant. “Network” is a common name that highlights the distinctive, network-like pattern of the foliage, resembling a mosaic. Scientifically, it was known as Calathea musaica but has been reclassified into the Goeppertia genus, making Goeppertia kegeljanii ‘Network’ its correct name.

How Tall Do Calathea Musaica Get?

Calathea Musaica typically reaches about 2 feet (60 cm) in height and spread when grown indoors under optimal conditions. Its growth rate and ultimate size can vary based on the care provided, including light, water, and humidity levels. Regular pruning and repotting can help manage its size and promote fuller growth.

Requirements

Hardiness 11 - 12
Plant Type Houseplants, Perennials
Plant Family Marantaceae
Genus Goeppertia, Calathea
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Garden Uses Patio And Containers
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Calathea leopardina (Elegant Calathea)
Calathea vittata
Calathea bachemiana
Calathea ornata ‘Sanderiana’ (Pin-Stripe Calathea)
Calathea roseopicta Like a Prayer™ (Rose-Painted Calathea)
Calathea rufibarba ‘Lancelot’ (Furry Feather Calathea)

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Calathea
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 11 - 12
Plant Type Houseplants, Perennials
Plant Family Marantaceae
Genus Goeppertia, Calathea
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Garden Uses Patio And Containers
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Not sure which Goeppertia (Calathea) to pick?
Compare Now

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