Calathea plants in general, and the Musaica type in particular, are beautiful specimens that boast lush foliage but can be difficult to care for. Calathea Musaica care is somewhat easier than their 300-some Calathea cousins, but moreover, learning about this lovely plant will help to care for it and let it thrive.
Also known as Calathea Network and Network Prayer Plant, its official name is Calathea musaica. The plant is a perennial, meaning it will last for years if given the proper care. It is native to tropical South America, where the environment is warm and humid with filtered light.
This makes the natural habitat for a Calathea Musaica rather different from many homes, which can often be dry with full sun or very low light. As a result, growing Calathea Musaica can be tricky and they are often seen as fussy plants.
The leaves of the Calathea Musaica are what make it so special and make it stand out among other houseplants. Each leaf is dark green with a network of light green and yellow lines running across it, hence its other nickname, the Network Plant. The leaves are large and can grow up to a foot long and six inches wide.
The flowers of the Calathea Musaica are small and white and they grow in clusters. They are not particularly showy or interesting, which is why many people who grow this plant do so for the foliage.
Overview on Calathea Musaica
Native to Brazil, the Calathea Network plant has intricate patterns on its leaves, giving it the names Network and Musaica, or mosaic. Some skeptical observers are dubious as to whether the plants are real, the patterns are so delicate. It is known as a prayer plant because of the manner in which its leaves close and fold up at night.
The Calathea family, and the Musaica in particular, are among the most ornamental of house plants. The interesting foliage and ambitious growth of this plant offer volume and aesthetics to any room which boasts one.
This plant is a member of the family Marantaceae, making it a quite active plant that is interesting to observe. This is because of its observable nyctinasty, or the way the foliage reacts to the light cycle of each day. It enjoys a placement that is out of the direct light of the sun to best take advantage of this.
While Calathea are known to be tricky plants to keep, the Musaica can thrive indoors as long as it receives the correct care. As an added benefit, the Musaica is one of the easiest of the Calathea plants to keep, despite its demanding needs.
Calathea Plant Characteristics
The delicate intricacies of the Network’s leaves are not the only special characteristic of this plant. It also possesses strong properties of air purification. Because of this, the plant is beneficial not only for producing extra oxygen for your home but also for the fact that the plant cleanses it, filtering harmful substances and leaving the air cleaner.
This prayer plant is also fascinating to watch, giving it the nickname of a living plant. In the morning, the leaves of this plant spread open so they can catch sunlight; in the evening, the leaves fold upwards, closing. This can actually be audible, so you can hear the rustle of the motion.
The Calathea Musaica can be as finicky as it is delicately patterned, but when forearmed with the knowledge of its needs, care for the plant is quite possible. Simply know what to expect before setting out on the journey of care and tending. Also important to keep in mind is that, while it may react poorly to the stresses of change, it is possible to fix the conditions surrounding it.
This means that, while it may suffer from the transition from a greenhouse and into a room that might be too dry or warm, proper care can perk the Calathea Network back up again.
Like many species of Calathea, the Musaica is a plant that forms in clumps. It tends to grow, in the proper conditions, to about two feet in height. While they are generally not quick to grow, the proper growing conditions will speed the process up. This plant is also a variety that is a tropical flowering plant.
When in their native habitat, Musaica plants produce white flowers that are tiny in size and located at the end of their stems. As is the case with most Calathea, few Network plants flower indoors, however. But with the beauty of the Network plant’s leaves, the flowers are not a significant lack.
Overview of Calathea Musaica Care Requirements
The Calathea Network is a plant native to rainforests, originating in South and Central America and particularly prevalent in Brazil’s tropical climes. This is important to note for its care needs.
Direct sunlight is unnecessary because it developed in the shadows of large trees. The air is relatively still in this environment, so keep this prayer plant out of drafts and areas of high air circulation. Basically, the goal is to make the effort to imitate the warm, humid atmosphere of the rainforest.
The Calathea Musaica care relies on quite high humidity as well as stable temperatures to thrive. In the proper conditions, this plant will even grow with extra speed.
There are several methods of adjusting conditions to make them more suitable for this prayer plant. To raise the humidity, use a humidifier, place the plant in a bathroom where dampness in the air from showers will benefit the plant, or use a mister on it at regular intervals.
Another method is to place the Calathea Musica pot in a wide tray that is filled with pebbles and water. As the water evaporates, it weighs the air with moisture and keeps things humid for the plant.
The best means, however, is to place a humidifier beside the Calathea Network plant. It will most effectively preserve a state of high humidity for your plant.
Ensure that the plant does not receive too much moisture, despite the means of keeping the air around the plant’s humidity. Overdoing it can lead to the growth of fungus as well as rotting. These signs are the result of too much moisture but watch for the edges of the leaves turning brown as this is a sign of too little humidity.
Lighting is another matter of importance in the Calathea plant’s care and positioning. A bit of morning sun can be beneficial if it is not overly harsh. In general, mimic the indirect lighting of the plant’s rainforest home.
Partial shade is part of its natural habitat. Much as zoo animals benefit from an environment that echoes their original spaces, so does the Calathea Musaica plant. Bright ambient light is just fine for this prayer plant.
Bright indirect light best benefits the Calathea Network plant. Consider placing it near a window that faces east, west, or north. Be wary of too much direct light from the sun, as this can burn the delicate leaves of this plant.
Accustomed to the dappled light beneath a canopy of rainforest trees and plants, direct sunlight exposure can scorch the leaves, damaging them.
Keeping this fact in mind, the recommended placement is with indirect sunlight that is bright to medium. If the only good place for this plant is in a windowsill, considering adding a curtain that is sheer for its protection.
Like most of the other varieties of Calathea, the Musaica plant vastly prefers moist soil to the alternative of being left to its own devices and drying out. This plant can suffer when the soil is too dry. Water it regularly for the best results.
Check the soil by inserting your finger into it and feeling the amount of moisture there. This plant requires watering as soon as the top inch of soil is dried out. Depending on the area in which the new home of the Musaica is located, once a week may be sufficient for proper watering. In winter, water less often.
Keep in mind that, while Calathea Network plants enjoy being kept in moist conditions, they do not require daily waterings. Avoid watering them so much that they are standing in soggy soil. Another tip for watering the Network plant is to use water that is filtered or distilled. Rainwater is another good option. If tap water must be used, leave it to stand out overnight before adding it to the plant.
Prolonged use of water straight from the tap can cause the tips of Musaica’s leaves to turn brown.
The ideal method of watering Calathea Network plants is the drench and dry technique. When the soil’s top part feels dry, run enough lukewarm water of the correct type evenly through the plant’s potting soil.
Allow every drop of excess water to drip from the pot’s drainage holes prior to placing it back in the saucer. This technique of plant watering will ensure that the soil is always sufficiently moist without being too soggy.
Calathea Musaica Soil Mix Requirements
For the best growth of a Calathea Network plant, use potting soil that possesses excellent drainage while holding some moisture. An ideal potting mix consists of two parts peat moss, one part standard houseplant soil, and finally, two parts perlite. As an easy alternative, any commercial potting mixture should suffice if it boasts fast drainage and a high ratio of organic content.
As rainforest plants, Calathea Network plants are not houseplants given to survival of drought-like conditions. Peat moss and other organic matter in the soil mixture assists in holding sufficient moisture and provides essential nutrients for healthy plant stability and growth.
Adding perlite to the soil assists in drainage, easing excess water by allowing it access to flow freely throughout the soil. Ensure that the pot full of fast-draining mixture also has drainage holes to allow the water egress.
Location and Temperature Needs
As mentioned, the location of the Calathea Network plant’s placement should imitate its natural environment in the rainforest. Keep it off of most windowsills unless they are protected by a sheer curtain to filter out direct light to avoid the leaves burning at the edges. The air should be relatively still near this plant. It is vital to place the plant away from radiators, warm air vents, or drafts.
This prayer plant grows outdoors in the United States zones of 9 and 10. Their minimum tolerated temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When these plants are brought outside in their pots for the summer, be sure to bring them inside again when temperatures drop back below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Average household temperatures permit the Calathea plant to thrive. Indirect sunlight does not only protect leaves from crisping but also prevents the plants from growing too warm. Their ideal temperature range spans from 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
A few special requirements of the Calathea Musaica care are important to note. One of the most important of these is the use of water that is distilled, filtered, or in the case of tap water, has been allowed to stand overnight. This water should also be added to fast-draining potting soil that will allow water to flow through, leaving behind soil that is moist without remaining fully saturated.
Another special requirement is the proper amount of humidity for this tropical plant. A final feature is its need for medium to bright daylight that is indirect.
Calathea Musaica Care Feeding/fertilizing Requirements
While not a heavy feeder, Calathea Network plants can benefit from the application of diluted houseplant fertilizer. This can be applied two to three times each year. The liquid fertilizer should receive dilution until it is at half strength; it should be applied after watering the plant.
A suitable organic option is also a potential choice for fertilizing the Network plant; it simply needs to provide those necessary nutrients that are vital to the plant’s healthy growth.
Never apply the liquid fertilizer to soil that is dry. Doing this can burn the roots. Do not apply fertilizer outside of the growing season. Consider once at the start of early spring, once at the beginning of summer, and a final time at summer’s end. Mineral salts can build up, so flush the soil at periods with distilled water that is lukewarm.
Additional Tips For Success with Calathea:
Every plant has its preferences and special requirements; the Calathea Network plant has its fair share. These additional tips will help to ensure a plant that grows successfully with lush leaves and healthy roots. Follow them closely for a happy, vibrant plant.
Upon the purchase of a Calathea Network plant, should the included pot be too small, repot the plant at once to allow for proper growth. Use a pot that has drainage; a hole in the bottom of the pot suffices. Increase drainage, if necessary, by using a layer of clay pebbles or gravel at the pot’s bottom. This permits the ready flow of excess water. A good soil mix will ensure that the Network plant receives its necessary nutrients.
This plant requires little pruning. On a regular basis, remove leaves that have wilted. This stimulates new shoots, rejuvenating the plant. With the maturation of the plant and the aging of its leaves, the Calathea Network plant often has outer leavings turning yellow or brown.
Removing these stimulates growth as well as improving the plant’s appearance. Using a pair of scissors that are sharp, cut leaves where the main stalk meets the leaf, at the base.
– Calathea Musaica Propagating
The ideal means of propagating the Calathea Musaica plant is root division. A cutting will not work with this prayer plant. Wait for new shoots to appear that are a little apart from the main plant. At this point, remove the plant from its pot, gently kneading the soil.
Pull the segments apart with care not to break major roots. When the segments are separated, repot them and water in the routine fashion. Be sure to propagate the Network plant at the beginning of spring. This permits the newly propagated plant to make use of the complete growing season.
The Calathea Network plant grows from a slowly expanding rhizome. This means that, after two to three years in a single pot, the plant can begin to become rootbound. Do not be too hasty to repot, as this plant is sensitive to being moved. It can tolerate a rootbound condition fairly well.
If the goal is a bigger plant, or if the plant’s soil dries out too quickly upon being watered, repotting is a good idea. To do so, gently slide the Calathea Network plant from its present pot. Check the roots for signs of good health. Prune unhealthy leaves. Select a pot that is one to two inches larger than the present one.
This prayer plant can be prone to certain pests. These include mealybugs, spider mites, fungus gnats, scale, and thrips. While it is a draw for this selection of pests, the Calthea Network plant is extremely resistant to disease. This holds true unless the plant receives too much water without adequate drainage.
Pet owners can rest comfortably with a carefully placed Calathea Network plant, as it is non-toxic. Cats and dogs will receive no harm if they nibble this delicately patterned plant. Such attentions are not good for the plant, however, so it should be placed out of reach of furred companions.
FAQ on Calathea Musaica Plant Care
Q. How often should I water my Calathea?
A: While soil conditions vary, once a week is a good rule of thumb for how often to water a Calathea Network plant. Check the soil regularly to feel for moisture levels; if the plant is too dry, water it early if necessary.
Q. Should I mist my plant?
A: In areas with low humidity, and if a humidifier is lacking, the Calathea plant should definitely receiving misting. This process is simple and quick, but the benefits to the plant are significant. This rainforest plant thrives with high humidity, so misting helps create the proper atmosphere for it.
Q. Can you overwater a Musaica Calathea?
A: Yes, Calatheas can be overwatered. Proper drainage is important when potting a Network plant.
Q. Where should I place my plant in my home?
A: Place the Network plant in a location that has medium to bright sunlight that is indirect. Keep it away from drafts and furnace vents. This plant thrives in humid, still air with plenty of humidity.
Q. Can Calathea Musaica grow in low light?
A: The Calathea Musaica plant is accustomed to its Brazilian rainforest home with dappled bursts of light filtering through trees and other plants. While it should have medium light at the least, it can prosper with low light.
Q. When should I repot my Calathea?
A: Repot the Calathea Network plant every two to three years at the beginning of spring. Do not use a pot that is too large, as this can prevent adequate drainage and cause problems.
Q. Why does my Calathea have brown spots?
A: Brown spots can have several causes as the culprit on Calathea Network plant leaves. The most common problem is that the plant is not receiving enough water or humidity.
Another possible cause is using tap water to water the plant. A final potential cause is the use of a fertilizer that is either too strong or not sufficiently diluted.
Q. Why are my Calathea Musaica Curling Leaves
A: Curling leaves is an indication of dehydration. Under-watering is the most likely cause of this issue and can
Q. How do I revive a dying Calathea Musaica?
A: First, determine the cause of ill health. Is the soil either bone dry or sopping wet? Find a happy medium, allowing the plant to have moist soil without drowning it. Next, examine the plant’s placement. Warm locations are ideal but do not place the plant atop a radiator. This dries out the soil. Move the plant away from a draft or out of direct sunlight
Calathea Musaica, or the Prayer Plant, is a species of plant native to Brazil. The Prayer Plant gets its name from the way its leaves fold together at night, resembling praying hands. Calathea Musaica is a relatively easy plant to care for, and makes an excellent houseplant.
Prayer Plants thrive in moist, humid environments. If the air in your home is dry, consider investing in a humidifier to help keep your Prayer Plant healthy. These plants also prefer filtered or indirect sunlight. Too much direct sun will cause the leaves of your Prayer Plant to fade or brown.
Water your Prayer Plant when the top inch or so of soil is dry. Be careful not to overwater, as this can cause root rot. Prayer Plants are relatively tolerant of neglect, but will begin to fade and drop leaves if they are not getting the care they need.
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance houseplant that adds a touch of beauty to any room, consider Calathea Musaica. With proper care, this lovely plant can thrive indoors for years to come.