What’s there not to love about calathea medallions? They’re beautiful, they’re suitable for both indoors and outdoors, and they’re tolerant of low-light conditions. You can put them in any gloomy corner, and they’ll still thrive and grow under the low light.
Although they’re a people’s favorite, they’re not particularly easy to take care of. For the medallions to grow with their green patterns and burgundy edges, they need some perseverance on your part because they have specific needs.
Here’s everything you need to know about calathea medallions and how to care for them.
One of the best qualities of calathea medallions is that they can be grown both indoors and outdoors. If you can maintain the temperature they need indoors, it’ll be no different than growing them out in the garden.
These plants belong in hardiness zones 9–11, but they can suit themselves anywhere from 8 up. As for the weather, calathea medallions grow in South America, particularly in rainforests. In other words, this means they need humid conditions, and they thrive in temperatures 65–85 F.
Provided you can adjust the room temperature accordingly, you can grow them indoors comfortably. They also only grow to two feet or so, so they won’t be a hassle to keep in a tight room.
There are a couple of things you need to know, though, before you decide where to plant your medallions. For starters, they won’t flower indoors. If you want to see the small pink flowers adorning your plant, you’ll need to keep it outdoors.
On top of that, calathea medallions can dry out or become frilly if the temperature gets too low, maybe lower than 50 or 55 degrees. So, you’ll need to monitor the room temperature constantly to avoid harming them.
So, now you have decided where to put your calathea medallions, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready yet. Medallions won’t thrive in any area in your garden or room unless their requirements are met. Besides, these plants don’t like to move, so you don’t want to change their place often. It’s easier to get it right from the start.
Here’s where to place your plant both indoors and outdoors.
If you’re placing your medallions in the garden, you need to keep them somewhere with no direct sunlight. These plants thrive under shade, and direct sunlight may cause their leaves to burn or discolor.
Anywhere with diffused sunlight will be excellent.
Aside from the light conditions, you also need to ensure the temperature is suitable for your medallions. They only grow in warm or hot conditions. If your garden’s weather is cold, your plants are better off inside.
It’s generally easier to control the surrounding conditions indoors. No matter how much effort you make, your garden still may not be suitable for your medallions.
If you’re growing your medallions indoors, you’ll want to place them somewhere that provides enough diffused or indirect sunlight until the sun sets. They’d best thrive behind south-facing windows. If the sunlight is too much, you can always install a curtain.
As for the temperature, these plants need both high temperatures and humidity. You can always get a humidifier if your house isn’t humid enough, and you can monitor the temperature using a thermostat.
Make sure to keep the plants away from air conditioners, and beware of cold drafts because they may harm the leaves.
Now that we’re done with where to put your plant, it’s time to explore all its caring requirements. Raising a plant isn’t as easy as you’d like it to be. If you don’t maintain healthy conditions for the plant, you may start noticing some fatigue signs and discolored leaves. Here’s how to care for the plant in detail.
Almost all house plants need well-draining soils, and calathea medallions aren’t different. Their soil needs to be porous and well-absorbent for them to get their needed nutrients. On top of that, it needs to contain vermiculite or at least perlite to improve absorbency and aeration.
Generally, the best soil mix for houseplants should contain peat moss and perlite, but you can replace either one with suitable alternatives if these aren’t readily available. Orchid bark or coco coir will work just as well, but bear in mind that too much bark can raise the risk for potential gnats infestation.
If the soil has been compacted before you use it, you’ll want to loosen it up for the sake of the medallions.
Calatheas aren’t fans of soaking. They need to be watered frequently, but only through the top part of the soil—maybe 25% of the pot. Granted, nearly all house plants have the same watering requirement. Apparently, none of them wants to soak in soggy soil because that’ll eventually lead to root rot.
It’s a bit tricky to fulfill the watering requirements of medallions. They need well-draining soil, but they don’t want the soil to get soggy. Likewise, they need frequent watering and humid conditions, but they don’t want to soak. You must find the balance that allows them to be watered without ruining their soil.
Depending on the surrounding conditions, you may need to water your calathea medallions daily or once each week. You’ll need to water them less in the winter because they grow slower.
To know when your plant needs water, you’ll want to dig your finger into the soil to see if it’s dry. If it’s still moist, the plant doesn’t need watering. If it’s dry, that’s your cue to water it.
It also depends on the pot you’re using for your medallions. If it’s a ceramic pot, the soil will get dry faster than a plastic pot.
Calathea medallions thrive best under low light conditions. They’ll be okay with medium light, but it’s essential to remove them from areas with direct sunlight. Bright light can cause the leaves to lose their color or develop sunburn spots.
Generally, medallions are well-tolerant for low light conditions, so don’t be afraid to leave them in the shade for some time.
Calathea medallions may need fertilizers, but it should be in moderation to avoid root rot. Plus, you should choose the right type for the plant. You may go for all-purpose fertilizers for houseplants; they’ll be enough for your medallion.
Before fertilizing the plant, dilute the solution to about a quarter of its concentration. Then, use it in small amounts, and only once a month will suffice.
You should only fertilize the plant in its growing season, and needless to stay, the fertilizing needs to stop in the winter.
Calathea medallions show obvious signs of weakness, so you’ll know when they need more fertilizer. Their leaves will be droopier than usual, and they’ll be growing slower than the natural rate.
Calathea medallions initially grow in tropical conditions, so they thrive under high temperatures. You should keep the temperature between 65 and 85 degrees F for their sake. Anything lower than 55 degrees can compromise the plant’s growth.
Bear in mind that medallions don’t like sudden changes, so keep them away from air conditioners and areas with potential cold drafts.
As it is with all tropical plants, medallions need high humidity to grow at a healthy rate. You can get a humidity sensor to make sure the room doesn’t get too dry for the plant. Of course, if you live in a dry area, you’ll need to keep the medallion indoors and probably get a humidifier for the room.
If your medallion needs more humidity, you’ll notice its leaves starting to curl up, and its color will lean more towards brown than burgundy. If you notice any of these signs, you can mist the plant slightly or use a humidifier.
Generally, kitchens and bathrooms are perfect for these plants because they’re more humid than the rest of the rooms.
You can plant your medallions in ceramic, plastic, or terracotta pots. What’s important is the availability of drainage holes so the soil doesn’t trap the water inside. If you also want to ensure good aeration, you can put some pebbles under the soil for better airflow.
If you decide to put the plant in a pot with no drainage holes, you need to try watering it and monitor the amount that goes through. If you find the soil wet till the bottom of the pot, then you definitely need to get one with holes.
All houseplants are pretty easy to repot if you know how to do it. You may not need to repot your medallion, but doing so will give it more room to grow, and new soil is always better for the plant.
Repotting calathea medallions is a bit tricky because the plant hates moving. You can only do it once a year, and you should take care not to disturb the plant to keep it growing at a healthy rate.
Here’s how to repot it in easy steps:
- When repotting your medallions, make sure the new pot is a bit bigger than the old one to give the plant room for growth. It should be at least one or two inches bigger.
- After buying the pot, fill it with soil, leaving two-thirds of its volume empty.
- Start taking the plant out of its pot, making sure not to grab it with much force.
- Wash the plant’s roots of all soil bits and contaminants. If you notice some rotting parts, cut them out.
- Put the plant with its roots in the new pot. Afterward, add the porous soil, making sure to keep it at the same level as the old pot.
- Water the plant as needed and place it in an area with non-direct sunlight. Then, watch it for quite some time to make sure it’s growing at a healthy rate.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about calathea medallions. If it’s your first time raising them, here are all the answers you need.
No, calathea medallions aren’t toxic for humans, babies, or pets. They’re completely safe if you’re raising a dog or a cat. However, that still doesn’t mean your pet should chew on them. Houseplants aren’t for consumption, and you never know whether your pet is allergic.
In most conditions, you can, but the leaves may show some yellow spots. Or, the green may get a bit yellowish. Generally, it’s better to use distilled water. If you have no other choice but tap water, you can leave it in a bowl overnight.
Doing so will cause the chlorine to evaporate, and the water’s effect on the plant won’t be as strong.
Yes, you may need to flush your medallion’s soil occasionally. It’s a pretty easy process; all you have to do is grab the pot and run water through it in the bathtub. When you’re sure the soil is flushed, you can turn the water off.
After you’re done, leave the plant in the shade to dry, then return it to its place. You may start using fertilizer after a few weeks of flushing.
Because it doesn’t like to be moved, some people opt for repotting the calathea medallion in its old pot. It’s completely okay to do so, as long as you do it right, fulfilling the plant’s requirements.
To repot the plant in its original pot, you should cut the roots to keep the plant growing in the same room. Then, all you have to do is wash the pot thoroughly and put it in new soil.
Now you have all the information you need to grow calathea medallions. Remember to keep it in low light, prevent soaking its soil, and use fertilizer when necessary. Doing so will hopefully keep your plant thriving for as long as possible.