If you’re still thinking about which plant to start with or grow next, Calathea Musaica can be a good suggestion. Also known as Goeppertia kegeljanii, this is one of the most popular houseplants because it’s easy to care for.
In this guide we’ll talk about the right conditions to grow Calathea Musaica and how to care for it. So, keep on reading to learn more about this plant.
Calathea Musaica is native to the tropics in Brazil, but it’s currently grown in various parts of the world as a houseplant. It’s well known for its light green foliage, which grabs attention with its glossy oval leaves and networking or mosaic pattern that shows on the leaves.
There are almost 300 types of Calatheas available on the market, including Calathea Bella, Maranta Tessellate, Calathea Orbifold, and Maranta Bella. Most of them are more challenging to take care of, unlike the Goeppertia Kegeljanii, which thrives as an indoor plant once you’ve provided it with the right growing conditions. This is probably the main reason why the Calathea Musaica variety is one of the most popular ones.
Another reason for this plant’s popularity is that it’s not toxic to pets. So, whether you have a cat or a dog, you won’t have to worry about your furry friend getting curious around the plant.
The Calathea Musaica is a clump-forming plant that grows up to 2 feet tall in the right conditions. However, it doesn’t usually grow very fast compared to other houseplants.
During the flowering season, Calathea Musaica grows tiny white flowers. But you’re more likely to see these flowers if you plant it outside in a garden bed as these plants rarely flower indoors.
Lots of plant lovers call Calathea Musaica the perfect beginner plant because it has easy care requirements compared to other members of its family. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to understand the perfect light, watering, and soil conditions that this plant needs to thrive.
Luckily, Calathea Musaica is more tolerant of different lighting conditions compared to other houseplants of the same species. However, it thrives when kept in bright yet indirect sunlight. Getting a little bit of sunlight in the morning or evening is ideal for helping the leaves stay in shape, but you should leave the plant in direct sunlight all day long in winter as the intense light will scorch the leaves.
For perfect growth, you should consider moving your plant pot throughout the year to guarantee that the plants’ lighting needs are properly met. Placing the plant near an east-facing window will be perfect in winter, but you might need to consider placing the pot near a west-facing window in summer to protect the leaves from scorching. If this isn’t possible, consider installing a curtain to protect the leaves.
If you’re growing this plant outside, you can consider growing it under the shade of a tree or a bigger plant to protect it from the bright light. These growing conditions are similar to the ones found in the tropics where Calathea Musaica originally comes from. It grows underneath the canopy of bigger trees, which guarantees that the plant will have access to medium to bright indirect sunlight.
Calathea Musaica grows in normal indoor temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant stops growing. Below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant might die.
This plant is sensitive to both cold and hot drafts. Strong drafts can cause the leaves to turn brown and wilt. You should consider this, especially if you’re growing your plant outdoors.
It prefers warmer weather, as long as it doesn’t get too dry. This is why you need to keep the plant in indirect sunlight so that it’s warm but not scorching hot. Inside the house, keep your Calathea Musaica away from direct sources of heat and cold like vents, radiators, windows, and terraces.
You can plant Calathea Musaica outside the house if you live in USDA zones 9 and 10, as the temperature is warm enough to support the plant’s growth. In winter, you might need to bring the plant inside to protect the plant when the temperature drops. If you live in USDA zones 11 and 12, you can keep the plant outside all year long.
If you’re looking for a plant to keep in your bathroom or kitchen, then Calathea Musaica might be the right one for you. This plant originally grows in the tropics, where the humidity levels can reach up to 80%, so high humidity is essential for its growth.
Your plant will thrive when the humidity level is above 50%, but high humidity levels can also increase the risk of bacterial and fungal infections. This is why you need to make sure that there’s good air circulation. For example, you can keep the plant near a window or use a fan to circulate the air in the room.
Low humidity levels suck the moisture out of the leaves. As a result, the tips will turn brown, and the leaves will eventually curl and die.
Maintaining high levels of humidity might be difficult all year long, especially in winter. Here’s what you can do to keep the humidity levels within the suitable range for your plant.
- Invest in a humidifier and use it when needed, especially in winter. It keeps the air moist in your house and has a lot of health benefits. It also keeps the air humid enough for your Calathea Musaica.
- Place your plants next to each other. When the water evaporates from the soil and the leaves, the humidity level increases, which is more convenient for your Calathea Musaica.
- Place a bowl of water next to your Calathea Musaica. The water evaporates when exposed to sunlight and heat, increasing the overall humidity level. You can also place the pot on a water-filled pebble tray.
Calathea Musaica has moderate watering requirements compared to other plants and can tolerate irregular watering patterns. You should check the top inch of the soil and only water your plant when it’s dry.
When the soil is dry, you need to soak the soil until the excess water runs from the drainage holes. Keep the water draining for a few minutes to make sure that the roots are adequately soaked.
Leaving the roots to dry out will kill the plant, but keeping them in soggy conditions is bad too. When the roots are always wet, they’re subject to rot, and they eventually suffocate and die.
Watering Calathea Musaica once a week is usually enough during the growing season and twice a week will work if the weather is too hot. Regular misting can also help.
Although Calathea Musaica doesn’t need a lot of water, it’s quite sensitive regarding the type of water you’re using. When the water is high in fluoride, chloramines, or dissolved minerals, your plant will suffer. This is why it’s best to use rainwater or distilled water, as this will help new leaves develop and grow.
When you use tap water for too long, you might notice some browning in the leaf tips due to the mineral deposits. If you only have access to tap water, leave the water in a bowl for at least 24 hours. This will allow the chemicals to evaporate and will guarantee that the water is at room temperature as cold water can shock the plant.
Misting your Calathea Musaica isn’t necessary as long as you’re maintaining adequate humidity levels. It slightly promotes healthy growth and protects the plant from pests that thrive in dry conditions like spider mites.
When you mist, you need to make sure that you’re using non-chlorinated water. You should also examine the undersides of the leaves as excessive misting can promote the growth of some pests.
Calathea Musaica thrives in well-draining soil that retains moisture. You can also use a high-quality potting mix but add something to boost its drainage. To reduce the risk of overwater, adding some gravel, coarse sand, or perlite is usually enough.
If you’re creating your own potting mix to grow Calathea Musaica, use one part of regular soil with two parts of perlite and two parts of peat moss to improve the draining. This potting mix will hold enough moisture and provide the plant with the essential nutrients.
Keep your plant in a pot with enough draining holes and place it on top of a plate or tray. The excess water will run through the drainage holes to prevent root rot.
Calathea Musaica doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer, and only a small amount is needed to keep your plant in good health. However, if you notice that the plant’s leaves are yellow or wilted, it might be a sign that your Calathea Musaica is suffering from a nutrient deficiency.
You can add extra nutrients to the soil while you’re potting your plant for the first time. In most cases, worm castings or compost will be enough to nurture your plant for a couple of years. However, this option might affect the soil drainage.
If you want to maintain adequate soil drainage, you can apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every month during the growing season. Fertilizing the plant is unnecessary during winter, and you should never fertilize the dry soil to protect the roots.
Use an organic fertilizer if you’re worried about applying chemicals to your indoor plants. However, these fertilizers tend to release nutrients slowly, so they might not provide your Calathea Musaica with enough nutrition.
Chemical fertilizers are more practical to use because they act quickly. But you should be careful not to over-fertilize your plant as this might lead to salts accumulation on top of the soil. To avoid this, you should flush the soil and dilute the fertilizer to half its strength to avoid burning the leaves. Applying fertilizer twice or three times a week should be enough.
Pruning is not a real problem when you’re growing Calathea Musaica because it doesn’t have a lot of pruning requirements. All you have to do is remove the dead or damaged foliage by cutting the leaves off just about the soil level with sharp pruning shears. Make sure that your tools are sterilized to prevent the spread of diseases and pests.
You can clean the leaves and remove the dust to ensure there are no dark spots. If you can’t use distilled water to wipe the leaves, you can use tap water after leaving it in a container overnight.
Repotting your Calathea Musaica might be necessary every 2 or 3 years when the rhizome grows because this is not a fast-growing plant. However, more frequent repotting can affect the plant because it’s sensitive to moving. It’s also more tolerant to being rootbound than other houseplants.
You can consider repotting only when you notice that the soil is drying out too fast after watering or if you want the plant to grow bigger. Here are some tips for repotting your Calathea Musaica.
- Consider repotting the plant in early spring. This will give your Calathea Musaica more time to adjust if it suffers from shock after repotting.
- Water the plant a couple of days before repotting because the moist soil will be easier to work with.
- Squeeze the side of the pot to release the soil.
- Tilt the pot to the side and gently slide out the plant of its existing pot.
- Using your pruning shears, remove any dead or unhealthy leaves.
- Examine the roots to make sure that they’re healthy without overworking the root ball, as this will disturb the plant and cause a shock after repotting. If you see brown or mushy roots, use your shears to trim them as necessary.
- Pick a pot that is 1 or 2 inches larger than the current one because a huge pot can lead to overwatering. Make sure that the pot has enough drainage holes to allow the excess water to pass through.
- Add some potting mix to the bottom of the pot and make sure that the plant is placed in the center. Next, add more soil around the sides to support the root ball without compressing it too much, as this will affect drainage and aeration.
- Don’t add much water, as this will soak the soil and increase the risk of root rot.
Calathea Musaica is an excellent indoor plant that you can also plant outdoors in the right conditions. It doesn’t grow too fast, but it’s tolerant of less frequent watering and will thrive in indirect bright sunlight. You don’t have to worry about fertilizing or repotting this plant too often. This is why it’s an excellent choice for beginners.