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If you’re looking for a stunning houseplant that brings a level of sophistication and interest to any room, consider the calathea medallion (also known as the calathea veitchiana). 

This tropical plant is grown for its large medallion-like foliage, as well as its ability to tolerate some low light situations. 

Unfortunately, this plant is typically not an ideal option for beginners, since it is known to be a bit fussy. That said, there’s no need to shy away from this challenge when the reward is a happy, healthy version of this beautiful plant!

Keep reading to learn more about the calathea medallion and what is needed to ensure success in growing this plant. 

a healthy calathea medallion
Source: praystwice

How do you take care of a calathea medallion?

Calathea medallion has similar care requirements as other calathea varieties. This means warm temperatures of 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, 50 to 60 percent humidity levels, soil that is moist but not soggy, bright to medium indirect sunlight, and fertilization once a month during its active growing season.

The calathea medallion doesn’t have many problems, but it is susceptible to overwatering and underwatering. Making sure you have a good watering schedule, while also checking the soil’s dryness before watering, will go a long way to preventing these issues.

Another common problem with the calathea medallion is that it is sensitive to tap water. This is because tap water often contains a slew of additives that can burn the plant. Using distilled water to hydrate and mist the calathea medallion stops this from occurring.

Is calathea medallion hard to take care of?

The calathea medallion does require a certain level of care, and can be a bit dramatic if they don’t get it. That doesn’t mean, however, that they are harder to care for than any other tropical houseplant. In fact, the calathea medallion is one of the easier calathea varieties to grow.

The growing requirements for the calathea medallion is about the same as other calathea varieties. So if you have grown calatheas in the past, you should have no problems caring for this cultivar. 

Newbies may experience issues when trying to grow any calathea variety, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

calathea medallion on a white pot
Source: wat.e.forest

If you’re new to calatheas and want to try growing this plant, the calathea medallion is probably the best choice. It is not as fussy as some of the other calathea varieties. 

Just remember to learn this plant’s growing requirements and try to provide it with its ideal growing conditions.

What’s the best calathea medallion soil?

Calathea medallion needs soil that is porous and drains well, but also retains the right amount of moisture. A soil made from perlite and peat moss is the ideal option for this plant. A good starting mixture is one made from 2 parts perlite and 3 parts peat moss.

Alternatively, you can amend traditional potting soil by adding some perlite, vermiculite, or peat moss and use that for the calathea medallion. Avoid using cactus soil for this plant as it is too dry.

You can use potting mixes that are considered too compact for calatheas, such as African Violet potting mix, as long as you loosen it up first and add perlite or peat moss to improve its aeration.

Related: Best Calathea Soil: Tips to Pick the Right Potting Mix

When should I fertilize calathea medallion?

Calathea medallion can be fertilized with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer that is liquid, not granular, once every month during the plant’s active growing season. This plant is actively growing in the spring and summer months. Stop all feeding in the winter, when the plant’s growth rate slows or stops.

To help prevent overfeeding the calathea medallion, make sure to read and follow the instructions listed on the fertilizer bottle. 

If you notice signs of overfertilization, such as residue buildup on the top of the soil, immediately stop all feeding and flush the excess nutrients out of the soil by holding the plant under running water for several minutes.

What’s the best fertilizer for calathea medallion?

Calatheas are not heavy feeders but do enjoy monthly feedings of a balanced fertilizer in the spring and summer. Use a liquid fertilizer that has a NPK ratio of 10/10/10, or equivalent. To help prevent overfertilizing the calathea, reduce the fertilizer to 1/2 or 1/4 of its strength before applying.

Alternatively, you can forgot the commercially available calathea fertilizers and instead use more natural options, such as compost and fish emulsions. 

a healthy and bushy calathea medallion
Source: oliversjungle

These natural fertilizers are less likely to burn the calathea medallion, and can be obtained right from your own home, if you have a compost pile or a fish tank, that is.

Worm castings are another option for those who want to fertilize the calathea medallion without using commercially available fertilizers. Worm castings can be sprinkled on top of the plant’s soil or mixed into fresh soil when you transplant the calathea medallion.

What are some signs that the Calathea medallion needs fertilizing?

The most common signs of a calathea medallion that needs some nutrients are yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and distorted foliage. If you continue to allow the calathea to grow without addressing the nutrient problem, its overall health will begin to suffer. 

In fact, you could even kill the calathea medallion by not ensuring it has the nutrients it needs to live.

If your calathea medallion is showing any of the above signs of nutrient deficiency, you should address the issue as soon as possible. If you don’t want to apply a commercially available feed, consider compost, fish emulsion, or worm castings as a more natural fertilizer.

What is the calathea roseopicta medallion?

Calathea roseopicta medallion is a cultivar of the calathea plant. This variety has dark green foliage that is adorned with streaks of emerald green or silver on the top sides of the leaves, and deep purple on the undersides of the leaves. 

Like other calathea varieties, the calathea medallion needs warm temperatures, high humidity, indirect light, and moist soil.

This tropical houseplant requires a certain level of care for the best success, and it is not a plant that you can simply set down and forget about. It will need regular watering and misting, as well as checking up on it every so often to ensure you are meeting all of its needs.

If you are not ready for this level of care, consider growing a houseplant that doesn’t require as much. ZZ plants, aloe plants, pothos, and monsteras are much more laid back houseplants that work well for beginners.

How often should you water a calathea medallion?

Calathea medallion is a thirsty plant that typically needs to be watered once a week. They don’t, however, like to be waterlogged, but do want soil that is damp. A good general rule of thumb is to water the calathea when the top 2 inches of soil start to dry out.

Calathea medallion isn’t drought tolerant, and exposing the plant to underwatering could cause the leaves to turn brown. If the underwatering continues, the calathea will drop its leaves and its growth rate could suffer.

How do I know if my calathea medallion needs water?

The best way to determine if your calathea medallion needs to be watered is to check the soil dryness. Insert your finger 2 inches into the plant’s soil. If the soil still feels damp, wait a day or two and then check again.

Other signs that your calathea medallion needs to be watered include yellow or brown leaves that feel dry and crispy, leaves falling off the plant, wilted leaves or stems, and stunted growth.

Water the calathea deeply, until water begins to drain out of the bottom of the pot, when the top 2 inches of soil starts to feel dry. 

If you notice your calathea’s soil is dry and pulling away from the sides of the pot, the plant may be underwatered. This will require soaking the entire pot in water for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Related: How Often to Water Calathea Plants (So They Thrive)

Should I bottom water Calathea medallion?

Bottom watering the calathea medallion is a great way to ensure the plant is well hydrated without overwatering the plant. The bottom watering technique requires filling a sink or bowl about 3 to 4 inches with lukewarm water, and then placing the calathea’s pot directly in the water.

After about 10 minutes of soaking, check the dryness of the soil. If it feels moist, remove the calathea medallion from the water. If it still feels dry, let the plant soak for an additional 10 minutes. 

Keep checking how dry the soil is every 10 minutes and add more water to the bowl or sink as needed.

How long should you bottom water a calathea medallion for?

How long you should bottom water the calathea medallion depends on several factors, including how dry the soil is, the time of year, the age and size of the plant, and the humidity level in the room. A good general rule, however, is about 45 minutes.

However, you should check the soil moisture every 10 minutes when bottom watering the calathea medallion. This will help prevent overwatering the plant and make sure you give the calathea the right amount of hydration to keep it healthy and happy.

a beautiful calathea medallion
Source: Leonora (Ellie) Enking (CC BY-SA 2.0)

What happens if you water calathea medallion with tap water?

Tap water is not ideal for watering calathea medallions since it can cause chemical burns to the plant’s leaves. This is because tap water typically contains additives, such as chlorine and fluoride, that can damage houseplants. 

The best water to use when watering the calathea medallion is distilled, but you can also use filtered or rain water.

If you must use tap water, consider filling a water jug with water and then setting the jug on the counter for about 24 hours. This will allow the chlorine to dissipate and reduce the chance of damage to the plant.

What are calathea medallion’s light requirements?

The calathea medallion grows the best when it has medium to bright indirect sunlight. It can, however, tolerate some low light conditions, though its growth can slow if it isn’t getting enough light. This plant doesn’t do well in bright light, since this type of lighting condition is too harsh for the plant.

The best thing for this calathea variety is to ensure it gets 8 to 10 hours of bright, indirect sun every single day. 

Exposing the calathea medallion to direct sunlight can burn and scorch its leaves. If you continue to allow the plant to sit in direct sun, it can begin to drop its leaves and stop growing.

You may also be interested in: Calathea Light Requirements: The Ultimate Guide

Where do I put calathea medallion?

Calathea medallions enjoy warm areas where the humidity is higher. Bathrooms and kitchens are good locations as long as the temperature is between 65 and 85 degrees and the humidity level is 50 to 60 percent. Additionally, whichever location you decide on, the plant must be placed out of direct sun.

If possible, choose an area where the calathea medallion will receive bright, indirect sunlight for 8 to 10 hours a day. 

Artificial lighting can be used to supplement natural light if it isn’t possible to give it real sun. Just make sure the artificial lighting is still not directly shining on the plant.

How big does a calathea medallion get?

When calathea medallions receive their ideal growing conditions, they can reach heights of 2 feet or more. Remember, however, that how big your plant gets will depend on various reasons, including how well the plant is cared for.

It’s no surprise that a plant that is well cared for will grow better than one that is neglected. That is why it is vital to ensure you give your calathea medallion its ideal growing requirements for best growth.

How to propagate calathea medallion

Calathea medallion is propagated by dividing its roots. This will require removing the entire parent plant from its pot and then dividing the root system into separate sections. Each division is then planted in its own pot and cared for as you normally would.

When propagating Calathea, Place the new plants in a warm area where they will receive indirect, but bright, light. Mist the plant daily with distilled water until new growth begins to emerge.

Keep in mind, however, that you should only begin the propagating process during the spring months. This is when the plant is actively growing and is more than likely to bounce back from this stressful process.

Does calathea medallion bloom?

In its native habitat, the calathea medallion can and will bloom. Unfortunately, when grown indoors as a houseplant, calathea plants rarely bloom. That doesn’t mean they cannot bloom when grown indoors; it is just not very likely.

To try to encourage them to bloom, you will need to mimic their native environment as much as possible, such as hitting the perfect temperature, humidity level, watering, and lighting. 

This is easier said than done, however, which is why most people will never see their indoor calathea medallion bloom.

calathea medallion inside the house
Source: Forest and Kim Starr (CC BY 2.0)

Should I mist calathea medallion every day?

Calathea medallions thrive in high humidity and they love moisture, so misting can greatly improve the health and wellness of the plant. Misting the plant is especially important when conditions are drier than normal. You can even mist the plant every day to help increase humidity levels around the calathea.

Misting is a great way to keep your calathea medallion happy and healthy. Just make sure you are not over misting your plant to the point that the soil is staying soggy. 

While not as common as overwatering, overmisting can lead to diseases, such as root rot. That is why it is important to pay attention to how much misting you are doing and how damp the soil is becoming.

You may have to mist the plant more or less depending on the temperature and humidity level of the room. 

Indeed, when the environment is drier than normal, you may have to mist the plant a few times a day. This amount can also be reduced when humidity levels are between 50 and 60 percent.

Can you mist calathea medallion with tap water?

Calathea medallion is sensitive to chlorine, fluoride, salts, and various other chemicals often found in tap water. Because of this, you should avoid misting the plant with tap water. Instead, use distilled water for the best results.

If you do use tap water to mist the calathea, you may notice the leaves are starting to discolor. This is because all those additives are burning the plant’s foliage. 

Thankfully, you can prevent this from occurring by simply using distilled, filtered, or rain water to mist the calathea medallion.

a healthy calathea medallion

Even misting the calathea medallion only one time with tap water can cause issues for the plant. While the most damaging problems occur with repeated use, the potential for harm to your plant is so great that you should avoid tap water at all costs.

Why are my calathea medallion’s leaves curling?

The most common reason as to why your calathea medallion leaves are curling is that the plant isn’t receiving enough water. When your calathea isn’t receiving enough water, the leaves will begin to curl, turn brown, and feel crispy. 

The soil of the calathea medallion will also start to dry out and begin to pull away from the sides of the pot.

Thankfully, an underwatered calathea medallion can be revived by soaking the plant in lukewarm distilled water. Let the plant soak for about 20 to 30 minutes before lifting it up and out of the water. 

From there, let the excess water drain out of the bottom of the pot before setting the calathea back on its drip tray.

Remember that, even though underwatering a calathea medallion isn’t usually as dangerous to the plant as overwatering it, it still puts unnecessary stress on the plant. 

This stress can weaken the calathea and make it more susceptible to pests like calathea with spider mites and diseases. It also has a negative effect on the overall health and growth rate of the plant. 

Related: 6 Causes of Your Calathea Leaves Curling (+ How to Fix It)

Why does my calathea medallion have brown tips?

When the calathea medallion leaves start to develop brown tips, the culprit is usually caused by tap water. Tap water is filled with excess minerals, salts, fluoride, and chlorine, and these additives can quickly damage the calathea and its leaves.

The good news is that you can stop this issue, and prevent it from recurring, by watering the calathea medallion with distilled water. If distilled water isn’t available, use filtered or rain water. 

Related: 12 Causes of Brown Spots on Calathea (+ How to Fix It)

While you can use tap water if you let it sit out for at least 24 hours before watering, it isn’t the best option for calathea medallion.

Letting tap water sit for 24 hours simply dissipates the chlorine but does nothing for the other additives in the water, and these additives can cause just as many problems for the calathea as chlorine. That is why you should always use distilled water when possible.

Why does my calathea medallion have yellow leaves?

Yellow leaves are a sure sign that your calathea medallion is overwatered. Overwatering occurs when you give the plant too much water, the plant is growing in soil that doesn’t drain properly, or a combination of the two. 

No matter what is causing the overwatering, it can quickly kill the calathea if not corrected.

Immediately stop watering the calathea medallion and let the soil dry out a bit before watering once again. 

If you continue to overwater the plant, it will develop root rot, which can kill the calathea in as little as 10 days, if conditions are ideal. Thankfully, root rot is one of the few diseases that are completely preventable.

Once root rot has started to take hold of the calathea, trying to save the plant can be extremely difficult. 

You can, however, remove the entire plant from its pot, get rid of all the soil, snip off any dead, rotted, or diseased roots, and then repot the plant in fresh soil. This can sometimes save the calathea medallion from succumbing to root rot or other diseases caused by overwatering.

You may also be interested in: 11 Causes of Yellow Leaves on Calathea (+ How to Fix It)

Is calathea medallion poisonous?

Like other calathea varieties, the calathea medallion is listed as non-toxic for humans, dogs, and cats, making it a good choice for homes with children or pets. Remember though that just because it is non-toxic doesn’t mean it cannot upset your childrens’ or pets’ stomachs if they consume any part of the plant.

Furthermore, allowing children or pets to mess with the calathea medallion could damage the plant itself, causing the leaves to become ripped or torn. 

When this occurs, the overall appearance of the plant can suffer, and the leaves will need to be pruned off the plant. That is why it is important to keep this plant out of reach if you have little ones, dogs, or cats who like to bother plants.

Placing the calathea medallion on a shelf where it cannot be reached or in a room where children or pets are not allowed will go a long way to protecting the plant. 

If possible, try to teach your children and/or pets not to bother plants, as this will help protect not only the plant but the child or pet as well.

Related: Is Calathea Toxic to Cats, Dogs or Humans?

Can a beginner grow calathea medallion?

Even though calatheas are not usually considered a beginner houseplant, it doesn’t mean you cannot successfully grow this tropical plant. However, it is difficult to answer where or not a beginner can or should grow calathea medallion.The reason is because it really depends on the person.

If you are a beginner indoor gardener, but have the time and energy to care for the calathea medallion as it needs, then by all means grow this plant. If, however, you are pressed for time and don’t think you can keep up with the daily misting and the regular care, then maybe this isn’t the plant for you.

Thankfully, there are a seemingly endless amount of different houseplants out there, so you should have no problem finding one that fits your lifestyle.