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Calathea Musaica is a well-loved tropical houseplant that features attractive variegated foliage covered in a mosaic-like pattern. While it may look almost solid green from far away, get a bit closer and the intriguing yellow pattern will quickly emerge.

Like others in the Calathea network, the Calathea Musaica is often considered a challenging plant that requires an expert green thumb. 

But despite these rumors, the Calathea Musaica can be a rewarding plant to grow, no matter what your previous houseplant experience is. 

Keep reading to learn more about the Calathea Musaica and what all it needs to thrive.

calathea musaica on a table
Source: J Fonseca (CC BY-SA 4.0)

How do you care for calathea musaica?

To care for Calathea Musaica so it thrives, you will need to provide warm room temperatures throughout the entire year, high levels of humidity, bright indirect sun, soil that is moist but not soggy, and feeding once a month during the spring and summer.

Calathea Musaica isn’t too difficult to care for, but it does have some specific requirements that you should try to provide. 

These growing conditions may be a bit more involved than your average houseplant, but even novice gardeners can be successful as long as they work hard to give this plant all that it needs to survive.

How much light does calathea musaica need?

Calathea Musaica needs bright, indirect sunlight for 6 to 10 hours of light every day. Avoid any areas where direct sun will shine on this plant as it will cause the Calathea’s leaves to burn and scorch. Placing it near a west-facing window is ideal, if possible.

That said, Calathea Musaica can also be grown near an east- or north-facing window as well. Just ensure the window has either a blind or a sheer curtain to help diffuse the light that is shining in.

Calathea Musaica can handle some low light conditions, but if you want the plant to maintain its vivid foliage, aim to provide it with bright light for at least 6 hours a day.

This plant can also be grown under artificial lighting if you are unable to provide the plant with natural sun. As with natural light, the artificial should be indirect and you should avoid allowing the light to shine directly onto the plant’s foliage.

Related: Calathea Light Requirements: The Ultimate Guide

How often should I water a calathea musaica?

Calathea Musaica needs watering about once a week, although this can vary depending on several factors. The goal is to keep the soil moist without being soggy. Calathea Musaica cannot tolerate soggy roots, so let the soil dry out a bit between waterings.

The best way to prevent overwatering while still ensuring the Calathea Musaica gets the right hydration is to water only when the top inch of soil feels dry. Additionally, make sure to use distilled water and not filtered water, since the Calathea Musaica is sensitive to tap water.

Tap water is filled with additives, such as salts, chlorine, and minerals, that can damage the Calathea Musaica. While allowing the tap water to set out for 24 hours before watering does remove the chlorine, all the salts and minerals are still left behind and can damage the Calathea Musaica. 

To protect the plant from potential chemical burn, use distilled water, filtered water, or rain water.

calathea musaica on a white pot
Source: Barreira Villamarín Pablo (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Do you water calathea musaica from top or bottom?

Calathea Musaica can be watered from both the top or bottom. The top watering method is the more traditional way of hydrating your plants and takes only a few moments. Bottom watering is a bit more time-consuming, but it does reduce the chance of drowning the plant in its pot.

To bottom water the Calathea Musaica, you will first need to fill a dish, tray, or sink with a few inches of water and then set the bottom of the plant’s pot into the water. 

The soil will soak up the water through the drainage holes, which can take 20 to 40 minutes. Keep checking the soil every 10 minutes or so and remove the Calathea Musaica from the water once the soil feels moist.

No matter which method of watering you use, make sure to only use distilled water. Calathea Musaica is sensitive to tap water and should only be used as a last resort. If you’re unable to obtain distilled water, you can also use filtered or rain water.

What does an overwatered calathea musaica look like?

An overwatered Calathea Musaica will develop yellowing leaves that may fall off the plant. These leaves will also typically feel soft and mushy, and be wilted or droopy. You may also start to notice the plant’s stems are weak, soft, and turning brown or black.

Other symptoms associated with overwatering include soggy soil, mold growing on the top of the soil, water-soaked blisters forming on the leaves and stems, fungus gnats flying around the Calathea Musaica, and an unpleasant musty or rotted odor coming from the plant.

a healthy calathea musaica
Source: conde alvarado (CC BY-SA 4.0)

If your Calathea Musaica has any of the above signs, you must act as soon as possible to save the plant. Continuing to water the calathea plant when it has already been overwatered or ignoring the signs that something is wrong will only lead to the demise of your Calathea Musaica.

What’s the best soil for calathea musaica?

As with other Calathea varieties, the Calathea Musaica will need soil that can retain moisture while still allowing excess water to drain out quickly. The ideal soil mixture contains 2 parts peat moss or coir and 1 part perlite. You can also use houseplant potting soil mixed with a little perlite.

There are commercially available soil mixtures designed for Calathea Musaica, but these are typically costly and work no better than mixing up your own growing medium.

You may also be interested in: Best Calathea Soil: Tips to Pick the Right Potting Mix

What are the ideal calathea musaica humidity levels?

Because the Calathea Musaica is a tropical plant, it requires higher humidity levels. The ideal humidity for this plant is no less than 60 percent. This is much higher than the average household, which typically has a level of 40 percent.

The good news is that you can easily increase humidity levels around the Calathea Musaica. The most common method is to set your Calathea Musaica on a drip tray. This is a shallow tray filled with pebbles that collects the excess water that drains out of the plant’s pot.

Another option is to run a humidifier near the Calathea Musaica. Humidifiers are small appliances that put moisture into the air. A third option, which also works well to correct dry conditions, is to simply mist the Calathea Musaica’s leaves with water.

Should I mist my calathea musaica?

Misiting is a wonderful way to increase the humidity level around the Calathea Musaica, while also hydrating the plant when the air is dry. When the air is too dry, the Calathea Musaica will begin to develop brown and crispy leaves, and the plant’s growth will suffer.

Misting the Calathea Musaica helps to protect the leaves from damage, while also keeping them plump and hydrated. Additionally, misting the Calathea Musaica helps to clean off dust and debris that can collect on the foliage.

calathea musaica on a gray pot
Source: Gee Adriaansz (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Just make sure that you only mist the Calathea Musaica with distilled water, not tap water, and don’t over mist the plant. You know you have overmisted the Calathea Musaica if the leaves are staying consistently wet or the soil is overly soggy.

Should I fertilize calathea musaica?

Applying fertilizer to the Calathea Musaica can help give the plant a boost and replenish nutrients that it may have lost in its soil. For the best results, only apply fertilizer to the Calathea Musaica no more than once a month during the plant’s active growing season, which is the spring and summer.

However, applying too much or the wrong kind of fertilizer can cause more harm than good.

It’s for that reason that you should stop all feeding during the fall and winter months, and never apply more than the recommended dosage.

Avoid using low quality fertilizer or fertilizer that is out of date. You can also use organic fertilizer, such as compost, fish emulsions, or worm castings instead. These calathea fertilizers are usually thought of as a safer option that can still provide the Calathea Musaica with the nutrients that this plant needs.

calathea musaica on a blue pot
Source: paschalisb (CC BY-SA 4.0)

What’s the best fertilizer for calathea musaica?

Choosing the right fertilizer is an important part of Calathea Musaica care, especially when you consider that using the wrong kind can harm the plant. A balanced liquid fertilizer with an equal NPK ratio, such as 5-5-5, is the best option for the Calathea Musaica.

Dilute the fertilizer to 1/2 or 1/4 its strength and thoroughly water the Calathea Musaica before feeding the plant. If you feed the plant when it has dry soil, you run the risk of burning and damaging its roots.

When should you repot calathea musaica?

Calathea Musaica doesn’t like to be rootbound and will need to be repotted whenever its roots start to grow out of the pot’s drainage holes. Repot during the spring and summer months, and use a pot that is no more than 3 times the size of its rootball. 

Additionally, make sure you thoroughly water the plant before repotting.

Stress is a common side effect of repotting, and you can help reduce the effects of the stress by ensuring the Calathea Musaica is thoroughly watered before you begin the process.

calathea musaica on a brown pot
Source: t. s. (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Should you prune calathea musaica?

Yes, you should prune Calathea Musaica from time to time. While this plant doesn’t take kindly to heavy pruning, you can prune it to remove dead or dying leaves. This helps to keep the Calathea Musaica looking its best, while also making room for new growth. 

For the best results, prune during the plant’s active growing period and cut the leaf off as close to the main stem as possible.

Should I cut off dying calathea musaica leaves?

Pruning off the dying Calathea Musaica leaves stops your plant from wasting vital resources on leaves that will not recover. Once these dying leaves are removed, the Calathea Musaica will put those resources towards new growth and new leaves.

Using a sharp pair of pruning shears or scissors, cut the dying leaves off the plant, making sure to keep the cuts as close to the Calathea Musaica’s main stem as possible. Place the removed leaves into the trash and then clean the cutting utensils.

Where to find a calathea musaica for sale

Calathea Musaica is available at various nurseries and garden centers all over the United States. The first place you should check is your local stores as they may have this plant available. Some online specialty growers do sell it as well though. 

Of course, just keep in mind that if you order it online, you will have to pay for shipping, which can increase the overall cost of the Calathea Musaica.

If your local stores do not have the Calathea Musaica in stock, speak to an associate and inquire about ordering it from them. Many local nurseries can order specific plants for you and may not be required to pay for the cost of shipping.

someone holding a calathea musaica
Source: Margaux PRCH (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Another potential place to find Calathea Musaica for sale is local gardening clubs and associations. These types of clubs and organizations typically allow their members to trade, swap, and even sell their plants with other members. This gives you a unique opportunity to get your hands on plants that may be difficult to find.

Is the calathea musaica rare?

Calathea Musaica is not considered a rare variety of Calathea. This means you are more likely to find this cultivar at gardening centers and nurseries. This also means that the price for Calathea Musaica is usually less expensive than more rare varieties.

This is definitely great news given how expensive some other varieties of this plant can get!

What’s a standard calathea musaica price?

On average, a Calathea Musaica in a 6 inch pot will run you less than $30, and smaller plants in a 4 inch pot can cost $15 or less. As with most plants, you’ll pay more for a larger, more established version than one that is smaller and younger. 

Overall, though, given that they’re relatively common, don’t expect to have to pay too much for this plant.

a person placing a calathea musaica on the table
Source: fran torres (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Is calathea musaica hard to grow?

Like other Calatheas, the Calathea Musaica isn’t harder to grow than most other tropical plants, but it does have some specific growing requirements that need to be met if you want to keep this plant healthy and happy. 

If you have grown any other type of Calathea in the past, then you can expect the same needs with the Calathea Musaica.

For those gardeners who have no experience with Calatheas, you may find the Calathea Musaica a little more fussy than your average houseplant. However, there are other houseplants that are much more difficult to grow than the Calathea Musaica.

How big does a calathea musaica get?

When grown in its ideal conditions, a mature Calathea Musaica can reach about 2 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. The Calathea Musaica isn’t a fast growing plant, so don’t expect it to take over your home. 

This also means you won’t need to repot the plant very often.

calathea musaica on a pink pot
Source: ioana (CC BY-SA 4.0)

How to propagate calathea musaica

The Calathea Musaica cannot be propagated via leaf or stem cuttings, and will require dividing the plant at its roots. To begin the process, carefully slide the Calathea Musaica out of its pot and use your fingers to divide the roots of the new shoots from the roots of the parent plant. 

Plant the young Calathea Musaica into its own pot and then replant the parent Calathea Musaica.

Place the young Calathea Musaica in an area where it will receive bright, indirect light and mist daily. Stop misting once the Calathea Musaica shows new growth. Then simply care for the young Calathea Musaica as you would the parent plant.

Propagating the Calathea Musaica is a wonderful way to increase the amount of plants you have. However, given how this calathea plant is propagated, you will have to wait until new shoots start to emerge above ground before the process can begin.

Why is my calathea musaica drooping?

When you see your Calathea Musaica drooping, you know the plant is underwatered. Not only will it start to droop, but an underwatered Calathea Musaica will also develop brown leaves that feel dry to the touch. These leaves may also fall off the plant, and the Calathea Musaica‘s growth rate will suffer.

If you’re unsure as to whether or not underwatering is the cause of the drooping, simply look at the soil of the Calathea Musaica. 

If it is dry and pulling away from the pot, then you know for sure the plant is not being watered enough. Soak the bottom of the Calathea Musaica’s pot in water for 20 to 40 minutes to properly hydrate the plant.

calathea musaica on a brown pot
Source: yoyyo yo (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Why does my calathea musaica have yellow leaves?

If your Calathea Musaica has yellow leaves, the most common reason is that it has been overwatered. Other symptoms may include leaves that feel soft and wilted, stunted growth, overly soggy soil, fungus gnats on or near the plant, and brown or black rot forming on the stems and leaves.

Overwatering is a serious problem that can greatly harm your Calathea Musaica, and one of the first signs that it has been overwatered is yellowing leaves. 

Once you have confirmed that the Calathea Musaica has been overwatered, immediately stop all waterings. If the soil is extremely soggy and signs of rot are appearing, the Calathea Musaica will need to be removed from its pot and all soil discarded. Replant the Calathea Musaica in fresh soil in a clean pot.

Avoid watering the Calathea Musaica again until the top inch of soil feels dry.

Related: 11 Causes of Yellow Leaves on Calathea (+ How to Fix It)

Why are my calathea musaica leaves curling?

Curling leaves are a sure sign that the Calathea Musaica isn’t being properly hydrated. This could be due to simply not watering the plant enough or the air being too dry. The good news is that these issues are much easier to treat than overwatering the Calathea Musaica.

Check to ensure the soil is not overly dry, and if it is, bottom water the Calathea Musaica for 20 to 40 minutes. If conditions are too dry, increase the humidity levels with the help of a humidifier or drip tray. 

Misting the Calathea Musaica will also help fix the dry conditions and keep the calathea leaves from curling instead make it healthy and happy.

Why are the tips of my calathea musaica leaves turning brown?

Leaves turning brown are another sign that the Calathea Musaica is being exposed to conditions that are too dry for its liking. These plants need higher humidity levels than other houseplants, and these desirable levels are higher than most households. 

To help fix this problem, use a humidifier or drip tray, both of which put moisture into the air.

Dry conditions are not the only cause of the Calathea Musaica leaves turning brown, though it is the most common issue. Overwatering, pest infestation like spider mites on calathea, and diseases can also cause brown spots on calathea leaves.

calathea musaica on a printed stripe pot
Source: Stefan Jud (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Is calathea musaica toxic?

Like other plants in the Calathea network, the Calathea Musaica is not toxic, making this tropical plant a good choice for homes with pets and children. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should happily allow your children or pets to nibble or bother this plant.

Consuming any plant, even non-toxic ones, can still cause gastrointestinal distress. While this isn’t typically life threatening, it is unpleasant. Furthermore, allowing children and pets to bother the Calathea Musaica can damage the plant and harm the overall appearance and health of the Calathea.