The Calathea Dottie is also known as the Calathea Roseopicta ‘Dottie’, as such it is a sport of the Calathea Roseopicta.
It is a striking plant with dark purple leaves with bright pink outlines around the middle of its foliage. It is as it some one has taken a bright pink-violet highlighter and marked those lines.
In any case, its dark dramatic look with the contrasting outlines and somewhat ridged leaves make it stunning to look at.
Like other calathea plants, it is grown for its foliage. Thus making them perfect as decorative plants in any room of your home.
Also, this makes it a member of the Marantaceae family, which means like other prayer plants, its leaves will fold up at night like they are praying.
Calathea Dottie Plant Care
Your Calathea Dottie is used to diffused or dappled sunlight. It has evolved into this thanks to its native habit, the rainforests of South America.
As such, it is used to warm, humid conditions. And, while it receives a lot of sunlight (365 days a year) brunt of the sun’s rays are blocked by the leaves and branches of the larger trees overhead.
Thus, the plant thrives in indirect, filtered, diffused or dappled light. And, the brighter the light the better.
Similarly, it does well it medium light. And, can tolerate low light up to a certain degree.
But, it won’t be able to take direct sunlight, which will scorch it leaves and destroy their lovely colors.
This means the best spots in your home are an east or north facing window and anything in between that.
It will also do well facing the west and south provided that your protect it from the harsh afternoon sun.
When it comes to low light, you do want to monitor the plant as you the location gets dimmer.
Because of its variegations, it is not able to absorbs as much light as plants with solid green leaves. Thus, once light become insufficient for its needs, it will begin to lose its variegations and turn solid green to try and absorb more light in order to survive.
This means you do need to experiment a bit.
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Temperature is one of the easier aspects of caring for your Calathea Dottie. That’s because it is well adapted to what we humans enjoy, moderate to warm climate.
Ideal temperature for the plant runs between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And it can tolerate as high as 95 degrees as well.
However, it is less amenable to the cold. It won’t be happy once temperature drops to 55 degrees or lower.
It is tropical in nature. So, it does not experience snow during winter. As a result, leaving it in cold, freezing or frosty conditions will kill the plant.
You likewise want to avoid rooms with lots of cold air. This includes air conditioned rooms as well as those that experience drafts.
On the other hand, humidity is a bit trickier. That’s because humidity is closely related to watering. And, high or low humidity will affect how much or how little you may need to water your plant.
More importantly, the plants’ rainforest habitat means it enjoys damp conditions.
Ideal humidity for your Calathea Dottie is between 50% to 60%. This puts it above what most household levels are (30% to 50%).
Unfortunately, the higher the humidity, the less comfortable we are as well. Although this one is not as high as other houseplants which thrive on 70% or more.
Nevertheless, you do need to take extra measures to keep the plant happy and healthy.
I suggest picking up a digital hygrometer to help guide you when making modifications. This way, you know if the changes you’ve made have pushed humidity up enough or not.
- There are some methods that work.
- Place the plant on top of pebbles in a water tray
- Group it with other plants
- Mist it 3 times a week
- Use a humidifier
- Move the plant to the bathroom or kitchen provided that there is enough light there
How Often to Water Calathea Dottie
Watering is the most challenging part of caring for your Calathea Dottie. And, you’ll want to spend extra time on getting to know the plant at least initially.
After a while, you’ll figure out its preferences. From there, all you need to do is stay consistent to what it likes.
Since it comes from the rainforest environment, it enjoys damp soil. Thus, keeping soil consistently moist is important.
But, avoid waterlogged soil or getting the soil wet and soggy. Your Calathea Dottie is prone to root rot and fungal infections, both are caused by too much water. And, the former can destroy your plant over time.
So, while the plant likes moisture, it runs into problems with too much water. This is what makes watering tricky. You have to tow the line between enough and too much.
And, the plant will tell you when you’ve gone one way or the other. Yellow leaves mean too much water. On the other hand, dry, brown leaves means lack of water.
A good way to avoid overwatering is to allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry. Anywhere between this depth all the way to about 40% of the soil drying is fine.
You can stick your finger in the soil to check before each watering to make sure. Or, you can use a moisture meter to test the soil.
Finally, keep in mind that the Calathea Dottie is sensitive to chemicals in tap water. As such, if you want to sue tap water, leave it out in room temperature at least overnight. This will let the chemicals evaporate.
You can likewise use rainwater or distilled water.
Soil for Calathea Dottie
Soil plays a supporting role to water because it determines how well moisture is retained.
The heavier the soil you use, the more moisture it will retain. While this is good for many plants, it is the worst kind of soil you can use for your Calathea Dottie.
Instead, you want a light, airy, well-draining mix. Its roots get enough oxygen and moisture, while draining any excess liquid to prevent overwatering or waterlogging.
The good news is, there are many ways to achieve this kind of soil. Here are some that I’ve found to work really well for the Calathea Dottie.
- African potting mix – this is your best choice if you want a commercial product you can buy at your local nursery.
- 67% peat with 33% perlite or sand – combining 2/3 peat with 1/3 perlite or sand is a good option if you want to make your own mix and save a little money along the way without using too many ingredients.
- 50% potting soil, 20% charcoal, 20% orchid bark and 10% perlite – this is another mix your can create. It uses more ingredients. But it is also chunkier. Thus, allowing more aeration.
At this point, you’ve gotten past the more challenging part of caring for your Calathea Dottie.
Nevertheless, feeding is something your want to be careful with.
That’s because the plant is a light feeder.
As such, you want to use a light dose or at dilute the strength to weaken its concentration. Otherwise, the chemical residue from fertilizer can damage the plant’s roots over time.
Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer. This is when the plant is actively growing. You don’t need to feed it during fall and winter.
Make sure to dilute it to half or quarter strength each time you apply. This will prevent too much salt residue from accumulating in the soil too quickly.
Also, avoid cheap fertilizers as these leave more chemical residue.
Your Calathea Dottie will eventually grow to about 1 to 2 feet high. It is likewise a medium to fast grower, often somewhere in between depending on its living conditions.
Fortunately, it does not get unruly. Nor does it grow all over the place.
Thus, it reduces the need for pruning.
That said, as its gets bushier, you may want to trim it a bit. Since its leaves are oversized in relation to the plant, as the plant gets denser, it will overwhelm the pot and look top heavy.
So, you may want to trim it to keep in a certain shape.
Beyond that, it is all about removing damaged and discolored leaves.
Calathea Dottie Propagation
The best way to propagate your Calathea Dottie is via root division. Stem and leaf cutting can work but often produce little success.
Similarly, you can try propagating by seed. Although I found out the hard way that not only is it a long process, it is difficult and not too fruitful when it comes to the Calathea Dottie.
As such, division is a much more efficient way to grow more of it.
To propagate Calathea Dottie through division:
- Prepare a new container and fill it with African Violet potting soil or one of the recipes in the soil section above.
- Then, carefully take the plant out of its container.
- Remove excess soil and dirt from the root ball.
- Pick segment that’s healthy with a few leaves and stems. Then separate that segment form the other plant. You can use your fingers or a sterile blade.
- Repot the mother plant into its container with fresh potting soil.
- Then place the other section into the container you prepared earlier and backfill with soil.
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How to Repot Calathea Dottie
Like pruning, repotting in another fairly low maintenance task for your Calathea Dottie.
Because it is a fairly fast grower, you’ll need to repot it every 1 to 2 years. But, avoid doing so unnecessarily as it does not like moving moved.
In fact, repotting actually shocks the plant. So, don’t be surprised if it does not grow or produce new leaves for 2 weeks after repotting. It needs this time to recover before starting to grow again.
The only time you need to repot is when the plant has outgrown its container. It is not fond of being pot bound so once spring comes around, take the opportunity to repot it when you seed roots coming out of the drainage holes.
Repotting is very similar to propagating (at least for this plant) since you’ll be taking it out of its container.
If you’re propagating, you can put it back in its current container with fresh soil. If not, use a new pot that is about 2 inches wider in diameter, nothing more.
The plant is non-toxic to humans and animals. This makes it safe for young children and pest around the house with not risk of accidental poisoning due to ingesting the leaves or stems.
Pests and Diseases
Your Calathea Dottie does not have a lot of pest or disease problems. But, it needs to be healthy and be given the right conditions to be resistant to these issues.
Without this or if under stress, it will be more susceptible to them.
Additionally, its love for moisture does increase its risk for them. Also, pests love plants with large, luscious leaves.
Thus, it is very important to take proper care of the plant especially with sunlight, humidity, watering and feeding.
On the other hand, root rot, leaf spot, blight, and other fungal diseases can happen due to excess moisture.