Calathea Roseopicta Plant Care Guide

Calathea Roseopicta

The Calathea roseopicta is also known as the rose painted calathea. It is a native or northwest Brazil and it known for its stunning foliage.

It features green, oval shaped leaves with beautiful white stripes. Its midrib is likewise very noticeable which isn’t the case even for many foliage plants. Just as interestingly, the plant’s leaves also fold up at night. This is in reaction to the lack of light.

The plant likewise grows in clumps causing the leaves to grow closely together making them look like they’re bunched up.

Its small size (up to 20-24 inches tall max) and tropical nature makes it easy to grow as a houseplant. As such, you’ll often see it on display in balconies, decks, patios as well as living rooms.

Calathea Roseopicta Plant Care

Calathea Roseopicta Light

The calathea roseopicta likes to receive bright, indirect light. That’s because it is native to the floors of rainforests where larger trees and plants hover above. Thus, their branches and leaves offer coverage  for it by blocking out the harsh rays of the sun. This makes it used to getting dappled sunlight as opposed to that which is direct.

As a result, it isn’t used staying directly under the sun’s rays for long periods of time. And, if you allow this to happen, you’ll see its leaves get bleached in color because of “sunburn”.

This means that the best places to put your plant are in:

  • East facing window. This gives it a lot of bright light that it gentle due to the morning sun.
  • North facing window. If you live in the northern hemisphere like here in the U.S. or in Canada, the north will have a little less light than the east. But, as long as the window gets enough sunlight, the plant will still be happy. Because this can vary, the best way is to observe your plant. If you start to notice its patterns start to lighten, it means the light isn’t enough. Thus, you need to move it somewhere brighter.

On the other hand, you want to be more careful with west and south facing windows because they get the brunt of the harsh sun during the mid afternoons.

While a lot of bright light makes their foliage patterns more vibrant, to much intensity damages them. So, you want to filter the light from these areas using curtains or some kind of cloth. Alternatively, you can distance them about 3 to 6 feet away from the window to keep them away from the direct sunlight.

Pro Tip: Plants with large leaves tend to attract a lot of dust (as well as pests). This makes it a good idea to inspect and clean them regularly. Doing so makes them look better. Plus, by removing the debris, you allow the leaves to absorb light better.

 

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Calathea Roseopicta Temperature & Humidity

Rose painted calathea are tender plants. As such, they cannot tolerate cold and winter conditions. This is why in most parts of the country they are grown as houseplants or other indoor settings.

Being tropical in nature, they thrive when the temperature is kept constant between 65 and 75 degrees. Once it drops under 60 degrees, the plant will start to experience stress. Additionally, you want to keep it away from spots where the nighttime temperature can suddenly drop.

Similarly, drafty, breezy and gusty areas are to be avoided. This includes windows prone to cool winds as well as vents and air conditioners.

Conditions that are too cold will cause its stems to become limp. Although, this can also be a sign of overwatering. So, if this happens, you’ll want to eliminate one factor at a time.

Another climate condition to consider is humidity. Since it comes from the rainforests of Central and South America, the calathea roseopicta is used to humid conditions. So, you want to provide it with high humidity all the time.

If there isn’t enough moisture in the air, it will affect the plant. You’ll see its leaves begin to droop and develop brown tips.

When either or both happen, you can do a few things.

  • Move it to a more humid room. The bathroom is candidate #1 here. As long as there’s enough light. The kitchen is a close second. And, they often have better lighting than bathrooms.
  • Group it with other plants. Plants increase humidity around them. But, houseplants are relatively small. So, individually, they don’t increase the amount of moisture in the air by a lot. But, as a group, they are able to so do. The key here is to provide enough space between the plants for air to circulate. This lets them breathe. Plus it helps moisture in their leaves to dry (preventing fungal problems).
  • Pebble trays. Setting your plant over a dish of water also increase the humidity around it because of evaporation. But, make use rocks or pebbles big enough to keep the plant above the water.
  • Misting. This is what many houseplant owners do. But, you need to be consistent because its effects don’t last as long as the three methods above. You’ll need to mist every few days depending on how humid your home is. Also, makes sure to mist in the morning or at most early in the afternoon. This will allow the moisture to dry and evaporate. If you do it at night, lack of heat causes the water to stay longer. This increases the risk of disease and make your leaves soggy.
  • Use a humidifier. Humidifiers are great because you can set them to the level you need. Many also automatically adjust according to the weather that day. But, they cost more and there’s maintenance involved.

calathea roseopicta

source: wikimedia commons

 

Calathea Roseopicta Watering

Your calathea roseopicta likes moist soil. However it doesn’t like sitting in water or having wet feet. Thus, you always want excess water to drain completely.

With this plant, moderate, frequent watering is better than watering a lot infrequently. However, you don’t want to overdo it. That’s because too much water too often will eventually result in root rot.

So what’s the best way to water your calathea roseopicta?

Always wait for to upper layer of soil to dry before watering. You can easily check this by sticking your finger down one inch into he soil. Once that level feels dry, it is time to water again. if it still feels moist, a day or two and test again.

This method makes watering much easier than trying to make a schedule. That’s because you’ll notice that the plant will need more frequent watering during the warmer months (which also happens to be its growing season), and less during the colder months (when it takes a break from growth).

Similarly, how you water is just as important as when you water your rose painted calathea. Here, you want to deeply water your plant. This means slowly watering the soil until the liquid starts leaking out of the drainage holes.

Once that happens, you want to let the water keep dripping until it stops. This takes anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on how big the container is. So, you might want to get a stand or set it on something while you wait.

When there’s no more water coming out of the bottom holes, set it back down into the dish or outer pot.

This ensures that your plant is moist due to the thorough watering. But also drained well so its roots don’t sit in water.

  • If you notice your plant’s leaves start curling, it is a sign that it is not getting enough water. Thus, you need to adjust your watering habits.
  • But, if the stem starts getting limp, then scale back on the water.

Lastly, be aware that the calathea roseopicta is sensitive to chemicals in water. Thus, avoid hard water. In most cases, this includes tap water since many municipalities add chemicals like fluoride and chlorine to it.

As such, using water right out of the tap isn’t a good idea. Instead, you want to let it sit in room temperature overnight. This will allow the chemicals to evaporate before you water your plant with it.

Alternatively, if it rains quite a bit in your area, do collect rainwater. This is perfect for plants because they’re used to natural water from the sky. It also doesn’t contain any chemicals.

Other options included distilled and filtered water. But, both do cost more.

 

Soil

From above, you already know that the best soil for your calathea roseopicta is moist, well draining soil.

As such, the quickest way to get this is to use African violet mix. You can pick them up from your favorite garden supply store. And, you don’t need to do any mixing or experimenting.

On the other hand, if you want to create your own potting mix, there are many ways you can create soil with these features. One of  the simplest is to mix a 2:1 ratio of peat and perlite.

Whichever you decide, the is the soil needs to be able to drain well with some ability to retain moisture.

 

Fertilizing

When it comes to fertilizer, the most important thing to be aware of is the plant has a active growing season and a time when it takes a break from growing.

  • During its growing season from March to September, you want to fee it with a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer bi-weekly or once a month. Make sure to dilute it to 50% strength.
  • During its “off season”, you don’t need to feed it.

The second most important thing about fertilizer is that less is more. Like water, too much fertilizer will do more harm than good. In this case, it will cause fertilizer burn.

 

Pruning Calathea Roseopicta

Pruning isn’t much of an issue with calatheas. For one, they aren’t overly huge plants. Also, they don’t tend to grow like vines or other houseplants that can get messy when not trimmed back.

However, it is important to prune your calathea roseopicta to keep it healthy. By this, I mean trimming off the dead, dying, old, discolored or diseased leaves. This not only makes your plant look prettier, it also encouraged new growth.

 

Calathea Roseopicta Propagation

Root division is the best way to propagate your calathea roseopicta. Unfortunately, while cuttings are easier for most houseplants, it doesn’t work for this plant.

The good news is, while division takes a little more effort to do, it instantly gives you a grown or semi-grown plant. In contrast, you need to wait at least a few weeks before seeing growth with cuttings.

That said, the best time to propagate your rose painted calathea is during spring or early in its growing season. Ideally, you want to do it the same time you repot the plant.

Here’s how to propagate calathea roseopicta through division.

  • Before taking the plant out of the pot you want to survey it to find a few good candidates for division. Ideally, you want to pick a stem that is somewhat grown or growing. You don’t want it to be too young or small. And, you never want unhealthy or older looking ones.
  • The next step is to have a new pot ready along with fresh potting soil. Since the calathea roseopicta doesn’t like being moved often, it’s a good idea to take this opportunity to replace its potting soil with fresh one.
  • Gently take out the plant from its container. The more rootbound it is, the harder it will be to slide it out. So, to take the time to carefully do it. Remember, the plant doesn’t like getting transplanted. So, any additional shock doesn’t help.
  • Once the plant is out of the pot. Find your candidates and trace their stems down to their roots. Ideally, everything should look good. You don’t want to divide a section where the roots are unhealthy.
  • Depending on how many new plants you want to grow, separate those sections. Because the calathea roseopicta only grows to about 2 feet by 2 feet, you won’t be able to get more than 1 or 2 sections from it. At least not without decreasing the mother plant’s size by too much.
  • Gently separate the sections using your hands. You can likewise use a sterilized knife to cut the root ball.
  • Add soil into each of the pots and place the mother plant and divided plants into their respective containers.
  • Water them thoroughly and place under bright, indirect sunlight.

 

Calathea Roseopicta Transplanting & Repotting

Your calathea roseopicta will need to be repotted about once every 2 years. The only time you need to do so is when you see the roots starting to peek out of the holes in the pot. Similarly, if you see them trying to get of out the soil or loosening the soil.

Otherwise, it is a good idea to let your calathea be. They don’t like to be moved. And, they don’t like being repotted. So, only do so when needed.

Spring is the best time to repot this plant. And, when you do, you want to move it to a slighter larger container. Ideally go only 1 or 2 sizes up, nothing more.

Also, take this opportunity to give it fresh potting soil which will help it grow faster right away.

Because root division is the best way to propagate your calathea roseopicta, you make also want to take this chance to divide them. That is if you want to grow more of the plant.

 

Toxicity

Another great thing about this plant is that it is safe for humans and animals. They are not toxic to tough or ingest. So, kids, dogs and cats can be around them.

 

Pests and Diseases

Calathea roseopicta are fairly resistant to pests and diseases. However, because it is very specific in some of its living conditions, problems can arise if they’re not met.

Among the biggest of these are watering and humidity. Unfortunately, whenever moisture is involved, pests and disease are not far away. That is because bacteria and fungus are attracted to it (think bathroom and mildew).

Additionally, pests like plants with big leaves because it gives them more food to chew on. The most common of which are spider mites.

So, you always need to inspect your plant for changes. Too much or too little water will affect your plant, causing its leaves and stem to show signs of distress.

Likewise, closely inspecting the leaves including their undersides will let you find any pest infestation early so you can act before they spread.

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