How to Grow and Care for Calathea musaica (Calathea Network) Indoors


Calathea musaica, Calathea Network

Botanical name: Calathea musaica
Synonym: Goeppertia kegeljanii
Family: Marantaceae
Common name: Calathea Network, Network Prayer Plant

Description

Calathea musaica commonly called Calathea Network or Network Prayer Plant is a spectacular Calathea plant which bears green, arching, glossy leaves adorned by an interesting mosaic pattern.

The common name, 'Calathea Network', is in reference to magnificent criss-crossing pattern on the leaves.

Size

Network Prayer Plant is a slow-growing, perennial plant which grows to a height of about 2 ft and about 2-3 ft wide.

Origin

Calathea musaica also called Goeppertia kegeljanii is native to the rainforests of Brazil where it grows as an understory plant.

As in its native habitat, it grows in bright, indirect light. Hot direct sunlight can damage the fragile leaves resulting in sunburn and dullness in the leaf color.

Goeppertia kegeljanii also requires a warm, humid environment to mimic its natural habitat. It thrives in moderately moist soil and overwatering or underwatering can lead to brown dry leaves.

Related Plants

Calathea musaica (Calathea Network) is closely related to the Marantas, Ctenanthe and Stromanthe.

These groups of plants are collectively called Prayer Plants in reference to their curious characteristic of closing their leaves at night.

Where to Buy

Beautiful Network Prayer Plant are available online at Etsy. Buy the spectacular Calathea musaica (Calathea Network) online from Etsy.

Calathea musaica, Calathea Network

Photo Credit: FlorAccess

Calathea musaica Care Indoors

Calathea musaica (Calathea Network) thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Calathea Network requires pruning to keep it neat and also reduce pest and disease infestations. Repotting is needed only when the plant becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on the best growing conditions and how to provide them.

Light Requirements

Calathea musaica grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves and cause loss of leaf color.

For uniform growth, regularly rotate the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides.

Where the natural lighting is not sufficient, Calathea Network can be grown under a grow light to ensure that it receives the right amount of light.

Watering

Water Calathea Network liberally while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist during the growing season.

Cut down on watering in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Use tepid water that is free of chlorine and flourides as like other Calathea, Calathea Network is sensitive to chemicals dissolved in water. Dissolved chemicals will cause brown leaf tips and edges.

Confirm that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of the plant.

To discourage fungal infestations like leaf spot diseases, avoid wetting the foliage during watering or water from the bottom instead.


Temperature

Calathea musaica prefers average warmth with a minimum of 150C and a maximum of 300C. At temperatures below this range, the plant stops growing while temperatures above this range may cause the plant to die.

Keep the Network Prayer Plant away from draughts as they cause sudden changes in temperature which the plant cannot tolerate.

Humidity

Calathea musaica requires high humidity (50% to 80%) inorder to thrive. Low humidity will result in brown leaf tips and edges.

To increase humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

Calathea Network can also be grown in the bathroom or other moist areas in the home where humidity is high.

You can also grow Network Prayer Plant in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium.

Regularly, clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to keep them clean and neat.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Calathea musaica with a balanced, liquid fertilizer once monthly through out the growing season. The plant is not a heavy feeder, therefore, feeding once monthly should be adequate.

Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn.

Regularly, flush out accumulated chemicals (salts) from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil. Allow the stream of water to run for some time and repeat the process several times.

Repotting

Repot Calathea musaica every 2 years at the beginning of the growing season or when it becomes root-bound. Use a pot one size larger than the current one.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of the plant.

Before repotting, water the Calathea Network thoroughly at least one day before to hasten establishment as a well hydrated plant suffers less repotting shock.

If the plant is large and has outgrown its current pot, divide it into several sections and use the splits to propagate new plants.

When repotting is done, it may cause the leaves to droop but the plant will eventually recover once it takes root; in about 3-4 weeks.

Soil

The best soil for Calathea musaica should be rich in organic matter and well-drained to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients. Buy quality Calathea potting medium for Calathea Network online from Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning Calathea musaica is easy as it involves removal of dead and yellow foliage to maintain the plant neat and reduce pest and disease infestation. Cut the leaves with a sharp knife or scissors at the base, where the leaf meets the stalk.

Propagation

Calathea musaica (Calathea Network) is propagated by plant division at the beginning of the growing season during repotting.

How to propagate Calathea musaica by plant division

Water the Calathea musaica thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment. A well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.

Slip the plant out of its pot and divide it into several sections. Ensure each sections has adequate roots and at least 2-3 stems.

Select a 6 or 8 in. pot and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

Fill the pot with well-drained potting medium and make a hole in the center of the pot. Ensure that the hole is slightly wider than the root base of the section.

Place the section in the previously made hole and lightly firm the soil around the base while taking care not to bury it too deep; maintain the section at the same soil level it was in the previous pot.

Thoroughly water the soil until the water comes out through the drainage holes.

Cover the pots with clear polythene to create a greenhouse effect and maintain warm humid conditions which hasten establishment of the plants.

Place the pots in a warm, well-lit place until new growth has emerged on the sections.

Gradually remove the polythene over a period of two weeks to acclimatize the new plants.

Maintain the soil moist until the new Calathea Network are well established after which you can begin routine care.

Calathea musaica, Calathea Network

Photo Credit: Plantforsoul

Calathea musaica Problems Indoors

Calathea musaica (Calathea Network) problems indoors include drooping leaves, yellow leaves, loss of leaf color, brown leaf tips, plant death, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Drooping leaves

Calathea musaica drooping leaves are due to three possible causes. One possible cause is too dry air (low humidity) as the plant is very sensitive to low air humidity.

Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity and maintain it at 50%-80% for optimum growth of the plant.

To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

The second possible cause of drooping leaves in Calathea musaica is incorrect watering; either overwatering (soggy soil) or underwatering.

Water the plant liberally and maintain the soil moist at all times during the growing season. Reduce watering during the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Also, ensure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

The third possible cause of drooping leaves in Network Prayer Plant is that the plant is root-bound.

This means that the roots have filled the pot and there is very little soil to hold water when you water the plant.

Therefore, there is no water for the plant to take up to the leaves. The leaves loss their stiffness and they droop.

Check the bottom of the pot for roots growing through the drainage hole. Repot the plant into a pot one size larger than the current one or divide it into several sections to propagate new plants.

Plant dying

Calathea musaica is dying due to two possible reasons. One possible reason is root-rot which is brought about by soggy soil.

Take out the plant from its pot and inspect the roots. Brown-black mushy roots indicate root-rot, trim them off and treat the healthy roots with a fungicidal solution.

Disinfect the pot or use a fresh pot to repot the plant in fresh free-draining soil. Do not water the plant and keep it dry for some time before resuming watering. Read more on how to deal with root-rot here.

To prevent root-rot in the future, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Also, do not overwater your plant during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

The second possible reason why Calathea Network is dying is pest infestations as it is prone to scales, aphids, mealy buds and spidermites.

Seperate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.

Curled, yellowing leaves

Calathea musaica curled and yellowing leaves are caused by incorrect watering; either overwatering (soggy soil) or underwatering.

Overwatering (soggy soil) causes the roots to die due to lack of oxygen in the soil.

When the roots die they cannot take up water and therefore the leaves begin to curl, yellow and eventually die.

Underwatering implies that there is too little moisture in the soil and therefore, the plant has no water to take up to the leaves.

Thus, the leaves begin to curl, yellow and eventually die if the situation is not corrected.

Water the Calathea musaica liberally and keep the soil moderately moist during the growing season.

Decrease watering in the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Also, ensure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Brown, dry leaf tips and edges

There are four possible causes of Calathea musaica brown, dry leaf tips and edges. One possible cause is dry air (too little humidity).

Calathea Network requires a humid environment to thrive. To up humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or grow the plants in the bathroom and other moist areas in the home where humidity is high.

You can also grow the Calathea Network in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium.

The second cause of Calathea musaica brown, dry leaf tips and edges accompanied by stunted growth is due to infestation by spider mites which is due to the air being too dry (low humidity).

Remove the dead growth and raise humidity for the plant (as outlined above) to discourage the pest infestations.

The third cause of Network Prayer Plant brown, dry leaf tips and edges is watering with hard water. Water it with chlorine-free water only like rain water.

Like other Calathea, it is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water and it responds with brown leaf tips and edges.

The fourth cause of Calathea musaica brown, dry leaf tips and edges is accumulation of salts or chemicals in the soil. These chemicals may have originated from the water or from the fertilizers.

Regularly, flush out accumulated chemicals (salts) from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil. Allow the stream of water to run for some time and repeat the process several times.

Leaves appear washed out

Calathea musaica washed out leaves are due to exposure of the plant to hot direct sunlight as it thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunshine.

Move it to a more shaded spot or instal a light curtain to protect it from direct sunlight to prevent its eventual death.

Diseases

Calathea musaica is also prone to leaf spot disease due to the humid conditions in which it grows.

The disease is indicated by brown patches surrounded by a yellow halo. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the disease.

Is Calathea musaica toxic?

Calathea musaica (Calathea Network) like other Calathea Plants is non-toxic to both humans and pets as indicated by ASPCA. It is safe to grow indoors.

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