The Calathea musaica is an incredible cultivar with stunning, sought-after foliage that’s known to be an ideal indoor plant. The fast growing-evergreen plant is a common ornamental that thrives in warm, humid conditions.
With the right care and sufficient moisture, the Calathea musaica will produce a wealth of intricately patterned foliage. Follow our growing guide for everything you need to know to grow Calathea musaica indoors.
What is Calathea Musaica?
One of the many calathea cultivars, the Calathea musaica or Goeppertia kegeljanii, is part of the Marantaceae family, originating from the rainforests of Brazil. The musaica is one of 300 different species of calathea.
Known to be found growing beneath the canopies of tropical rainforest trees, the musaica plant has exciting and interesting foliage, with an intricate leaf pattern that strongly resembles a mosaic – hence the name.
Growing around 10 inches in height, the Calathea musaica thrives in indoor conditions, especially particularly humid areas like kitchens and bathrooms.
Also known as the calathea “Network”, its foliage grows from a central bulb and extends with arching foliage fronds. Although uncommon when kept indoors, this cultivar can produce small white flowers in the summer.
Other common names include:
- Network Plant
- Network Prayer Plant (although they are not true prayer plants)
- Goeppertia Bella
- Calathea Bella
How to Grow Musaica Plant
Given sufficient light, moisture, humidity and air circulation, these plants are a piece of cake. Of course, first, it’s essential to find the right position for your plant, which can be a bit of trial and error.
Ideally, you need to pick a spot that is moderately sheltered, warm and receives a good amount of natural light. Musaica needs bright, indirect light.
Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and cause more damage than good. Near a south or west-facing window generally works. Avoid keeping your plant near any areas that experience extreme heat or strong draughts.
This can affect plant health and dry out your soil too quickly. Your musaica will also need sufficient air circulation – so stuffy corners won’t work. The ideal room temperature is around 65-85°F.
Consider keeping your Calathea musaica in a taller standing or hanging basket – in your bathroom, for instance. Due to its need for warmth and humidity, bathroom conditions are ideal for this plant.
While the musaica enjoys moisture-retaining soil, it is essential to make sure that the soil still drains sufficiently in between. Wet feet are a common cause of fungus or root rot.
When it comes to a potting mix, it’s advisable to craft your own potting mixture for the ideal conditions and results. Create a potting mix that is 2/3 peat moss, compost and coco coir and 1/3 perlite and orchid bark. The peat moss and compost will help to ensure the soil retains moisture, and the perlite will allow the soil to drain.
Ensure that every pot you are planning your Calathea musaica plants in has sufficient drainage. Ensure at least 2 or 3 drainage holes. Growing Calathea musaica in a terra cotta pot is ideal as the porous pot will help with drainage without drying it out.
Repotting Calathea Network
Calathea plants do well when they are repotted every 2 or 3 years; this allows the roots to revive themselves and encourage new and bushy growth.
Be sure to pick a pot that is at least one size larger and that the soil is a fresh potting mixture. Your musaica will also need a little extra love after repotting, as they can take some strain.
Here is what you’ll need to do, step-by-step:
- Step 1: Gently slide the base of your plant from its pot. Shake the base of the plant to remove any residual soil.
- Step 2: Inspect the root system for any damaged or rotting roots and remove them with a sterilized pair of shears.
(Here is our review on the best secateurs available online.)
- Step 3: Prepare the new pot, filling the lower third with the fresh soil mixture.
- Step 4: Place the root ball into the centre of the fresh soil and backfill until covered. Gently press down the soil to remove any air pockets.
- Step 5: Drench the soil with water and allow the water to drain out fully before placing your plant where you intend to grow it.
Calathea Musaica Propagation
Plants can be propagated by means of division at the time of repotting. This way, you can turn your healthy, thriving musaica plant into 2.
Simply pull the root ball apart once it’s been removed from the pot. Try to keep a sufficient amount of roots with each smaller plant. After dividing, ensure you keep your plants in absolutely ideal conditions until new growth appears.
After division, the roots can take the strain, taking time to become established. Although they will take some time to begin to develop new growth, once they do, they tend to thrive.
Calathea Musaica Care Guide
Unfortunately, musaica plants tend to be fussy until a proper routine is established. This may mean a bit of testing to start, but once you’ve got your routine together and your calathea is getting the moisture and nutrients it needs, you’ll be able to vigorous growth throughout the year.
When it comes to watering, a consistent routine is essential. The water needs to be well moist without being waterlogged. Wait until the soil has mostly dried out before watering again. Using the finger trick can work, or to be absolutely sure, consider investing in a soil moisture meter.
It is important to note that these plants can be sensitive to fluoride and calcium, and therefore should only be watered with distilled water or rainwater. A diluted general fertilizer can be added every few weeks during the growing season to support bushy growth.
If growing your Calathea musaica in an area that doesn’t experience sufficient humidity, it can be supplemented by placing your pot onto a pebble tray filled with about ½ an inch of water.
Pruning is not really necessary with this plant. However, it can be done to remove any damaged or rotting leaves. Cut leaves away at the base of the stem, and you’ll notice new leaves growing in no time.
Always use a sterilized blade to avoid spreading any fungal diseases.
Common Goeppertia Kegeljanii Pests & Problems
As with most other indoor plants, the Calathea musaica is susceptible to common plant pests. These include spider mites, mealybugs and fungus gnats.
Noticing those white fuzzy bugs in your plant? Learn how to deal with mealybugs here.
It’s advisable to regularly check the leaves of your musaica to look for any small insects or damage that could be caused by them. Should you notice any pests, these can be easily removed with a damp cloth, a strong spray of water or with a cotton ball.
Consider treating the leaves with Neem oil after removing the pests to prevent them from coming back. Organic pesticides can also be used.
Browning or spotted leaves can also be a sign of a deeper issue. Browning leaves are most often a sign that your musaica is not getting enough water or humidity.
It can also be caused by using tap water. Be sure to stick to a regular watering routine and use distilled or rainwater.
Yellowing leaves can be a sign that the roots are not getting sufficient oxygen. Prune back any damaged leaves and aerate the soil to give the roots more room to breathe.
Final Growing Tips for Musaica Plant
- If your musaica is really struggling with a lack of humidity, regularly misting it can help with the issue. Again, mist only with distilled water. Alternatively, keeping your plants near a humidifier will also do the trick.
- Leaf discolouration or leaf wilting can be a sign of a nutrient deficiency. Consider fertilizing more often or even replanting to help replenish the nutrients in the soil.
- These plants are non-toxic, so you won’t need to worry about keeping them out of reach of pets or children.
- Calatheas need a PH neutral soil mixture, so consider regularly testing the soil to make sure that it’s balanced.
- If you’re struggling to pick a spot for your plants, pop them in the bathroom or kitchen. This will give the right level of warmth and humidity throughout the day. Low-light bedrooms can also be a good option.
- Curling leaves are a good early sign that your plant is growing in an unideal environment. Move your plant to somewhere with more humidity or mist more regularly.
Be sure to see our other Calathea growing guides:
Turn Your Home Tropical – Grow Calathea Musaica Today!
While these plants take a little extra attention as opposed to other plants, the reward is most definitely worth it. With the right conditions, Calathea musaica thrive and produce a wealth of beautiful foliage that will add volume and texture to your home.