How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Calathea ‘Medallion’

We are fascinated by Calathea ‘Medallion’ because of its intense and detailed leaf colors, patterns, and circadian rhythms, which cause it to fold up its leaves at night for a bit of sleep. Join gardening expert Wendy Moulton as she gives tips on caring for Calathea 'Medallion'.

Calathea ‘Medallion’ leaves, showcasing their lush, broad oval shape with intricate patterns in vibrant green, white, and purple hues. The elegant foliage adds a touch of natural beauty to any indoor space.


Goeppertia roseopicta ‘Medallion’ is a captivating plant that is a must for any houseplant enthusiast. It blends well with other tropical plants but can also stand alone as a focal point because of the color and patterns it sports on its lovely oval-shaped leaves.

Its distinctive look and behavior are why it’s one of the most popular houseplants on the market today. These plants will become a firm favorite in any houseplant collection by giving them a little care and attention and mimicking their origins.

Once you have their needs down, they are easy to grow, suffer from very few pests and diseases, and will brighten up any room of the house. This article gives you all you need to look after, grow, and propagate these intriguing plants at home.


A close-up of Calathea 'Medallion' leaves, featuring vivid green hues with intricate white patterns reminiscent of brush strokes, evoking artistic flair. The leaf's delicate veins weave a natural masterpiece, creating a captivating display of botanical beauty and texture.
Genus Goeppertia
Species Goeppertia roseopicta
Family Marantaceae
Native Area Northwest Brazil
Height and Spread 2-3 feet
Maintenance Tidying
Exposure Bright indirect light
Watering needs Medium
Pests Mealybugs, whiteflies, red spider mites
Diseases Grey mold
Soil Type Well-draining potting soil
Flowering time Summer

What Is It?

Goeppertia roseopicta is the species name for Calathea roseopicta, the name under which it is most commonly sold. It is often referred to as the prayer plant, the common name for Maranta leuconeura, a very similar-looking plant to this one. It has the same feature of folding up its leaves at night in supposed prayer.

This trait is one of the fascinating features of this plant. It indicates that the plant is healthy and getting all it needs. As the light changes, the plant’s circadian rhythm kicks in, telling the plant it’s night or day. This feature, called nyctinasty, is believed to occur to help the plants conserve water.

During the day, the leaves spread out to capture water; at night, when they fold upwards, the water trickles downwards. It is also believed that by folding their leaves at night, they will be hidden from potential predators. The leaves are of such marvelous patterns that they would likely be seen more than other plants around them.

Native Area

A close-up of a Calathea ‘Medallion’ leaf showcasing deep green hues and intricate light green patterns. Surrounding it, vibrant green leaves form a lush backdrop, creating a harmonious botanical tapestry.
This houseplant hails from the tropical rainforests of certain countries in South America.

In their native regions of Northern Brazil, West-Central Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, Calathea roseapicta grows in rainforests sheltered under tree canopy. The area is tropical, and this is easily mimicked in an indoor environment with extra humidity and higher temperatures.


A close-up reveals the intricate patterns on a leaf, showcasing deep green hues contrasted by crisp white edges. Its textured surface hints at nature's artistry, blending vibrant colors into a mesmerizing botanical masterpiece.
Green-petaled blooms emerge from the center of the plant.

Each of the many plants grown as Calathea roseapicta has very distinctive leaf colors with featured patterns on the tops – the reason why we are fascinated by them. In the case of ‘Medallion’, the leaves are again very distinctive with a series of green hues from dark to pale green in the featured pattern on the upper side of the leaves and a dark purple burgundy underneath.

A happy Calathea ‘Medallion’ may flower as a houseplant, but it’s not usual. They form from the center of the plant with green petals along the top of the stalks.

This variety has been awarded the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.

How to Grow

Once you have all the elements, these plants are easy to grow. They can be a bit finicky initially, and watering is key, but they will also tell you they are unhappy with changes in their leaves.


 Lush foliage , showcasing its vibrant and variegated leaves. The intricate patterns, ranging in shades of green, evoke a sense of tranquility and harmony, making it a captivating addition to any space.
This tropical plant can tolerate low light but thrives in brighter conditions.

Keep these plants in an area of medium light. They will cope with low light but prefer a bit more. The leaf patterns may fade in brighter light and become washed out. The same can also be said for very low light. Bright, indirect light can come in the form of direct light filtered through a sheer curtain, or offsetting the plant to the side of a brightly lit window.


A close-up of leaves showcasing intricate patterns resembling brushstrokes. Water droplets delicately adorn the surfaces, glistening under soft light, enhancing the plant's natural allure and adding a touch of ethereal beauty.
Keep the soil evenly moist.

Watering is one of the factors with Calathea ‘Medallion’ that needs balance – too little water is bad, and so is too much water. They prefer evenly moist soil, but not waterlogged. The soil must also dry out a bit between waterings. Check the soil to a depth of 2 inches; if it’s dry, they need water. Use distilled water to avoid nutrient build-up in the soil, which stresses these plants.

Never allow the plants to sit in saucers of water, as this could lead to root rot. Ensure the soil you use in the potting medium is well-draining, and increase the drainage by adding perlite or vermiculite if necessary. Reduce watering in the winter months. One of the quickest ways to kill off this plant is by incorrect watering.


Calathea ‘Medallion’ plant showcases lush leaves adorned with intricate green patterns, resembling a mesmerizing medallion. Nestled in rich brown soil, this plant flourishes, its vibrant foliage adding an artistic touch to any space.
Maintain indoor temperatures between 65-80°F.

The ideal indoor temperature is 65 to 80°F (18-29°C). If the leaves start to curl or the color is off, it’s a sign that the temperature may be too low and the plant is under stress. Due to outdoor temperature fluctuations, calatheas are often grown indoors.

Place your plant near a south-facing window but not in direct sunlight to increase the temperature around the plants.


 Intricate leaves, showcasing dark patterns and hues. Delicate water droplets glisten on the lush surface .
Optimal humidity levels for these plants are achieved by avoiding direct exposure to heat sources.

Coming from a tropical environment, these plants like a lot of humidity. To achieve this in a home environment, firstly, avoid a position near radiators, air conditioners, or drafts. Secondly, place near trays of pebbles with water to increase the humidity or, even better, place near a humidifier. A light bathroom is also ideal. Higher humidity for these plants is better than overwatering.


A person's hands gently fertilize a white potted Calathea ‘Medallion’ adorned with light green leaves, using a brown sprayer for precision. In the background, a gray couch provides a serene contrast to the vibrant plant care scene.
Feed with liquid plant food monthly from spring to autumn.

Use a liquid plant food every month when watering from spring to autumn. Reduce the liquid to half-strength and replace your usual watering schedule with fertilizer. Don’t feed in winter when the plant is dormant.

For houseplants, a liquid plant food that includes seaweed extract will benefit the plant’s health by increasing root intake of nutrients and improving resistance to pests and diseases. 


In the bright sunshine, two gray pots hold fertile soil, ready for seeds or saplings. Positioned outdoors, they await their botanical inhabitants, promising growth and vitality under the nurturing warmth of the sun.
Provide well-draining soil with added drainage materials.

In their native habitat, calatheas like rich soil that drains well. Amend rich potting soil with perlite or vermiculite to increase drainage.

To increase drainage, add vermiculite or perlite to the potting soil in a ratio of one part drainage materials to three parts potting soil. Ensure the container has plenty of drainage holes in the base to allow water to drain through.


Plants with lush, patterned leaves sit in brown pots. The leaves boast vivid shades of green, intricately marked with bold stripes and delicate veins, creating a captivating medallion-like pattern that catches the eye.
Trim brown leaves ‘ at the base for optimal growth.

These plants require very little maintenance and no pruning. Cut off old, crisp, or brown leaves at the base with a sharp pair of pruners to keep the plant neat and keep the energy going to healthy leaves and new shoots. If the humidity is too low, the leaves may brown on the edges. Any brown bits can be cut off and humidity increased to ensure it doesn’t continue.


A vibrant Calathea plant in a brown pot, showcasing its striking contrast between deep purple and vivid green foliage. The blurred backdrop accentuates the lushness of the purple leaves, adding depth to the composition.
Choose containers with drainage holes for successful repotting.

Repot Calathea every one to two years, depending on the pot size. If you see the roots trying to escape through the drainage holes, it’s time to repot into a bigger pot one to two sizes up. This is best done in the growing season, spring and summer, to avoid too much transplant shock, but it can be done at most times of the year except winter.

When repotting, use a premium potting mix and add a few handfuls of perlite or vermiculite to increase its drainage abilities. Make sure the container you choose has good drainage holes in the base, and cover these with a few stones or crocks so that the soil doesn’t escape out the bottom when you water.

Add the soil halfway and plant in the pots, filling in as you go. Press down to secure the plant in the pot and water well. A layer of mulch on the top of the soil will help conserve moisture and some mulches are used as decoration as well.


The clump-forming nature of this plant makes it easy to propagate. You can choose to propagate from divisions or by cuttings. We recommend the former if the plant is bursting from the container and looks like it wants to escape.

Avoid stem or leaf cuttings, as they are not the best way to increase the number of plants. Pups from the side of the plant can be cut off and propagated, but then you may as well just use the division method as below.


A close-up of a Calathea ‘Medallion’ plant nestled in a purple pot, showcasing intricate leaf patterns. Sunlight filters through, accentuating its foliage, while shadows dance on the pristine white backdrop.
Divide the roots with a sharp knife or shears.

Propagate by division for the best results in spring:

  1. Carefully remove the plant from the pot and shake off excess soil. Be gentle, as the roots and leaves are very delicate.
  2. The plant should form into natural divisions, or you can help it along by dividing it with a sharp knife or pruners. Make sure each separation has a good-sized amount of roots to go with it.
  3. Fill the new pots halfway with potting soil and add drainage materials like perlite or vermiculite. Plant the new divisions and backfill. Press down to remove air pockets and water well.

Common Problems

The leaves are the indicator that there is a problem with these plants. Look out for the following:

Drooping Leaves

Calathea 'Medallion' leaves featuring intricate patterns, with some edges exhibiting browning and wilting. In the blurred background, a sizable rock, ferns, and fallen leaves create a natural ambiance.
Leaf drooping may signal thirst or natural leaf movement.

Often, this is a sign that they may need water, but it may also be the natural rhythm of leaves unfolding, drooping, and folding up at night.

Yellow Leaves

A close-up of a yellowing Calathea ‘Medallion’ leaf with brown edges, showing signs of distress. The intricate patterns on the leaf are losing their vibrancy, indicating wilting and potential health issues.
Prevent yellowing leaves by avoiding overwatering.

The most common reason for yellowing leaves is too much water. They like high humidity, but that doesn’t always mean lots of water. Leaves may also turn yellow due to a lack of light. These are easy fixes. Check two inches into the soil before watering and shift it to a new position for extra light.

Dry Brown Leaves

A Calathea ‘Medallion’ leaf, showcasing intricate patterns on its surface against a softly blurred backdrop. Noticeable browning and wilting at the tip suggest a need for attentive care and hydration to maintain its lush appearance and health.
Improper light and low humidity can cause brown edges on the leaves.

Too much direct sunlight can burn the leaves of a Calathea and cause them to brown. They can also get brown edges from the type of water you use. Some hard water will cause this problem, and you may have to change it to filtered or rainwater to get them hydrated.

Often, a lack of humidity will also turn the edges of the leaves brown. To remedy this, simply increase the humidity levels and move the plants away from drafts or radiators.

Curling Leaves

Warmth and water can be the cure for curling leaves.

A lack of water usually causes curled leaves, but it can also indicate that the temperature is too cold for them. Keep the temperature above 65°F (18°C) or move them to a warmer position.


Although Calathea ‘Medallion’ is generally disease- and pest-free, we have noted a few issues to look out for.

An extreme close-up of a long-tailed mealybug perched delicately on a leaf, its small body covered in a powdery white substance. This pest, with its elongated form, feeds on the leaf's nutrients, posing a threat to the plant's health.
Prevent pest issues with these plants by promptly treating any infestations with water.

Sucking insects like whiteflies, mealybugs, and red spider mites are often brought in by the wind or on other plants and may affect the calathea. Keep the plant healthy, and you should not have any issues with pests.

If you see any of these blighters, treat them immediately by washing them in water to remove as many pests as possible, and then using neem oil or insecticidal soaps before reaching for further chemical interventions. Scale and mealybugs can be removed from the plant with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol.


Lush and broad leaves of Calathea 'Medallion' create a vibrant display. Their rich green hue is adorned with delicate white patterns, resembling intricate brushstrokes on a canvas, adding elegance to any space.
Enhance ventilation to prevent grey mold’.

Grey mold (Botrytis cinerea) is an airborne fungus that may cause a problem if it lands on damaged or dying tissue. You can avoid this by keeping all plant bits healthy and removing damaged leaves and stems. It is often caused by poor ventilation in very humid areas. Move the position of the plants, and if the problem worsens, treat with a copper-based fungicide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my Calathea ‘Medallion’ not growing?

Often, a Calathea that is not growing much is rootbound. Depending on their growth form, these plants must be re-potted every year or every two years. You can see if it needs repotting if the roots are growing out of the drainage holes. Sometimes, potbound plants show unhappiness because the leaves turn yellow.

What does the Calathea ‘Medallion’ symbolize?

Give a Calathea ‘Medallion’ as a gift, and it symbolizes new beginnings. It’s a take on the saying’ turn over a new leaf, ‘ which is exactly what this plant does when the light changes.

Are Calatheas pet-friendly?

Calatheas are considered non-toxic, which means they are safe for dogs and cats. However, it is always advisable to be cautious with any plant that isn’t edible and keep it away from pets and small children.

Final Thoughts

Calathea is among the most rewarding plants if you can manage the watering schedule well. When it starts turning up its leaves for a nighttime nap, it’s a sign for us to relax and start heading for bed, too. My houseplant collection would be a little less exciting without this plant in residence.

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