Calathea medallion care is not super hard, but there are a few things to remember when it comes to light and humidity especially. Learn all about this stunning plant with my care guide!
Calathea medallion care & how to help this showy plant thrive
I wrote recently about a few calathea plants, specifically in my Calathea Ornata Care Guide, my Calathea Dottie Care Guide, and my Calathea Network Care Guide. Today I am adding another calathea care post to the lineup—and it’s one I talked briefly about in my general calathea care post.
That plant is the calathea medallion, otherwise known as calathea veitchiana. But! Heads up, as I spoke about in the calathea ornata post, the medallion has been reclassified as a goeppertia, not a calathea. You probably will see it labeled as a calathea, though 🙂 So let’s jump in to calathea medallion care!
A brief background about calathea medallion
This plant is from a genus within the Marantaceae family (aka prayer plant family). Although it isn’t truly a prayer plant, it does behave somewhat like one, erecting and dropping its leaves somewhat. I say it isn’t a true prayer plant only because I find that when people say “prayer plant,” they are typically referring to maranta plants, not calatheas.
But they are closely related, and I’m probably splitting hairs. I try to research these things and write about them in as detailed of a way as possible. Regardless, they are gorgeous!
Calathea medallion is from Ecuador where it grows in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It, along with other calathea/goeppertia plants, are commonly sold as potted houseplants around the world.
The medallion has absolutely stunning peacock-looking green patterns on its leaves, while the undersides can be anywhere from burgundy to magenta. The magenta can also creep to the tops of the leaves in smaller splashes of color. The leaves are large and showy, unfurling from the base of the plant.
How much light does a calathea medallion need?
Lower light houseplant hobbyists, rejoice! While the calathea medallion does enjoy bright indirect light, it can also do well with medium or even low light levels. If you have your medallion in lower or medium light levels, you’ll likely notice less new growth. You’ll also probably need to water it a bit less.
Avoid direct sunlight. Too much direct sunlight will burn the plant’s delicately patterned leaves. If you notice that your plant’s colors are fading but the leaves are now showing signs of scorching or burning, you may be giving the plant just a hair too much light.
How often do you water your calathea medallion?
Calathea medallion soil likes to stay moist but not wet. After you water your plant, the soil will begin to dry out at the top first. Once the top inch or so of soil is dry, you can water the plant again. The frequency of watering will also depend a lot on temperature, sunlight, and soil type.
I want to address a controversial topic when it comes to watering calathea plants in general, too. That’s what kind of water to use. Many people suggest that calathea plants are very sensitive to the chemicals found in tap water.
Accordingly, they suggest using filtered, bottled, or rain water to water calathea medallions. I think this depends a lot on where you live and what kind of water you have. For example, the water at my house differs a lot from the water at my mom’s house just minutes away because one is city water and one is well water.
I like to water my plants with old fishtank water, but to do that I have to time my waterings with changing the tank. I also like to collect rainwater if I can, but again—not always practical. Generally I just use tap water for my plants.
If you also want to use tap water and not fuss with anything else, see if you can let the water sit out for a day or so before watering your plants. This can help the harmful things in water dissipate. But again, I’m a busy person, so I usually don’t do that. 🙂
When I water my calatheas, I also like to thoroughly rinse off the leaves. Tops and bottoms. This is a great and easy way to clean off dust and retain leaf shine without using actual leaf shine products. The extra moisture is also great for the humidity-loving medallion!
Calathea soil needs
Choose a soil labeled “houseplant soil” or “indoor plant soil.” These soil mixes come premixed with things that enhance drainage like perlite or coco coir (great peat moss alternative). If the soil is too dense, it will retain too much water. A lighter, loose soil will help retain water while not making the soil sopping wet.
Temperature & humidity needs
Calathea medallion does well in a variety of household temperature levels. However, it tends to enjoy warmer temperatures more. It is not cold or frost hardy, so if you have it outside for the spring and summer, it needs to come inside when the temperatures begin dropping regularly below 50 degrees at night.
It also likes humidity, making calathea medallion care on the harder end of the care spectrum. If you notice that the edges of leaves are browning and crispy, it could be a result of humidity levels that are too low. Check out the leaves on this medallion I had about 6 years ago…the bottom ones. Yikes! I was ignoring it. 🙂
To keep this plant happy indoors, add a humidifier or consider putting it in a bathroom. If you have one that has a window, that is. Without a window, the humidity might be higher…but the light levels will probably be too low!
Calathea medallion care: Growth, fertilizing, & repotting needs
A mature calathea medallion will likely to out around a couple feet tall. The calathea I had years ago pictured above was very large. It was about half that size when I got it if I remember correctly. The one I have now is a bit smaller, but I am looking forward to some growth this summer!
This plant isn’t a particularly fast grower, but it also doesn’t seem to be a super slow grower either. At least in my experience. If your calathea seems to be suffering and there is no other obvious problem—and you’ve had the plant for a while—consider repotting!
If you take the plant out of its pot and the roots are circling the bottom of the pot, it’s also time. And if the roots are starting to grow out of the pot’s drainage holes, it’s also probably time.
If you choose to fertilize your plant, I recommend using something like Liqui-Dirt or worm castings. I don’t use chemical fertilizers because I have burned plants in the past. Honestly, I just find things like worm castings and Liqui-Dirt easy and idiot-proof.
I add Liqui-Dirt concentrate to my watering can every few watering sessions. No need in over-using it. Even though it won’t hurt the plant, that stuff isn’t cheap. So don’t waste it! And worm castings are a great addition when repotting your plant.
Are calathea medallion plants safe for pets?
Yes, calathea plants in general are not considered to be toxic when ingested. However, they are not for consumption, they are ornamental plants. Therefore, it’s always best to try to keep even non-toxic plants away from munchie pets and kids.
To read more about non-toxic plants you can safely buy for pet-friendly homes, see my post 16 Non-Toxic Plants for Cats to Add to Your Collection!
Common issues calathea medallions may experience
There aren’t many issues your calathea medallion may experience. And, honestly, most of them can probably be linked back to a lack of humidity! 🙂 Let’s touch on a few.
1. Crispy brown leaf edges
If your plant has crispy brown edges, this is probably a response to low humidity. If adding a humidifier doesn’t improve new growth, consider trying to water the plant with filtered water. (I know. I am a hypocrite because I don’t do this, but you may want to try!)
2. Crispy leaf edges with drooping leaves and stems
Underwatering could also contribute to crispy brown leaf edges. It might be a combination of both. If the soil is completely dry, then underwatering is probably an issue. If you find that the soil is so dry that it is shrinking away from the edge of the pot, use a fork to break it up before watering.
Give the plant a good, solid drink. Let all of the excess water drain from the pot’s drainage holes. And don’t deprive it again! Because although the calathea medallion will probably rebounding with some very occasional neglect, it is not drought tolerant.
3. Faded or scorched foliage
Are the beautiful patterns on your medallion’s leaves fading? Not nearly as vivid as they used to be? It might be getting too much light! If you are noticing burn marks or white scorching that fades to brown…it’s definitely getting too much light. Sunburn 🙁
4. Foliage fading to a yellowish color and going limp
If, however, your plant’s foliage is fading to a washed-out, yellowish color and going limp, you’re probably overwatering it. Or the soil is too dense and is retaining too much water.
Trim off the dying foliage and back off of the water. That should fix it unless the soil is too heavy, in which case you’ll need to repot the plant to a well-draining mixture more suitable for calatheas.
5. Spotted leaves with webbing around the edges
And if your medallion’s leaves are yellowing and drying off and you notice fine webbing around the perimeter of the leaves? Spider mites. Check the tips of the leaves and the area where the leaves meet the stem, especially. Spider mites LOVE setting up shop there.
Rinse the plant off with cool water and then use a store-bought insecticide to spray the foliage down. Make sure to get the undersides of the plant, too. You may need to trim off damaged foliage, too, unless you catch the infestation very early.
Calathea medallion propagation
Calathea plants can be propagated through division. You cannot propagate them from leaf cuttings like some other plants. Take a look at your plant to see how many plants you have in your pot. In the picture below, you can see that I have several groupings of plants in my pot.
To propagate these, you can take the plant out of the pot and gently divide the clumps. Make sure you take some of the roots with you when you separate the clumps. Then just pot them up separately in smaller containers with fresh soil. Enjoy!