Calathea roseopicta ‘Dottie‘
a.k.a. Rose-Painted Calathea ‘Dottie‘
‘Dottie’ is an undoubtedly beautiful and colorful variety of the species Calathea roseopicta. Calathea Dottie is its most common colloquial name.
This plant has large, oval-shaped green leaves that mature into a glossy dark purple with age.
Perhaps the most intriguing trait of this tropical favorite is that each leaf bears a striking ring of fuchsia pink and a deep purple underside.
Calathea roseopicta is also affectionately known as the Rose-Painted Calathea or Rose-Painted Prayer Plant. ‘Dottie’ is a specific genetic variant of this plant species.
The Calathea genus gets the nickname ‘prayer plant’ from its unique nyctinastic behavior.
During the daytime, the leaves lay flat and open to absorb as much sunlight as possible. When the sun goes down, the leaves curl up and appear closed like hands in prayer.
Calathea are well known for being a little high maintenance but that is no reason to be put off. With a little attention and the right growing conditions, it can thrive as a gorgeous addition to your houseplant collection.
I keep my Calathea Dottie on a shelf in my kitchen. It has certainly added a pop of color to what was otherwise a darker corner of my home! Even more pleasingly, its beauty and unique markings never fail to spark conversation among house guests.
Like most Calathea, this plant is native to South America. It’s found most commonly in Brazil and, like any other Calathea, it thrives in more humid environments (think the kitchen or bathroom). This plant can grow quickly in the right conditions, so expect to see new emerge on a regular basis!
Calathea Dottie Care
This particular variety of Calathea is one of the easier ones to look after. With the right growing environment, you can easily have a beautiful and striking Calathea for your own home.
Here are some tips and tricks to keep your plant healthy and happy:
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There are a few different places you can place your Calathea Dottie in order for it to thrive. This plant does not enjoy direct sunlight. Excess sun exposure could burn the leaves or cause the beautiful color of the foliage to fade.
While Calathea is a tropical genus, these plants are commonly found growing under dense tree canopies. This plant can survive in low-light environments, so the corner of an otherwise well-lit room is often fine. But I recommend installing a grow lamp if you plan to keep your Calathea in a particularly poorly lit location.
Calathea enjoy high humidity. You don’t want the environment around them to become too dry as this could cause the edges of the leaves to dry out and curl (separate from the plant’s nighttime habits).
Height and Spread
Calathea Dottie, like most indoor plants, grows at a moderate pace. This particular type of Calathea has a winter dormancy period and will naturally grow more vigorously in the spring and summer months.
You can be sure that this plant will never take over your space. Calathea rarely grow any more than 25 inches tall and wide. All in all, it’s a perfectly proportioned medium- or large-sized houseplant that works best in a container or pot of about 6 inches.
With all houseplants, it’s important to pay attention to the individual plant’s needs and build a consistent watering routine. For Calathea Dottie, a schedule of once per week is recommended. But this will vary based on its environment, ambient temperature, and the season.
Calathea enjoy moist but not soggy soil, as they can be prone to root rot (something you definitely want to avoid). You should aim to water them when the top few inches of soil are dry.
A quick and easy way to test the moisture levels in soil is by inserting a finger 2 or 3 inches into the soil. If it feels dry, then it’s time to water your plant. If not, check back again in a few days.
As with most tropical houseplants, this one needs humidity to thrive. A great way to help it get the humidity it needs is to mist the leaves in the mornings.
Another way to help keep your plant moist with the water it needs is to place some stones or pebbles in the bottom of your decorative pot and to add some water into the bottom of the pot. This helps to keep the roots dry but they are still able to absorb all the water they need and the water evaporating creates its own humidity.
During the spring and summer, make sure to water your plant more regularly. Reduce the frequency of watering in winter.
Top Tip: If you are using tap water, it is best to let the water sit out overnight. This allows chlorine and other chemicals found in tap water to evaporate.
The soil for a Dottie needs to be slightly moist or damp but not wet. They do not enjoy when their soil has completely dried out. You may see the leaves and stems of the plant begin to droop downwards. If this happens, give it some water immediately.
Calathea are not particularly picky with what soil they are placed in. The key thing is that the soil allows for proper drainage and is not left soggy after watering.
During the summer months, Calathea Dottie is known to produce small white flowers. However, these rarely appear when kept as an indoor plant. If kept in the correct conditions and fed with a quality fertilizer, you may get your plant to bloom. It is definitely worth the time and effort since the white flowers are absolutely beautiful.
How To Fertilize Calathea Dottie
Calathea can be tricky plants to fertilize. It is important to feed them during the maximum growth periods during the spring, summer, and beginning of fall.
You should refrain from using any fertilizer during the winter months. There will be little or no growth during this time and, quite frankly, your plant will not require the additional nutrients.
I feed my Calathea Dottie regularly between March and September using Jobe’s Houseplant Indoor Fertilizer Food Spikes. I love the convenient, fuss-free approach that using spikes brings.
Just use a couple of the spikes pressed into the soil at the start of the growing season and water as normal. I don’t constantly need to remember to fertilize and the slow-release formula limits the risk of root burn.
Occasionally, some of the leaves on your Calathea Dottie will start to brown or yellow on the edges. This is quite common and nothing to worry about, and does not necessarily mean that this leaf is dying. However, when the issue starts to spread onto the whole leaf or onto the stem of the leaf, it is a good sign that the leaf is unhealthy and unlikely to survive much longer.
If you do notice that one of the leaves is starting to die, the best course of action is to trim the leaf or cut it off completely. If you don’t, the plant will expend energy trying to revive the dying foliage instead of focusing on producing new, healthy leaves.
You should be able to gently pull already dead leaves from the stem without damaging the plant. Use a clean pair of pruning scissors or a knife to cut away discolored foliage that won’t come loose.
If you notice the problem early enough, there’s no need to get rid of the whole leaf. You can simply take your scissors and trim the discolored edges of the leaves. This will help save the leaves without causing further damage or risk of the whole leaf dying.
Calathea can be very sensitive to repotting, so you should aim to do this only when necessary.
If you recently purchased a Calathea Dottie and the pot seems to small, now is a good time to re-pot it as it will start to adjust to the new environment overall.
After this, you should only re-pot your plant very occasionally, as the plant can suffer from shock and may take time to recover. I recommend repotting Calathea every 2 to 3 years as needed.
That being said, you still need to check on the roots and pot often and look for signs of growth to identify when to repot. Roots that are beginning to poke out of the drainage holes at the bottom mean that it is time to re-pot.
The ideal time of the year to re-pot your Calathea is during the early spring months, as this will give the plant enough time during its growth period to adjust to the new size of pot.
How To Propagate a Calathea Dottie
If you want to propagate a Calathea the only effective way to do so is through root division. When you take the plant out of its pot while re-potting, you will see a natural separation of the root system. You might even see new shoots beginning to emerge.
Work gently to remove any excess soil, being careful to not damage any of the roots as Calathea roots can be very fragile. Once you have done this, you should be able to easily separate and place the root division into its own fresh pot with a healthy mix of well-draining soil.
Common Problems With Calathea Dottie
There are a few tell-tale signs that your Calathea is unhappy with its surroundings. But there’s nothing to worry about. Here are some common problems and solutions that may help:
Burnt or Crispy leaves
This could be caused by a number of things, including too much sunlight, chlorine- or mineral-rich tap water, and over-fertilizing. All of these problems can be very easily solved.
Try taking your Dottie out of any direct sunlight and using collected rainwater or distilled bottled water. When watering, make sure to take your plant out of its ornamental pot and place it in a sink. Pour water over the soil until it freely runs through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. This will allow excess fertilizer to be flushed out.
Droopy or Floppy Leaves
This could be due to lack of watering or lack of humidity. Remember that Calathea Dottie are adapted to very high humidity. Ensure that your plant has enough water and try increasing the level of humidity by misting your plant more often.
You could even try putting the pot on top of some pebbles or stones covered in water so the plant can absorb the water as it evaporates.
If you have multiple Calathea plants, they’ll enjoy being close to each other within your home! This will create a unique micro-climate with increased humidity they’ll all benefit from.
Brown or Black Spots on Leaves
This is a sign of overwatering. Calathea enjoy a moist setting but, as they are prone to root rot, make sure you are not overwatering and allow the roots to absorb the oxygen that they need.
Because of the nature of their preferred soil and humidity, Calathea are extremely attractive to fungus gnats and fruit flies. If this happens, it’s nothing to worry about.
Try spraying Neem oil on the leaves, spraying the leaves and soil with a dish soap and water mixture, and watering your plant from the bottom. These are all effective ways to drive away fungus gnats.