rose painted calathea Dottie
The Calathea Dottie is undoubtedly beautiful and colorful with large oval-shaped green leaves that mature into a glossy dark purple with age.
But perhaps the most intriguing and unique feature of this houseplant favorite is that each leaf has a striking ring of fuchsia pink and a beautifully contrasting deep purple underside.
Making for a truly stunning addition to your collection.
Position Bright, indirect sunlight
Watering Moist but not soggy soil
Size Maximum 15-25 inches tall
Climate 65°- 95°F, 50% humidity
Toxicity Non-toxic to pets and people
Calathea Dottie is also affectionately known as Rose Painted Calathea or Rose Painted Prayer Plant Dottie. This nickname of ‘prayer plant’ is given to this plant simply because of its own behaviours.
During the daylight the leaves are flat and open so that they can absorb as much sunlight as possible, however during the night time when there are low light conditions, the leaves move and curl up and appear closed. This movement is to maximize the light absorption for the plant.
This plant is in the family of Calathea, a species of plant that is well known to be a little high maintenance but that is no reason to be put off. If you pay good attention to any plant and give it the correct conditions it will thrive and grow into a gorgeous addition to your collection.
I keep my Calathea Dottie on a shelf in my kitchen and it has certainly added a beautiful pop of color to what was otherwise a darker corner of my home. Even more pleasingly, it never fails to start a conversation about its beauty and unique markings with all my visitors.
Like most Calathea, this plant is native to South America, found most commonly in Brazil, and like any other Calathea it thrives in more humid environments (think Kitchen or bathroom). This plant can grow quickly if it is in the right conditions so expect to regularly see some of those beautiful new leaves beginning to show!
Calathea Dottie Care
Thankfully, this particular variety of Calathea is one of the easier ones to look after so this is a good place to start, and with all the right conditions you will have a beautiful and striking Calathea Dottie for your home. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your plant healthy and happy! But remember, each plant is different!
There are a few different places that you can place your Calathea Dottie for it to thrive. The plant does not enjoy any direct sunlight, doing so could burn the leaves or cause the beautiful color of the dark purple to fade.
Unlike many tropicals, this plant can survive in low-light environments, so corners of a room or on shelves are fine. As long as it gets some indirect light it can be happy, nothing too dark though, medium-strength light is best.
As this plant is native to South America in rain forest environments so they enjoy high humidity, places such as bathrooms or kitchens are perfect. You don’t want the environment around them is too dry as this could cause the edges of the leaves to dry out and crisp up.
Any window facing North, East, or West is fine for the plant to enjoy as long as they are out of the direct sunlight. So behind the frosted glass of a bathroom window is a great option for them to thrive in.
Height and Spread
Calathea Dottie, like most indoor plants, will only grow at a moderate rate. This particular type of Calathea is winter dormant and therefore will grow more abundantly in the spring and summer months.
In the home, you can be sure that this plant will never take over your space as they will rarely grow any more than 25 inches tall and wide. All in all, it’s a perfectly proportioned medium to large-sized house plant that works best in a container or pot size of around 14cm.
One of the most important ways to care for your Dottie is to get the watering process right and to know when is the right time to use your watering can! This can be the tricky part. With all house plants, it is important to pay attention to the plant and have a good routine of watering each one. Once a week is recommended for this plant but this will vary based on its environment, temperature, and season.
With this plant, they enjoy moist but not wet soil, as they can be prone to root rot (something you definitely want to avoid). You should aim to water them when the first few inches of soil is dry. A quick and easy way to test the moisture levels in soil is by inserting two fingers 2-3 inches into the soil. If it feels almost 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 occasionally in the mornings, this way they can absorb that water throughout the day with their Somata (like plant pores on their leaves).
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, months make sure to water your plant more regularly and reduce the frequency of watering in winter.
Top Tip! House plants love rainwater, but if you are using tap water it is best to allow the tap water to rest overnight so that the chlorine and other chemicals found in tap water can evaporate. This will make for happier plants and the leaves will not discolor or crisp on the edges!
The soil for a Dottie needs to be slightly moist or damp but not wet. They do not enjoy it when their soil has completely dried out. You may see the leaves and stems of the plant begin to droop downwards if this happens, you you probably need to need to give it some water immediately.
The Calathea are not particularly picky with what soil they are placed in, a mixture of potting soil, charcoal, orchid bark and perlite, and moss in their correct quantities are all suitable. The key thing is that the soil allows for proper drainage and is not left soggy in order for them to thrive.
During the summer months the Calathea Dottie is known to produce small white blooms of flowers. However these will rarely appear when they are kept as an indoor plant. If your plant is kept in the correct conditions and is fed with a good quality fertilizer regularly, you could get your plant to bloom. It is definitely worth the investment of time and effort because the white flowers are absolutely beautiful.
How to Fertilize your Calathea Dottie
Calathea Dottie can be tricky plants to fertilize and it is important to fertilize them during the maximum growth periods during the spring, summer, and beginning of fall. However, you should refrain from using any fertilizer during the winter months as there will be little or no growth during this time and quite simply, 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 a couple of the spikes pressed into the soil at the start of the growing season and water as normal. It means that I don’t constantly need to remember to fertilize and the slow-release of the spikes means that root burn is never an issue.
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 this leaf is unhealthy and is unlikely to survive.
If you do notice that one of your leaves is starting to die, the best course of action is to trim the leaf or cut it off completely instead of leaving it on the plant. If you do not do this the plant will then be using extra energy to try to revive the dying leaf or leaves instead of focusing its energy on producing new and healthy leaves.
If your leaf is already completely dead you should be able to pull the leaf from the stem and remove it in one go without damaging the plant. However, if you have noticed the leaves starting to yellow/brown over you can remove them early with some pruning scissors or a pruning knife as long as they are sanitized and clean as to not contaminate the plant in any way.
If you have noticed the problem early enough there should be no need to get rid of the whole leaf. If you see that the edges of the leaves have started to look crispy and discoloured you can simply take your scissors and trim the edges of the leaves and cut off the dying edges. This will help save the leaves without causing further damage or risk of the whole leaf dying.
Calathea Dottie can be very sensitive to repotting, so you should only aim to do this when it is necessary and the plant needs it such as when the roots become pot bound or your plant is looking too big for the pot.
If you have newly purchased a Calathea Dottie and it seems that the pot is too small, then 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, (every 2-3 years or so) as the plant can suffer from shock and may take time to recover.
That being said, you do 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, simple as that.
The ideal time of the year to re-pot your Calathea Dottie 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
What’s better than one beautiful house plant? TWO! So what’s better than propagating your Calathea Dottie when it becomes too large or starts to need repotting?
If you are looking 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 pattern and even 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 pop the roots into its own fresh plant pot with a healthy mix of well-draining soil and you’re good to go!
Common Problems with Calathea Dottie
There are a few tell-tale signs that your Calathea Dottie is a little unhappy in its surroundings. But there’s nothing to worry about. There’s always a cause and solution for any issue you might be having with this lovely house plant and here are some common problems and solutions that may help!
Burnt or Crispy leaves
This could be a number of things, including too much sunlight, using chlorine and 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 use rainwater to water your plant instead of tap water. When watering, make sure you take your plant out of its ornamental pot and place it over a sink. Pour collected rainwater 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 in their natural environment Calathea Dottie are used to very high humidity. Ensure that your plant has enough water and try increasing the level of humidity such as misting your plant more often.
You could even try putting your pots on top of some pebbles or stones so covered in water so the plant can absorb the water as it evaporates.
My top Tip for increasing humidity is to remember that Calathea plants of all varieties enjoy the same humidity and environment. If you have multiple Calathea plants they will enjoy being close to each other within your home! This will create their own microclimate with increased humidity for them all to benefit from.
Brown/black spotting on your leaves
This is a sign of overwatering your plant. Calatheas 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 soil and high humidity requirements, this creates an ideal setting for fungus gnats and fruit flies to be drawn to, and is very common. If this happens it’s nothing to worry about.
Try spraying neem oil on your plants leaves, spraying the leaves and soil with a dish soap and water mixture, and also watering your plant from the bottom are all effective ways to drive away the fungus gnats. If the problem persists you could also try using a chemical treatment for the problem.