Rose Painted Calathea, rose painted prayer plant
A true beauty, the Calathea Roseopicta is a stunning houseplant that will capture your attention and simply take your breath away! Its unique markings will be the highlight of any room where it is displayed.
However, this plant is not a demure little plant that will simply waste your window space. Its large oblong leaves reveal a feathery outline underscored by sultry purple and green leaves.
Position Indirect light away from drafts or cold
Watering Water when the top half-inch of soil feels dry
Size Up to 2 feet
Climate Prefers warmth of 65 to 85 °F. Min 60 ˚F
Propagate Rhizome division
Seasonality Winter Dormant
As Calathea Roseopicta matures, these gorgeous leaves turn to a delightful shade of green and white with deep purple undersides. The large leaves fold up at night as if the plant is saying its bedtime prayers, then open up again with the morning light.
The merest hint of pink-colored markings that look like brush strokes on this plant’s leaves is the catalyst for its most common nick-names of Rose Painted Calathea and Rose Painted Prayer Plant. These markings develop as the plant matures and each one is unique. It’s simply stunning to watch the colors and variations of these ‘brush strokes’ emerge.
Calathea Roseopicta Care
Providing you familiarise yourself with this plant’s care needs, keeping it looking spectacular and healthy will be a breeze. I’ve got all the hints, tips, and myth-busting solutions you need for growing and caring for a healthy, thriving Calathea Roseopicta.
Calathea Roseopicta is a tender perennial from the Brazilian rainforest. This means it cannot tolerate any direct sunlight or cold temperatures. Instead, position your Rose-painted Calathea where it will receive bright indirect light.
Direct sunlight can cause your plant’s beautiful striations to fade away. In addition, the hot sun can burn the delicate foliage and, over time, kill your plant. Therefore, it is essential to find just the right spot to keep your Calathea.
You might place your plant in a south-facing window that has a sheer curtain. This will allow plenty of indirect light without too much intense sunlight. On the other hand, if this doesn’t work, you could keep the plant in a room with a south-facing window but keep the plant where it won’t be in the direct rays of the sun. You could also move your Calathea to a west-facing window, where it will receive indirect light all day.
Calathea does not like cold drafts, so keep it away from drafty windows and doors. Also, do not place it near a fan or air conditioner unit. Cold drafts will cause your plant to drop its leaves.
Height & Spread
Your Calathea Roseopicta is not a tiny plant. You’ll need to give it plenty of room to grow and spread! Although they don’t grow quickly, it can reach a size of about two feet tall and two feet wide given the ideal conditions. The beautiful leaves can grow up to 30 inches long.
I have found that the most challenging part of caring for any Calathea is getting the watering just right. Unfortunately, Calathea Roseopicta is no exception!
You’ll need to water your Calathea Roseopicta whenever the top ½ inch of the soil begins to feel dry. You’ll know it’s time by sticking your finger into the soil. If it feels dry, give it a drink.
It’s probably easiest to water your plant in the sink. Gently run water into the soil until it comes out of the bottom of the pot. Let your plant sit in the sink until all of the excess water drains away. If you don’t water your plant in the sink, make sure you empty any excess water from the pot’s saucer.
Calathea need moist soil, but they don’t like soggy soil because it will prevent the roots from breathing.
You may need to water your plant a couple of times a week during the growing season, but it might require much less in the winter when the plant is dormant. Just keep an eye on how dry the soil is and water accordingly.
If watering is the most critical part of Calathea care, the soil is the second most crucial part. Soil for your Calathea needs to hold in just the right amount of moisture. Calathea Roseopicta needs soil that will retain moisture and drains well so the roots don’t drown. When the soil has too much water, the plant can suffer from root rot and die. And, of course, if the soil dries out too quickly, the plant will wilt and die.
If you want to purchase a commercial, pre-made soil, African Violet soil works great for Rose-painted Calathea. It creates a balance of being able to retain moisture without being soggy.
I find you can’t go wrong with Hoffman Organic African Violet Soil Mix. It’s got the kind of light and airy texture that Calathea needs to prevent the roots from getting soggy. Nevertheless, I do always add extra grit to make for better drainage.
However, if you want to create your own mix, you can easily blend potting soil, coco coir, and perlite. The extra water will drain away quickly while keeping the plants’ roots just a little bit damp.
I’ve found that Calathea Roseopictas are primarily grown for their unique and flashy foliage. What more could you ask from such stunning leaves with deep purple striations? However, when cared for properly, this plant might just decide to bless you with a sprinkle of inconspicuous small white to purple flowers. These star-shaped flowers will appear in small clusters, usually in the spring and summer.
Don’t despair if your Calathea Roseopicta doesn’t bloom at all. While they tend to bloom naturally in the rain forest, Calathea is much less likely to bloom in captivity. It doesn’t mean your plant isn’t healthy or that there is something wrong with it. You can have a perfectly healthy plant without any blooms at all. But if you want to try to get your plant to bloom, keep working on honing in on its specific needs. The more perfect your plant’s conditions, the more likely it will be to bloom for you.
How to fertilize Calathea Roseopicta
Although most varieties of Calathea aren’t heavy feeders, they do benefit from a little bit of fertilizer. During the growing season, you can fertilize these beautiful plants about once a month. Generally speaking, the growing season lasts from early spring through fall. During the rest of the year, the plant won’t need fertilizer because it will go dormant or grow very slowly.
Any commercial tropical houseplant fertilizer will work great for your Calathea. I’ve found that you don’t need to use it full strength, though. Just dilute the fertilizer with water, making it about half of the prescribed strength. Then apply it once enough. This should be plenty of nutrients to help your plant grow. Too much fertilizer could burn the plant’s roots, so use it sparingly.
If the soil you are using has time-release fertilizer, then you won’t need to fertilize your plant at all. However, if you repot your Calathea in soil that doesn’t have fertilizer, then you can begin to fertilize it.
Many indoor gardeners are afraid to prune their expensive houseplants, but you don’t need to be worried. There are times when pruning your Calathea Roseopicta will be beneficial.
It’s perfectly normal for any houseplant to drop a leaf or two on occasion. For example, it may drop a leaf that is getting old. Or it may have a leaf that is deformed or growing strangely, and you don’t want it on the plant. However, if your plant drops many leaves, you’ll want to look at your plant’s needs and make sure it has all the conditions it needs to be healthy.
When you are ready to prune your plant, you want to sanitize or, better yet, sterilize your scissors or shears. Then simply clip off the leaf at the base of the plant and dispose of it.
A common reason to prune your plant is to remove brown tips. Improper watering or too much sun can cause brown tips to form around the leaves of the plant. They look unsightly, and you can remove them if you wish. Don’t cut away the whole leaf though, just trim away the brown spots, carefully following the natural shape of the leaf.
Repotting can cause a lot of stress on your Calathea Roseopicta. The good news is you don’t need to repot them very often, and there are a few things you can do to reduce the stress on your plant when you do need to repot it. To be honest, you only need to repot your Calathea if it is becoming root-bound. If it is, you’ll likely see some roots start growing out of the bottom of the pot.
You’ll want to choose a pot or container that is just a little bigger than the current pot – one or two inches should do the trick. First, fill the pot with the appropriate soil, as we discussed above. Then, put some of this new soil into the bottom of the new pot.
Gently lay the plant on its side, so you don’t damage it. Then slide it out of its pot. Next, you’ll need to carefully set the plant upright in the new pot and finish filling it with the new soil. If your old soil is still good, you can reuse some of the old soil, as well. Then just water the plant, as usual, making sure you let the excess water drain away.
To reduce stress on your plant after repotting, make sure you keep the plant’s surroundings the same until it has acclimated to its new pot. For example, don’t try to move it to a different room or water it with different water until you know the plant is doing well.
Stress from re-potting may cause the plant to look like it is wilting or even drop a few leaves. But if you keep providing it the right conditions, it should bounce back quickly.
How to Propagate Calathea Roseopicta
If your Calathea Reseopicta is healthy and strong, you might want to consider propagating it. Don’t worry if it doesn’t have flowers because you don’t need blooms to propagate your plant. It won’t propagate by stem cuttings, either, but it does propagate well by division.
When your Calathea is ready to be divided, it will produce off-shoots along the sides of your plant. When you have several off-shoots, you can divide them from the mother plant to create more individual plants.
Just like if you were going to repot your Calathea, place the plant on its side and gently slide it out of its pot. You’ll need to separate the mother plant and the pups carefully. For a new plant to grow, you need to make sure that each baby has some roots and at least one good leaf. If your plant is rootbound, you can separate the main plant, as well. Just try to disrupt as few roots as possible during the process.
Remember to use the appropriate soil. Place each pup into its own pot. Water as usual and be extra careful not to overwater during this period. Place the plants back into the same conditions until they are well established.
Common problems with Calathea Roseopicta
There are a few common issues that Calathea Roseopicta can face.
- Root rot. Calatheas are highly sensitive to root rot. This happens when water does not drain from the soil quickly. When too much moisture is trapped around the roots of the plant, they will begin to rot. Since the roots are in the soil, you won’t see them turning soft and slimy. You might see the leaves of the plant begin to yellow and droop, though. Using properly draining soil and only watering when the soil starts to dry out will help prevent root rot.
- Wilting Leaves. Wilting leaves can be a signal that your plant is not receiving enough water. However, they can also be a sign that your plant has been chronically overwatered and is now suffering from root rot. If the leaves look wilted, check the soil. If it is dry, water the plant. If the soil is soggy, replace it with fresh, dry soil.
- Curled leaves. A calathea will curl up its leaves to protect itself. Doing this will either protect it from the harsh sun or conserve water. Check to see if the plant needs a drink or if it is receiving too much direct light.
- Faded color. Calatheas, by nature, are brightly colored and vibrant plants. However, too much direct light can cause the natural variegations to look washed out and faded. If this is the case, you’ll need to move your plant away from the direct light before it begins to burn.
- Brown leaves or brown leaf tips. Brown crispy tips are very common in calatheas. They indict either too much sun, too little water, or a build-up of salts in the soil. Tap water can contain a mix of minerals, chlorine, and salts that will build up in the soil and burn the plant. If this is happening, you may need to try watering your calathea with rainwater or distilled water.