How to Take Care of a Calathea Medallion


A curious fact about the calathea medallion is that you can expect its leaves to shift and move during a normal day. Its oval-shaped leaves are indeed very sensitive to light, which causes it to arrange itself in different arrangements, especially if you keep it near a window.

Personally, I think it’s a plant’s way of dancing. Also, you might enjoy that this calathea variety is also chill when it comes to its caring needs. So, how do you care for a Calathea Medallion exactly?

To take care for a Calathea Medallion, keep in mind the following instructions:

  • Light: they prefer indirect bright light. Avoid prolonged direct sunlight exposure.
  • Water: it is suggested to keep its soil moist (but not soggy) as much as you can. Avoid overwatering.
  • Fertilization: apply water-soluble fertilizer every 3 to 4 weeks during the spring and summer months.

The recommendations above should be enough to keep your Calathea Medallion growing healthily and just right in normal conditions. However, there are other caring tasks that you may be interested to learn about since they will take your plant caring skillset to the next level.

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How to Care for a Calathea Medallion

For instance, you may be wondering if the calathea medallion plants are toxic to pets or what the best temperature to grow these plants is. Fret not, we’ve got these topics covered and more in this guide.

Calathea Medallion Caring Guide

We have divided the caring guidelines to take care of  a Calathea Medallion into the following categories:

  • Watering
  • Light and Placement
  • Temperature and Humidity
  • Soil and Fertilization
  • Pruning and Hygiene 

Additionally, you will find a Frequently Asked Questions section at the end of this guide. These are based on search queries from plant lovers like you and me. Ok, ready? Then let’s get started!

How much and how often should I water a Calathea Medallion?

You should water your Calathea Medallion only when you notice that its soil is getting dry. This should happen between 1 and 2 times per week, depending on the place where you live and the placement of your plant in your house. That’s why we suggest checking your plant on a daily basis to monitor the soil moisture level and water if needed. 

calathea medallion blooming

When it comes to quantity, you should control the amount of water you pour at once, since the goal is to achieve even moisture on the top layer of the soil and allow the roots to absorb the fluid with nutrients as it flows down.

Personally, I’ve found that 8 ounces (250 ml) or a bit more usually works well on my end. However, you should do your own due diligence to determine what is the right quantity, since more variables like pot size and size of plant will come into play. 

Keep in mind to check the pot drainage holes (after you’ve watered it) to make sure that water effectively comes out. If it does, this will mean that the water was able to reach all the root levels and that drainage is working fine – which is necessary to avoid the dreaded root rot.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid extreme scenarios around your Calathea Medallion. This means that you should not overwater your plant and create waterlogging, since this can put your calathea medallion at risk of root rot. Also, you should not let the soil dry out as this will impair your plant from absorbing vital nutrients needed for its healthy growth.

calathea medallion

Light and Placement

Regarding light, the Calathea Medallion shows a strong preference for indirect bright light. In other words, places like windows, balconies and rooms with good light are the right spot to place your Calathea Medallion. Kitchens are also recommended due to their high overall  humidity. Avoid dark bedrooms or bathrooms if they don’t get a good amount of indirect light during the day. 

Something to keep in mind is that they won’t tolerate prolonged direct sunlight exposure, so make sure to adjust their position if you keep it outdoors or in a balcony. What this will achieve, is that you will be able to prevent the excessive heat that could make the leaves scorch.

An amazing feature of this plant is how actively its leaves respond to light, by taking different shapes and forms. Here some positions that I have spotted:

And with its leaves opened

Temperature and Humidity

Calathea Medallion plants prefer warm and very humid environments. It is suggested to keep your plant in temperatures between 60º and 80º Fahrenheit (16º and 27º Celsius). Be mindful during winter and fall months, since they won’t be able to tolerate cold drafts or the frost. Keep in mind these are tropical plants, which means they aren’t accustomed to seasons or extreme changes in temperatures either high or low. 

As with most tropical plants, it’s a good rule of thumb to try to mimic, as much as you can, Calathea’s native environmental conditions. In this case, the humid conditions from the tropical Americas.

That’s why most Calathea owners agree that it’s very handy to mist your plant around with water, at least every other day, while avoiding the leaves directly. Alternately, if you live in a cold place or its winter, you might consider placing your plant in a humidity pebble tray or next to a humidifier.

Soil and Fertilization

A Calathea Medallion plant will thrive in soil with good drainage properties, which can be a porous mix with some peat moss and perlite. This combination will ensure that the soil gets moist but not soggy. What you want to do, is avoid a soil mix that retains too much water and puts the plant at risk of root rot. Also, try to find a soil mix that drains well, as it will act as a backup in case you mess up and accidentally overwater your plant.

calathea medallion seen from above

When it comes to fertilization, you can perform this task every month during one of the spring and summer months. To do so, you simply need to dilute houseplant fertilizer in water until you get it to ¼ strength. You should avoid fertilization during winter months as your plant will enter dormancy, which will cause its growth rate to decrease significantly.

When should I Repot my Calathea Medallion?

You should repot your Calathea Medallion every 1 to 2 years, this will give it the chance to get fresh soil that is replenished with nutrients. 

Also, keep in mind that if you choose a bigger new pot, this shouldn’t be more than 2 inches bigger in diameter than the old pot. Alternatively, you can always keep in the same pot unless you notice significant root bound or expansion.

When repotting, keep in mind the following steps:

  • Make sure to remove the plant gently from its original pot and shake off the old soil from its roots.
  • Pour the new soil mix into the pot, filling about one-third of its volume. You can dig a hole in the center to ease your way when placing the plant.
  • Place the plant in the center of the pot, make sure the stem base or leaves aren’t drowned, try to keep the same depth level that it had before.
  • Use a shovel to fill with soil the spaces around the base of the stems, check that the plant is firm on its new soil.
  • Water your calathea so that all the soil layers are moist and settled.

Pruning and Hygiene

Regularly pruning your Calathea Medallion is recommended to keep it strong and healthy. It is necessary to perform this caring task when the old leaves from your Calathea start to drain the energy from your plant, or perhaps some leaves get scorched because of excessive sunlight.

When the time comes to prune your Calathea Medallion, keep mind the following:

  • Plan your cuts and identify which are the yellow or brownish leaves that you want to remove.
  • Sterilize your pruning instrument. Make sure to apply some alcohol to your shears or sharp knife before performing any cutting.
  • Make the cuttings from the stem base. This is the spot where the leaf stem starts, close to its rhizomes.
  • Although calathea medallions aren’t toxic plants, we suggest that you wear gloves to protect your fingers and prevent your shears or knife from slipping off.

When it comes to cleaning your plant, I would suggest wiping it off with a soft clean tissue every week to clean the dust that can accumulate on its leaves and keep pests away. 

Propagation

Most calathea owners recommend propagating this species via division. For the sake of productivity and health of your plant, it is also suggested to propagate it when doing repotting, ideally during the spring months. Here are some suggestions to succeed in propagation:

  • Remove your plant from its pot, place it horizontally on the floor or on a table. 
  • Plan your divisions. Considering the new stem and leaves will grow from the rhizomes, make sure to spot these parts or tubers for each of the planned divisions.
  • Gently divide the plant from its roots, you can use a sharp knife to cut the tubers.
  • Place the divided plants in their respective pots that should have been filled with about ⅓ of soil. Make sure that the plants aren’t drowned and keep them about the same height in comparison to the mother plant.
  • Use a shovel to fill with soil the spaces between the plants and the pot walls.
  • Pour water and follow the caring guidelines described earlier.

And that’s it for caring guidelines! Now, let’s move on and take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions related to Calathea Medallion care.

Calathea Medallion – Frequently Asked Questions

How big does a Calathea Medallion get?

Calathea Medallion Plants can reach a height between 15 and 23 inches (40 and 60 centimeters). They are considered to be a fast-growing houseplant.

Why is my Calathea medallion dying?

Calathea Medallion plants are very sensitive to overwatering or underwatering. Make sure to keep the right moisture on its soil. Water the plant only when the soil is drying out, and try to keep it moist as long as you can, without creating sogginess in the soil. 

Excessive direct sunlight exposure can also harm your plant, you will notice this if all the leaves become brown or they start scorching. Make adjustments to the placement of your plant so that it can still get indirect bright light.

Conversely, if you keep your plant in a dark room or in the cold, this could be one of the causes why your plant is dying. Remember that Calathea Medallion plants thrive in warm and humid environments that get indirect light (think South American Tropics!). 

Why are my Calathea medallion leaves curling?

There are several reasons for this to happen. First, it could be that the soil from your plant is too dry. Make sure to water your plant frequently and try to keep the soil moist at all times.

If you notice that the soil dried out completely and the leaves are curling and getting brown, you can soak-water your plant by placing it in a tub or container filled with 4 inches of cold water. Let your plant absorb the water through its drainage hole until you notice that all the soil layers are moist. You can poke your finger or use a chopstick to verify this.

Another common cause for leaf curling could be that the water you are using is very saturated with chlorine, salt or fluoride. These minerals can remain seated in the leaves and cause little burns that make the curling movement occur. 

Last but not least, this issue could be related to improper temperature and humidity care. Make sure that your plant is not exposed to cooling vents or hot/dry air. You can also increase humidity by misting some water around your plant on a daily basis.

Why are my Calathea medallion leaves getting brown?

The most probable cause of this issue is too much direct sunlight exposure. Other less common causes are associated with soil dryness or poor water quality.

How many types of Calathea plants are there?

According to Wikipedia, there are more than 156 total Calathea varieties. Besides the Calathea Medallion, here are other popular varieties to grow indoors:

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Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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