Calathea plants often have a reputation for being fussy and difficult to care for, but Calathea musaica, or Goeppertia kegeljanii, is a beautiful calathea variety that’s a bit more easygoing. Calathea musaica plant care is actually relatively simple, and a great way to dip your toes into calathea care!
This is one of 300 calathea varieties in the world and a member of the Marantaceae family. This particular variety comes from the tropical rainforests of Brazil.
Calathea musaica is also known as Calathea Network or just the network plant because of its intricately patterned yellow and green leaves, which are covered in a complex “network” of lines and mosaic-like patterns. These glossy leaves might not be quite as flashy as some of musaica’s other calathea cousins, like the peacock plant, but it’s still a stunning and rather low-maintenance addition to your houseplant collection.
During the day, the leaves of Calathea musaica tilt to catch more sunlight and fold downward during the night, similar to a prayer plant. This is why these plants are also sometimes called the Network Prayer Plant.
This plant is a little trickier to find than some other calathea varieties, but its beauty and easygoing nature make the search well worth it. As an added bonus, Calathea musaica is nontoxic, which makes it an excellent houseplant choice if you have curious pets or kids who might take a bite out of the leaves!
Here’s everything you need to know about Calathea musaica plant care.
Table of Contents
Calathea Musaica Plant Care
Though this plant likes consistently and evenly moist soil, it’s important that your soil drains quickly.
Regular indoor potting mix can work well if you add a soil amendment like perlite or vermiculite to improve drainage (up to 1 part amendment and 2 parts potting mix).
Our Indoor Plant Soil is also a great choice because it’s ready to go right out of the bag.
Make sure to use a pot with great drainage. Calathea musaica is a fairly slow grower, so you can choose a pot that’s just one size, or 2-3 inches, larger than your plant’s root ball. It doesn’t mind being a little snug in its pot!
Like most calatheas, Calathea musaica likes evenly moist soil. Make sure to water when the top inch or two of soil feels dry to the touch.
Make sure to test the soil before watering, because your plant can develop health problems if you overwater.
If you want something that’s more accurate than a simple finger test, you can use a moisture meter to get a more accurate idea of your calathea’s soil moisture levels.
This is the moisture meter we like. It also measures light levels and soil pH!
To get an accurate reading, insert the meter’s sensor into the soil about halfway between the base of the plant and the edge of the pot, and about halfway down into the pot. Once the meter reads 4 or lower, your plant is ready for a drink!
To water, make sure to give the soil a good soaking by adding water to the surface until it just starts to drain out the bottom. (Take care not to get water on the leaves, because this can lead to health problems and potentially spread fungus and bacteria.) You can also try bottom watering your plant, especially if you tend to be a habitual overwaterer!
Calatheas tend to be sensitive to chemicals in tap water like chlorine and fluoride, so you may want to use distilled or rainwater if possible.
If you know you’re taking great care of your calathea otherwise and you’re seeing browning leaf tips, consider switching the type of water you use. At the very least, consider leaving your plant’s water out overnight to let some of those chemicals evaporate.
Like many tropical plants that evolved to thrive under the rainforest canopy, Calathea musaica thrives in bright, indirect sunlight.
Place your plant in an east-facing window if possible or near a south- or west-facing window, but not so close that the hot midday or afternoon sun falls right on the leaves. A north-facing window can also work, but if you notice your plant showing signs of insufficient light (taking forever to dry out, yellowing, drooping, etc.), try moving it or supplementing with a full-spectrum grow light. We love these grow bulbs you can simply screw into regular light fixtures!
A Calathea musaica’s ideal temperature ranges from 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not let temperatures drop below 60 degrees.
It’s also important to keep your plant well away from drafts, because the leaves can easily freeze and turn black! If this occurs, they won’t recover; you’ll have to prune them off and wait until your plant recovers and grows more.
Watch out for heaters, fireplaces, and heating/air-conditioning vents as well, which can dry out or scorch your plant’s leaves!
These plants like humidity, so the more rainforest-like you can make their environment, the better! Your Calathea musaica will be happy with humidity between 50-80%, with a comfy medium of 60%.
If you live in a dry area or use central heat or air conditioning, you might need to make some effort to raise the humidity level around your plant.
Since Calathea musaica tends to stay fairly small, you can easily use a humidity tray. You can buy these online or at any garden center, or make your own DIY tray by filling a shallow tray with pebbles and water and sitting the entire pot on top. Make sure the roots and leaves don’t touch the water. As the water evaporates, it will raise the local humidity around your plant.
You can also set up a humidifier near your plant, group it with other plants (respiration also raises the local humidity), or place your plant in a bright, steamy bathroom.
One thing to know about humidity, though, is that it can raise the risk of fungal and bacterial growth on your plant. The best way to prevent this is to provide some airflow around your plant’s leaves. A gentle fan in the room can really help with this. And if you notice your calathea’s foliage getting really thick, you may want to thin it out a little to promote airflow between the leaves.
Calathea musaica can produce small white flowers in perfect conditions, but they almost never flower indoors. These tiny flowers grow right out of the central rhizome, only last a few weeks, and almost always stay hidden under the foliage, so encouraging your plant to flower arguably isn’t worth the effort.
But if you really want flowers, make sure your plant gets at least 9 hours of bright light each day, use a phosphorus-rich fertilizer, and stay on top of your plant’s watering needs. It just might reward you with a few little flowers!
As a slow grower, Calathea musaica isn’t a heavy feeder and therefore won’t need a lot of fertilizer.
But it’s still important to use a gentle liquid fertilizer during the growing season to provide all the macro and micronutrients your plant needs to produce new leaves and stems.
During the spring and summer, use Indoor Plant Food a few times every month or even with every watering. It’s designed to be used every time you water so you don’t have to memorize a watering schedule, which takes the guesswork out of fertilizing!
During the fall and winter, you can hold off on fertilizing completely.
Your Calathea musaica will only need to be repotted every 2-3 years and actually doesn’t mind being a little root-bound.
If you notice that your plant is severely root-bound and/or the soil is very compacted, it’s time to go up a pot size and switch out the soil.
When it’s time to repot, tip the plant on its size and carefully coax it out of its pot. You can pry it out with a butter knife if it’s stuck.
Once you’ve unpotted your calathea, massage the root ball to get as much of the old soil out as possible so your plant can have a fresh start in its new pot.
Add a little soil to the bottom of a clean pot that’s a size larger than the old one, and place your plant upright inside. Fill in the sides with soil and add a little on top, making sure to leave at least an inch of headroom at the top to make room for watering. Water thoroughly and add a little more potting mix to the top as needed to accommodate for settling.
Your plant might be a little droopy for a week or so because calatheas can be sensitive to repotting and other extreme environmental changes. Don’t panic! Just put it back in its spot with great lighting and leave it alone so it can recover. You’ll also want to refrain from fertilizing for a month or so after repotting to avoid burning the delicate roots.
Since Calathea musaica doesn’t grow very quickly, you shouldn’t have to prune to control its size very often. If you notice dead, dying, or diseased foliage, use sterilized shears or scissors to remove those parts.
You can also prune to shape your plant and compensate for lopsidedness. (Rotating your plant with each watering can help your plant grow in a nice, even shape.)
The best way to propagate Calathea musaica is through division. Unfortunately, these plants won’t propagate with cuttings. (Sad, right? Cuttings are so much fun!)
To divide your Calathea musaica, carefully unpot the plant and get as much soil out of the root ball as possible. Then gently untangle the roots to separate the plant into two or more smaller plants. Since Calathea musaica grows from a central rhizome, you’ll want to split that to ensure that each division will continue to grow into a healthy, self-sustaining plant. If you aren’t able to do this simply by unsnarling the roots, you can use a clean, sharp knife to cut it apart.
Once you’ve divided the plant, pot them up and care for them like you would a mature calathea. It’s normal for your divisions to be a little droopy for a week or two as they adjust to their new conditions and recover from the trauma of being divided. Avoid fertilizing for at least a month after dividing, and make sure your divisions get plenty of bright, indirect sunlight to help their recovery.
Calathea Musaica Common Problems FAQ
FAQ Why are my Calathea musaica’s leaves curling?
Calathea musaica’s leaves can curl for different reasons, but the most common culprit is a lack of humidity.
If you notice your plant’s leaves curling, check for nearby vents that might be drying the leaves out. If necessary, move your plant to a better location where it won’t have dry air blasting on it all the time.
Next, you might want to set up a humidifier nearby or place the plant on a pebble tray to increase the humidity in its immediate environment.
This can happen when the seasons are changing and you start using central air conditioning or heat. Keep this in mind in the winter and summer when you’re using indoor climate control. Your houseplant friends might need a little more TLC!
FAQ Why are there brown spots on my calathea’s leaves?
Brown spots are another symptom that can have many different causes.
The first thing to check is the moisture level of the soil. If your soil feels dry just a few days after you last watered, your plant might be underwatered. Give it a drink, and make sure to give the soil a thorough soaking instead of just sips of water.
If the soil is still wet a week or more after you last watered, your pot or soil might not be draining correctly, which can lead to overwatering. If this seems to be the case, repot into a fast-draining soil (add some perlite to promote drainage!).
While you’re doing detective work, you should also make sure your plant is getting enough light and that it hasn’t been taken over by insects.
FAQ Where can I buy a Calathea musaica?
These plants can be hard to find in stores (but not impossible), so your best bet may be to buy them online.
Amazon, Bloomscape, and other online vendors may have these plants available, and you can also check eBay as well as your local Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
We love buying plants on Etsy! Here are some of our favorite shops for purchasing plants online:
You can also ask your local nursery if they can stock them.
Calathea Musaica: The Perfect Intro to Calatheas
Whether you’re brand new to calatheas and plants in general or a seasoned pro, this is a great variety to add to your space. You’ll love its subtle, understated beauty and simple care. It’s also a great choice for small spaces, parents, and pet owners.
You’ll fall in love with this plant in no time! For more help with your calatheas and other houseplants, join our online community and more!