Calathea Musaica is a tropical and moderate-to-difficult to care for plant that is sure to spruce up any indoor garden. This houseplant is well-loved in the community of plant collectors because of its distinctive appearance and feel.
In this post, we’re sharing the most important tips and tricks you’ll need to know to successfully raise a Calathea Musaica!
If you want to buy one for yourself, we have a few reasonable options for you to explore. Continue reading to learn more about this Calathea’s interesting attributes.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Calathea Musaica?
- 2 Where To Buy
- 3 Calathea Musaica Plant Size
- 4 Calathea Musaica Care Needs
- 5 Conclusion
What Is Calathea Musaica?
The Calathea Musaica has been called Calathea Network, Calathea Bella, and Network Prayer Plant. As a perennial from the Marantaceae family, this plant grows well near an east or west-facing window when grown indoors.
If you choose to keep this plant outdoors, this Calathea will thrive in hardiness zones 10-12.
Plants from the Marantaceae family are called “prayer plants” because of their habit of folding up and down depending on light levels and time of day. This form is known as nyctinasty. Plants have a circadian rhythm in which they raise and drop their leaves at different times of the day as if praying, hence the name.
Origin And Family
From the Calathea genus in the Marantaceae family, the Calathea Network is native to the rainforests of Brazil and South America and produces insignificant small white flowers.
Discovered in 1875 by William Bull and first documented as Maranta Bella, this houseplant makes a great addition to any home.
Where To Buy
Calathea Musaica is a beautiful addition to any garden and we’ve had great success buying one online. You may visit your local nursery first, but if you want to select and buy plants from the comfort of your home, then be sure to check out Etsy.
In recent years, this beautiful plant has been reclassified as Goeppertia Kegeljanii. However, most online stores, forums, and local plant stores still refer to them as Calathea Musaica.
The price tags for a Calathea Musaica are usually very affordable, ranging between $15 for small plants to $40 for more mature ones.
Calathea Musaica Plant Size
The Calathea Musaica as a houseplant reaches a height of 2 feet and a width of 2-3 feet. It typically grows slowly. Place it near an east or west-facing window for optimum plant development.
Calathea Musaica Care Needs
The Calathea Musaica is one of the easiest calatheas to care for, but it does require certain conditions to be met. The Calathea Musaica, with its mosaic-like foliage, loves humidity and needs relatively moist soil to thrive.
Water your Calathea When the top 2-3 inches is dry. As long as your pot has good drainage, don’t be afraid to completely drench the soil during watering schedules so you can properly hydrate the roots. Regarding light requirements, this lovely plant will do best in bright indirect light.
Learn about your plant’s more specific care needs by reading our in-depth care guide below!
In terms of care difficulty, the Calathea Bella is moderate-to-difficult to care for. The biggest considerations for this beauty are the well-draining soil and the amount of light.
The Network Prayer Plant plant measures 2 feet in height when grown in an indoor environment. The warmth of spring and summer jumpstarts this plant’s growth spurt.
Calathea species grow at a slow speed, including the Musaica.
For potting requirements, you can go for a medium-sized pot made of plastic, terracotta, or clay. An important requirement is that the pot should contain at least one drainage hole. Leaving your Calathea Network in wet soil for extended periods of time could kill your plant.
Calathea Musaica 🌿— JamsJungle 🪴🪓 (@JamzJungle) February 3, 2022
A lovely gift to receive here in the jungle ☺️🪴 pic.twitter.com/FSJei6bfra
Moving your Calathea Musaica into a bigger pot size allows more space for its roots to expand. You will typically know that it’s time to repot you notice the soil drying out very quickly after watering.
Calathea plants are known to be extra delicate and most don’t like their root systems disturbed. But unlike its diva and dramatic cousins, Musaica is not as sensitive. However, it’s best to still take extra care when you repot this plant.
Typically, you’d want to repot this tropical plant every 2-3 years. It is ideal to replace old nutrient-deficient soil with a fresh batch of standard commercial potting soil when filling up the new pot.
The Calathea Bella is moderate-to-difficult to care for plant that needs standard commercial potting soil to stay healthy. If you plan to prepare your own potting mix, we recommend that you add in some coco coir, perlite, and peat moss.
Your Calathea will appreciate the soil being kept relatively moist at all times. Nonetheless, drainage and aeration are important requirements for all soil types.
Here are some potting mixes we recommend:
For the Network Prayer Plant, you’ll need neutral to acidic soil with around 6.0-7.5 pH. In most cases, standard commercial potting soil is close to this pH level, so this shouldn’t be a major concern.
Conduct a pH test to see if your soil has the right acidity. There are affordable pH meters available online or at garden centers.
To raise the pH level of your soil, add calcitic or dolomitic lime, wood ash, or baking soda. To lower it, you can use sulfur or aluminum sulfate.
When watering Calathea Network, you’ll want to aim to keep your soil relatively moist. To gauge moisture, stick a finger into the pot, or invest in a soil moisture meter device. You’ll know it’s time to water your Calathea When the top 2-3 inches is dry.
While most house plants aren’t so choosy about the type of water they drink, this Calathea prefers distilled or filtered water. Its leaves tend to react poorly to minerals and compounds like chlorine and fluoride which are mostly found in tap water. Switch to distilled water or rainwater to water your Calathea Musaica.
Overwatering is one of the most common killers of indoor plants. When in doubt, keep in mind that it’s safer to underwater than overwater the Calathea Network. Also, make sure you have fast-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes.
You’ll want to simulate the natural environment of Calathea Musaica, which would be the rainforests of Brazil and South America. Give your Musaica bright indirect sunlight for 6-10 hours each day. You can also place this plant near an east or west-facing window.
You’ll know your Calathea Musaica is getting too much light when its leaves may show signs of discoloration. On the contrary, if this plant doesn’t get enough light, new leaves may not be as patterned as older ones.
This plant can tolerate medium light conditions so you can also place it in any low-light spot indoors. Avoid putting your Calathea Musaica in direct sunlight, as this could severely damage or even kill it.
An interesting and unique thing about this intricately-patterned plant is how amazing it looks when light is shone through its leaves. If you would hold your plant up to the light (not directly of course!) and look at the underside of its leaves, you will find the mosaic or “network” leaf pattern in its full glory.
The Calathea Bella’s growing season is in the spring and summer. During this time, fertilize your plant every 4-6 weeks using a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.
In the colder seasons, when this plant’s development naturally slows, you don’t need to fertilize at all.
Did you know that it’s actually illegal to propagate and sell certain houseplants? This stunning plant is commonly known as a Network™ Calathea or #Calathea Musaica. You’ll notice the trademark on the name “Network” that’s because this plant is actually patented. pic.twitter.com/mcstS2HXKt— The Black Botanists (@BlackBotanists) August 31, 2021
Propagating Calathea Musaica
It is possible to propagate a Calathea Network with the right methods. Here are various techniques for propagating this tropical houseplant.
A Network Prayer Plant can also be propagated by dividing the clusters of stems with entangled root systems.
1. Dig up. Using your small shovel, tap on the sides of the pot to loosen the soil. Gently tug at the plant until it comes out.
2. Separate. You should be able to see the natural boundary of each stem. Separate them using your hands. You may need to cut the roots but be careful not to disrupt the main root balls.
3. Repot. Repot each section in smaller pots filled with the same soil that they’re used to.
Humidity And Aeration
Calathea Musaica is a unique plant that loves high humidity levels. Keep the humidity level between 60%-80% at all times.
Use a simple hygrometer to check the air moisture level in your Calathea Musaica’s area. If the reading is too low, you can improve the humidity through the following methods:
• Plants release moisture from their leaves through the process of transpiration, so they’ll benefit from each other if you keep houseplants closely together.
• Place a pebble tray and water underneath your plant’s pot. The evaporating water provides some nourishment to the plant.
• Purchase a humidifier for your plants. This will constantly release steam and raise the humidity in a room.
Generally, warm temperatures are best for your Network Prayer Plant plant. This can range between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
The bigger consideration for this plant is consistency. Sudden changes in temperature can heavily damage the Network Prayer Plant. In cold weather, protect your plant against cold drafts by closing windows and sealing any opening. Keep it away from heat vents that can dry the foliage.
The Calathea Musaica can produce insignificant white flowers.
The Calathea Bella is non-toxic to humans or animals. According to the ASPCA, ingesting it would not hurt dogs or cats. There are no elements in the plant that are dangerous to humans.
|Botanical Name||Calathea Musaica|
|Common Name||Calathea Network, Calathea Bella, Network Prayer Plant|
|Origin||Brazil and South America|
|Leaf Color||light green and glossy|
|Recommended Home Placement||near an east or west-facing window|
|Light||bright indirect light|
|Soil||standard commercial potting soil|
|When To Water||Water When the top 2-3 inches is dry.|
|When To Fertilize||every 4-6 weeks during growing season|
|Toxic To Pets?||No|
|Common Pests & Diseases||spider mites, brown tips, fungus gnuts, white flied, scale insects, yellow leabes, root rot, aphids, mealy bugs, drooping leaves|
Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems
Overall, I would say that the Calathea Musaica is not a disease and pest-resistant plant. Here are some quick tips for curing common problems, as well as some general suggestions to keep this plant healthy.
Unfortunately, spider mites are a widespread problem, particularly for plant collectors with a Network Prayer Plant. You will know your plant has spider mites if there are brown or yellow patches on its leaves, silky webbing in between branches, and leaves that take a long time to unfurl.
To fight a spider mite infestation, bring your infected plant to the sink, the tub, or outdoors and thoroughly wash all the leaves with a strong spray of water. Repeated application of neem oil, horticultural oil, and insecticidal soap can help you get rid of spider mites as well.
Ladybugs, lacewings, and minute pirate bugs can help control your spider mite population if you want a non-chemical approach.
Fungus gnats are small insects that feed on organic matter in the soil. Their larvae will consume roots, which is terrible news for your Calathea Network.
Hydrogen peroxide destroys fungus gnat larvae on contact, making it a quick and easy way to get rid of these pests. Soak your soil in a mixture of four parts water and one part hydrogen peroxide.
Alternatively, put bowls of cider-vinegar mixed with water near your plant to lure adult gnats into drowning. They are also particularly attracted to the color yellow. Attach yellow sticky cards into wooden skewers and stick them into the soil.
Whiteflies are grayish-white, triangular bugs that fly around like tiny moths. They can cause significant leaf damage by feeding on the sap of your Calathea Network.
Whiteflies and their eggs can be vacuumed off, but make sure to empty your vacuum bag outside before the bugs get the chance to multiply.
In the event of a serious infestation, spray the leaves with insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil. These products will coat the eggs, larvae, and adults, thereby suffocating them. Reapply the chosen treatment as needed.
Adult scales are sedentary and covered in a waxy coating, but they will give birth to extremely small crawling bugs.
Armored scales can be scraped off, but you will need to do it gently using an old ID card, or with your fingers. Take care not to rip the leaves of your Calathea Musaica.
Use insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or neem oil to suffocate scale insects. When you see active crawlers, spray your plant with a general pesticide. Follow it up with a second application after a week. We recommend some products below:
Aphids are usually found as a cluster of bugs on your Calathea Bella. They could be colored green, black, red, brown, yellow, orange, or white. They multiply extremely fast and can weaken your plant within a matter of days!
Aphids are particularly attracted to new shoots, flower buds, and areas of fresh growth. They will leave behind unsightly black and white splotches as they feed on the sap.
If you spot these icky crawlers, immediately isolate your infected plant from the others. Give your plant a strong spray of water to dislodge the aphids, but remember to cover the soil with plastic to catch any falling bugs and their eggs. Dispose of the plastic somewhere far away from your garden.
A spray of insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil can take care of the problem, but you may need to repeat this several times until you’re sure that the aphid population has been completely eradicated.
It’s possible that mealybugs will infest your Network Prayer Plant. If you spot these little parasites with their white fluff, act promptly. A cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol will kill mealies on contact, turning them brown or orange in color. A spray of diluted Neem oil also works well as a preventive measure.
Brown Leaf Tips
Browning edges on the leaves of your Calathea Network can be triggered by many factors. Possible causes are lack of humidity, excessive exposure to bright light, salt and mineral build-up from chemically-treated tap water, and fertilizer burn.
Drooping leaves on the Calathea Musaica can be caused by inconsistent watering, incorrect lighting, and lack of humidity. It might also help to clean your plant’s leaves with plain water and a microfiber cloth to remove the layer of dust that can interfere with photosynthesis.
If you see yellowing leaves on your Calathea Bella, you might need to consider several factors to determine the culprit. Are you watering your plant too little or too much? Is your plant getting enough light? Did you fertilize your plant recently? Are there sudden changes in the weather?
Of course, bottom leaves that turn yellow can also just be an indication that your plant is growing and the leaf’s energy has been spent. In this case, simply pluck off the yellowing leaves so the plant can focus on growing new green leaves.
Root rot is an incredibly common killer of the Network Prayer Plant. Some indoor gardeners might get overzealous with their watering- or they may forget to provide adequate drainage for their plant. These two mistakes are the two main causes of root rot.
Because root rot is difficult to treat, prevention is the best option. If you don’t have a soil meter device, get comfortable with touching your soil to feel for moisture. If the top few inches do not feel dry, skip the watering for later!
Use pots that are high in porosity (such as clay, unglazed ceramic, and concrete) to allow excess moisture to escape from the sides. Give your plant a well-aerated soil mix to let its roots breathe and grow freely.
With its attractive characteristics, Calathea Musaica is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a new houseplant. Your efforts to care for this plant will be rewarded with beautiful exotic flora that you will enjoy having in your home!
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