Calathea Musaica (Network Calathea): Ultimate Care Guide

The calathea musaica is a gorgeous, ornamental perennial houseplant that has the most beautiful patterns.  The calathea musaica goes by other names such as network prayer plant, calathea bella, goeppertia bella, maranta bella (which is its original name), and goeppertia kegeljanii network.  The calathea musaica is one of the over three hundred different species of calathea, which belongs to the marantaceae family.  They are native to South and Central America and are predominantly in tropical parts of these regions, especially in Brazil and other rainforest climates. 

The calathea musaica gets its name from the beautiful mosaic patterns along the glossy leaves.  The oval leaves have an impressive network of patterns, which gives the plant its name “musaica” because it looks like a mosaic.  The foliage is brightly colored green and yellow and gives a great aesthetic appeal to any room, office, or indoor space.  In their natural habitats, these network plants produce tiny white flowers and the end of the stems.  Another major advantage of having a calathea musaica is the fact that the tropical plant filters out a lot of dirty air and makes any room smelling and feeling fresh and clean.  Because of this and the overall look of the calathea musaica, it has become one the most popular houseplants on the market.

Calathea Musaica Care

The calathea musaica is a fairly easy plant to take care of assuming that you have the right conditions for it to thrive.  If you are caring for the plant outside, then be sure to plant the calathea musaica somewhere with partial sun and partial shade as too much sunlight might damage the plant.  When caring for the plant indoors, try to place the plant on a north or east side window to help it avoid the intense midday sun.  Too much sun, in any scenario, could burn the leaves or dry out the plant entirely. 

Calathea Musaica (Network Calathea)
Calathea Musaica (Network Calathea)

The calathea musaica does best with a warm indoor climate with temperatures between 65° – 85° degrees Fahrenheit (18°F- 30°C) and free of wind drafts.  Anything below this temperature will cause the calathea musaica to stop growing because the plant cannot handle too cold of weather.  These plants do best with bright, but indirect light.  This would mean that the best light for the calathea musaica is the early morning or late afternoon direct light.  It is best to avoid the times when the sunlight is at its brightest or the light might scorch or bleach out the leaves.  It is best to keep your calathea musaica about one to ten feet away from the window so as to avoid the harshest light of the day. 

Soil Type

Like most calathea plants, the calathea musaica needs soil that is well-draining.  Any kind of soggy soil will lead to problems for your plant.  Regular houseplant potting mixes work fine, but it might help you in the long run to add some amendments for better drainage such as gravel, coarse sand, or perlite.  You can always use peat moss with a two-to-one ratior of peat to perlite to help out the draining. 

The pH range of the soil is an important factor as well.  The calathea musaica works best with soil pH levels between 6 and 7.5.  This will ensure that your calathea musaica develops well without any issues. 


There is a fine line to deal with when watering the calathea musaica.  The houseplant needs to stay moist, but not soaked.  It is best to water the calathea musaica as it needs it by checking the soil.  If the top of the soil feels dry, then water the top inch as it needs it.  It is paramount to have a proper drainage system in place so the water does not stand, otherwise you are opening your plant up for root rot and other issues.  Try not to use unfiltered water as the chemicals in some tap water might harm the plant.  It is best to use distilled water, but filtered water or rainwater work perfectly fine.  If you happen to see the leaf tips or edges turn brown, change the kind of water that you are using. Another tip is to leave tap water out in a jar for 24 hours before watering the calathea musaica.  This will allow the chemicals in the tap water to evaporate and the water itself to reach room temperature.  But only use this method if distilled or filtered water is not readily available.


Like most calathea, the calathea musaica needs a fair amount of humidity in order for it to thrive.  The ideal humidity amount is between 60-80%.  Anything lower than this and the plant could start to dry out. In order to keep this humidity level high, you could invest in a humidifier and place it near the calathea musaica.  Another option is putting a tray with some pebbles underneath the plant, that way any water that it collects in the pebbles will evaporate and increase the humidity levels without soaking the plant’s roots too much.  Whichever way you choose, try to avoid any direct drafts on the plant, but have a nice balance by providing some decent ventilation.  The hardiness zone of the calathea musaica plant is between 11b and 12b according to the USDA.  Strange as it might sound, one of the best places to put your calathea musaica is the bathroom because they love the humidity so much. 

Calathea Musaica (Network Calathea)
Calathea Musaica (Network Calathea)


The calathea musaica will be fine in normal indoor temperature between 65°F (18ºC) to 85°F (30°C), but will generally stop growing below 60°F (15°C), and can show signs of distress when temperatures fall much below this level.  The biggest issue with temperature that you will need to avoid is the drafts.  Hot and cold drafts can cause significant damage to the calathea musaica resulting in wilting and browning leaves.  Be sure to keep your plant away from sources of heat sources like radiators and heating vents, as well as drafts from windows and air conditioning units.  The hardiness zone for calathea musaica is between zones nine and ten outdoors. If you end up potting a calathea musaica and keeping it outdoors, be sure to bring it back indoors when the temperature drops below 60°F (15°C).


The calathea musaica is not a heavy feeder, but can benefit from applying diluted houseplant fertilizer two or three times a year.  Be sure to dilute the liquid fertilizer to half strength and apply after watering your plant.  Never apply liquid fertilizer to dry soil or it may burn the roots.  You can also use any suitable organic fertilizer to provide the necessary plant nutrients for healthy growth.  Remember to only apply fertilizer during the calathea musaica’s growing season, which is once in the spring and then at the beginning and end of the summertime.  Do not fertilize the calathea musaica during the fall and winter.  You should flush the soil once in a while with lukewarm distilled water to remove any buildup of mineral salts. 


The best way to propagate the calathea musaica is by rhizomes or root division.  When you repot your plant in the spring, you can divide the plant at the root and put these pieces into separate pots.  Be careful not to damage the roots, which can affect the growth. The calathea musaica can start to get root bound after two or three years in the same pot.  You do not have to rush to repot it though as the calathea musaica can tolerate being root bound quite well.  If you want to grow your plant bigger or you notice that the soil is drying out very quickly after watering, then repotting the plant would be a good idea.  Bear in mind that dividing the rhizome of the calathea musaica is quite traumatic for the plant.  This divided plant will likely stop growing for at least a month or two after the division and will need special care to survive the process. 

Size and Growth

The rhizomes of the calathea musaica have a slow growth rate and reach about two feet tall and between two and three feet wide at maturity.  The better you take care of your plant, the longer the lifespan and the better the growth.  If grown outside, they can grow a bit larger, but the growth rate is smaller and slower than this when it is purchased as a houseplant.

Pests and Diseases

Along with making sure that the calathea musaica has the right conditions for growth, the houseplant is prone to quite a number of houseplant pests including spider mites, mealybugs, thrips, fungus gnats, and scale.  Most of these pests will start to show up if the plant is not properly cared for, which makes it that much more important to give good care to the calathea musaica.  Most of these pests can be seen if you keep an eye on your plant and check the underside of the leaves and along the stems and soil.  If you do end up spotting any of these pests, make sure to isolate it from the rest of your other plants, so the pests won’t jump over and infect another plant.  To remove these pests, you can use a damp cloth or wash your plant down with a hose.  Be careful not to spray water too forcefully though.  After removing the visible pests, you can use a dilute spray of neem oil, horticultural soap, or isopropyl alcohol to kill anything that remains.  Repeat the process until you’ve gotten rid of all the pests. 

As for diseases, the good news is that the calathea musaica is not particularly prone to any specific houseplant diseases.  The best way to prevent any major issues with the houseplant is to use proper care techniques.  Do not overwater the plant and make sure it gets proper ventilation and drainage.

If the leaves are curling or turning yellow or brown, that usually means that the calathea musaica is not getting enough water.  You may need to water it a bit more than you have been.  Another tell-tale sign of needing more water is if the leaves are drooping.  This can also be due to the result of the humidity not being high enough for the plant.  If any of these signs are not addressed, the calathea musaica will most certainly die.  If that happens, you will have to start all over again.


The calathea musaica will grow from a rhizome that slowly expands over time.  If you choose to repot the plant, make sure you water it properly a few days before attempting to repot.  Start by gently sliding the plant out of its pot.  Check the roots for health.  Any unhealthy or dead leaves should be pruned off.  Take this time to see how well you have been caring for the plant.  Choose a pot that is about one or two inches larger than the previous one.  Add a small amount of potting mix to the bottom of the new pot and position the plant in the center.  Add soil around the sides and fill the pot with soil to support the plant.  Water the plant lightly and keep an eye on it as the weeks go on. 


Calathea musaica does not often flower indoors.  They produce white flowers on short stalks that last for only a few weeks. 

Additional Care Info

The calathea musaica is not toxic and is perfectly safe for all pets and children.  However, you may want to keep it out of reach so as not to disturb the delicate nature of the plant.

If you are looking to buy the calathea musaica, they are available at various shops like Etsy, eBay, Walmart, Lowe’s, and Target.  These plants will range in price from anywhere from $30-70.  You can also buy seeds as well, but it will be more time consuming for you to grow them on your own.  However, if you are really trying to get the best advice and quality from your calathea musaica, it is recommended that you get the plant from a professional flower shop.  This way, you can be assured that the calathea musaica was taken care of before you got it.  Furthermore, the professionals running the store will have a lot of advice and knowledge that will help you grow your calathea musaica in the best way possible.  These places tend to have a lot more expertise behind them and can also have more knowledge in how to help you if you run into any kinds of trouble.

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