The Calathea roseopicta “Dottie,” commonly known as the Prayer plant, is a stunning evergreen variegated foliage plant. From the tropics of the Americas, it does great as an indoor plant. Fall in love with its deep green burgundy leaves with us throughout this care guide
Calathea Dottie Plants
Table of Contents
Before we learn to take care of it, let’s familiarize ourselves. The Calathea Dottie comes from tropical rainforests in Brazil. It is a clump-forming perennial.
The Calathea dottie has deep green leaves on top with bright pink markings. The same leaves are dark purple on the bottom.
There is a bright pink oval on every leaf close to its edges, and the central vein is also pink. This variegation pattern is why calathea dottie plants are so popular.
This cultivar has lovely big elliptical leaves, unlike the calathea beauty star, which has chordate leaves. Leaves stems grow straight from the clump in the ground.
While it is grown solely for its bold patterned foliage, the calathea dottie can also develop small white flowers. Most indoor gardeners remove them so the focus remains on the plant leaves.
Calathea dottie plant can grow up to twenty-five inches tall and spread up to twelve inches wide. Great as the centerpiece star of your garden.
They love medium-strength light and humidity. Calathea dottie plants are not super easy to care for, nor are they too challenging. Beginners can care for them while they are a piece of cake for the experts.
Why Are They Called Prayer Plants?
All Calathea plants are called prayer plants or cathedral plants. What a strange name for a plant. They got the nickname because of light-induced leaf movement.
During the day, the leaves remain open. When the leaves sense lower light, they begin to fold up at night. It looks like they are prostrating in prayer.
This regular leaf movement led to them getting the prayer plant nickname. So don’t freak out if you see yours moving. Set up your camera to make a timelapse. You’ll thank us later!
Complete calathea Dottie Care Guide
Now that we know our potted friends much better, let’s find out how to keep them happy and healthy. Starting from how much light they need and what kind of potting soil to use. We will cover every aspect of calathea dottie plant care.
We will also cover how to face different problems your calathea Dottie plants could encounter and how to solve them.
Let’s get started!
Calathea Dottie Light Requirements
As we know, Calatheas comes from the tropical rainforests of South America. In a rainforest, there is an explosion of life due to the abundance of rainwater and nutrient-rich soil. Tall trees complete each ounce of sunlight, creating a thick canopy.
Other shorter plants have leaves much closer to the ground. They have adapted to survive without direct light. In the wild, your calathea dottie survived on the dappled indirect sunlight which penetrated the jungle canopy.
It makes sense that it would want the same thing no matter where it is. You will get the best results by providing it with moderate indirect light. In direct sunlight, the leaves might dry up and die.
If you see your calathea plants develop crispy leaves, it’s probably getting too much light.
Calathea Dottie Temperature Requirements
Like most plants, the calathea roseopicta dottie has a specific temperature range. Going below it causes the plants harm.
Calathea dottie plants love the warmth. It would be best to keep them somewhere the temperature remains between 65° – 95°F.
During the winter months, please place them in a room far from the front door to protect them from cold drafts. Keep your dottie calathea happy and warm all year round to enjoy its vibrant foliage.
Calathea Dottie Soil and Drainage Requirements
Rainforest soil is rarely dry. You dottie calathea loves evenly moist soil. However, you can’t put it in wet soil. It needs a well-draining soil mix that quickly removes excess water through the pot’s drainage holes.
The best way to avoid soggy soil is to add bits of gravel or sand to your soil mixture. That will aerate the soil and allow the extra water to flow effortlessly. Please do not use a pot without drainage holes, no matter how pretty.
However, If all the extra water drains out, how would the soil remain moist for the calathea roots? We ensure that there’s something in the potting mix that retains water, like coconut coir or peat moss.
The ideal ratio for your potting mix would be 60% water-retaining material, 10% humic acid-rich organic material, and 30% sand, gravel, orchid bark, perlite, or other drainage amendments.
If you aren’t confident making your potting mix, you can buy ready-made potting soil from the gardening store or online. If you are worried about water leaking from the drainage gaps onto your furniture, place a saucer under the pot.
If you want to use your decorative pot while still providing your dottie calathea with proper drainage, you can. You must plant your calathea dottie plant in a simple pot with at least one drainage hole.
Then place that simple pot inside the decorative one. Remember to drain the decorative vessel as you would a saucer in its place.
Calathea Dottie Watering Requirements
Calathea roseopicta dottie plants love water. You will end up watering your calathea plant more often than most plants. However, that doesn’t mean it likes soggy soil.
Watering is an essential but tricky part of calathea dottie care.
You should not water your plant if its soil is already moist. Doing so will lead it to develop root rot. It would help if you waited until the top inch of soil is almost dry. You cannot let it dry out completely, or the plant will get hurt.
Unless you live somewhere extremely hot, like Arizona, you might need to water it more than once a week. When the temperatures are so high, the plant can lose water even in indirect light. Otherwise, watering it once a week without fail is enough.
During the colder months, you might notice your plant needs less watering. Don’t worry. Listen to the signals your plant gives you.
If you notice leaves getting droopy, then that means it’s not getting enough water. You might need to water your beautiful plant more often.
There are many things to consider, such as the humidity and temperature where you live. While outdoor plants require watering daily, indoor plants don’t since they get indirect sunlight.
Try to ensure that you use filtered water for your plants. Using tap water could introduce unwanted bacteria or parasites to the soil. The tap water in most places is too concentrated with hard minerals as well.
You can go one step further and only use distilled water for your plants.
Calathea Dottie Fertilizer Requirements
The rainforest floor has the richest soil of any natural environment. Abundant plants and wildlife mean plenty of organic matter to fertilize the soil.
These forest floor plants grow such impressive leaves because of this. So using a good quality fertilizer is a no-brainer. Let’s find out more about this important aspect of dottie care.
Types of Fertiliser
Fertilizer can be divided into types by what it contains or their form. Calathea dottie plants and other bold patterned foliage plants do well with even ratio fertilizers.
Meaning fertilizers with similar concentrations of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. You can use one type or as many different kinds as you like. Take the time to study how your calathea dottie reacts.
Here are some different types to consider using for your calathea plant:
Slow-release fertilizer pallets
Liquid fertilizer comes in a bottle. You dilute it in water and add it when you water the plant. Liquid fertilizer gives your plant roots a quick wash of nutrients. These are quickly absorbed and used up.
You can use this as often as every three weeks during the growing season. Observe your plant to see how it reacts to it. If you see improved growth, that’s great. However, if you notice leaf edges starting to curl or crisp up, use t less frequently.
You can use fertilizer powder to top-dress your prayer plants or add the powder to their potting mix. These fertilizers could be a mix of many ingredients or a single powdered ingredient like bone powder or bat guano.
Mixed powders have even NPK ratios, while single ingredients are a source of nitrogen, potassium, or phosphates.
You can choose any powdered fertilizer you like for your calathea dottie. There is room for some trial and error. Top-dress your soil every four weeks.
Slow Release Fertilizer Pallets
Slow-release fertilizer pallets are added to your calathea dottie plant mix while potting them. These release nutrients as they break down in the soil over the course of several months.
They help your calathea dottie receive constant nutrients. After six months to a year, you can add more when you re-pot your dottie plant.
Calathea Dottie Humidity Requirements
There’s nothing more that your calathea dottie will love more than humidity. Their natural habitat is exceptionally humid. Keep these fabulous dark leaves from dying out by replicating their natural conditions.
Here are some tips for creating a high-humidity environment:
A humidifier is a device that increases the humidity in an enclosed space. They can be both large or small with different features.
You can use a small one for all your high-humidity plants in one part of your home. Your plants, especially your calathea dottie, will thank you for it.
Take a simple tray and fill it with decorative pebbles. Place it under the calathea dottie plant and pour in some water.
The water will naturally convert into vapors that rise in the air, increasing the humidity around the plant. Why do we use pebbles? If we place a tray of water under the pot without them, the water will touch the soil through the drainage hole.
Then the calathea dottie will sit in soggy soil, and we don’t want that. The pebbles help the pot remain above the surface of the water in the tray.
This tray also catches the excess water draining out of the plant after watering. What a way to kill two birds with one stone.
You can spray your calathea dottie with a spray bottle once or twice a day. However, it is not enough on its own.
Using a spray bottle is best when paired with either of the above two solutions. Avoid spraying it at night as the water may not evaporate and sit on the leaves.
Even though the calathea dottie is fond of water, it doesn’t mean it can’t develop rot. Insects are also attracted to stagnant water.
Calathea Dottie Propagation
You must love your calathea dottie. It was probably very hard to find. While they are extremely popular, you won’t find them at every plant nursery.
We should not be surprised if you want more of those pretty plant leaves in your life. Luckily Clathea dottie propagation is fairly easy to accomplish.
Here’s what you’ll need:
A sharp knife
Pots with adequate drainage
Mother Plant Removal
Start with removing your calathea dottie from its pot. To do so, loosen the soil from the pot’s edges using a flat knife.
Once it’s loose, gently pull your plant out with the root system intact. Using your fingers, remove the soil from the roots.
Observation and Planning
Closely observe your plant and its root system. Count how many mature clumps you can see and which leaves grow out from them.
You will notice some nodules along with thin hair-like roots. While you can remove some, figure out which nodules go with which clump. That will help in root division.
Separate Into Cuttings
Once you’re done observing your plant, pull each clump apart gently with your hands. Only use the knife where it gets stuck.
Try to have at least two or three healthy leaves per cutting. Spray the roots with water so they don’t dry out as you work.
Plant Your Cuttings
Now that you have separated your cuttings, you can plant them in their respective pots. Put the soil mixture into each pot and plant your cutting in them.
Water your cuttings generously to help them take root. Do not place them in direct light. Watch them carefully to see if they grow new leaves.
Once they grow new leaves, you’ll know your calathea dottie propagation was successful.
Calathea Dottie Root Rot
Root rot is a huge problem. Since your calathea dottie loves water, overwatering is possible. Root rot also happens if the pot is too large.
If your boldly patterned foliage starts getting brown leaf tips, it could have root rot. Re-pot the plant, remove damaged roots, and cut off the brown leaf tips.
Calathea Dottie Root Bound
House plants like the calathea dottie can become root bound if they outgrow their pot. This can cause your plant’s dark leaves to develop brown edges.
If roots stick out of the drainage areas or the top of the pot, they must be re-potted.
Calathea Dottie Pests
Another reason your calathea dottie could develop brown tips is because of pests. Using neem oil mixed into water to spray your plants can deter them. Neem oil is antiseptic, and its odor repels insects.
We’ll end this complete Calathea dottie care guide by wishing you good luck with your boldly patterned foliage endeavors. No doubt these plants bring joy to their owners’ lives. Make sure they don’t get too much light and plenty of humidity.