In our eyes, plant care is a two-way street. You take care of your plants by giving them nutrients, light and water; they take care of you by reducing stress levels, boosting your mood and creating a relaxing home environment.
Calatheas are a group of decorative foliage plants with an incredible range of leaf patterns. The genus includes tens of species, one of which is the roseopicta. And the roseopicta too comprises several varieties which can look totally different from one another.
The Calathea roseopicta ‘Dottie’ is a sultry deep purple, while the leaves of the roseopicta ‘Medallion’ have green patterned tops. One feature roseopictas have in common is a feathering border around the circumference of the leaf - the Dottie is lined in pink and the Medallion in pale green, but their markings are broadly the same.
Calatheas are relatively easy to care for, but they like a little extra attention - enjoying regular misting and dusting of leaves. You’ll also need to keep a close watch on This kind of active plant care can help you access the wellbeing benefits associated with plants, such as lower stress levels, improved mood and superior mental clarity.
With their expansive leaves, Calatheas are excellent air-purifiers. Also known as 'prayer plants', they open their leaves in the day and close them at night. As such, we recommend Calatheas as a plant to keep in the bedroom: their peaceful leaves, oxygenating properties and humidifying capabilities will help you drift off at night and feel refreshed in the morning!
How to care for a Calathea roseopicta
As these plants are native to the rain forest, they need indirect light, warmth and humidity to grow well. But don’t panic if you don’t have the perfect conditions, it’s perfectly possible to cater to the Calathea in trickier environments.
Calatheas grow on the rain forest floor, under layers of dense canopy, which blocks out most of the sun. As such, they don't like direct light, but do need a good amount of filtered light to keep their patterns vibrant. We recommend finding a shaded spot in a bright-ish room - such as a bedroom table or living room shelf.
Monstera are native to the rainforests of Central and South America, so they are used to warmth and humidity. If you have a dry home, you can replicate this environment by misting your Cheese Plant with a spray bottle. This is also a good example of ‘active plant care,’ which will help you reap the benefits of living with indoor plants.
If you're lacking humidity, you can replicate it by misting your plant once every few days with a spray bottle.
Care tip: mist your plant in the morning so it evaporates with the sun, over the course of the day, and the leaves don’t become soggy overnight.
Calatheas like their soil slightly moist for most of the year, but don’t overdo it or the roots will rot away.
Wait for the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings (especially if you’re keeping your Calathea regularly misted). Then, when the top of the soil does dry out, lift your Calathea from its ceramic pot and water until you see liquid come out of the drainage holes. Do not put your plant back in its ceramic pot until you’re sure no water will come.
Care tip: when watering a batch of plants, place them in a bathtub for minimal mess and maximum ease. Water your plants with rainwater, or tap water that has been left out overnight for best results.
How the Calathea roseopitca takes care of you
Living with houseplants, practicing active plant care and building a relationship with nature has been shown to benefit our health in a variety of ways. All plants have the potential to do this, but some are more adept than others, depending on their formal or chemical characteristics.
Benefits of the Calathea roseopicta include improving the quality of the air you breathe, inducing feelings of calm, trapping dust and helping you feel alert.
How does this work?
Calathea roseopicta improve air quality in three ways:
Their big, textured leaves are covered in tiny pores which take in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen. All plants produce oxygen as they photosynthesise, but the large surface area of Calathea rosepictas’s leaves, and their biology, means they’re especially efficient at doing so.
Large, waxy leaves like this are also mean dust trappers. Debris that would otherwise fall on surfaces and remain airborne will sit on Calathea leaves, where it can be easily wiped away, so both you and your plant can breathe easily!
- If you keep your Calathea roseopicta lightly misted, once every 5-7 days, it will add humidity to the air, warding off ailments such as dry skin conditions and respiratory problems that are aggravated by dryness.
It’s been well-reported that nature is beneficial to our mental health. Though the connection between nature and wellbeing is strong, the reasons for this are purely theoretical: it’s generally accepted that we respond well to particular forms due to the way we’ve adapted on an evolutionary level.
For example, fractal patterns in nature restore our cognitive capabilities by attracting our attention without draining it. Fractal patterns are continuous patterns that could repeat infinitely - the roseopicta’s centrally orientated leaf pattern, that could keep running continuously outwards is a classic example.
Studies show that the human eye is particularly attuned to deal with fractal patterns of a certain dimensional range. And more recently, a paper published in the Journal of Life Sciences confirmed that fractal patterns in nature trigger our ‘alpha response’: a relaxed yet wakeful state.
When in this state, our minds get relief from the overstimulating effects of laptops and blue screen tech and allow us to relax, re-set, and focus.
Overarching benefits to building a relationship with plants, such as greater capacity for stress and greater compassion for oneself, are heightened when we interact with our plants. Because Calatheas like that extra bit of attention, you’re more likely to build a nurturing relationship with them.
You can read more about this, and other benefits here.