How to Care for a Calathea Dottie

Last Updated: October 16, 2023

Calathea Dottie Leaves

Calathea dottie foliage

Loved for their incredible dark black/green and pink-lined leaves, the Calathea Dottie is a great option if you’re looking for something a little unusual but still easy to get your hands on. They’ve really risen in popularity over the last few years so are quite widely available globally.

Native to the tropical rainforests of South America, the Calathea Dottie is known for its almost black leaves that feature bright pink lines along the diameter of each leaf and straight down the middle.

Although they are most commonly known as the Calathea Dottie, they can also go by the names Rose Painted Calathea, Calathea ‘Black Rose’ or its Latin name Calathea Roseopicta.

How to care for a Calathea Dottie

Calathea Dottie plants are definitely not a beginner houseplant as they can be quite fussy about temperature and humidity so you’ll often see a brown leaf tip or edge as it can be tricky to mimic the tropical environment found in a rainforest (and even if you could, it wouldn’t be too comfortable to be in).

Alongside high humidity, getting the right amount of sunlight is critical to the long-term health of your plant. Calathea Dottie plants need bright but indirect sunlight and must not be near any direct light during summer as this will burn, scorch and dry out the foliage. They can adapt to medium light levels if needed but will start to suffer in low light levels, where growth rates will stagnate and leaves may fall from your plant.

Below you’ll find our comprehensive Calathea Dottie care guide with everything you need to know to keep it thriving, including temperature requirements, repotting frequency and toxicity to humans and pets.

Calathea Dottie Overview

Origin: Tropical rainforests of South America

Latin Name: Calathea Roseopicta

Common Name(s): Calathea Dottie, Rose Painted Calathea, Calathea ‘Black Rose’

Plant Family: Marantaceae

Difficulty Level: Medium

Appearance: Dark, almost black, leaves with bright pink lines around the edge and through the middle of each leaf.

Height and Size: When grown indoors can reach a height of 1 meter (3 feet).

Growth Rate: Slow

Flowering: Can grow small light-coloured flowers but these are often insignificant and rare.

Pruning: Regular pruning is not necessary, only to remove dead or dying leaves.

Cleaning: Wipe with a damp cloth to remove dust every few weeks.

Light Requirements: Bright, indirect sunlight.

Water Requirements: Moderate watering to prevent bone dry or waterlogged soil.

Best Soil: Light and loose well-draining potting mix

Ideal temperature: Prefers warm temperatures between 65-85°F (18-29°C)

Fertilizing Routine: Apply a well-balanced fertilizer once a month during spring and summer.

Ideal Humidity Level: Thrive in a high humidity level of 60% and above.

Propagation: Propagate through division of the mother plant.

Repotting Frequency: Every 1-2 years

Air Purifying: Yes

Toxicity: Non-toxic and safe for pets and humans.

Risk of Pests: Rare but risk of spider mites, thrips, mealybugs, fungus gnats and whiteflies

Common Problems: Brown and yellow leaves, drooping stems and curling leaves

Origin of a Calathea Dottie

Calathea Roseopicta are native to the tropical rainforests of South America. Because of this, they thrive in warm, bright and humid conditions that mimic their native environment.

Calathea Dottie Family

They are part of the Marantaceae plant family which consists of over 500 species of flowering plants. Also known as the Prayer Plant family, these plants fold up their leaves overnight which mimics praying hands.

Calathea Roseopicta Appearance

The Calathea Dottie is one of our favourite Calatheas because they really stand out with their black and pink-adorned leaves.

Care Difficult Level

Calathea Dottie plants aren’t totally low maintenance but can adapt to ranges of temperature and sunlight. Humidity is the one thing which they can be quite fussy about and while it won’t kill your plant, it can lead to dry leaves developing.

The other thing you need to be careful of is moisture in the soil as they like a moist potting mix but not a soggy one. We don’t tend to recommend these for beginner plant parents but you don’t need to be an expert to keep these thriving.

Calathea Dottie Maximum Height

The Calathea Dottie will reach a maximum of around 1 meter (3 feet) in height when grown indoors.

Calathea Roseopicta Growth Rate

Calathea Dottie plants fit somewhere in the middle of being fast and slow growing. You’ll see plenty of new growth during the warmer months of the year but it won’t outgrow the space too quickly.

Flowers on a Calathea Dottie

You may rarely see small white flowers grow on your Calathea Dottie during spring and summer. However, these are often small and insignificant. The leaves are the real show-stopper rather than the flowers.

Pruning your Calathea Dottie

Regular pruning is not necessary for Calathea Roseopicta and you should only remove foliage if it is dead or dying. Of course, you can also prune your plant so that it fits the space required but you don’t need to prune to see healthy new growth each year.

Cleaning your Calathea Dottie

It’s important to dust the leaves regularly as Calathea Dottie plants have very large flat leaves which means they are prone to a quick build-up of dust.

To make sure that your plant is able to maximise on the light it is getting, and to unclog the tiny pores on the leaves make sure to dust them often. It will also keep the incredible jet-black leaves from looking faded, grey and dull which is a bonus!

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Dark Calathea Dottie Leaves

Light Requirements for a Calathea Dottie

Bright but indirect light is best for your plant and make sure to avoid any harsh direct sunlight during summer. Because of the strength and intensity of the sun during this time, it can actually burn and scorch the leaves, as well as dry out the plant.

Whilst Calathea Dottie plants can adapt to lower light levels, growth will be slow and often smaller. They can adapt to medium levels of light if needed but this is less ideal than bright, indirect light.

Water Requirements for a Calathea Dottie

Calathea Dottie plants don’t like to have a really dry or super soggy potting mix which requires getting a good balance with your watering routine. The best way to water them to ensure some moisture in the soil is little but often. This avoids any risk of root rot or drought.

If you don’t already have one, investing in a moisture meter is one of the greatest assets when caring for a Calathea Dottie as it allows you to figure out how much moisture is in the soil and when it’s time to water again.

Another tip is to remove any excess water that is still in the planter or saucer around 15 minutes after watering. This will ensure that your plant had the time to take up the water that it needed, leaving behind what it doesn’t. By tipping that excess water away, you’re preventing the roots from sitting in a pool of water. Without doing this, the risk of overwatering and root rot is dramatically higher.

Best Soil for a Calathea Dottie

Choose a potting mix that has both good drainage and water retention qualities. This will allow you to keep a moist but not soggy potting mix, keeping your plant hydrated but not risking root rot. Most standard potting mixes for houseplants will suffice and should contain a good balance of nutrients.

Try to choose a mix that includes perlite as this is great for both drainage and soil aeration but note that you can buy it separately and add it to your mix as well.

Calathea Dottie Temperature Requirements

It’s important that you find a nice warm spot for your plant as they won’t do so well in cool temperatures. The ideal range for your Calathea Dottie is 65-85°F (18-29°C).

Ensure that they are kept away from drafty doors/ windows or air conditioning vents as the cool stream of air will damage your plant’s health. You also need to be wary of hotspots that can form around windows, radiators and cookers as intense heat will not only dry out the potting mix quicker but will then cause dry brown leaves and stems if the issue isn’t caught in time.

The best thing to do is buy a digital thermometer to keep track of any changes in temperature around your Calathea and any other houseplants. By spotting the issue early, you can either fix the issue or relocate your plant so that it doesn’t cause any irreversible problems.

Calathea Dottie Fertilizer Requirements

Apply a well-balanced liquid fertilizer at half the recommended strength once a month during the growth period of spring and summer. A balance of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus is best for your Calathea Dottie and can help with the development of new leaves, roots and flowers.

Diluting it more than the recommended amount can help to avoid fertiliser burn that can result in yellow leaves and actually a lack of new growth. Make sure to cut back all fertilizing during fall and winter as your plant is in the dormant phase and feeding during this time can harm your plant and its root system.

It’s also important to note that fertilizing is optional and you can still see incredible new leaves without it.

Ideal Humidity Level for your Calathea Roseopicta

High humidity is vital and your Calathea Dottie will thrive in a 60% humidity level or above. That can be difficult to achieve at home so 50% and higher is a good target. The best ways to boost the humidity are by misting a few times per week, showering occasionally or investing in a humidifier to keep a nice stable humidity level.

If your Calathea is growing in rooms with humidity less than 40%, you will likely start to see brown leaf tips, edges and spots developing.

Using a humidity monitor is pretty much the only way to accurately know if the air is too dry for your plant and we highly recommend using one if you don’t already. Often you can get a 2 in 1 thermometer and humidity monitor which is great for houseplant care.

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Calathea dottie plants on an orange-pink background

Propagating your Calathea Dottie

The best way to propagate a Calathea Dottie plant is by division of the mother plant. Make sure that each section has a good amount of the root system for success. Repot each new plant into fresh potting mix and resume usual care.

Find out more on how to divide your plant in our guide to Calathea propagation. 

Air Purifying Qualities

Calathea Dottie plants are great for bedrooms and offices as they are considered to be air purifying which means they remove toxins from the air. Although this is believed to be in very low quantities, it’s just another reason to have them around!

Repotting your Calathea Roseopicta

On average, your Calathea Dottie will need repotting every 1-2 years. However, do look for signs that your plant is rootbound and needs to be repot into a larger container.

Signs include roots growing out of the drainage holes or popping out of the top of the pot, the root system being in a tight coil when removed from its pot or no new growth during spring and summer.

It’s important to know that there can be other causes of stagnant growth such as a lack of sunlight but check the root system to see if the roots have outgrown the current pot.

When choosing a new pot, it’s important to only go one or two sizes up. While you may be tempted to repot your Calathea Dottie into a much larger pot to give it lots of space to grow, this can actually be damaging. Not only may your plant become unstable in a much larger pot, but it also increases the amount of water the soil can take in and therefore increases the amount of time the soil will take to dry out. This will increase the risk of root rot and other linked issues.

Calathea Dottie Toxicity to Humans and Pets

Calathea Dottie plants are totally non-toxic and safe to have around pets. You don’t need to worry about keeping them out of reach of your furry friends if they are prone to nibbling on your plants!

Treating and Preventing Pests

Although it is rare, your Calathea Dottie may start to suffer from an infestation of spider mites, thrips, mealybugs, fungus gnats or whiteflies. This happens most commonly if your plant spends any time growing outdoors but it can still happen as a houseplant.

Look out for signs of pests that include brown and yellow spots, holes in the leaves, white webbing or powder across the leaves and stems and white mildew. If you do spot pests or signs of them, isolate your plant from all other houseplants to stop the infestation from spreading and treat it with a rigorous routine of neem oil and an insecticide.

With the right treatment, you can be successful at stopping a pest infestation but the chances of doing that are much higher if you catch the issue early. This is why we strongly recommend that you conduct regular and in-depth check-ups of your plant to spot any warning signs as early as possible.

Top tip: always check the undersides of the leaves as this is where pests like to hang out and they can often go undetected there for a long time.

Calathea Dottie Common Problems

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