Peacock Plant

Botanical Name: Calathea makoyana 

peacock plant, calathea

Peacock Plant is a member of the Marantaceae family of prayer plants. This is one of the showiest in the clan; treat it right and you'll watch it strut its stuff.

Tall, slender stems hold up the oval leaves that can grow to 12 in (30 cm) long.

The bold, decorative markings of its thin, delicate leaves resemble a peacock's tail, lending this beautiful Calathea plant its common name. They are pale green with feathered dark-green lines from the midrib to the outside edges of the leaf. Asymetrical stripes add an exquisite effect.

New leaves are rolled up when they emerge and are pinkish-red on the undersides. Brown leaf tips indicate low humidity, fluoride in water, or too much fertilizer.

Shun the sun. Keep this showy calathea plant out of direct sun to avoid dulling the colors of the leaves.

Raise the humidity. Calatheas are fussy about humidity and love to be misted. If the leaves turn yellow or brown, it is likely because the air is too dry. Use every practical way to keep the relative humidity above 60%, especially in winter. I recommend using a humidity tray or room humidifier.

Repot in spring. Move up to a pot 1 size larger when the plant outgrows its pot. This is a good time to divide large, crowded plants. Use a container with drainage holes to avoid overwatering which can lead to root rot.

Peacock Plant Care

peacock plant, calathea makoyana, calathea plant

Origin: Brazil

Height: Up to 2 ft (60 cm)

Light: Low to moderate light. Keep out of direct sun.

Water: Keep mix evenly moist at all times. Use distilled or rain water because calathea is sensitive to fluoride and other chemicals in many public water supplies.

Humidity: Requires moist air. Set pot on a tray of wet pebbles and mist leaves frequently with room-temperature water. 

Temperature: Average to warm room temperatures 70-85°F/21-29°C 

Soil: Peat moss based potting mix

Fertilizer: Feed monthly with a balanced house plant fertilizer diluted by half spring through fall. Do not feed in winter. New leaves that are lighter in color aren't getting enough nitrogen or iron. If your fertilizer doesn't contain these nutrients, use a foliar spray that lists these nutrients on the bottle. You should see an improvement within a few weeks.

Propagation: Division. Calathea plant is not easy to divide, so divide the plant in spring only when it gets quite large.

  1. Home
  2. Houseplants A-Z