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Calathea Makoyana, or as it is commonly called the Peacock plant is one of the most beautiful varieties of the calathea genus.
The plant is native to Brazil so it loves warm weather but you can grow it in colder climates as well if you set up the right conditions.
It is called the Peacock plant because it has long and wide green leaves with white veins that resemble a peacock’s tail.
The plant can also produce some red leaves which make the plant look even more beautiful.
If you decide to get this gorgeous plant for your home, the headings below will explain everything you need to know about proper Peacock plant care.
So without further ado, let’s begin!
How to Grow Calathea Makoyana
As with most calatheas, the Peacock plant isn’t a handful and is generally quite easy to care for if you follow the basic instructions.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re new to gardening or you have tons of experience because caring for the Peacock plant is pretty straight forward – lots of humidity, water, and indirect sunlight.
Of course, there are other segments of Calathea Makoyana care that I’m going to cover so sit back, relax and let’s get into it!
Related: Calathea – The Ultimate Caring Guide
Different Types of Calatheas
Calatheas come in a wide range of different types and I’m doing my best to cover most of them in separate articles.
What’s interesting about calatheas as a species is that most types have their different name, like the Peacock plant, Pin-Stripe plant, Furry Feather plant and so on.
Almost every calathea type is quite easy to take care off and that’s why they are sometimes even referred to as “office plants”.
Some most popular calatheas include:
- Calathea Rufibarba
- Calathea Zebrina
- Calathea Lancifolia
- Calathea Vittata
- Calathea Medallion
- Calathea Leitzei
- Calathea Roseopicta
- Calathea Network
- Calathea Ornata
- Calathea Beauty Star
- Calathea Orbifolia
- Calathea Fasciata
Please note that not all calatheas have the same requirements, but you can still follow some tips which are pretty much universal for calatheas, such as light requirements and so on.
Proper watering of your Peacock plant is essential for the plant’s growth and development.
I advise you to use rainwater or distilled water because tap water can have fluoride which can easily damage your Peacock plant.
Also, you want to use room temperature water because too cold or too hot water can seriously damage the roots.
You should water your Peacock plant thoroughly at least once a week but don’t leave the soil too soggy.
Because of this, you will need to use a pot that has good drainage so that moisture doesn’t hold near the roots because they are susceptible to rotting.
Keep the same watering cycle during the season and in the colder months.
Light and Temperature Requirements
Because the Peacock plant is native to Brazil, it needs a lot of humidity to thrive.
As a general rule of thumb, you want to balance the humidity levels with the temperature levels.
So the higher the temperature, the more humidity your Peacock plant needs.
The optimal temperature for your Peacock plant is around 60ºF to 75ºF (15.5-24ºC).
Sudden drops in temperature may affect the growth of your Peacock plant so that’s why it is best to set up a nice environment inside your home rather than growing it outdoors.
If you do opt to grow it indoors, I suggest you place your Peacock plant in a shady area, keeping it away from direct sunlight.
As far as lighting is concerned, like most calatheas, the Peacock plant thrives best in indirect lighting because direct sunlight can burn the leaves if the plant stays in the sun long enough.
So if you place your Peacock plant near a window, make sure that the leaves don’t touch the glass as it can get sunburnt that way.
The Peacock plant shouldn’t be planted in regular plant soil as this type of soil tends to keep a lot of moisture and gets soggy quite quickly.
So the soil for your Peacock plant should be able to retain enough moisture but also have good drainage.
I would suggest using peat-based soil and my recipe is 2 parts peat and 1 part sand.
Also, you can use a perlite mix instead of sand if you want because they both do the job quite well.
There are also a lot of pre-mixed soils made specifically for calatheas on the market, so you can use them as well if you want.
As you may already know, fertilization is always optional for caltheas but it can help to stimulate growth and maybe give your Peacock plant the kick it needs to produce more luscious foliage.
Fertilization is done during the growing season because during that period the plant is developing foliage and is blooming.
If you do decide to use a fertilizer, I suggest you use a mild liquid fertilizer once every 2 weeks during the growing season.
Depending on where you live, the growing season is around April to October, but it can also be a lot shorter if you live in a colder area.
Don’t fertilize your Peacock plant during winter as it can get damaged by the harsh chemicals from the fertilizer as the plant won’t have any use from them and will just get retained.
One of the major steps you must take for proper Peacock plant care is pruning the leaves.
Pruning is done because some leaves start to develop discoloration which can occur when you don’t water your plant enough or due to sunburns.
When you see that your Peacock plant has brown spots on the tip of its leaves, you should use small sheers to cut off those spots.
Also, if you see some blooms that look a bit faded, you should cut them as well as they just take up the resources from the other blooms.
Pruning can also stimulate the growth of the foliage so it’s healthy for your Peacock plant.
Be sure not to prune your plant during the winter as it is most fragile around that time and might not be able to recover so it’s best to do it at the beginning of the season.
Another thing you shouldn’t do is prune all the faded blooms right away.
Instead, you should do one bloom or 2 or 3 brownish-looking leaves at a time and let the plant rest for about 3 weeks before pruning again.
There are many different ways you can propagate a plant – by division, from cuttings, air layering, budding, to name just a few.
Most calatheas and this includes the Peacock plant as well, are best propagated by division.
This means that to propagate your Peacock plant, you’ll have to take it out of the soil and see if the roots have some loose stems which you will transplant to a new flower pot and your new Peacock plant can start to grow.
The tools you’ll need for propagation include:
- Small sheers to cut off the stems or bubs you want to propagate.
- A piece of cloth (you can even use a coffee filter) to put the root-ball in once you take it from the pot.
- A new, small flower pot with good drainage.
- Fresh calathea potting mix.
The steps are pretty straightforward.
First, get your Peacock plant out of its pot and cover the roots in a piece of cloth so that it stays intact.
Then, see if there are some loose buds or stems which you can either pull out with your fingers or cut off with sheers.
Be careful not to damage the roots as you’ll plant might die.
After that, you should wrap the stems you’ve divided into paper towels and put them in the pot with the soil you’ve prepared earlier.
You’ll need your new plant some time to start growing so it is best to propagate at the beginning of the growing season.
After you’re done propagating, you’ll want to water your newly planted Peacock plant and put it somewhere away from direct sunlight and you’re done.
Many varieties of calathea don’t need to be re-potted that often and the Peacock plant also fits in that category.
You’ll need to re-pot it every 2 years or when you see that your Peacock plant is getting a little too big for its pot.
Re-potting the Peacock plant is quite easy.
You’ll just need to prepare a new, larger pot with soil mixture and, as I explained in the propagation part, take out the root-ball of the plant and plant it in the new pot.
While you’re already re-potting your Peacock plant, you can even propagate it so you don’t have to get it out of the pot twice.
Once you’ve successfully re-potted your Peacock plant, feel free to give it a generous amount of water and place it somewhere shady so it can rest.
Calathea Makoyana Problems and Solutions
Even though the Peacock plant is quite easy to take care of, there are some problems you might face when caring for one.
These problems are common and don’t mean that you’re not taking care of your plant properly, but just that you need to look out for them and take measures of precaution so they don’t come up in the first place.
1. Brown Tips on the Edges of the Foliage
This is one of the most common problems you might face when having any type of calathea.
The browning of the foliage edges indicates that the plant needs to be watered more frequently or that you’re using too much fertilizer.
You’ll need to cut off the brownish bits and water your Peacock plant and also don’t fertilize your plant for some time, and maybe even skip fertilizing for the whole season.
Browning can also occur when there isn’t enough moisture in the air so you might need to mist your Peacock plant every 2 weeks or get a humidifier.
2. Foliage Discoloration
You might see that some of the leaves are a bit more yellowish than the others and this is due to nitrogen and iron deficiency.
You can easily treat this by using a mild liquid-based fertilizer which is rich in iron and nitrogen as well as other nutrients.
Try using the fertilizer for about 2 weeks and see if that does the trick.
If it doesn’t, then the foliage is too weak to regenerate and you’ll need to cut it off so it doesn’t take up the nutrients from the healthy foliage.
3. Pest-related Problems
Pests such as spider mites and aphids are the usual leaf-nibblers for almost every type of calathea.
They just love the big and juicy leaves and will destroy your Peacock plant in no time.
That’s why you need to watch out for them and use a mild insecticide either while fertilizing or while misting your Peacock plant.
If you see some little bite marks on the leaves, I suggest using a stronger insecticide and watch out for those pests.
You’ll sometimes have to kill them by removing them from the leaves by your hand and there’s no better method to use.
Root-knot is a condition that affects the Peacock plant when parasitic nematodes attack it.
The root knots itself together which cuts off the circulation of oxygen and water can’t get through the root base.
You’ll need to use a very strong bio-fungicide that might harm your plant but it’s better to cure the chemical burns than to leave your plant to die.
Is Calathea Makoyana Toxic?
No, it is harmless to both people and pets as well.
However, you still don’t want your cats or dogs to eat the leaves because they might get a stomach ache.
How Often Should I Water My Peacock Plant?
You should water it once in 2 weeks no matter if it’s the growing season or winter.
You should also provide the proper humidity levels for your Peacock plant by either misting it once in a while or through a plant humidifier.
Does The Peacock Plant Purify the Air?
All calatheas, including the Peacock plant, do have some air-filtering properties.
They aren’t as effective in this as Ficus for example, but they still make the air in your home much fresher while not consuming too much oxygen as do other types of houseplants.
Why are There Yellow Leaves on My Peacock Plant?
The yellowing on the leaves is due to nitrogen and iron deficiency but can also occur if the plant doesn’t get enough water and indirect lighting.
As I’ve explained in the article, you should give your Peacock plant some nitrogen-rich food and keep it somewhere where it can get lots of light and the yellowing will disappear within weeks.
How Much Sunlight Does My Peacock Plant Need?
You shouldn’t put your Peacock in direct sunlight.
That being said, you should provide about 6 hours of indirect sunlight a day but you can always compensate sunlight with artificial lighting as well.
Just don’t leave your plant in the dark as it won’t get the nutrients it needs to thrive.