Calathea Makoyana is native to East Brazil. It is also called the peacock plant because of its vibrant foliage. This Calathea plant is considered rarer than other varieties but makes an excellent houseplant when grown in the right conditions.
Calathea Makoyana Appearance
Calathea makoyana grows to 2 feet (61 cm) tall and its vibrant color makes it a sought after houseplant. The long, oval leaves reach 10 inches (25.4 cm) long with tops of two-toned green and pinkish-purple undersides. Though indoor blooming is rare, the peacock plant produces small, purple and white flowers growing in clusters on the end of long stems.
Calathea Makoyana Sunlight Requirements
Calathea makoyana requires moderate, indirect light from a North or East-facing window. Do not place the peacock calathea in direct sunlight as their leaves will burn and the brilliant color of the foliage fades. Some lower lighting is tolerated, but too little sun exposure will stunt the plant’s growth.
Avoid using hard tap water with high mineral content as foliage and roots will burn. Instead, water with rainwater or filtered water to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Insert a finger into the soil and water when the top 1 inch of soil feels dry. Excessive moisture leads to root rot, so water collected in the pot’s drip tray must be drained. If tap water is used, fill an open container and let the water sit overnight, allowing chlorine and fluoride to evaporate.
Temperature and Humidity
Calathea makoyana requires temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 30 degrees Celsuis). Temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit stunts growth, as does direct contact with hot or cold drafts. Keep humidity at 60 percent or higher and supplement low levels using a tray filled with pebbles and water placed under the plant’s pot. Mist the foliage of the peacock plant once or twice a week, in the morning, to keep leaves clean and add needed moisture.
Soil and Fertilizer Requirements
Grow your Calathea Makoyana in a well-draining soil mix of 2 parts peat and 1 part coarse sand or perlite. Replace 10 percent of the peat with compost or worm castings for added organic fertilizer. A balanced soil mixture allows the water to absorb fast and won’t pool on the surface. If not using organic material in the soil, feed with a 3-1-2 houseplant fertilizer diluted to ½ strength no more than twice per month. Feed less if using compost or castings. Fertilizing in the winter is not required.
Calathea Makoyana Propagation
Propagate the peacock Calathea by division for the best results. Mature plants produce new growth emerging beside the main plant. Divide plants in the spring or summer and water the Calathea Makoyana two to three days ahead of time. Remove the plant from its pot and separate the new growth from the mother plant either with your hands or using a sharp, sterilized pair of shears. Each division must have its own set of healthy roots to thrive. Place each plant in its own pot filled ⅓ full with a peat-based soil mixture. Keep the soil moist, but not wet, and place it in the same lighting and temperature conditions as before.
Calathea Makoyana Pests and Diseases
The peacock plant is susceptible to infestations of mealybugs, mites, and scale. Control infestations by wiping the affected leaf areas with a cotton swab moistened with alcohol to remove adult insects. Treat the remaining, immature pests with neem oil or an insecticidal soap as directed. More than one application may be required for large infestations.
Root rot is a common disease as a result of overwatering. Yellowing leaves, brown leaf tips, wilting leaves, and an offensive odor are initial signs of its presence and the plant’s roots need inspection for confirmation. Mushy, black, or brown-colored roots indicate rot. Remove affected roots with sterilized shears. Mix one part 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with two parts water and mist the root system. Repot in a new container with a fresh, peat-based soil mixture to avoid reinfection from the bacteria. Reduce watering and monitor the plant for improvement.
One of the most colorful of all Calathea varieties, Calathea Makoyana makes a stunning houseplant. For those willing to cater to its specific needs, it is a rewarding addition to any plant lover’s collection.
Calathea Makoyana FAQ
No, the peacock plant is not considered toxic to pets.
A houseplant fertilizer high in Nitrogen, but low in Potassium, is recommended for peacock Calathea plants. Use an NPK fertilizer of 3-1-2 to reduce brown spots on foliage and keep the plant’s vibrant coloring.
It is not recommended to propagate by cuttings started in water. Calathea roots are susceptible to root rot and should be propagated by division of mature plants.
Repot your peacock plant only when it becomes root bound and outgrows its current pot. Repot the entire plant into a pot one size larger than its old pot or divide the mature plant into two or more separate plants and use a similar pot size.
Yes, grow the peacock Makoyana outdoors if you live in USDA zones 10a, 11, or a similar tropical climate. Do not place them in full sun or the foliage will burn and fade. Instead, mimic their natural habitat of dappled sunlight for best results.