How To Grow Peacock Plant (Calathea makoyana) In Your Garden

Calathea makoyana, also commonly referred to as Peacock Plant, is a species of tropical plant native to Brazil.

This plant is renowned for its large, round, beautifully patterned leaves, which boast shades of green on the top and purple on the underside. These leaves are typically around seven inches (approximately 18 cm) long and five inches (13 cm) wide.

On average, Calathea makoyana can grow up to two feet (60 cm) in height and one to two feet (30 to 60 cm) in spread.

One of the reasons gardeners find the Peacock Plant attractive is its ornamental foliage, which brings a unique charm to any garden. The plant's patterned leaves ripple and move in response to changes in light levels, giving it a lively appeal.

Calathea makoyana
Calathea makoyana photograph by ZullyCandle; CC.

This adaptability makes it a perfect addition to shade, subtropical, and indoor gardens. It's best suited to USDA growing zones 10 to 12 and RHS zones H1C to H2, where it can be used as a border or container plant.

However, this plant is not generally invasive, which makes it safe to grow without risking it overrunning your garden space.

How to grow Calathea makoyana in the garden

Growing a Peacock Plant in your garden requires specific attention to its tropical origins. These plants prefer a warm and humid environment, similar to their native rainforest habitat. Therefore, indoor gardens or greenhouses are ideal for them in colder climates. However, they can also thrive outdoors in the warmer months as long as they are kept in a shaded location.

The soil type for Calathea makoyana should be rich, well-draining, and slightly acidic. A mix of peat moss and perlite works well, as it maintains the necessary moisture while allowing excess water to drain. If you can replicate the conditions of its native habitat the best you can, then your Peacock Plant should grow well.

Spring is the best time for planting Peacock Plants. They can be propagated by division, which involves splitting the plant into smaller pieces, each with a set of roots. This is best done during repotting, which is generally needed every two years when the plant becomes root-bound.

To maintain optimal health and appearance, water the Peacock Plant with lukewarm, filtered water to avoid leaf tip burn. Ensure the soil is kept moist but not waterlogged.

Additionally, the plant enjoys high humidity, so regular misting is beneficial.

In terms of potential challenges, Calathea makoyana is susceptible to common houseplant pests like spider mites, so keep an eye out for any signs of infestation. With careful attention to its specific needs, this plant can be a stunning addition to any garden.

How to grow Calathea makoyana as a Houseplant

Calathea makoyana, or Peacock Plant, is a striking houseplant that requires careful attention to thrive indoors. It thrives in bright, indirect light, but exposure to direct sunlight can damage the leaves. Room temperature between 65°F (18°C) and 75°F (24°C) is ideal for this plant.

A well-draining potting mix that retains some moisture is suitable for Peacock Plant. Watering should be done using room-temperature distilled or rain water, as it is sensitive to the salts and chemicals in tap water.

Always keep the soil slightly moist, but avoid waterlogging which can lead to root rot.

Peacock plant as a house plant
Peacock plant image by Dan Jones; CC.

This tropical plant prefers high humidity, which can be maintained by misting the leaves regularly, placing it on a pebble tray, or using a humidifier.

For propagation, divide the plant during repotting in the spring. Calathea makoyana is generally pest-free, but watch out for common houseplant pests such as spider mites and scale.

By paying attention to its specific needs, your Peacock Plant will reward you with its magnificent, patterned foliage, adding a tropical touch to your home decor.

Quick Calathea makoyana Growing and Care Guide

Scientific Name: Calathea makoyana

Common Name(s): Peacock Plant, Cathedral Windows

Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 11-12 RHS Hardiness Rating: H1c (Tender in frost – indoor heated)

Best Used For / Garden Location: Best used for indoor ornamental purposes. Ideal location is indoors in a well-lit area away from direct sunlight.

Plant Details

Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial, Evergreen

Plant Height: 1-2 feet (0.5-1 meter)

Plant Spread: 1-2 feet (0.5-1 meter)

Blooms: Rarely blooms indoors. In its native habitat, it may bloom in summer.

Flower Details: Small, white or purple, and insignificant.

Leaf Foliage: Oval-shaped leaves, pale green with dark green patterns.

Fruit: Does not produce fruit under normal circumstances.

Growing Conditions and Location

Best Light Conditions: Bright indirect light, avoid direct sunlight.

Suitable Soil Types: Well-draining, peat-based potting mix.

Sowing / planting: Plant in spring using fresh potting mix.

Germination time: Seed germination typically takes 3-6 weeks at 70-75°F (21-24°C).

Propagation: By division during repotting in the spring.

Plant Care: Keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy, provide high humidity.

Growing in pots and containers: Yes, best grown in a container with drainage holes.

Growing as a House plant: This plant is ideally grown as a houseplant. Provide it with bright, indirect light and high humidity. Mist the leaves regularly and avoid placing the plant in drafts or near heating vents.

Further Information

Miscellaneous: The Peacock Plant is pet-friendly and is not known to be invasive. It attracts attention due to its unique foliage pattern and is not typically a target for deer or rabbits. However, it can attract pests like spider mites if not properly cared for.

Pests and diseases: Spider mites, scale insects, root rot if overwatered.

Common Cultivars / Varieties: Calathea makoyana itself is a distinct species. Cultivars within the Calathea genus often have differing foliage patterns but require similar care.

Family: Marantaceae, the Prayer Plant family.

Native: Eastern Brazil.

References and Further Reading: Missouri Botanical Garden – Calathea makoyana Royal Horticultural Society – Peacock Plant; University of Florida IFAS Extension – Master gardener.

Common Questions

How do you take care of Calathea Makoyana?

Calathea makoyana, also known as Peacock Plant, needs indirect light, and enjoys warm, humid conditions. Avoid draughts, and water it with soft, tepid water, ensuring the soil remains moist but not waterlogged. Feed it with a balanced liquid plant food in the growing season.

Are peacock plants easy to care for?

Peacock plants are moderately challenging to care for. They require specific conditions: indirect light, warm temperatures, and high humidity. Overwatering and exposure to cold can damage them. Understanding their needs can make their care easier.

Can I save my peacock plant?

Yes, most peacock plants can be saved. First, identify the problem. Brown leaf edges can mean low humidity or underwatering. Yellow leaves could indicate overwatering. Adjust care accordingly. If it's severe, prune unhealthy parts and consider repotting with fresh, well-draining soil.


Calathea makoyana is tropical foliage plant with vibrant peacock-like patterns. Grow in indirect light, well-draining soil, and high humidity. Avoid direct sunlight and water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Calathea makoyana. You may also enjoy the following growing houseplant guides: How to grow Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, Cast-iron plant, and Setcreasea Plants in the home and garden.

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