Calathea Makoyana Plant Care

Calathea makoyana plant is mystique with its patterned leaves. Also known as the Peacock plant or cathedral window, it surely deserves a special place in your home.

If you have this foliage in your indoor plant collection, you have royalty. But if not, stay a bit longer to find out how you can find one and care for it.  

Calathea makoyana Plant Introduction

The Peacock plant makes attractive indoor foliage. Don’t you agree? Its best grown in humus-rich potting soil. You can place Peacock plants in partly shaded or shaded areas with high humidity in winter. Superb, now, but where does it come from?

The Peacock plant or Calathea makonaya originates from Brazil. A tropical plant that can grow both indoor and outdoor with the correct amount of shade. It grows tall, slender up to 24-inches (60cm) in height. Yet, it does not stop there. The plant has pale greenish leaves covered with dark lines forming feather patterns.

When you turn the leaf over you, notice the lines come over pink/purple. It has a dense growth but is difficult to find. If you’re able to get one, the plant care is, how would we say, not simple.

Scientific Name: Calathea makoyana

Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial

Family: Marantaceae family

Exposure to Sunlight: Bright indirect light

Soil Type: Holds moisture but drains well

Color: Pale green leaves with a dark line on the top and pink/purple lines underneath

Water:  Moist at all times

Favorable Climate: Tropical Climate

Preferable Fertilizer: High nitrogen fertilizer

Propagation: Root division

Toxicity Warning: Non-toxic

Status: Rare

Height: 24-inches (60cm)

Origin: Brazil

Peacock Plant Care

calathea makoyanaDue to its Brazilian roots, the Peacock plant care is a bit tricky to tend to. It helps if you create the correct humidity and additional misting for it to survive. So, if you want your indoor plant to thrive, make sure to read everything we have included in our care guide here.

Soil Condition

potting soil

Calathea Makoyana Plant Care, PlantlyThe Peacock plant needs soil that holds enough moisture. However, it must also drain well. The best potting soil is to mix two parts peat moss with one part perlite or coarse sand. Another exceptional soil is African violets or peaty mix. But it helps to add some coarse matter such as:

  • Coconut Coir
  • Pine Bark
  • Sand
  • Perlite

When using the above matter, you can replace 10% of the peat moss using compost. Doing this will keep your Peackcock plants happy to hold the water. But do not overdo it, gardeners. You do not want the ground to be soggy.

Watering Requirement

Part of peacock plant care is proper watering. Remember that the soil needs to remain moist. But make sure not to let the tubers sit in the water leading to root rot. Further, it also helps to follow a watering schedule as well. With these simple rules, your Peacock plants will surely thrive.

Your Calathea needs the right amount of water. It helps to touch the soil with your fingers every few days. Check the top inch if dry or too wet. Once dry, it’s time to pour water into the pot.

We recommend using distilled water or rainwater. Your Peacock plant will suffer from tap water if contains fluoride.

Lighting Requirement

Your Cathedral Windows is a tropical perennial and is used to shade from trees. So if you want your houseplant to be happy, it needs the same type of lighting. Look for a bright spot with bright indirect sunlight. The best place is east or north-facing window.

Your poor plant can get burn with direct sunlight while too little of it can impede its growth. If you have a room with too much light, you can place them away from the window.

plant lighting requirement

Place some curtains to shield your exotic plant or place it behind other indoor plants. But how do you know if your Peacock plants are getting too much light? You’ll notice the patterns on the leaves fading. The tips will also turn brown.

When the Calathea does not get enough light, the leaves are smaller with vivid patterns. The leaves will also start growing apart from one another.

Temperature Requirement

Okay, this is a crucial part of caring for your Cathedral Windows.

Try to maintain the constant temperature range. The best is to keep it between 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 30°C.) Never let the temperature drop to below 61°F (16°C). If it happens, you have to protect your makonaya plant from freezing damage.

Most importantly, avoid placing your Peacock plant in cold drafts.

 Humidity Requirement

As important as the temperature, the humidity for your plant needs to be right. For Calathea makonaya, maintain a high humidity of around 60% or higher.

If you cannot afford a humidifier, you can make a pebble tray to help control the humidity levels. But make sure to fill it under the stone line to prevent your plant from sitting in the water. If done incorrectly, it can lead to root rot.

Another way to lift the humidity levels is to group your Calatheas. So how do I know my indoor plants not getting enough humidity? Your tropical plant leaves start to turn brown on the tips.

Fertilizer Requirement

To guarantee new Peacock’s tail growth, nurture it every three weeks in the growing season. There are two options available organic or chemical.

Chemical Fertilizer

Your Calatheas need high nitrogen compost to prevent brown spots on the leaves. The best commercial fertilizer is NPK 3-1-2. We recommend diluting it to half or a quarter strength. Another tip when using chemical manure is that it does accumulate salts in the potting soil.

You can leach the soil, giving it a good flush with water every few months to resolve this. Water your plant before feeding. Doing this helps prevent tuber burn and stop feeding during the winter months.

Organic Feed

You can opt-in using organic liquid fertilizers sold online. Or you can make one yourself. You can add compost to the potting mix when transplanting your plant for slow-release of nutrients. You can fill a bucket with compost halfway and add the same amount of water. Please leave it to stand for a few days for the compost tea to develop. Once ready, dilute it with half.

Plant Propagation

The best time to propagate your Peacock plant is in spring once it has outgrown the pot. You can do this using the root division method.

  1. A day before transplanting your Peacock plant, give it a good watering.
  2. Prepare your new pots with good drainage.
  3. Fill the container 1/3 of the way with your potting soil.
  4. Take your Calathea and tip it on the side to help it slide out of the vessel.
  5. Remove the soil and separate the rhizomes. Do this by looking for a natural division at the rootball. Take your time as you need to break the tubers when dividing them.
  6. Trim of diseased or damaged rhizomes when dividing them in two. If your mother plant is huge, you can divide them into more sections.
  7. Place each tuber into its own container. Backfill them up with the rest of the soil to the same level as your plant’s old container. A great thing to do is to use some of the same soil as your mother plant. It helps reduce stress in the offspring.
  8. Water your Peacock plant allowing excess water to drain away.
  9. You can cover them with clear plastic to help with new growth.
  10. Once you notice new growth, remove the bag and continue caring for your Peacock plant.

Growth Zone

The best place to grow your Peacock plant is in USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11. The climate is warm enough for your plant to grow outside under a canopy of shrubs or trees.


The best time to transplant your Peacock plant is in spring and fall. You can do this every two years or when the pot gets too small for your plant.

Choose a container one size bigger than the old one. Now, you can check your houseplant for root rot and remove them. Now is also the time to provide your Peacock plant with fresh soil.

Further, your plant does not need a lot of pruning, and you only need to remove old or damaged leaves.

Calathea Makoyana Varieties and Similar Plants

The majority of Calathea varieties have leaves closing at night known as prayer plants. Here are some similar plants you can see:

calathea roseopicta plant

Calathea Roseopicta or the Rose Painted Calathea is a pretty houseplant with shiny bright green foliage. Another attractive thing about the foliage is the creamy markings. Unfortunately, the plant is also sensitive to cold.

calathea orbifolia plant

Calathea Orbifolia or Round Leaf Calathea has leaves that grow to 12-inches (30cm) wide. The leaves have a light green shade with creamy stripes.

calathea freddie plant

Calathea Freddie, compared to the Catherdral Windows, has pale green foliage with feathery features and dark green veins.

Calathea makoyana Diseases & Pests

As with most houseplants, your Makoyana can be infestated by pests inside your home. Here are the common pests and diseases that can cause your plant to get ill:

Spider Mites

The insect eats holes in the foliage, turning them brown. The important thing is to find the problem early to prevent infestation. As soon as you notice a sticky residue or webbing, start treating your plant. You can shower your plant or hose it down with a spray to help dislodge them. Soak a cotton ball in alcohol and rub each leave down.

You may also mix some dishwashing liquid with water to give your plant a spray or use Neem oil with water instead.

Root Rot

When you overwater your plant, it can result in the roots rotting. You will notice this happening when the foliage becomes yellow and droops. You can save your plant by removing it from the pot and cutting away the damaged roots. Then, place your plant in well-drained soil to help it recover.

Leaf Spot

Pseudomonas is another problem you can encounter. Usually, it happens by droplets left on the leaf, causing bacteria. You notice the leaves turning reddish/brown and can also transmit from other sick plants. To treat your Calathea, use a copper-based anti-bacterial and remove the damaged leaves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my Calathea makoyana leaves curling?

It is a sign of dehydration and caused by underwatering your plant. It can also be due to low humidity or excess heat. So if this happens, try to increase the humidity using a humidity tray or provide it with enough water. Keep checking the soil to see if the ground is dry as it will prevent over or underwatering.

Does Calathea Makoyana like misting?

Although your calathea likes high humidity, misting isn’t always the recommended way. This is because it can lead to growth of fungi. Instead you can use these other methods:

  • Use a humidifier in your room.
  • Group your plant with other humidity-loving foliage
  • Or place the pot on a pebble tray

Why does my peacock plant have brown edges?

A common reason for this to happen is if you use tap water. Instead, use rainwater or distilled water. The chemicals in tap water cause a build-up in the soil leading to brownish edges on the leaf. Overfertilization can also lead to the same fate.

You can place your plant in the sink, flush the soil with the water, and leave it to drain well.

Where to buy Calathea makoyana?

We have the best news for you! You can buy your Calathea Makoyana right here at Plantly and need not look further online.

Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!


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