Peacock Plant or Cathedral Windows (Calathea Makoyana)
Peacock feathers and the stained-glass windows of cathedrals are among the most colorful and beautiful sights in our world, right up there with rainbows, kaleidoscopes, and a new box of crayons (ask an eight-year-old. They’ll vouch for us). So when you’re a plant like Calathea Makoyana, whose common names reference both peacocks and cathedrals? You’ve got to be good.
Like the bloom of a Strelitzia Reginae or the taste of lasagna, the leaves of Calathea Makoyana very nearly defy description. Their wide, oval shape spreads flat like an artist’s canvas, and except for a dark green edge that rims the whole leaf, the majority of the surface is washed with very light, whitish green, as if laid down by a painter as a base layer. However, on top of that base layer is drawn a dark green midvein and a dozen or more long, green splotches, almost as if someone painted a silhouette of another plant’s leaves on top of the C. Makoyana’s. To top it all off, the whole pattern is repeated on the leaf undersides, only with a decidedly pink-maroon tint. It’s breathtaking.
Characteristics and traits of a Peacock Plant or Cathedral Windows (Calathea Makoyana)
- Scientific Name: Calathea Makoyana
- Genus: Calathea
- Family: Marantaceae
- Common Name: Peacock Plant, Cathedral Windows, Peacock Calathea, Brain Plant, Prayer Plant (shared with Maranta Leuconerua)
- Indoor: All year provided temperatures are above 65F
- Outdoor Zones: 10-11, but keep out of full sun
- Type: Perennial; propagated by division
- Mature Height: 24-36”
- Mature Width: 36-48”
- Plant Height when Shipped: XXXXXX
- Growth Rate: Slow-Medium
- Flower: Very rare. Insignificant white buds tipped with purple on a short stalk
- Foliage: Wide, diamond-shaped leaves with a thick center vein and heavy green-on-white variegations reminiscent of those of a peacock’s feather.
Plant Care and Advice for Peacock Plant or Cathedral Windows (Calathea Makoyana)
- Grown In: Inside: all zones year round, Outside: zones 10-11, but avoid full sun.
- Light Requirements: Bright indirect, as much as possible.
- Water Requirements: Prefers moist, but not saturated soil
- Drought Tolerance: Average
- Temperature: Likes indoor room temp. 65-85F - 75-ish is ideal.
- Air Purification: Good
- Toxicity: Non-toxic
- Fertilizer: Extremely light.
- Container Friendly: Yes - Be sure it drains well
- Planting: Cathedral Windows Calathea (what a lovely name for a plant, right?) love moist, but well-drained soil, and plant parents have discovered multiple ways to strike that balance. Premixed African violet soil works well, as does a blend of 2 parts peat moss, 2 parts perlite, and 1 part potting soil or compost. When repotting, it helps to have the soil in the new pot moistened from the start, so as to reduce the possibility of the plant drying out. Note, however, that Cathedral Windows Calathea dislike mulch, as it can hinder humidity (which they love).
- Plant Care: Peacock Plant Calatheas are highly sensitive to the temperature and composition of their water. If using tap water, let it sit out a full 24 hours before giving it to the plant, so added chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine can dissipate and the water can reach room temperature. Water evenly, but lightly, as often as you need to in order to keep the soil moist, but not saturated, so as to avoid that scourge of tropical plants, root rot. Also, try not to get water on the leaves, as that can encourage the growth of fungi. Outside of its water sensitivity, Peacock Plant Calatheas' other care requirements are notable, but rarely demanding. For example, temperature is rarely a problem as long as the indoor temperature doesn’t rise above 90F or drop below 65F (temps below 60F can be fatal), but they are affected by sudden shifts in temperature—a threat that is easily handled by keeping the plant away from air conditioners, heaters, or central air vents. Similarly, Peacock plants also hate standing in waterlogged soil, but adore humidity—their leaves may actually curl if they don’t get enough of it. That’s when you pull out two tried-and-true methods for increasing humidity safely: very light misting (no visible droplets on the leaves) and placing the plant’s pot in a wide tray filled to the top with pebbles and halfway with water. The Cathedral Windows Calathea requires very little pruning beyond occasionally snipping off a dead leaf. If the leaves get pale—not yellow, which we’ll cover below, but washed-out or faded—the plant could probably use a bit of fertilizer. Liquid fertilizer at half strength every 2-4 weeks during the growing season should be plenty, and even better results may come from a nitrogen-dense foliar fertilizer that also contains iron, such as kelp or fish fertilizer.
- Expert Advice: When the tips of Calathea Makoyana turn brown, it’s not a sign of a problem. Just trim the dead part away. When older leaves turn yellow and die, it’s the same thing. But if the younger leaves closer to the center begin to yellow, it’s time to adjust your care routine. Pinpointing the exact cause of yellow leaves can take some trial-and-error. Calatheas yellow when they need more water, but also when they have too much water, when the water contains too many chemicals or dissolved salts, when they’re cold, and when they want more or less light. Resist trimming the yellowed leaves and adjust your care routine one variable at a time. When your Peacock Plant Calateha begins to recover, you’ll know you hit on the needed adjustment. Calathea Makoyana is viewed as a tasty dish to multiple plant pests, but they can easily be controlled. Neem oil will dispatch spider mites (the most common pest) and aphids, mealybugs and scale insects (which can also be washed away with herbicidal soap), and fungus gnats. Beneficial nematodes added to the soil can control root knot nematodes and burrowing nematodes. Calatheas can also contract a number of fungal diseases, including pseudomonas leaf spot, alternaria leaf spot, helminthosporium leaf spot, fusarium, pseudomonas blight and cucumber mosaic virus, most of which can be treated with copper fungicide. Propagation of a Peacock Plant Calathea is both harder and easier than with most plants. What makes it hard? They don’t root well from cuttings, and they almost never bloom, so seeds are a looong shot. So what’s easy? Division. You can simply remove the plant from its pot, pull it apart at the spots where the roots and stems meet—just to be 100% clear, pull in the direction that gives you two smaller complete plants, not the direction that gives you one hand full of all roots and the other full of just stems—then repot the resulting pieces in separate pots. Viola! One plant is now many plants.
GET FREE SHIPPING when you buy any 3 or more plants!
That's right - As soon as your shopping cart contains any 3 plants, your shipping is FREE! Eligible for ground shipped orders going to the same address only.
GET FREE SHIPPING
when you buy any 3 or more items!
That's right - As soon as your shopping cart contains any 3 items, your shipping is FREE! Eligible for ground shipped orders going to the same address only.
And if you only order one or two items, shipping is just $7.50 per item!
WE TAKE SHIPPING SERIOUSLY
... SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO
- We ship orders out of our nursery on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
- If your order arrives by Tuesday night, we'll get it out within 24 hours, otherwise it will go out the following Monday.
- We ship using UPS.
- Depending on your location, you should receive your plants within 2-7 days from the date we ship them. Most orders average 2-3 days.
- Our system automatically emails a notification to you with shipping and tracking information as soon as we ship your plants. Be sure your email is entered in correctly when you are checking out, this is the main cause for not getting notified. If you do not received your order, please email us at Happiness@TropicalPlants.com.
Changing your delivery address
If you want to change the delivery address of your order and it has not already left our greenhouses, we will do our best to modify the delivery. Please send us an email to: Happiness@TropicalPlants.com. No guarantee, but we will try our best.
If the order has already shipped, please go to UPS.com or Fedex.com. Sign up there to make changes to delivery addresses.
Packages arriving in bad condition
On occasion, UPS and FedEx may handle some packages a bit too rough for your plant's liking. Please open your package immediately and document any damage with your camera. Call us at 800-668-3358 or email us at Happiness@TropicalPlants.com (preferably with your photos) and let us know what happened. Also refer to our Guarantee.
If you need us to hold an order for you, we can for a short time. In the warm months we can only hold orders for a week or two. The plants grow so fast they can become too large to ship very quickly. In the Winter things grow a lot slower and we hold orders due to bad weather a lot better. So if you are not going to be home the week you order, just drop us an email and we will be glad to hold your order.
Do you ship all year long? Yes! In the cold Winter and hot Summer months we check each order destination to be sure the temperature is safe to ship your live plant. When the temperature borders on the "too cold" to ship side, we may choose to ship your plants with a heat pack at no extra charge. If the temperature is still "too cold" to ship, we will hold your order in the warmth of our greenhouses until we can find a safe window of shipping weather and you will be notified via email.
Do you ship with heat packs? No need to request one. We will check the weather in your area and add one if the temperature is below safe shipping levels.
Do you charge extra for heat packs? No.
What do I do if my plants are damaged by the cold? Please take good photos of the box, packing materials and the plants and send them to: Happiness@TropicalPlants.com.