Hands down one of our favourite houseplants, the Calathea Makoyana is a showy member of one of the showiest houseplant species around! With its beautiful foliage of light green with distinctly feathered pattern of dark green and purply, pink underside it's easy to see how its common name of peacock plant has arisen; each leaf reminiscent of a peacock's tail feather.
Like so many of our favourite houseplants the peacock plant originates from a tropical region, namely Brazil, where it occupies the rainforest under storey, making it perfect for life inside.
While the peacock plant enjoys some bright indirect sunlight be careful not to leave it where it will get scorched by hot, direct sunlight. Fading of its vibrant foliage is a clear sign of too much sunlight.
These houseplants are very sensitive the harsh Australian sunlight so keep an eye for fading, scorched tips or tightly shrivelled leaves which indicate the plant is experiencing heat stress and/or too much direct sunlight.
Another sure sign your plant is stressed is if the leaves stand straight up as if they're being robbed! If you're sure they're not getting too much sun then they are probably too hot and will need to be moved to a cooler spot.
In regards to humidity the Calathea Makoyana will appreciate higher humidity but personally, I have found they tolerate drier indoor conditions more easily than other calatheas. That being said they will always enjoy a regular misting and should be watered as soon as the top soil/mix is dry to the touch.
Watering from the bottom of the pot is definitely this houseplants preferred technique. One of my favourite things to do is watch this plant drink up all its water from the saucer. If you're unable to water this way, be sure the let any excess water drain freely so not to cause root rot. Ideally, the potting medium should be consistently moist but not soggy. Another factor to consider when watering your peacock plants is whether you have 'hard' water. Fluoride and chlorine in tap water can damage your houseplants (brown tips, anyone?) so always allow your water to sit for a few hours or overnight to allow these chemicals to dissipate. Rainwater is ideal and I'd highly encourage you to collect it whenever possible for your houseplants!
Naturally, like many houseplants the peacock plant will require more frequent watering in the warmer months than in winter.
Calatheas are sensitive to over fertilising and caution should be the side you err on! A weak solution every two weeks in the growing season will be plenty and ideally we'd recommend an organic solution such as Munash Organics Seaweed or We The Wild 'Grow' Tonic. Both of which are excellent for maintaining healthy, happy houseplants.