How to Look After Calathea Makoyana (Peacock Plant / Cathedral Windows) Prayer Plant - A Care Guide

Updated: Mar 8

Here's some tips on how to care for a Calathea Makoyana, so that you can get the best out of this bold pattered tropical houseplant.

A Calathea makoyana being held up at the Garden Geeks store. | Garden Geeks UK
A Calathea makoyana at the Garden Geeks store.

The Peacock Plant


Commonly (and aptly) called the Peacock Plant, the Calathea Makoyana's bold, feather patterned leaves make it a firm favourite in the houseplant world.


Hailing from Eastern Brazil, this evergreen perennial is sometimes also called the 'Cathedral Windows' due to its impressive foliage, with its leaves unfurling in spires as it grows. Part of the Calathea family, they're often referred to as Prayer Plants too.

Light


In the wild, Calathea thrives in the dappled light of the rainforest, meaning indoors they can cope with moderate shade. However, they do enjoy moderate-bright, indirect light to bring out the best in them. Avoid harsh direct sunlight which will fade leaves and damage their brilliant pattern.


If the patterns on the leaves are fading, your plant may be in too much direct light.

Soil


Ideally, the soil of your Calathea Makoyana should retain some moisture while also being able to drain/ to avoid becoming waterlogged and causing root rot. Adding perlite to your soil will help increase drainage and help provide aeration for the roots.


Adding coarse matter such as perlite/bark to around 1/3 of the mix is a good quantity to aim for to balance good drainage and some water retention.


Watering


Through April through to October you should try to keep your Calathea's potting mix lightly moist. Water once the top inch or two of soil has dried out. Never allow the plant to sit in waterlogged soil for too long or you may cause root rot. Lukewarm rainwater is best.


Depending on your potting mix, air humidity and temperature, you may need to adjust your watering regime slightly . Doing a finger check (sticking your finger a couple of inches into the top layer of soil) a couple of times a week is a good way to see if your plant needs watering. If it's dry, your Calathea probably needs a drink, if it's wet, it's good for now.


Watering will become easier with a well established and larger plant


Humidity


Originating form the tropics, the Calathea Makoyana does enjoy some humidity, so feel free to place it in a more humid part of the house. You can also give it a misting every so often, or place them on a tray of pebbles with water underneath.


Temperature


For best results aim to have your Peacock Plant in temperatures ranging from 18–24°C. Try to avoid letting the temperature drop to below 13°C and avoid placing your Calathea near places prone to cold draughts.


Toxicity


Calathea Makoyana / Peacock Plant / Cathedral Windows are non-toxic for pets and humans.

Growth


This Calathea is Moderately fast-growing with a max height of 60cm.

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