Calathea makoyana is known commonly as the peacock plant as its memorable patterned leaves are said to resemble the feathered tail of a peacock. This evergreen perennial is not only stunning, but also an exceptional air purifier in your indoor plant collection.
Upon the tall thin stalks sit exceptionally pleasing round, pale, glossy green leaves with visibly intricate venation, marked with dark green blotches. New growth starts pleasantly rolled, displaying the attractive purple undersides of the leaves as it unfurls.
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Native to eastern Brazil, it was first identified by Édouard Morren, a prominent botanist and editor whose main field of expertise was not actually Marantaceae (which includes Calatheas and arrowroots), but Bromeliaceae (pineapples and air plants).
After his death, the watercolour plates Morren commissioned were sold to Kew Gardens and led to the identification of numerous unpublished species.
Purple Foliage Undersides
The beloved purple undersides of the plant’s foliage gives a hint as to the light conditions Calathea needs. In its native habitat, the Peacock Plant grows on the rainforest floor in limited light conditions.
Plants in these environments often evolve purple undersides to the leaves – after the light passes through the green tops of the leaves, purple coloured undersides reflect the useful parts of the light spectrum back through the leaf. This allows the plant to effectively consume twice as much light, and allows it to survive in its native limited light conditions.
Care & Size Guidance
A place with bright but indirect light is ideal. Avoid south facing spots with too much intense direct sunlight, unless you diffuse the light with a sheer curtain.
Like other Calatheas this plant enjoys high humidity, but overly wet soil can quickly lead to root rot.