Peacock Plant: A Decorative House Plant

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Lawn & Garden

Peacock plants are known for their decorative and showy foliage, which is carried very proudly like the peacock’s tail. The leaves display vivid shades of green and maroon and often feature intriguing patterns on the top and colored deep maroon below. These oblong leaves rise from clustered rosettes at soil level, and some leaves are attractively waved at the edges. While the greenish flowers are of little interest, the foliage is a trademark of the peacock plant.

The peacock plant requires bright to filtered light, evenly moist soil, high humidity, and a house temperature. While smaller-leaved varieties can tolerate less humidity, the leaves quickly burn along the edges if exposed to dry air. The plant can recuperate if humidity is restored. The peacock plant needs a balanced fertilizer and an all-purpose potting mix. It can be propagated through division and is used decoratively on the floor or table.

Peacock Plant Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name: Calathea sp.
  • Common Names: Peacock Plant, Cathedral Windows, Zebra Plant
  • Light Requirement: Bright Light to Filtered Light
  • Water Requirement: Evenly Moist
  • Humidity: High
  • Temperature: House
  • Fertilizer: Balanced
  • Potting Mix: All-Purpose
  • Propagation: Division
  • Decorative Use: Floor, Table
  • Care Rating: Demanding

Learn About House Plants by Type

  • House Plants
  • Full Sun House Plants
  • Bright Light House Plants
  • Filtered Light House Plants
  • Light Shade House Plants
  • Hanging Basket House Plants
  • Floor Plant House Plants
  • Table Plant House Plants
  • Terrarium Plant House Plants
  • Very Easy House Plants
  • Easy House Plants
  • Demanding House Plants
  • Temporary House Plants
  • Flowering House Plants
  • Climbing or Trailing House Plants
  • House Plants with Colorful Foliage
  • Fragrant House Plants

Learn How to Care for House Plants:

  • Lighting House Plants
  • Watering House Plants
  • Humidity for House Plants
  • Temperature for House Plants
  • Fertilizing House Plants
  • Potting House Plants
  • Grooming House Plants
  • Propagating House Plants
  • Decorating with House Plants
  • Preventing Pests and Diseases in House Plants
  • Vacation Care for House Plants
  • Gardening

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Larry Hodgson is a full-time garden writer from Quebec City, Canada, where he grows over 3,000 species and varieties. He has written several books in English and French, including Making the Most of Shade, The Garden Lovers Guide to Canada, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, Houseplants for Dummies, and Ortho’s Complete Guide to Houseplants. He is the winner of the Perennial Plant Association’s 2006 Garden Media Award.


1. What is a Peacock Plant?

A Peacock Plant, also known as Calathea, is a tropical plant that is native to South America, Central America, and Africa. It is known for its stunning foliage, which features intricate patterns and bold colors that resemble the feathers of a peacock.

2. How do I care for a Peacock Plant?

Peacock Plants thrive in bright, indirect light and high humidity. They prefer well-draining soil and need to be watered consistently but not overwatered. It is also important to keep the leaves clean and dust-free to prevent pests and diseases.

3. Can I grow a Peacock Plant indoors?

Yes, Peacock Plants are great indoor plants as long as they receive enough light and humidity. They can also be grown outdoors in warm, humid climates.

4. How often should I fertilize my Peacock Plant?

Peacock Plants should be fertilized once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced fertilizer. It is important to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package to avoid over-fertilization, which can damage the plant.

5. What are some common problems with Peacock Plants?

Peacock Plants can be susceptible to pests such as spider mites and mealybugs, as well as fungal diseases such as root rot. Overwatering and low humidity can also cause issues for Peacock Plants.

6. How do I propagate a Peacock Plant?

Peacock Plants can be propagated by dividing the plant at the roots or by taking stem cuttings and rooting them in water or soil. It is important to keep the new plants in a warm, humid environment until they are established.

7. Can I prune my Peacock Plant?

Yes, Peacock Plants can be pruned to control their size and shape. It is best to prune in the spring or summer before new growth appears. Use clean, sharp scissors to make clean cuts and avoid damaging the plant.

8. What are some popular varieties of Peacock Plants?

Some popular varieties of Peacock Plants include the Calathea orbifolia, Calathea medallion, and Calathea lancifolia. Each variety has its own unique foliage pattern and coloration.

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