The “eyes” and the very fine lines of this plant’s decorative foliage create the appearance of a peacock’s tail and give the plant its most widely used common name, peacock plant.
It is also, but less commonly, called cathedral windows. Calatheas are closely related to marantas (see p. 107) but are rather more delicate.
Leaves are thin, oval in shape, and about 12in/30cm long. They are light green, feathered with fine, dark green lines running from the midrib to the edge of the leaf, and have elongated, irregularly shaped blotches occurring at intervals.
The underside of the leaves is also marked and tends to be pinkish maroon rather than green. The foliage is held upright on long slender stems.
Never allow the soil to dry out during the growing season.
Yellowing and browning of the leaves is often caused by dry air. Mist regularly and set the plant on a tray of moist gravel to raise humidity.
The undersides of calathea leaves are an attractive maroon color
HEIGHT To 2ft/60cm.
POTTING MIX Peat-moss-based or soil-based with one-third peat moss or leaf mold added.
REPOTTING Every year, or every other year, move the plant into a pot one size larger in spring.
PROPAGATION Divide and repot established plants in spring.
KEEPING PLANTS Calatheas are fairly long-lived, given the right growing conditions.
Calathea makoyana Marantaceae PLANT CARE GUIDE
- Light shade; no direct sun.
- Keep in evenly warm conditions with a minimum temperature of 60°F/16°C.
- Water freely with warm, preferably lime-free, water during the growing season, more sparingly in winter. Mist the foliage regularly.
- Give plants plenty of standard liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks in the growing period.