Calathea Peacock

Calathea Care Guide

Calathea is a genus of neotropical rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plants that are known for the unique leaf movements of patterned foliage (more on that below). Calathea's are also considered pet-friendly plants, making them great plant picks for anyone that shares a space with curious pets.

In the tropics (mostly Brazil), colorful calathea leaves are used for handicraft and food wrapping. Because of the diversity of the leaf shapes, baskets are weaved with the lanceolate leaves, and food is wrapped with the wider leaves. These colorful leaf markings also make them popular houseplants, and their popularity has been growing. 

Calatheas are part of the ‘prayer plant’ family, Marantaceae. The prayer plant nickname stems from the daily movements of the plants leaves, known as nyctinasty. Various plants in this family move their leaves up at nighttime and lower them in the daytime in accordance to a circadian rhythm. They move their leaves by changing the water pressure in their pulvini, the swollen nodes at the base of the leaf, along the leaf stalk (petiole). It is believed that these movements are meant to follow the sun’s movement in the sky in order to maximize light absorption.

Although Calatheas are more difficult to grow we still love them and think they look great in any room. Shop our selection of Calatheas and get 10% off your entire purchase when you use code CareGuides.  


Water every 1-2 weeks, allowing soil to dry out half way down between waterings. Expect to water more often in brighter light and less often in lower light.


Calatheas thrive in medium to bright indirect light, but can tolerate low indirect light.


Calatheas prefer higher humidity if possible. Consider incorporating a humidifier to boost humidity level indoors.


This plant prefers a well-draining soil; look for ingredients like compost, pine bark, coco coir, worm castings, and perlite.


This plant is toxic non-toxic to pets!

Common Problems

Calatheas are generally easy-going plants but there are some common problems you can look out for:

SYMPTOM: Wilting, curling leaves, dry potting mix
CAUSE: Underwatered, or low humidity levels

SYMPTOM: Yellowing leaves, black base, wet potting mix
CAUSE: Overwatered

SYMPTOM: Leaf spots
CAUSE: Fungal infection or mineral build up from tap water—use distilled water and water directly into surrounding potting soil

SYMPTOM: Plant pests
CAUSE: houseplant pest like mealybugs, fungus gnats, and spider mites can happen, treat them as soon as they appear with weekly sprays of a natural pesticide like neem oil and regular wipe-downs of the plant

1 comment


My Calatheas have been struggling lately so I’ll definitely try the tips in the guide, appreciate the advice!

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