What is a Peacock Plant?
Peacock Plants are the masters of showmanship, just like the birds of the same name. The leaves of this plant draw gardeners and non gardeners alike as the watermelon-like leaf pattern is especially attractive along with the contrasting maroon-purple color on the reverse side. In addition, you’ll see these plants move a ton throughout the day! The leaves rise throughout the day, relaxing when the sun is out and reaching for light during the nighttime. Due to this unusual pattern , the plant has been nicknamed the ‘Prayer Plant,’ referencing its similarities to praying hands at night. Some people consider the plant a symbol of devotion because of this.
This tropical plant is an evergreen perennial in its native homeland in South America, explaining their love for humidity and tropical coloration. It requires a little extra care, but is worth it when you see the beautifully toned leaves thanking you throughout the day! Their beauty is appreciated and valued for their colorful foliage and will add an interesting tropical vibe to any home garden.
Peacock Plants are safe for humans, pets, cats, and dogs, making it a great option for people with sneaky cats or chew-happy puppies!
Great for People:
- Who need a hobby and like challenges
- Who are nurturers that are looking for a plant project
- Who like their homes warm
- Who love an exotic touch to their green spaces
- Who love the color purple!
Great for Spaces:
- That need a touch of exotic color to add flair
- With lots of bright indirect southern exposure
- That stays warmer and humid to imitate this plant’s tropical home
- Such as partial shade patios
How to Care for a Peacock Plant
Being native to the lower levels of the tropical forests in Brazil, medium to bright indirect light is perfect for Peacock Plants. This makes the plant one of the few more tropical plants that can handle lower light situations. It also means that they should never be in direct sunlight, as it can dull or even burn the leaves. You will know if it may be getting too much sun as the leaves will bleach or start to get crispy brown tips. Too little sun, and the Peacock Plant will start to have large spaces between leaves and it will stunt growth. Give it at least 8 hours of bright light a day. Preferably a southern or two direction exposure.
Peacock Plants enjoy high humidity, somewhere between 50-60%. Spritz the leaves daily or set up a humidifier to keep it happy. You can also set up a pebble tray with water and set them on to create adequate humidity levels. Bathrooms can be awesome for these plants since they don’t require direct light, as long as there are adequate windows. Brown, yellowing leaves can sometimes be a sign of lack of humidity, so keep an eye on your plant’s leaves. Peacock plants like medium moisture but not standing in water or soggy soil. Water with rainwater, filtered or bottled water at room temperature when they are partially dry (They don’t like hard water). Check all the way around the plant for moisture levels. Using a moisture meter may be helpful too.
65°F or above, ideally between 65°F and 75°F. Be mindful of where you place them, too close to windows during the winter, drafts, or air conditioning units can mean that they get too cold. If Peacock Plants are exposed to too much cold, they will stop growing and potentially start dying. As long as the evening temperatures are above 55°F to 60°F, you can safely let this plant stay outside. Make sure to avoid the direct sunlight, a shaded patio is a great location.
Fertilize your peacock plant every month or twice a month during spring and summer as the plant is growing. You can stop feeding it over the winter when it stops growing. You can easily over fertilize your Peacock Plant, so be careful to use a liquid or water soluble fertilizer, and consider using less than the recommended dosage.
Repotting and Propogating:
Each spring divide any overcrowded clumps of your indoor plant. Use an African Violet potting mix, or any mix that holds a fair amount of moisture. Depending on how big your plant has become, either propagate or replant in a bigger container each year or two. Normally increase the pot size by 1-2 inches in diameter. It is crucial to buy pots with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging and overwatering issues.
To propagate, moisten the mix for planting. Gently lift the plant out of the container, and move the soil away from the roots. Observe where the joints attach to the stems. Gently pry and divide stems and root segments. Transplant into multiple pots, covering the roots as before. Enclose the new plantings in plastic bags and keep them in medium light. Remove the plastic bag when the roots are established. You may observe some leaf changes as it acclimates to its new environment. It may suffer some transplant shock depending on how tight the roots were intertwined together. Trim off any declining leaves as it regains its energy and gets rooted into the soil over time.
Gently wipe any dust off the leaves with a clean, damp cloth. Support the leaf as you gently wipe down each leaf being careful not to bend the stems. Another way is to put in a shower and fill a watering can with filtered water and rinse the leaves. Groom this indoor plant regularly by removing any discolored leaves. Spritz both sides of the leaves to ensure it gets adequate humidity.
Common Issues of the Peacock Plant
- Browning edges or rolling leaves can mean low humidity levels or the water has high salts, fluorides and chlorides.
- Leaves falling off, scorched, bronzing or flecked leaves are a sign of spider mite infestation. Use a miticide and repeat application every two-weeks until the mites are under control.
- Over watering can lead to root rot. Avoid constantly wet soil, make sure your pot has adequate drainage, and only water when needed. To tell if the plant needs watering, poke your finger into the soil to see if the top inch or two is dry - if so, water!
- This plant is finicky with temperature and humidity, keeping the environment correct for this plant is essential to keeping it healthy! Look for signs of problems with brown or yellowing leaves, as well as wilting or the stoppage of growth.
Complimentary Plants with your Peacock plant:
Enjoy the Lady Palm with your Peacock Plant. It’s complimentary shaped leaves and height make it an attractive addition. It requires the same light intensity and is safe for pets too. This houseplant doesn’t require as much attention, and is super easy to care for and perfect for beginner indoor plant gardeners, making it a good contrast to the Peacock Plant’s unique needs.
Another excellent choice and similar in gardening needs is the Money Tree Plant. This one is also pet friendly, loves bright, indirect light and requires comparable humidity levels.
For more information on caring for your new indoor plant, check out our comprehensive care guide here.