Calathea makoyana, or peacock plant, is a beautiful houseplant that doesn’t require too much care for sufficient growth. The plant gets its beautiful name due to the unique markings present on its leaf surface, which resembles a peacock’s tail feathers.
The peacock plant grows about 2 feet tall and produces white or purple flowers. It is a tropical plant that can handle a low-light environment, making it one of the most desirable houseplants.
The fascinating qualities of this plant don’t end here. Peacock plants are famous for their mesmerizing movement, which is called nyctinasty.
Nyctinasty is a special leaf movement when they close at night and open up during the daytime. The Peacock plant responds to the changes in light levels throughout the day and reacts accordingly to ensure better and maximum photosynthesis.
Nyctinasty in the peacock plant is very common and a sight to behold. If the leaves are not moving, they indicate that the plant is not healthy.
Calathea makoyana and Maranta leuconeura are known as prayer plants, as their leaves fold up and close at night to conserve maximum moisture. The way the leaves raise to an upright position and fold resembles praying hands. That is why these plants are called prayer plants.
The phenomenon of nyctinasty indicates that the plant only points its leaves upward at night, but if you notice your plant leaves are pointing up all the time, it means there is some problem that needs to be addressed.
How to Take Care of a Peacock Plant?
Their unusual leaf movement is mainly guided by the distribution and amount of water retained in their leaves, which means that over or under-watering these plants can kill them.
These plants require indirect but bright sunlight, and too much sunlight will dry the leaves very quickly.
A dry environment can cause the browning of leaves in a peacock plant, and humid conditions are very important to keep the plant happy and thriving.
Peacock plants are very telltale in their behavior to indicate whether or not they require watering. Their lifespan decreases if they are dried out for long intervals between watering. If the leaves are closed throughout the day, start monitoring your peacock plant’s watering routine to prevent long-term damage.
What Is Nyctinasty in a Peacock Plant?
Peacock plants are tropical species, which is why they grow best in humid environments and away from direct sunlight.
Peacock plants are very responsive to patterns of light and dark, and the leaves stand up at night and open during the day. Why a peacock plant moves this way is still a vague concept, and many scientists believe it is related to the circadian rhythm.
Others think that this special leaf movement is the plant’s way of temperature and water regulation. When a plant leaf is folded up, it exposes less surface area and loses less water and heat at night.
Both theories indicate the importance of light and water for plant movement, so if any abnormal behavior is noticed in a peacock plant, it requires adjusting its watering schedule and lighting conditions.
Other than opening in daylight and closing leaves at night, the peacock plant leaves are in constant motion throughout the day, depending on the light movements.
Why Are My Peacock Plant Leaves Pointing up All the Time?
Peacock plants are praying plants and point their leaves upward at night, which is a normal phenomenon.
If you notice your peacock plant leaves pointing up during the day, it means there is something wrong that causes this irregular behavior. Let us see all the reasons for this abnormality:
1. Insufficient Watering
Peacock plants live happily in moist soil and humid environment, and if you let them stay dry for too long before watering, the plant will begin to suffer, and the water stress will take a toll on its overall health and life expectancy.
Peacock plants require maximum humidity, and underwatering this plant causes curling up the leaves, which reduces their water loss.
Peacock plant leaves may dry up and appear crispy due to dehydration. On the other hand, too much watering can cause root rot or other diseases.
Always ensure that you adequately water your peacock plant, and if possible, try to mist the leaves or sprinkle clean water on them regularly.
Using a pebble tray can increase the humidity levels around your peacock plant. The soil should always be damp, which can be checked if you dip your finger in the soil and see if the first inch of the topmost layer is dry.
The plant will require even more watering on hotter days. Since the peacock plant is particularly expressive, you can tell by the appearance of its leaves whether there is insufficient or excessive water in the soil.
2. Too Much Sunlight
In their natural habitat, peacock plants grow in filtered, indirect light. This is why if peacock plants are kept in bright direct sunlight, their leaves will scorch, and brown patches or spots are evident on the surface.
The peacock plant spreads its leaves as the sun shines on them, appearing bigger as they try to maximize their photosynthesis process.
If you see that your peacock plant leaves are pointing upward at all times, and it is placed in direct sunlight, the plant is protecting itself from the intense heat.
Placing the peacock plant away from the window, behind a shade of blinds or curtains, will give your plant enough sunshine to thrive, reducing the chances of the precious plant getting sunburnt.
3. Too Little Humidity
As previously discussed, peacock plants require sufficient humidity to grow properly. The main indication of too little moisture for a peacock plant is when its leaves start yellowing and curling themselves. This behavior results in pointed leaves that dry out quickly, resulting in a brittle, rough textured, and easy-to-break surface.
To revive your dried peacock plant, keep a spray bottle near them so that you remember to mist their leaves daily.
An alternative is to buy a humidifier and keep it near the plant so its environment is always humid and moist.
Another affordable and easy solution to provide maximum humidity to your peacock plant is to put it on a pebble bed or soaked peat moss.
All these options will ensure that water is consistently evaporated and floating around the plant, keeping the atmosphere humid for its healthy appearance.
4. Too Less Sunlight
The nyctinasty behavior in a peacock plant allows them to close up at night and open up their leaves as soon as the first ray of sunlight hits the plant.
Some plant owners believe that peacock plants are sensitive to heat and light, so keeping them in dark rooms is okay. An insufficient quantity of sunlight will interfere with the natural circadian rhythm of the plant, and the leaves will keep pointing upwards. They would not open up unless they got enough sunlight.
Peacock plants are sensitive to the intensity of light they are getting. If a plant doesn’t get the required intensity that will enable it to open its leaves, you will see that it will remain closed up throughout the day.
If you are facing climate changes that do not let your peacock plant get sufficient light, you can buy a LED grow light bulb and place them at approximately 6 to 12-inch distance from the plant.
You can also opt to set the timing for the plant to mimic the natural light phenomenon. If a bright room is available, shift your plant to that room, but remember to make this shift slow and steady.
5. Other Factors for Peacock Plant Leaves Pointing Up
The plant can also point its leaves upward if the soil is not properly drained. If you think your plant is sufficiently watered but still showing this behavior, try reducing the amount of water you are giving to your plant.
Excess amounts of fertilizers can cause yellowing of the leaves and point them upwards. If your plant is over-fertilized, try draining the soil with water to flush out the fertilizer. On the other hand, underfeeding is also sometimes responsible for this irregular behavior in your plant.
Precautions to Take in Future
If a peacock plant is so expressive in demonstrating how its environment and growing conditions are affecting its health, then you need to make sure you are listening to all the signs and attending to them properly.
Carefully monitor any carelessness on your part that is affecting the plant, and control its humidity, temperature, watering, and light schedules, as changes in these factors cause the leaves to come under stress and point upwards.
Peacock plant leaves can point upward, which is a normal phenomenon, but if you notice their behavior is unusual and abnormal, ensure that you take care of your plant and resolve the issue immediately.
You may like the following Peacock plant articles:
- How To Grow Polka Dot Plant From Seed?
- Peacock Plant Brown Spots
- Overwatered Polka Dot Plant
- Polka Dot Plant Leaves Curling
- How To Make My Polka Dot Plant Bushy?
- Polka Dot Plant Wilting After Repotting
- Underwatered vs. Overwatered Snake Plant
- What Fertilizer Should I Give My Polka Dot Plant?
Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.