Common Peacock Plant Problems and How To Fix Them

If your Peacock Plant has started to display signs of unhappiness, then it’s vital that you get to the bottom of the problem quickly.

If your Peacock Plant has started to display signs of unhappiness, then it’s vital that you get to the bottom of the problem quickly. More often than not, if your Peacock Plant has issues such as yellow or brown leaves, is losing leaves or even simply drooping down, this is a sign that something in its environment or the care it receives needs to change. Diagnosing the issue properly is crucial as you want to make sure you are taking the correct steps to get your Peacock Plant back to full health. 

In this post, we will cover the main issues you might face with a Peacock Plant, how to diagnose the issue, fix it and prevent it from harming your plant in future.

Causes of brown leaves on a Peacock Plant

  • 1

    Overwatering.

    If the leaves on your Peacock Plant have turned dark brown and are a little softer than usual to touch, then you are most probably overwatering. Peacock Plants don’t like to be sitting in a lot of water for long periods of time as this can lead to root rot, which deprives your Peacock Plant of water and nutrients, turning the leaves brown. If you think that the brown leaves are a consequence of overwatering, check the moisture of the soil immediately and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. The most reliable way to do this is by using a moisture meter which will tell you how damp or dry the soil is.

  • 2

    Overwatering.

    If the leaves on your Peacock Plant have turned dark brown and are a little softer than usual to touch, then you are most probably overwatering. Peacock Plants don’t like to be sitting in a lot of water for long periods of time as this can lead to root rot, which deprives your Peacock Plant of water and nutrients, turning the leaves brown. If you think that the brown leaves are a consequence of overwatering, check the moisture of the soil immediately and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. The most reliable way to do this is by using a moisture meter which will tell you how damp or dry the soil is.

  • 3

    Direct sunlight.

    If your Peacock Plant is getting too much bright light you’ll start to notice the tips and edges of the leaves turning brown. Peacock Plants have quite delicate leaves so are quite prone to burning in intense light. If you aren’t sure how much light your Peacock Plant is getting in its current spot (or any alternative spots in your home) then we highly recommend using a light meter. They’ll tell you what level of light is in your home throughout the day and you’ll be able to monitor how it varies across the year.

  • 4

    Lack of humidity.

    Peacock Plants love a humid environment, so if your home has dry air, you’ll want to increase the humidity a little. There are a few really simple methods to increase the humidity for your Peacock Plant; you can mist the leaves with a spray bottle every few days, sit your plant in a pebble tray or use a humidifier. Our Peacock Plant really love this humidifier which is available on Amazon and is super affordable too!

  • 5

    Chemical sensitivity.

    If you notice that the tips of your Peacock Plant are starting to turn brown and dry it may also be due to sensitivity to chemicals in the tap water you’re using. The salts, chlorine and fluoride found in tap water can build up in the soil and suffocate the roots. This is a slow process but over time can cause brown tips on your Peacock Plant. If you live in a hard water area, we recommend using rainwater or filtered water for your plants. 

Causes of yellow leaves on a Peacock Plant

  • 1

    Overwatering.

    Too much water is a very common reason behind yellow leaves on Peacock Plants so it’s a good idea to inspect the potting soil closely. They don’t like sitting in soggy soil for long periods of time as this will rot the root system, causing yellow leaves. If the soil is quite waterlogged and clumpy then replace it with fresh dry mix. Don’t wait for the potting mix to dry out naturally as this risks more yellow leaves. Trim away the rotten roots and adjust your watering schedule so you aren’t watering your Peacock Plant as much or as often as you were before.

  • 2

    Pests.

    Although this doesn’t happen so much on plants that don’t spend any time outside, it is possible that the yellow leaves on your Peacock Plant are caused by a pest infestation. Use a magnifying glass to give your plant a once over, looking particularly at the undersides of the leaves and at the stem joints as this is where they usually hang out. Trim off the worst affected plants to curb the infestation from growing quickly and then treating your Peacock Plant with neem oil. Pests don’t always have to mean a death sentence for your plant but you’ll have most success getting rid of them if you have caught the issue very early. 

  • 3

    Natural ageing.

    As your Peacock Plant matures, it may occasionally lose a lower leaf as a natural sign of ageing. Before dropping the leaf, it can happen that it turns yellow first as it starts to die. This is nothing for you to worry about as long as the rate of yellowing is slow (slower than the rate of new healthy growth).

Peacock Plants lose leaves for a variety of reasons 

  • 1

    Overwatering.

    Once the root system becomes damaged, it can’t provide oxygen and nutrients to your plant and cannot keep your plant stable anymore so the leaves will droop and eventually fall off. To figure out if overwatering is the reason your Peacock Plant is losing leaves, check the moisture levels in the soil immediately using a moisture meter. If the soil is quite waterlogged and clumpy then replace it with fresh dry mix to stop your Peacock Plant from losing any more leaves. 

  • 2

    Cold temperatures.

    Another cause of leaf drop in Peacock Plants can be cold temperatures and drafts. Even though the temperature of your home may seem fine, if even small drafts of cold air can harm your plant’s health. Move your plant away from drafty windows or AC vents and this should prevent your Peacock Plant from losing more leaves.  We recommend using a digital thermometer to monitor any temperature fluctuations in future. 

  • 3

    Natural ageing.

    If only a couple of the oldest and lowest leaves are falling off your Peacock Plant, then this may be natural ageing. As your plant matures, it’s normal for your Peacock Plant will drop some of its leaves to focus its energy on growing new healthy and often bigger growth. On average your Peacock Plant should only lose 1-2 leaves every few months. If it’s losing more than this then it could be a sign that something isn’t quite right and I would consult the reasons we have listed above to find the cause. 

Why is my Peacock Plant drooping?

  • 1

    Underwatering.

    Too little water can harm your Peacock Plant in several ways as we have outlined above. However, one of the earliest signs that your Peacock Plant is being underwatered is a drooping plant. Your first instinct might be to give it loads of water straight away to compensate for the lack of it. However, it can actually be harmful to your Peacock Plant if the soil goes from one extreme to the other. Instead, you want to reintroduce frequent watering for a week or two and this should solve the problem. Over time keep an eye on how much you are watering your Peacock Plant by checking the moisture in the soil frequently. 

  • 2

    Overwatering.

    Another factor you need to watch out for is overwatering as this can also cause a droopy Peacock Plant. The reason that both extremes can have a similar impact is that both cause damage to the root system, which starves your plant of water and nutrients, causing it to droop. Check the soil to see if it is soggy or holding onto too much excess water and replace the wet soil with fresh mix to allow your plant to recover.

  • 3

    Shock or stress.

    Just like humans, plants can get a little stressed out when they move home or there is a sudden change in their environments.  Signs such as drooping leaves after repotting your Peacock Plant or moving them to a different spot are totally normal. It may take a few days for the signs to appear but in the right environment, with the right care, it should only take a few weeks for your Peacock Plant to get used to the changes and stop drooping.

  • 4

    Cold temperatures.

    Peacock Plant plants are native to the tropics so thrive in warm temperatures meaning they’ll struggle in homes with cold drafts and may start to drop their leaves as a result. You may not notice the cold air coming through cracks in doors and windows but if your Peacock Plant is right next to them then the constant stream of cold air from outside can really shock and damage the plant and cause droopy leaves and stems.

Causes of curling leaves on a Peacock Plant

  • 1

    Natural curling.

    Part of the Calathea family, Peacock Plants naturally curl their leaves at night and unfold their leaves in the morning. This is a natural process and it almost looks as though the leaves are praying. It can be easy to mistake this curling for an issue, but monitor how the leaves move and see if you can spot some other issues alongside the curling leaves to see if there’s something wrong with your Peacock Plant. 

  • 2

    Underwatering.

    If the leaves are not uncurling, then it might be that your Peacock Plant is being underwatered. Your plant will curl up its leaves as this is the best way to retain as much moisture as possible. Inspect the potting mix and give your Peacock Plant plenty of water and you should see the leaves starting to uncurl in only a matter of hours.  

  • 3

    High temperatures.

    If you’ve checked the potting mix and there aren’t any issues with the moisture levels, then hot air might be why your Peacock Plant has curling leaves. Although they thrive in warm environments, hotspots can cause issues for Peacock Plants as it dries out the leaves very quickly. Use a digital thermometer to check that your plant isn’t being exposed to hot air. This can be both hot air from the sun hitting the window, or if your Peacock Plant is too close to the radiator. Adjust your plant’s positioning and you should start to see the leaves uncurl. 

Those are the most common problems that you will encounter when caring for a Peacock Plant. We strongly recommend giving your plant a good check-up every few weeks to see if you can spot any early warning signs. Catching issues early will give you the best shot at reviving a dying plant so inspect those leaves and monitor that environment! 

To learn more about caring for your plant and avoiding these problems in future, check out our Peacock Plant care guide.


Written by Billy Dawson


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