Calathea Rattlesnake Plant

Calathea Rattlesnake Plant (1)

As a professional houseplant expert, I’m excited to introduce you to the captivating Calathea Rattlesnake Plant, an exotic and colorful houseplant that will undoubtedly add a touch of tropical flair to your indoor space.

This fascinating plant, with its stunningly patterned leaves, is not only visually striking but also easy to care for, making it the perfect choice for houseplant enthusiasts of all levels. Also, here is a detailed article on how to propagat Calathea Rattlesnake Plant

In this article, I will guide you through the fascinating world of Calathea Rattlesnake Plant, providing you with valuable information and care tips to help your plant thrive. So, let’s dive into the world of this extraordinary houseplant.Also, here is a detailed article on how to care for Calathea Rattlesnake Plant

Plant Overview

Botanical NameCalathea lancifolia
Common NameRattlesnake Plant
Plant TypePerennial
Average Size12-24 inches tall
Sunlight RequirementsIndirect light, partial shade
Soil TypeWell-draining, organic-rich soil
Soil pH6.1 – 7.0 (Slightly acidic)
Bloom TimeRarely blooms indoors
Flower ColorWhite or pale pink

Plant Description

The Calathea Rattlesnake Plant, scientifically known as Calathea lancifolia, is a member of the Marantaceae family, native to the tropical rainforests of Brazil.

This eye-catching plant boasts elongated, lance-shaped leaves with a unique pattern resembling a rattlesnake’s skin. The leaves’ upper surface is dark green with light green wavy lines, while the underside is a rich burgundy color.

Calathea Rattlesnake Plant (4)

The contrast between the top and bottom of the leaves creates a stunning visual effect when the plant’s leaves move in response to light changes, a phenomenon known as nyctinasty.

The Rattlesnake Plant is a slow-growing perennial, reaching heights of 12 to 24 inches when grown indoors. Although it’s rare for the plant to bloom indoors, when it does, the flowers are small, white, or pale pink, emerging from a tall spike that rises above the foliage.

Caring for Your Calathea Rattlesnake Plant

  • Light: The Rattlesnake Plant thrives in indirect light and partial shade. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight, as it can cause the leaves to fade and lose their vibrant patterns. A north or east-facing window is ideal for providing the appropriate light levels.
  • Water: Consistent watering is essential for the Rattlesnake Plant. Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out slightly between waterings. It’s crucial to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. Using distilled or rainwater is recommended, as the plant is sensitive to chemicals and minerals found in tap water.
  • Humidity: As a tropical plant, the Rattlesnake Plant appreciates high humidity levels. Aim for 50-70% humidity, which can be achieved by placing the plant on a tray of water and pebbles, misting the leaves regularly, or using a humidifier.
  • Soil: The Rattlesnake Plant prefers well-draining, organic-rich soil with a slightly acidic pH of 6.1 – 7.0. A mixture of equal parts peat moss, perlite, and potting soil will provide the necessary nutrients and drainage for the plant.
  • Fertilization: Fertilize your Rattlesnake Plant once a month during the growing season.

Identification of Plant

The Calathea Rattlesnake Plant is a striking, vibrant houseplant characterized by its long, lance-shaped leaves, which grow from a central clump.

The leaves typically measure 12 to 18 inches in length and are 2 to 3 inches wide, with wavy edges. The leaves’ upper surface is dark green with light green, wavy lines running parallel to the veins, resembling the skin pattern of a rattlesnake.

The underside of the leaves is a deep burgundy color, adding to the plant’s visual appeal.

The Rattlesnake Plant’s flowers are small and delicate, with colors ranging from white to pale pink.

They emerge from a tall, slender spike that rises above the foliage. Although the plant rarely blooms indoors, the flowers are a lovely addition when they do appear.

Calathea Rattlesnake Plant (1)

Types and Varieties

While the Rattlesnake Plant (Calathea lancifolia) is the most well-known member of the Calathea genus, there are several other noteworthy species and varieties within this diverse group of plants. Some popular types and varieties include:

  • Calathea orbifolia: This species is known for its large, round leaves with silver stripes on a green background. The leaves can grow up to 8 inches in diameter, making it a stunning focal point in any indoor space.
  • Calathea zebrina: As the name suggests, this variety has a striking zebra-like pattern on its leaves. The dark green leaves are adorned with light green stripes, giving it a bold appearance.
  • Calathea roseopicta ‘Medallion’: The Medallion Calathea has round, dark green leaves with a silver center and purple undersides. The leaves are edged with a band of lighter green, creating a unique pattern.
  • Calathea makoyana: Also known as the Peacock Plant, this species has oval leaves with a beautiful feather-like pattern in shades of green and cream, resembling a peacock’s tail.
Calathea Rattlesnake Plant (3)

Facts about the Calathea Rattlesnake Plant

  • The Rattlesnake Plant is a non-toxic houseplant, making it a safe choice for households with pets or young children.
  • The Rattlesnake Plant is also known as a “prayer plant” due to its nyctinastic leaf movements. The leaves fold up at night, resembling hands folded in prayer, and unfold during the day to maximize light exposure.
  • Calathea plants, including the Rattlesnake Plant, have air-purifying properties, helping to remove toxins like benzene and formaldehyde from indoor environments.
  • In its natural habitat, the Rattlesnake Plant is an understory plant, meaning it grows beneath the canopy of larger trees in the rainforest. This adaptation makes it well-suited to lower light conditions found in many indoor spaces.
  • The vibrant patterns on Calathea leaves, including those of the Rattlesnake Plant, have inspired various forms of art and design, from textiles to ceramics.

Tips to Grow the Calathea Rattlesnake Plant

  • Choose the right location: Place your Rattlesnake Plant in a spot that receives bright, indirect light and has stable temperatures. Avoid drafts, as the plant is sensitive to sudden temperature fluctuations.
  • Repot when necessary: As the plant grows, it may become root-bound. Repot every 2-3 years, choosing a pot that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the previous one. Always use a well-draining, slightly acidic soil mix when repotting.
  • Prune regularly: Regularly remove any yellow or damaged leaves to encourage healthy growth and maintain an attractive appearance.
  • Monitor humidity: Maintain a humidity level of 50-70% for your Rattlesnake Plant, using a hygrometer to measure the humidity accurately.
  • Rotate the plant: To ensure even growth, rotate your Rattlesnake Plant every few weeks, so all sides of the plant receive equal amounts of light.
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Major Problems

  • Brown leaf tips: This issue is often a result of low humidity, underwatering, or exposure to chemicals in tap water. Address these problems by increasing humidity, adjusting watering, or using distilled water.
  • Yellowing leaves: Overwatering or poor drainage can cause the leaves to turn yellow. Adjust your watering schedule and ensure the pot has proper drainage.
  • Pests: Spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects can infest Rattlesnake Plants. Treat infestations with insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil.
  • Leaf curling: This problem can be caused by a lack of humidity or exposure to direct sunlight. Increase humidity levels and move the plant to a shadier location.

Care and Maintenance

  • Clean the leaves: To keep your Rattlesnake Plant looking its best, gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and maintain its vibrant appearance.
  • Inspect for pests: Regularly check the plant for any signs of pests or disease and treat them promptly to prevent further damage.
  • Adjust care with the seasons: During the winter months, when the plant is dormant, reduce watering and stop fertilizing.
  • Monitor growth: Keep an eye on the plant’s growth and overall health, adjusting care as needed to ensure it continues to thrive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are the leaves of my Rattlesnake Plant curling?

Curling leaves can be a sign of inadequate humidity, underwatering, or exposure to direct sunlight. Ensure your plant is placed in a location with bright, indirect light, maintain a humidity level of 50-70%, and water consistently, allowing the top inch of soil to dry slightly between waterings.

Is the Calathea Rattlesnake Plant toxic to pets?

No, the Rattlesnake Plant is non-toxic to both pets and humans, making it a safe choice for households with cats, dogs, or young children.

How often should I repot my Rattlesnake Plant?

Repot your Rattlesnake Plant every 2-3 years, or when the plant becomes root-bound. Choose a pot that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the previous one, and use a well-draining, slightly acidic soil mix when repotting.

Can the Calathea Rattlesnake Plant tolerate low light conditions?

The Rattlesnake Plant can tolerate low light conditions, but it prefers bright, indirect light for optimal growth. Low light may cause the plant’s vibrant leaf patterns to fade and result in slower growth.

Why are the tips of my Rattlesnake Plant’s leaves turning brown?

Brown leaf tips can be caused by low humidity, underwatering, or chemicals in tap water. Increase humidity levels, adjust your watering schedule, or use distilled or rainwater to address these issues.

How often should I fertilize my Rattlesnake Plant?

Fertilize your Rattlesnake Plant once a month during the growing season, typically from spring to early autumn, using a balanced, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength. Avoid fertilizing during the winter months when the plant is dormant.

How do I propagate a Calathea Rattlesnake Plant?

Propagate your Rattlesnake Plant by division during repotting. Gently separate the root ball into smaller sections, ensuring each section has a healthy root system and foliage. Plant each division in a pot with well-draining, slightly acidic soil mix and provide the same care as you would for the parent plant.

About Christopher Evans

Hello, I'm Chris, the green-thumbed Founder of I'm passionate about bringing the beauty of nature indoors through houseplants and indoor gardening. Let's create healthier and more beautiful living spaces, one plant at a time!

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