How to Propagate Rattlesnake Plant?

Calathea Rattlesnake Plant

I can’t help but share a smile every time I think about the Calathea Lancifolia, or as it’s more commonly known, the Rattlesnake Plant. Its vibrant leaves, marked with dark green squiggles that resemble the skin of a rattlesnake, make it a unique and delightful addition to any houseplant collection.

But what’s more fascinating about this plant is that it doesn’t need to be bought every time; you can propagate it yourself. And trust me, it’s an experience in itself! Propagation allows you to multiply your plant babies, leading to more greenery in your home and gifting options for your loved ones. Also, here is a detailed article on how to care for Rattlesnake Plant

Rattlesnake Plant Propagation Basics

To help you understand better, here’s a quick overview of the propagation methods for the Rattlesnake Plant.

Propagation MethodTime for PropagationWorking TimeTotal TimeDifficulty LevelMaterials Required
DivisionBest in early spring30-60 minutes2-4 weeksIntermediateSharp knife, potting mix, pot, and a parent plant
Stem CuttingsLate spring to early summer30-60 minutes4-6 weeksIntermediateSharp knife, potting mix, pot, rooting hormone (optional), and a parent plant

It’s important to note that these times are estimates, and the actual time can vary based on several factors, including the condition of the parent plant, the environment, and the care provided during the propagation process.

Propagation Methods

Propagation isn’t just about creating a new plant; it’s about the joy and satisfaction of nurturing life. With that in mind, let’s dive into the world of Rattlesnake Plant propagation and explore the two common methods: Division and Stem Cuttings.


Rattlesnake plant divison


  1. Start by choosing a healthy parent plant. Its size and the number of stems will determine how many new plants you can create.
  2. Gently remove the plant from its pot and shake off excess soil to expose the root ball. This allows you to see the individual stems and their roots more clearly.
  3. Using a clean, sharp knife, carefully divide the root ball into sections, each containing at least one stem with its roots. Ensure that each division has a good amount of roots for a better chance of survival.
  4. Prepare new pots with a good quality, well-draining potting mix. Plant each division at the same depth it was growing at previously.
  5. Water the newly potted plants thoroughly and place them in a warm, bright location, away from direct sunlight.

Stem Cuttings

Calathea Rattlesnake Plant (1)


  1. Select a healthy parent plant and identify a mature stem with several leaves.
  2. Using a clean, sharp knife, cut the stem below a node (where the leaf meets the stem). The cutting should have at least two to three leaves.
  3. Optional step: Apply a rooting hormone to the cut end of the stem. This can increase the chances of successful rooting, although it’s not essential.
  4. Fill a pot with a well-draining potting mix. Make a hole in the center and insert the cut end of the stem. Ensure the node is below the soil surface as this is where new roots will form.
  5. Water the cutting and place the pot in a warm, bright location, away from direct sunlight.

Troubles in Paradise

Propagation is a journey filled with anticipation and excitement, but every journey has its challenges. Even with the Rattlesnake Plant, you may face a few bumps along the road. But don’t worry; I’m here to help you navigate these issues with ease. After all, challenges are what make the end result so rewarding, right?

1. Root Rot:

One of the most common issues when propagating plants is root rot, primarily caused by overwatering or poor drainage. If the roots are continuously kept in soggy conditions, they become susceptible to fungal infections, leading to root rot.

To avoid this, ensure your potting mix is well-draining and you’re not overwatering your plant. Remember, it’s better to underwater than overwater when it comes to most houseplants.

2. Slow or No Root Growth:

Sometimes, you might find that your cuttings or divisions are not producing new roots, or the root growth is slow. This could be due to various reasons such as inadequate warmth, insufficient light, or not enough humidity.

To stimulate root growth, make sure your plant is placed in a warm location with bright, indirect light. Increasing humidity around the plant can also help. You could use a humidity tray or a clear plastic bag to create a mini greenhouse effect.

3. Leaf Yellowing or Dropping:

If you notice the leaves on your new plant turning yellow or dropping, it could indicate stress or shock from the propagation process.

While some leaf drop is normal during the propagation process, excessive leaf yellowing or dropping could be a sign of overwatering, insufficient light, or temperature extremes. Make sure you’re providing the right conditions for your plant to thrive.

Calathea Rattlesnake Plant (3)

4. Pest Infestation:

Newly propagated plants can be vulnerable to pests like spider mites, aphids, or fungus gnats. It’s important to keep a close eye on your new plants and act swiftly if you spot any signs of pests.

Regularly clean the leaves and isolate the affected plant to prevent the pests from spreading to other plants. Use a mild insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat the infestation.

So, don’t let these challenges dishearten you. They are a part of the propagation journey. With a little attention and care, you can effectively overcome these issues and watch your Rattlesnake Plant flourish

Mastering the Art of Propagation

Propagation can feel like an intricate dance, a delicate balance between patience, knowledge, and intuition. But with the right guidance and a dash of passion, anyone can master this dance. Here, let’s unravel some basic and advanced level tips to ensure your journey of propagating the Rattlesnake Plant is as smooth and rewarding as possible.

Basic Level Tips:

Water Propagation:

Water propagation is a simple, yet effective method, particularly suited for beginners. It’s a fascinating process where you can literally see the roots grow and offers a great introduction to the world of plant propagation.

  1. Start by taking a healthy cutting from the parent plant, making sure it has at least two to three leaves.
  2. Place the cutting in a container with fresh water, ensuring the cut end is submerged but the leaves remain above water.
  3. Change the water every few days to prevent stagnation and bacterial growth.
  4. Once you see a substantial root system (usually in a few weeks), transfer the cutting to a pot with well-draining soil.

Soil Propagation:

Soil propagation is a direct method where the cuttings are placed straight into the soil. This method can be more challenging than water propagation but often results in stronger, more resilient plants.

  1. Take a healthy cutting and optionally dip the cut end in a rooting hormone.
  2. Prepare a pot with a well-draining potting mix.
  3. Insert the cutting into the soil, ensuring the node is under the soil surface.
  4. Water the cutting and place the pot in a warm, bright location, away from direct sunlight.
  5. Keep the soil slightly moist but avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.

Advanced Level Tips:

Propagation by Division:

This method, which we discussed earlier, involves dividing the parent plant’s root ball into several sections. Each section can then be potted separately to form a new plant.

  1. Carefully remove the parent plant from its pot and clean off excess soil to expose the root ball.
  2. Using a sharp, clean knife, divide the root ball, ensuring each division has a stem and a good amount of roots.
  3. Pot each division in a separate pot filled with a well-draining potting mix.
  4. Water thoroughly and place the pots in a warm, bright location.
Calathea Rattlesnake Plant (4)

Rhizome Propagation:

Rhizome propagation involves cutting a piece of the plant’s rhizome (a type of modified subterranean stem) and planting it to grow a new plant.

  1. Unpot the parent plant and locate the rhizomes, which are thick, root-like structures.
  2. Cut a section of the rhizome, ensuring it has at least one bud or shoot.
  3. Let the cut section dry for a day or two to form a callous, which can help prevent rotting.
  4. Plant the rhizome section in a pot with well-draining soil, with the bud or shoot facing upwards.
  5. Water the pot and place it in a warm, bright location.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year to propagate my Rattlesnake Plant?

The best time to propagate your Rattlesnake Plant is during its active growing season, usually from early spring to late summer. This is when the plant is most vigorous and likely to recover quickly from the propagation process.

How often should I water my newly propagated Rattlesnake Plant?

Watering frequency can vary depending on the propagation method used and the environment. However, generally, the soil should be kept slightly moist but never soggy. Overwatering can lead to root rot and should be avoided. A good rule of thumb is to water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

How long does it take for a Rattlesnake Plant cutting to root?

Typically, a Rattlesnake Plant cutting can start to develop roots within 2-4 weeks, but this can vary. Factors such as the growing conditions, the health of the parent plant, and the care provided during the propagation process can all influence the rooting time.

Why are the leaves on my newly propagated Rattlesnake Plant curling?

Curling leaves on a Rattlesnake Plant can indicate several issues, including underwatering, low humidity, or exposure to direct sunlight. Ensure your plant is receiving the right care – regular watering, high humidity, and bright, indirect light.

Can I propagate a Rattlesnake Plant from a leaf?

Rattlesnake Plants are typically propagated from divisions or stem cuttings, not just a leaf. The cutting should include a part of the stem, ideally with a node, as this is where new roots will form.

My Rattlesnake Plant cutting is not rooting. What should I do?

If your cutting is not rooting, it could be due to several reasons, such as inadequate warmth, insufficient light, or not enough humidity. Try moving the plant to a warmer location, providing more light, or increasing the humidity around the 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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