Rattlesnake plant (Calathea lancifolia) is an ornamental, evergreen perennial indoor houseplant. The Rattlesnake plant grows up to 24 to 30 inches tall, with slender pale green leaves to 18 inches, heavily marked above with dark blotches, purple below. The markings on each leaf purportedly resemble the markings found on some rattlesnakes, hence it is commonly called as rattlesnake plant. On plants grown outdoors, yellow flowers bloom seasonally, but typically from late spring to early summer in 2-4” long conical spikes. It is not toxic to pets and rattlesnake plant is an air purifying plant.
Scientific Name: Calathea lancifolia
Synonyms: Calathea insignis
Common Name: Rattlesnake plant
How to grow and maintain Rattlesnake plant:
Rattlesnake plant requires bright light but not direct light. An eastern or northern facing window would be ideal. The too much of direct sun will cause leaf scorch.
It thrives well in rich organic, moist but well-drained soil. It prefers the soil range from 6.0 – 7.5 (Acid – Neutral).
It prefers to grow well in average room temperature between 65 degrees F and 75 degrees F / 18 to 24 degrees Celsius and no lower than 60 degrees F / 15 degrees Celsius.
Water your plant regularly during the growing season (April to August) and always keep the soil moist but never allow your plant to sit in water. During the winter season, reduce watering and only water when the top of soil becomes dry.
Fertilize your rattlesnake plant regularly with a balanced liquid fertilizer. Fertilize your plant once per month in the period from April to August. Fertilizer will improve the health of the foliage and make the leaves stronger and greater. Reduce fertilization in the winter season when plant growth typically slows down.
It can be easily propagated by division. Take divisions from mature plants at a re-potting time. Simply divide the plant by half or more segments and plant each segment into a separate pot. Make sure to carefully isolate the stems of each plant.
Re-pot your rattlesnake plant every year or every 2 years. As the plant grows, you should move it to a wider pot so the new stems and roots have enough room to develop. Repotting is best done in spring.
Pests and Diseases:
No serious pest or disease problems. Look for aphids, scale, mealybugs and spider mites. Leaf spots may appear. Plants don’t flourish in low humidity where leaves may roll or brown up. Too much of direct sun usually causes leaf scorch.