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Calathea lancifolia is an exciting indoor houseplant we are sure you love to have in your home, right!
Of course, you do as it has an attractive appearance. Yes, it looks like a rattlesnake and goes by that name as well. Like all the other Calathea plants, this is a highly valued plant needing high levels of humidity.
So let’s get moving on all the essential things for the rattlesnake plants’ care.
Where Does Calathea Lancifolia Come From
The gorgeous plant comes from Brazil. It has slender pale foliage with dark blotches and purple undersides. Taking care of the houseplant is difficult to some extent. Yet, by following our care tips here, we are sure your plant will thrive.
It is an evergreen perennial seasonal bloomer with yellow flowers. Check out the summary of the Calathea lancifolia before making this plant part of your tropical collection here:
Scientific Name: Calathea lancifolia
Common Name: Rattlesnake plant
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Native to: Brazil
Shape: Pale leaves with dark blotches with purple underside
Maximum Size: 0.75 to 1.50 feet (0.29 to 0.46 meters) with a spread up to 1.50 feet (0.46 meters)
Watering Requirements: Soil moist but not water-soaked
Light Requirements: Medium to bright light
Preferred Humidity: High
Preferred Temperature: 65° to 80°F (18-26°C)
Soil or Potting Medium: Water retaining soil mixture
Fertilizer: Balanced liquid fertilizer
Propagation Method: Division and Cuttings
Rattlesnake Plant Care
Calathea lancifolia, according to many gardeners, is not an excellent option for beginners. But who cares, right. We know even if you are a beginner or experienced, you will be able to manage your houseplant. While it is a fussy plant, at least it does not bite.
Yet, with some effort, those ornamental leaves are sure to become a household pleaser. So let us start caring for your plant to grow into a gorgeous display.
Rattlesnake Plants Soil Condition
For your rattlesnake plant, the soil needs to drain well. While it can handle standing in some water, keeping it only moist is better. You can use a soil mix of three parts compost with one part peat.
Or use one part perlite mixed with two parts peat moss instead. The great news is that it thrives in acidic to neutral pH when it comes to rattlesnake plant care. But where possible, stay clear of alkaline soil.
Great, now you have your soil in the pot and your plant nestled inside it is time to water it. When it is summer, the most growth takes place with this houseplant. It helps to water your plant regularly to keep the soil moist.
When winter arrives, let the top layer of the potting mix get dry between watering. One thing your plant cannot handle is a wet condition. The leaves turn yellow, and if underwatered, the leaves curl. So do some frequent watering compared to deep irrigation.
You can do this by watering it until you see the water trickle out the drainage holes. Yet, not in a fast stream and never leave it standing in water. Instead, throw the excess water down the drain. Oh yes, where possible, water with rainwater or distilled water.
The lancifolia is not a fan of direct sunlight and prefers shady spots in the garden. If your plant has crispy brown leaves, it might be getting too much sunlight. Placed in filtered light is your best option for this plant.
If you cannot grow your rattlesnake plant outside, it helps to put a window with filtered light in it. The best lighting conditions are intense afternoon light with drapes to diffuse the light.
Where you place it, your plant makes a massive difference for growth and its health. The best temperature for your houseplant is between 65° to 80°F (18-26°C). Setting the correct temperature helps this plant to grow with gorgeous green leaves.
Unfortunately, the plant does not appreciate sudden temperature changes. So always keep this in mind having it in your home. A courteous note, though never use leaf shine on the leaves as it can lead to the foliage dies.
Where possible, do not leave your plant close to a draft, AC, or heating system leading to dry air.
Your rattlesnake plant thrives in high humidity. So where you can place it on a tray with pebbles covered with water just to the pebble line. You can give it a misting or put it in your bathroom, where humidity levels are high.
When it comes to rattlesnake plant care, it appreciates feeding every month in spring and summer. We recommend using a liquid fertilizer for the foliage to develop and thrive. Choose one with a decent nitrogen level as it works for most plants with many leaves.
Now one thing you will love is the fact that you can propagate your houseplant. Doing this allows you to have more than one in your living space. There are two methods you do through cuttings or division.
Propagation Through Division
The method is the easiest to create new growth.
- The best is to water your plant and ensure that it is damp.
- Loosen up the ground and remove your plant.
- Divide the roots into two or three sections.
- Set it aside and plant them into two different mediums using fresh soil.
- Water your plant as described and mist it daily depending on the humidity.
Propagation Through Cuttings
- Take a sterile knife and cut the shoots at the base with two nodes attached.
- Fill a pot with fresh potting mix and insert several shoots into the soil.
- Place your cuttings in a bright spot and place a plastic bag over the top.
- Please make sure you provide your plant with air every day by removing and placing the bag back.
- Keep the soil moist until you notice the rooting take place.
- Once rooted, you can transplant them to new pots.
USDA Growth Zone
The plant is winter hardy if you live in the USDA zones 11 to 12. You can grow it as an outdoor plant on the southern side of Hawaii, Florida, and California. In the remaining parts of the USA, it is best grown indoors. Still having flowers on the
Potting Your Rattlesnake Plant
One thing you’ll find with the rattlesnake plant is that transplanting it is not a big deal. You can do this once a year during the spring season. Still, it is good to do the division propagation at the time of repotting as it makes the process easier.
You can also choose a pot size bigger for your plant.
Calathea Lancifolia Varieties
You can find different Calathea varieties, and choosing your favorite one is tricky. But, here are some other species you may like.
The Goeppertia orbiloia is a beauty with bright green leaves with subtle stripes. The plant is native to Brazil and can get huge. They grow up to 2.5 feet (0.76 meters) tall.
The peacock plant has a striking resemblance to the peacock’s feather. It needs bright but not in direct sunlight with high humidity. The watering needs are the same as for the rattlesnake plant.
You can find many cultivars available of this species. It has striking foliage and is native to western Brazil and South America. One thing that stands out with this plant is the purple underside of the leaves.
Calathea Lancifolia Diseases & Pests
Your rattlesnake plant does have its problems, as most houseplants do. Here are some of the issues you may find along your way.
Brown Leaf Tips
The brown color on the leaf can result from a couple of things. It might be getting too much direct sunlight, or the humidity is low. Another reason is the soil is too dry. You can solve this concern using a humidifier, misting the leaves, or place them in the kitchen or bathroom with high humidity levels.
New Leaves is a Light Green
If the new leaves look lighter than the older ones, they might be lacking iron and nitrogen. You can increase the feeding with a fertilizer containing nitrogen and iron. If your plant does not respond to the treatment, then try using an iron spray.
Frequently Asked Questions
What benefits does the Rattlesnake plant provide?
The houseplant is an air purifying plant that helps remove toxins and pollutants from the air. For example, the rattlesnake plant can absorb CO2. Benzene, xylene, toluene, and cancer-causing pollutants from the air.
Is a rattlesnake plant a prayer plant?
They are not the same as the Maranta, but both are part of the Marantaceae family. Both the plants have bright patterned leaves with movement at night. Yet, your rattlesnake plant grows upright while the prayer plant dangles from a pot and has different shaped leaves.
Is the rattlesnake plant poisonous?
The houseplant is non-toxic and safe for pets and humans. To keep it thriving, remove the yellow leaves and wipe the foliage using a damp cloth.
Where can you buy Calathea Lancifolia?
You can buy the rattlesnake plant from a local garden nursery and online as well. But you need not look far as Plantly has a selection of rattlesnake plants available to buy. So you will receive your leafy friend delivered to your door.