How to Grow and Care for Rattlesnake Calathea (Calathea lancifolia) Indoors

Some links in this post may be affiliate links

Rattlesnake Calathea, Rattlesnake Plant, Calathea lancifolia

Botanical name: Calathea lancifolia
Synonym: Goeppertia insignis
Family: Marantaceae
Common name: Rattlesnake Calathea, Calathea Rattlesnake, Rattlesnake Plant

Rattlesnake Calathea Description

Rattlesnake Calathea or Calathea lancifolia is a perennial plant which bears slender pale-green leaves which are heavily marked above with dark blotches and have purple undersides.

Calathea lancifolia which also goes by the botanical names Goeppertia lancifolia and Goeppertia insignis is a member of the Marantaceae family.

Rattlesnake Calathea Size

Rattlesnake Calathea (Calathea lancifolia) grows in clumps to a height of about 2-3 ft. The leaves are about 1-2 ft long.

Rattlesnake Calathea Origin

Rattlesnake Calathea (Goeppertia lancifolia) is native to the tropical forests in Brazil in the state of Rio de Janeiro where it grows on the forest floors.

Rattlesnake Calathea Related Plants

Rattlesnake Calathea (Goeppertia lancifolia) is closely related to the Marantas, Ctenanthe and Stromanthe which are collectively called Prayer Plants in reference to their curious characteristic of closing their leaves at night.

Buy beautiful and healthy Rattlesnake Calathea (Calathea lancifolia) from Etsy.

Rattlesnake Calathea, Rattlesnake Plant, Calathea lancifolia

Photo Credit: Gardens4You.eu

Rattlesnake Calathea (Calathea lancifolia) Care Indoors

Rattlesnake Calathea grows best in bright, indirect light and moderately moist soil at all times. It requires a warm, humid environment inorder to thrive.

The best soil for Rattlesnake Calathea should be free-draining and rich in organic matter. Read on for more on the best growing conditions for Rattlesnake Calathea.

Rattlesnake Calathea Light Requirements

Rattlesnake Calathea (Calathea lancifolia) grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight. If the lighting in your home is not adequate, you can use these grow bulbs to supplement it. They are easy to use as you simply need to screw them into your regular lighting fixtures.

Avoid too bright light as it will cause the leaf colour to fade. Also, keep the plant away from direct sunlight as it can cause sunburn on the beautiful leaves.

For uniform growth of the plant, turn the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides. Read more on understanding light for houseplants.

Watering Rattlesnake Calathea

Water Rattlesnake Calathea (Calathea lancifolia) liberally and keep the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season. Reduce watering in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Water the plant with water that is at room temperature to avoid plant shock. The water should also be free of chlorine and flourides as Calathea Rattlesnake like other Calathea is sensitive to chemicals dissolved in water. Dissolved chemicals will cause brown leaf tips and edges. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure the pot for your Rattlesnake Plant has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of the plant.

To reduce fungal infestations like leaf spot diseases, avoid wetting the foliage of your Rattlesnake Calathea during watering or water from the bottom instead.


Temperature for Rattlesnake Calathea

Rattlesnake Calathea (Goeppertia lancifolia) prefers average warmth with a minimum of 150C and a maximum of 260C. At temperatures below this range, the plant stops growing while temperatures above this range may cause the plant to die.

Protect your Rattlesnake Calathea from draughts as they cause sudden changes in temperature which the plant cannot tolerate and may cause it to die. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Rattlesnake Calathea

Rattlesnake Plant (Calathea lancifolia) requires high humidity (50% to 80%) inorder to thrive. Low humidity causes the plant to develop brown leaf tips and edges. Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity for the optimum growth of your plant.

To raise humidity for your Calathea Rattlesnake, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

Rattlesnake Calathea can also grow in the bathroom or other moist areas in the home where humidity is high if there is adequate lighting. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

You can also grow Rattlesnake Calathea in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium. Read more on how to make a closed terrarium for houseplants.

How to Clean Rattlesnake Calathea

Keep the leaves of your Rattlesnake Calathea clean by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Rattlesnake Calathea Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Rattlesnake Calathea (Goeppertia lancifolia) with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks through out the growing season.

Withhold feeding for Rattlesnake Calathea during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Regularly, flush out accumulated chemicals (salts) from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil. Allow the stream of water to run for some time and repeat the process several times.

Repotting Rattlesnake Calathea

Repot Rattlesnake Calathea (Goeppertia lancifolia) every 2-3 years at the beginning of the growing season or when it becomes root-bound. Take care not to injure its delicate roots.

Use a pot one size larger than the current one and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of the plant.

Before repotting, water the Rattlesnake Calathea thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier and also hasten establishment. A well hydrated plant suffers less repotting shock and takes a shorter time to take root.

If the plant is large and has outgrown its current pot, divide it into several sections and use the splits to propagate new plants.

Repotting may cause the leaves to droop but the plant will eventually recover once it takes root; in about 3-4 weeks.

Rattlesnake Calathea Soil

The best soil for Rattlesnake Calathea should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Buy quality Calathea potting medium for your Rattlesnake Calathea online from Etsy.

Pruning Rattlesnake Calathea

Pruning Rattlesnake Calathea is easy. Remove dead and yellow foliage to maintain the plant neat and attractive. Cut the leaves with a sharp knife or scissors at the base, where the leaf meets the stalk.

Rattlesnake Calathea (Goeppertia insignis) Propagation

Rattlesnake Calathea (Calathea lancifolia) is propagated by plant division at the beginning of the growing season during repotting. We have outlined herebelow Rattlesnake Calathea propagation by plant division. Read on.

How to propagate Rattlesnake Calathea by plant division

Water the Rattlesnake Calathea thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment. A well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.

Take out the Rattlesnake Calathea plant from its pot and divide it into several sections. Ensure each sections has adequate roots and at least 2-3 stems.

Select a 6 or 8 in. pot and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

Fill the pot with Calathea potting medium and make a hole in the center of the pot. Ensure that the hole is slightly wider than the root base of the Rattlesnake Calathea section.

Place the Rattlesnake Calathea section in the previously made hole and lightly firm the soil around the base while taking care not to bury it too deep; maintain the section at the same soil level it was in the previous pot.

Liberally water the soil until water comes out through the drainage holes. Cover the pots with clear polythene to create a greenhouse effect and maintain warm humid conditions which hasten establishment of the Rattlesnake Calathea plants.

Place the pots in a warm, well-lit place until new growth has emerged on the Rattlesnake Calathea sections.

Gradually remove the polythene over a period of two weeks to acclimatize the new Rattlesnake Calathea plants.

Maintain the soil moist until the new Rattlesnake Calathea plants are well established after which you can begin routine care.

Rattlesnake Calathea, Rattlesnake Plant, Calathea lancifolia

Photo Credit: Lola Flora

Rattlesnake Calathea (Goeppertia insignis) Problems Indoors

Rattlesnake Calathea problems indoors are caused by cultural faults in lighting, humidity, watering and temperature among others. Continue reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.

Rattlesnake Calathea drooping leaves

Rattlesnake Calathea drooping leaves are due to three possible causes. One possible cause of drooping leaves in Rattlesnake Calathea is too dry air (low humidity).

Rattlesnake Calathea is very sensitive to low air humidity. Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity and maintain it at 50%-80% for optimum growth of the plant.

To raise humidity for Rattlesnake Calathea, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Rattlesnake Calathea can also be grown in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium. Read more on how to make a terrarium for houseplants.

The second possible cause of drooping leaves in Rattlesnake Calathea is incorrect watering; either overwatering (soggy soil) or underwatering.

Water your Rattlesnake Calathea liberally and maintain the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season. Reduce watering during the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Also, ensure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

The third possible cause of drooping leaves in Rattlesnake Calathea is that the plant is root-bound. This means that the roots have filled the pot and there is very little soil to hold water when you water your plant. Therefore, there is no water for the plant to take up to the leaves. The leaves loss their stiffness and they droop.

Check the bottom of the pot for roots growing through the drainage hole. Repot the plant into a pot one size larger than the current one or divide it into several sections to propagate new plants.

Rattlesnake Calathea dying

Rattlesnake Calathea may die due to two possible reasons. One possible reason why your Rattlesnake Calathea is dying is root-rot which is brought about by soggy soil.

Take out the plant from its pot and inspect the roots. Brown-black mushy roots indicate root-rot, trim them off and treat the healthy roots with a fungicidal solution.

Disinfect the pot or use a fresh pot to repot the plant in fresh free-draining soil. Do not water the plant and keep it dry for some time before resuming watering. Read more on how to deal with root-rot here.

To prevent root-rot in the future, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy. Also, do not overwater your plant during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

The second possible reason why your Rattlesnake Calathea is dying is pest infestations. Rattlesnake Calathea like other Calatheas is prone to mealy bugs, aphids, scale insects and spider mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Rattlesnake Calathea leaves appear washed out

Rattlesnake Calathea washed out leaves are due to exposure of the plant to hot direct sunlight. Rattlesnake Calathea grows best in medium, indirect light away from direct sunshine.

Move Rattlesnake Calathea to a more shaded spot or instal a light curtain to protect it from direct sunlight to prevent its eventual death.

Rattlesnake Calathea curled, yellowing leaves

Rattlesnake Calathea curled and yellowing leaves are caused by incorrect watering; either overwatering (soggy soil) or underwatering.

Overwatering (soggy soil) causes the roots to die due to lack of oxygen in the soil. When the roots die they cannot take up water and therefore the leaves begin to curl, yellow and eventually die.

Underwatering implies that there is too little moisture in the soil and therefore, the plant has no water to take up to the leaves. Thus, the leaves begin to curl, yellow and eventually die if the situation is not corrected.

Water Rattlesnake Calathea thoroughly and keep the soil moderately moist during the growing season. Reduce watering in the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely. Also, ensure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Rattlesnake Calathea brown, dry leaf tips and edges

Brown, dry leaf tips and edges in Rattlesnake Calathea are due to four possible causes. One possible cause of brown, dry leaf tips and edges in Rattlesnake Calathea is dry air (too little humidity).

Rattlesnake Calathea requires a humid environment inorder to thrive. To raise humidity for your Calathea, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

Rattlesnake Calathea can also be grown in the bathroom or other moist areas in the home where humidity is high. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Rattlesnake Calathea is also ideal for a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium. Read more on how to make a closed terrarium for houseplants.

The second cause of brown, dry leaf tips and edges in Rattlesnake Calathea which is accompanied by stunted growth is infestation by spider mites due to the air being too dry (low humidity).

Remove the dead growth and raise humidity for the plant (as outlined above) to discourage the pest infestations.

The third cause of brown, dry leaf tips and edges in Rattlesnake Calathea is watering it with hard water. Water your Rattlesnake Calathea with chlorine-free water only like rain water.

Like other Calathea, Rattlesnake Calathea is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water and it responds with brown leaf tips and edges.

The fourth cause of brown, dry leaf tips and edges in Rattlesnake Calathea is accumulation of salts or chemicals in the soil. These chemicals may have originated from the water used for watering or from the fertilizers used.

Regularly, flush out accumulated chemicals (salts) from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil. Allow the stream of water to run for some time and repeat the process several times.

Rattlesnake Calathea pests

Rattlesnake Calathea pests; mealy bugs, aphids, scale insects and spider mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Rattlesnake Calathea diseases

Rattlesnake Calathea is prone to leaf spot disease due to the humid conditions in which it grows. The disease is indicated by brown patches surrounded by a yellow halo. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the disease.

Is Rattlesnake Calathea (Calathea lancifolia) toxic?

Rattlesnake Calathea (Calathea lancifolia) like other Calathea Plants is non-toxic to both humans and pets. It is safe to grow indoors.

You liked it? Share on social media.

On the Blog

You liked it? Share on social media.