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Rattlesnake Plant Care Guide (Calathea Lancifolia)

Rattlesnake Plant Care Guide (Calathea Lancifolia)

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Several Calathea species are highly valued as houseplants, such as the Calathea Zebrina and the Calathea Roseopicta, all of them requiring high levels of humidity. This is no different with Calathea lancifolia, a.k.a the Rattlesnake plant.

Native to Brazil, these gorgeous plants star slender pale leaves with beautiful dark blotches and rich purple undersides.

It’s moderately difficult to take care of Calatheas. However, you don’t have to worry about this, because with the help of this article, the care of this evergreen perennial plant should be child’s play for you.



Let’s have a look at the (daily) requirements for the well-being of your Rattlesnake plant.



For the care of Calathea lancifolia, a substrate consisting of one part peat and three parts compost is often used. As an alternative to your own mixture, a high-quality potting soil can also do the trick.



Calathea lancifolia is not a big fan of direct sunlight. It is, therefore, best to place your Rattlesnake plant in a shady spot with indirect sunlight. Too much sunlight can cause several problems such as brown or crispy leaves.



You should water your Calathea generously from April to October without causing stagnant moisture. In colder months, you should keep the potting soil a touch drier. It is best to either use lime-free water or rainwater.



The minimum temperature amounts to 16 °C (61 °F). However, it is best to keep the plant in the temperature range of 18 °C to 26 °C (65 to 80 °F).



High levels of humidity are a must when it comes to this leavy friend. Try to keep the environment warm but not dry whenever possible. 



There are several ways you can propagate your Rattlesnake plant. The easiest method is by division, though. For best results, simply divide the plant at the time of repotting. To do so, just repot the stems in as many pots as you like.



Provided that the environment is right, a Calathea can grow up to 50 cm tall.



Repotting your lancifolia is no big deal. Please do so once a year, preferably during spring season when the plant has outgrown its pot. At the time of repotting, you might also want to consider to divide your plant. Stem propagation is the way to go in this case.



One of the most concerning questions for plant lovers is about how to water their plants properly. It can be a daunting task for beginners to actually know whether their plant is suffering from overwatering or underwatering. In general, Calathea lancifolia plants do indeed enjoy a good amount of water.

During summer, Your Calathea lancifolia needs plenty of water. For the winter months, you’ll want to reduce the amount of water.

It is recommended that you use distilled water or rainwater when watering your leavy friend.


Propagation of the Rattlesnake Plant

There are several ways to propagate your Calathea lancifolia. Two of the best ways to do so are by plant division or by cuttings.


Rattlesnake propagation through division

The easiest method that you can use to create new growth is from dividing the original plant.
The first thing you need to do to make use of this propagation method is watering your Calathea lancifolia.
At this point, you’ll want to make sure that it is thoroughly dampened. Loosen up the soil once it is appropriately moistened. Then, take the Rattlesnake plant out of its pot and continue to divide the roots into sections of two or three. You should have a minimum of two shoots.
Set aside the original Rattlesnake plant back into its pot and plant the new growth in a new pot. Don’t forget to use fresh soil for this new pot now.
Now all you need to do is wait for a couple of weeks, making sure to water and mist daily.

Rattlesnake plant propagation through cuttings

Another great way to propagate your rattlesnake plant is through cuttings. Please consider the following steps when doing so:

  1. Take a sharp, sterile knife to proceed with the cuttings
  2. Cut off head cuttings with at least 2 leaves
  3. Cut off the shoots at the base
  4. Take a new pot and fill it with substrate (soil with a high humus content is very well suited for this purpose)
  5. Insert several cuttings into the soil
  6. Place in a bright spot at temperatures around 73° Fahrenheit (corresponds to about 23 °C)
  7. Put a plastic bag on top (don’t forget to give your plant some air every day (10 – 20 minutes should do)
  8. Make sure that this plastic bag does NOT touch the cuttings
  9. Keep evenly moist until rooting begins.
  10. After several weeks the new plant should be rooted
  11. After the new plant is rooted, you can repot it.



After all, Calatheas are not that hard to keep. As with any plant, however, there is a certain amount of problems that you might face with your leavy friend. Knowing a few of the more common troubles that these Calatheas have is a good way to keep them healthy and make sure they thrive the way they are supposed to.

Let’s have a look at some common problems now, what causes them and how you can actually solve these problems (remedy).

PROBLEM: Brown edges
Cause: Brown edges could signal a few things. It could either mean it receives too much direct sunlight or the humidity is well below 70 %. Another reason for this type of problem could be dried up soil. If the humidity is too low, increase it with the help of one or several of the following methods:

Remedy: If the humidity is too low, increase it with the help of one or several of the following methods:

  1. Use a humidifier
  2. Mist the plants regularly
  3. Place your Calathea lancifolia in a more humid room (kitchen & bathroom are often spaces with increased humidity levels)
  4. Use pebble trays

PROBLEM: New leaves sport a lighter green color than older ones

Cause: If your Calathea has new leaves that come in a lighter green color than the old ones, then your Calathea is most likely dealing with a lack of nitrogen or iron.

Remedy: To solve this problem, you should increase the frequency of feeding your plant. When feeding the plant, make sure that it actually contains iron. Give your plant a few weeks and see how it responds to this new treatment. If the problem persists, you might want to try an iron spray. You can find this kind of spray at your garden store. Just tell them that your plant is suffering from iron chlorosis (lack of iron) and they will point you in the right direction.



After learning all of the ins and outs of this beautiful Calathea, you may feel as though you are ready to add it to your collection. Before you do, we have a summarized collection of tips to keeping your tropical royal plant thriving.

1. Keep the soil evenly moist and grow it in well-drained potting mix. For best results, use potting soil which contains peat and perlite.

2. Don’t place your Rattlesnake plant near vents or any other air source because it is very sensitive to sudden changes in temperature.

3. To allow for impressive foliage, place your Calathea lancifolia in a room with bright indirect sunlight. Your bathroom or your kitchen might be suitable spots.

4. Repot your Rattlesnake plant when you notice that the roots are starting to outgrow their current living space.

5. Try to keep this tropical plant in a warm room with a temperature between 18 and 26 degrees Celsius (65 to 80 °F) for optimal growth.




What types of Calathea are suitable for indoor use?

There are several Calatheas which thrive perfectly well indoors:

  • Calathea zebrina
  • Calathea roseopicta
  • Calathea ornata
  • Calathea orbifolia
  • Calathea lancifolia


Are cats allergic to Calathea lancifolia?
Cats are not in danger if they come into contact with a Rattlesnake plant. This species of plant is not labeled as poisonous, so your cat is safe.