All about the Rattlesnake Plant
Calathea lancifolia is a wonderful houseplant. It is an ornamental evergreen plant with the added bonus of easy care requirements. It grows to be 30 inches tall with leaves up to 18 inches long. The leaves are heavily marked with dark blotches that resemble the markings of a rattlesnake, which explains where it gets its name.
Yellow flowers seasonally bloom on a rattlesnake plant if it is growing outdoors. This plant also purifies the air and is cat, dog, and child friendly.
The botanical name for Rattlesnake plant is Calathea lancifolia. It was previously known by the name Calathea Insignis. Calathea genus is part of the Marantaceae family. These plants are native to South and Central America, West Indies, and Africa. It symbolizes a ‘new beginning,’ which comes from the famous phrase ‘to turn over a new leaf’. This is exactly what a rattlesnake plant does in the darkness. The plant also makes for a thoughtful gift for this reason.
Caring for your Calathea Rattlesnake
Calathea rattlesnake is a plant easy to care for. However, there are a few measures and precautions you need to take to grow and maintain yours.
Calathea Lancifolia prefers bright, indirect light. Like most variegated plants, it requires plenty of diffused light. Direct exposure to sunlight can cause the leaves to fade and lose their pattern. Your plant will do well in low to medium light. Consider placing your plant near north or east-facing window.
Your Rattlesnake plant can tolerate shade to an extent as it originates from the Amazon jungles of South America, where it lives in the shade due to surrounding dense vegetation. However, depriving it of light to a great extent can negatively affect its growth. The more indirect light it gets, the better the foliage.
The soil you use to grow your rattlesnake plant needs to offer plenty of drainage. These plants like to stay moist. However, keep in mind that they can’t handle sitting in stagnant water. Fill your pot with light sandy soil to plant your Calathea rattlesnake. A potting mix consisting of two parts of peat moss and one part perlite will work well too. You should also avoid alkaline soil as they do not respond to alkaline pH well, unlike acidic or neutral soil.
Keep the soil moist but make sure you’re not allowing your plant to sit in water for long hours. Especially during the winter season, allow the soil to dry before watering your plant again. If the leaves start yellowing, it may be a sign that you’re overwatering it. Little and often should be the water policy you follow.
You can water your Calathea Lancifolia more often during the spring and summer months. These are the seasons your plant will experience the most growth. You will see the leaves beginning to curl if you are not giving enough water to your plant. Although frequent, rattlesnake plants require only a little watering. Water your plant only until it starts to trickle down the drainage hole.
The active growing season for Calathea Rattlesnake is during spring and summer times. You can fertilize your plant every four weeks during this season with a weak dose of nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Make sure your fertilizer also contains iron.
Common Issues with the Calathea Lancifolia
Rattlesnake plants do not have any risk of pests and diseases. However, it is still important that you look out for any possible consequences.
Pests and Diseases
This plant is generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, if any scales or mites attack your plant, you may find spots appearing on the leaves of your plant.
The leaves may turn brown or roll up if your plant is facing an issue of low humidity. On the other hand, avoid exposing your plant to direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves.
Pruning your Calathea
To have your plant focus on healthy leaves, it is important to prune the torn or dead leaves. If you see a leaf in a really bad condition, you can cut it off entirely without any worries. This will allow your plant to grow new and healthy leaves. Simply use a clean and sharp knife to cut the leaf near the stem.
If you feel like you do not need to discard the whole leaf, you can also just trim it. Grab a pair of scissors and cut away the damaged or brown part of the leaf, leaving the remaining foliage intact.
Propagation and Repotting
Calathea rattlesnake plant can easily be propagated through the division method.
- Water your plant the day before you plan to propagate
- Choose a large enough pot for the root ball
- Fill the pot 1/3 way with soil
- Brush soil from the roots of your plant and use your fingers to separate the roots
- Trim off any damaged parts
- Place the divided root ball in the new pot
- Fill the pot with soil
Water the plant until it starts draining down the drainage hole