The Fascinating World of Rattlesnake Plants: A Guide to Care, Varieties, and Benefits


If you’re looking for a houseplant that can bring a touch of the exotic into your living space, then the Rattlesnake Plant might just be the perfect choice. With its striking patterned leaves and unique name, this plant is sure to catch the eye of anyone who walks into the room. Not only does it have showy foliage, but it’s also a relatively easy plant to care for, making it ideal for both beginners and seasoned plant lovers.

Native to the rainforests of Brazil, the Rattlesnake Plant, also known by its botanical name Calathea lancifolia, is a true tropical gem. Its distinctively patterned leaves, which are green with grey markings on top and purple underneath, grow on long stems that can reach up to two feet in height. As the plant matures, the edges of the leaves can become slightly wavy, adding to its unique and eye-catching appearance.

Caring for a Rattlesnake Plant is relatively easy. It thrives in bright, indirect light, so placing it near a window is ideal. However, direct sunlight should be avoided, as it can cause the leaves to burn. The plant should be watered consistently, keeping the soil moist but not soggy, and it benefits from regular misting to provide the humidity it craves. It’s also important to avoid exposing the plant to temperatures below 60°F (15°C), as it prefers warm and tropical climates.

Propagation of the Rattlesnake Plant can be done through division of the root clumps, which can be carried out during the plant’s active growing season, typically in late spring or early summer. Another great thing about this plant is that it is relatively pest-free. However, it is still important to keep an eye out for common houseplant pests, such as spider mites and mealybugs, which can sometimes find their way onto the leaves.

So, if you’re looking to add a touch of the tropics to your indoor garden, the Rattlesnake Plant is a great choice. Its unique appearance, easy care instructions, and ability to bring positivity and calm into our lives make it a plant that is sure to thrive in any home. With its eye-catching foliage and distinct personality, this botanical delight is a must-have for plant enthusiasts.

Rattlesnake Plant

The Rattlesnake Plant, formerly known as Calathea lancifolia, is a popular houseplant that is prized for its eye-catching leaves. It is native to the rainforests of Brazil and brings a touch of the tropics to any home or garden.

Rattlesnake Plants are known for their distinctly patterned leaves that resemble the skin of a rattlesnake. The leaves feature alternating dark green and light green stripes, with a deep purple underside. This unique coloration makes them a true showstopper and a great addition to any plant collection.

Caring for a Rattlesnake Plant isn’t about pruning or watering. It’s about creating the ideal environment for this tropical beauty. Rattlesnake Plants prefer temperatures between 65-80°F (18-27°C) and high humidity. They thrive in bright but indirect light, so placing them near a north or east-facing window is ideal. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, as it can scorch their delicate leaves.

When it comes to watering, Rattlesnake Plants are a bit finicky. They don’t like to be waterlogged or dried out. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. You can achieve this by watering the plant thoroughly and allowing the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. Using distilled or filtered water is recommended, as tap water can contain minerals that can damage the leaves.

As with other plants, Rattlesnake Plants can also be prone to pests such as mealybugs and spider mites. Keep an eye out for any signs of infestation, such as webbing or yellowing leaves, and take action accordingly. Regularly dusting the leaves and keeping the humidity high can help prevent pest problems.

Propagation of Rattlesnake Plants can be done through division. When your plant matures and starts to produce new shoots, you can carefully separate these shoots and plant them in their own pots. Make sure each new plant has roots attached for the best chance of success.

In summary, the Rattlesnake Plant is a beautiful and striking houseplant that will bring a touch of positivity and greenery to your home. With its distinct leaves and easy-care nature, it’s a great choice for both experienced and novice plant enthusiasts. So, if you’re looking to decorate your home with a unique and eye-catching plant, the Rattlesnake Plant is a name to remember.

Common Symptoms

When caring for Rattlesnake Plants, it is important to be aware of common symptoms that may indicate an issue with your plant’s health. Here are some common symptoms to watch out for:

1. Yellowing leaves: This is typically a sign of overwatering. Rattlesnake Plants prefer their soil to be lightly moist, but not waterlogged. Make sure to water them consistently and avoid letting the soil become too wet.

2. Brown leaf tips: Brown leaf tips can be a result of underwatering or low humidity. Rattlesnake Plants are native to rainforests where the humidity is high, so they thrive in a humid environment. If the air in your home is too dry, consider using a room humidifier or placing a water tray near the plant to increase humidity levels.

3. Drooping leaves: If your Rattlesnake Plant’s leaves are drooping, it could be a sign of underwatering or exposure to direct sunlight. These plants prefer filtered or indirect light, so make sure they are not placed in direct sunlight. Additionally, make sure to water them regularly to maintain the appropriate moisture levels.

4. Mould or mildew: Excessive moisture can lead to mould or mildew growth on the plant’s leaves. To prevent this, make sure to provide adequate drainage for the plant by using a well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes. Avoid overwatering and remove any dead or decaying leaves to prevent the spread of mould.

5. Pests: Rattlesnake Plants are not commonly affected by pests, but they can occasionally attract spider mites or mealybugs. If you notice small pests or sticky residue on the leaves, gently wipe them off with a damp cloth and treat the plant with an insecticidal soap if necessary.

Remember to always follow the care instructions for your specific Rattlesnake Plant variety, as care requirements may vary slightly. By keeping an eye out for these common symptoms and providing the appropriate care, your Rattlesnake Plant will thrive and enhance your home décor with its unique and eye-catching foliage.

Care Instructions

The rattlesnake plant, also known as Calathea lancifolia, is a popular choice for indoor gardening enthusiasts. Originally from the rainforests of Brazil, this plant gets its name from its eye-catching patterned leaves that resemble the scales of a snake.

When it comes to caring for your rattlesnake plant, there are a few key factors to keep in mind for optimal growth and health.


Calatheas prefer bright but indirect light, so placing them near a north or east-facing window is ideal. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, while too little light can cause the colors to fade. Consistently providing the right amount of light will help the plant thrive.


Rattlesnake plants like to be kept consistently moist, but they don’t like to sit in water. Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, making sure to water thoroughly so that the water reaches the roots. It’s also important to use room-temperature water, as cold water can shock the plant.

Temperature and Humidity

Rattlesnake plants prefer temperatures between 65°F and 80°F (18°C to 27°C). They also thrive in high humidity environments, so misting the leaves or placing the plant on a tray filled with pebbles and water can help create the necessary humidity.

Soil and Fertilizer

Use well-draining soil with a mix of peat moss, perlite, and compost for your rattlesnake plant. Fertilize the plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer every month during the growing season (spring to late summer) to provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.


Rattlesnake plants can be propagated through root division. During spring, carefully divide the plant into multiple clumps, making sure each new division has roots. Plant these divisions in separate pots filled with fresh soil, and treat them as new plants.


Common pests that may affect rattlesnake plants include spider mites and mealybugs. Regularly check the leaves for any signs of pests, such as webbing or white cottony patches, and treat the plant with appropriate organic or chemical measures if necessary.

In conclusion, the rattlesnake plant is a beautiful and showy houseplant that can bring a touch of botanical elegance to any room. By following these care instructions, you can ensure that your rattlesnake plant thrives and remains a source of positivity in your home for years to come.

Keep out of direct sunlight
Water when top inch of soil is dry
Maintain temperature between 65°F and 80°F
Provide high humidity
Fertilize monthly during the growing season
Check for pests regularly
Propagate through root division in spring

Contact us

If you have any questions or need assistance with your Rattlesnake Plant, feel free to reach out to us. We are here to help and provide you with all the information you need to care for your plant.

Whether you have concerns about the quality of your plant or want advice on how to decorate your space with this unique houseplant, we are just a message away. Our team of experts can guide you on the best care practices, including watering instructions, ideal sunlight exposure, and pest control.

If you are experiencing any symptoms or environmental issues with your Rattlesnake Plant, don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance. We can provide quick troubleshooting tips to ensure your plant thrives in its growing environment.

Propagation is another aspect of caring for Rattlesnake Plants that you may be interested in. If you want to grow more of these showy plants, we can provide guidance on how to propagate them effectively.

We understand that each plant is unique and may require specific care. That’s why we offer personalized advice tailored to your specific Rattlesnake Plant. We can guide you on pruning techniques, including how to shape your plant and remove any damaged or dead foliage.

Your satisfaction is important to us, and we strive to provide the best customer service possible. Feel free to give us a call or send us a message, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Your Rattlesnake Plant deserves the best care, and we are here to ensure that happens.

Get in touch with us today to bring the beauty and positivity of the Rattlesnake Plant into your home!

Rattlesnake Plant

The Rattlesnake Plant, formerly known as Calathea lancifolia, is a unique houseplant that isn’t a true rattlesnake, but resembles the patterned skin of its namesake. It is native to the rainforests of Brazil and is a member of the Marantaceae family.

One of the distinctive features of the Rattlesnake Plant is its showy, elongated leaves with distinctly patterned dark green and grey stripes, which make it a great addition to any home or garden. The plant grows up to 30 inches in height and spreads outwards with its wide, arching stems.

If you’re considering growing a Rattlesnake Plant in your home, you’ll need to provide it with the right conditions. It thrives in bright, indirect light and prefers a temperature between 65°F and 80°F (18°C to 27°C). Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight, as this can cause its leaves to burn.

The Rattlesnake Plant requires consistently moist soil, but be careful not to overwater it. Water it when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. It’s important to use high-quality water, as tap water can contain chemicals that may cause problems for the plant.

When it comes to caring for the Rattlesnake Plant, pruning is not necessary. However, removing any yellow or dying leaves will help promote new growth. It’s also a good idea to wipe the leaves regularly to remove dust and keep them clean.

If you’d like to propagate your Rattlesnake Plant, you can do so by dividing the plant during repotting. Simply separate the plant into smaller clumps, making sure each clump has its own roots. Plant them in a well-draining soil mix, and keep the new divisions in a warm and humid environment until they establish roots.

Rattlesnake Plants are known to be sensitive to low humidity, so adding a humidifier or placing a tray of water near the plant can help create a more suitable environment. You can also mist the leaves with water to increase humidity.

Common problems that may affect Rattlesnake Plants include root rot, yellowing leaves, and spider mites. To prevent these issues, avoid overwatering and make sure the plant is not exposed to cold drafts or temperature fluctuations. If you notice any symptoms of problems, such as wilting or brown spots on the leaves, take quick action to address the issue.

In summary, the Rattlesnake Plant is a unique and eye-catching houseplant that can bring a touch of the natural world into your home. With the right care and attention, this beautiful plant can thrive and become a stunning addition to your indoor plant collection.

✿ Read More About Foliage Plants.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.