Rattlesnake plant – How to Grow and Care

If you are a pattern lover and you like to grow the natural caring, beautiful jolly plant, then the Rattlesnake Plant is the perfect indoor houseplant for you.

Rattlesnake plant
Rattlesnake plant

What is the Rattlesnake plant?


The scientific name of the Rattlesnake plant is Calathea lancifolia, which belongs to the prayer plant family Marantaceae. It is native to the rainforest of Brazil and is hardy in USDA plant zones ten or above. This plant is known for its exciting patterns and attractive foliage.

The plant grows up to a height of 30 inches. This houseplant is a decorative plant having spotted leaves and deep purple undersides. It has long, wavy green, lance-shaped leaves with a pattern of deep green brushstrokes on the top of the blade. The bottom of the leaves is purple, and they also fold up at night like prayer-plants. In suitable conditions, the plant produces bright blooms during late spring and early summer. This plant is non-toxic to pets.

Lanced-shaped leaves with deep green brushstrokes
Lanced-shaped leaves with deep green brushstrokes

Scientific classification of a Rattlesnake plant

Species:C. lancifolia

Things to know before growing

When to grow a Rattlesnake plant?

The Rattlesnake plant grows from May to August. The best time to propagate this plant is during spring.

Where to grow a Rattlesnake plant?

The Rattlesnake plant is adequately grown in light, medium, and well-drained soils. A bright indirect light or a little part of shade is preferable. Do not propagate the plant in a dark location. Morning sunlight is suitable for the growth of the plant, but it is best to avoid afternoon sunlight. Use a container having a drainage hole to grow the plant, and to prevent soggy soil. Most of the people grow this plant indoors up to a height of 1 foot and a half. When this plant is grown outdoor then, it raises a foot longer than growing indoors.

How to grow a Rattlesnake plant?

You can grow this plant, both indoor and outdoor. These plants grow quickly, and you can propagate the plant in the container. While reproducing the rattlesnake plant, do not put it in the direct sunlight, because the plant may lose its beautiful green spots. You can grow  Calathea lancifolia through division and cutting.

How to grow a Rattlesnake plant from the division method?

The division is the easiest method to propagate a Rattlesnake plant. Divide the parent plant during the repotting time. Choose the healthy plant for division method and also separate stems into segments.

Steps to grow a Rattlesnake plant from division method are:

  1. Fill 2/3 of the container with a well-drained potting mix.
  2. Water the soil to settle it down.
  3. Place the divisions spacing few inches apart and 1.5 inches deep in the soil. You can put only one division in an individual pot.
  4. Sprinkle some soil above it and water it.
  5. Cover it with the plastic bag.
  6. Place the container in the location with bright indoor light.
  7. After 2-3 weeks, you will see new growth in it.

How to grow a Rattlesnake plant from cuttings?

Another best way to propagate your rattlesnake plant is through cutting.

Steps to grow a Rattlesnake plant from cuttings are:

  1. Take a sharp and sterile knife to proceed with the cuttings.
  2. Cut off the head cuttings with at least two leaves and cut off the shoots at the base.
  3. Take a new pot and fill it with the potting mix.
  4. Place the cuttings in the soil and water it.
  5. Cover it with a plastic bag, but don’t forget to give some air every day for about 10-20 minutes.
  6. Place it in the bright spot.
  7. After several weeks, the new plant should be rooted, and you can replant it.

Care of the Rattlesnake plant

The Rattlesnake plant is not that difficult to care for. You should care for the rattlesnake plant properly. Some of the tips for caring this plant are as follows:

Sun and temperature

The rattlesnake plant thrives well in warm room temperature. The temperature should be between 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If the plant is kept in cold condition with the heat of 50 degrees Fahrenheit or below then, the leaves start to turn brown or droop. Avoid sudden temperature changes too. A bright indirect light or a little part of shade is preferable. Do not propagate the plant in a dark location. Morning sunlight is suitable for the growth of the plant, but it is best to avoid afternoon sunlight.

Water and humidity

Water the Rattlesnake plant lightly just to keep the soil moist. Do not allow the leaves to wilt, and never water the plant to the point of sogginess. This plant loves humid areas, so you can put some pebbles in the pot to hold moisture. You can also use a humidifier for this purpose. Water the plant every 1-2 weeks, allowing the soil to dry out halfway down in between the waterings. The rattlesnake plant does better in higher humidity conditions.


The Rattlesnake plant grows well in the potting mix that drains well. If the soil is too heavy, then it may rot the fibrous root. Soggy soil leads to root rot. For better results, use a lightweight potting mix and a slow-release fertilizer. 2 part peat and 1 part perlite is suitable for the soil. Rattlesnake plant likes moist soil, but they do not grow well in overly wet soil. The soil should be loamy and sandy type having a pH value of 6.1 to 6.5. Add some amount of sand to enhance the drainage.


You can feed the rattlesnake plant during the growing season. You can use a diluted solution of water-soluble fertilizer. Make sure the soil is moist during fertilizing. Use balanced liquid fertilizer for the foliage to look healthy. Feed the plant once a month from April to August.


It does not take long for the maintenance of Calathea lancifolia. Pruning this plant is very easy. Remove spent blooms of the growing rattlesnake plant. Prune damaged leaves to keep the plant healthy. Do not use leaf shine products on the rattlesnake plant as it can harm the plant rather than care. The large leaves of the plant tend to be dust catchers. Wipe them off using a soft, moist towel.


You can propagate the rattlesnake plant both indoor and outdoor. The rattlesnake plants are quickly grown indoors, and you can reproduce the plant in container or pot. While planting the rattlesnake plant, do not put it in the direct sunlight, because the plant may lose its beautiful green spots. You can grow a rattlesnake plant through division and cutting. Both methods are easy to propagate this plant.


Treatment of various diseases of the Rattlesnake plant.

Pest and treatment

The main pests the Rattlesnake plant experiences are:

  • Whiteflies
  • Aphids
  • Fungus gnats
  • Thrips
  • Mealybugs
  • Red Spider mites

If the Rattlesnake plant shows any sign of these insect pest infestations, do not hesitate to use insecticides. Apply Neem oil or Silicon Dioxide for seven days. You can also use homemade sprays, and test it in leaves before applying it to the whole plant. Soap spray is an excellent homemade spray to remove these pests. Mix two tablespoons of soap to a gallon of water and spray it to the plant properly.

Spray oil or sprinkle some powder on your plant so that there is a light layer on the leaves and the soil. The bugs and insects will walk through it and die soon after it comes in contact with them. Using yellow sticky traps helps to cut down the population of Fungus gnat, or you can also try using dryer sheets to remove them. You can also use a cotton ball soaked in alcohol to wipe away these insect rogues.

Diseases and treatment

The Rattlesnake plant suffers from a lot of issues. The problems mostly occur when they are grown in poorly-drained soil or low light. Excessive watering, fertilization, and poor circulation leading to issues such as:

Burnt leaves

Symptoms: Wilting and abscission of the leaf.

Treatment: Avoid over-fertilization and water the plant slowly.

Root rot

Symptoms: Wilting and discolored leaves, brown roots.

Treatment: Remove brown roots with sterilized scissors, and replant affected plants in fresh soil and good drainage.


Symptoms: Discoloration, spotting, and wilting of Rattlesnake flowers

Treatment: Prune plants to improve air circulation and add the right amount of organic compost.

Curled leaves

Symptoms: The leaves of the plants are drooping, and it curls inwards and downwards.

Treatment: water the plant, and keep the soil moist.

Best use of a Rattlesnake plant

Some of the uses of this plant are listed below:

  1. It helps you to breathe as they release oxygen in both day and night.
  2. The Rattlesnake plant removes toxins and purifies the air.
  3. In the therapeutic area, the rattlesnake plant helps to prevent diseases such as sore throat, dry cough, headaches, fevers, cold, and many others.
  4. Rattlesnake plant is also used as an ornamental plant, and it looks great when placed indoor.
  5. It merely adds beautiful and natural color to the house and your working space.