Discover the wonders of the Calathea lancifolia, also known as the Rattlesnake plant. Learn about its striking foliage, care instructions, propagation methods, and how to address common issues. Perfect for both beginners and experienced plant enthusiasts.


Are you looking for a beautiful and unique house plant to add to your indoor collection? Look no further than the Calathea lancifolia, also known as the Rattlesnake plant. With its striking foliage and relatively easy care requirements, this plant is perfect for both beginners and experienced plant enthusiasts. In this article, we will explore the characteristics of the Calathea lancifolia, provide care instructions, discuss propagation methods, and address common issues that may arise. So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of this captivating house plant!

Characteristics of the Calathea Lancifolia

The Calathea lancifolia, native to the rainforests of Brazil, is known for its distinctive lance-shaped leaves with deep green hues and patterns that resemble a rattlesnake’s skin. The dark green markings against the lighter green background create a visually appealing contrast, making it a popular choice among indoor plant enthusiasts. The lance-shaped leaves can grow up to 30 inches in height, adding vertical interest to any indoor space.

One of the unique features of the Calathea lancifolia is its ability to move its leaves. During the day, the leaves are typically upright, allowing maximum light absorption. However, in the evening or under low light conditions, the leaves may fold up, giving the plant its common name, “Rattlesnake plant.” This movement is a natural response known as nyctinasty, which helps the plant conserve energy and protect itself from excessive light.

Caring for the Calathea Lancifolia

To keep your Calathea lancifolia thriving, it is important to provide the right care conditions. Here are some essential care instructions to follow:

1. Lighting

The Calathea lancifolia thrives in bright, indirect light. While it can tolerate lower light conditions, it is best to place the plant near a window where it can receive filtered light. Direct sunlight can cause the patterns on the leaves to fade and burn the plant’s delicate foliage. Finding the right balance of light is crucial for the overall health and appearance of your Rattlesnake plant.

2. Soil and Watering

Calathea lancifolia requires well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. A mixture of one part peat moss and three parts compost is often recommended. Alternatively, a high-quality potting soil can be used. It is important to water the plant regularly to keep the soil moist but not overly saturated. During the growing season (spring and summer), water the plant enough to keep the soil constantly moist. In the winter months, when the plant goes through a period of slower growth, reduce watering frequency and allow the top layer of soil to dry out before watering again.

3. Temperature and Humidity

Calathea lancifolia thrives in temperatures between 65°F and 75°F (18°C – 24°C). It is important to keep the plant in a warm and well-lit room, avoiding sudden fluctuations in temperature. This house plant also benefits from higher humidity levels, similar to its native rainforest environment. You can increase humidity by using a tray filled with pebbles and water, placing the plant in a room with a humidifier, or misting the leaves regularly. This will help prevent the plant’s leaves from becoming crispy and promote healthy growth.

4. Fertilization

Monthly fertilization during the growing season (spring and summer) is recommended for the Calathea lancifolia. Use a diluted houseplant fertilizer to avoid overfeeding. It is important to fertilize only when the soil is already moist to prevent burning the plant’s roots. In the winter months, when the plant’s growth slows down, it is best to avoid fertilizing altogether.

Propagation of the Calathea Lancifolia

If you are interested in expanding your Calathea lancifolia collection or sharing this beautiful plant with friends and family, propagation is a great option. The most common method of propagation for the Rattlesnake plant is division. Here’s how you can propagate your Calathea lancifolia:

  1. Prep the plant: Before dividing, water the plant the day before to ensure it is well-hydrated. This will make the division process easier.

  2. Choose pots: Prepare two pots with fresh, well-draining soil mix. The new pots should be large enough to accommodate the divided sections.

  3. Divide the plant: Carefully remove the plant from its current pot. Gently tease apart the root ball, separating it into sections, making sure each section has healthy roots and leaves.

  4. Transplant: Place each divided section into a separate pot, making sure to position it at the same depth as the original plant. Water the newly divided plants thoroughly.

  5. Provide a humid environment: After dividing and transplanting, it is important to place the divisions in a warm, well-lit room with high humidity. This will encourage quicker root development and overall growth.

Remember, propagating your Calathea lancifolia during the spring months will give it the best chance of success, as the plant is actively growing during this time.

Common Issues and Solutions

While the Calathea lancifolia is a relatively low-maintenance plant, it may encounter certain issues. Here are some common problems you may face and their solutions:

  1. Yellowing Leaves: Yellow leaves can indicate overwatering, excessive sunlight, or improper humidity levels. Adjust your watering routine, provide filtered light, and increase humidity to resolve this issue.

  2. Brown or Crispy Leaves: Brown or crispy leaf edges are often a sign of low humidity levels. Increase humidity by misting the plant regularly, using a humidifier, or placing it on a pebble tray with water.

  3. Pests: Common pests like spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids can affect the Calathea lancifolia. Treat the plant with an insecticidal soap or neem oil solution to control infestations.

  4. Root Rot: Overwatering and poor drainage can lead to root rot. Ensure your soil mixture is well-draining and allow the top layer of soil to dry out between waterings.

  5. Dull Color: If your Calathea lancifolia starts to lose its vibrant colors, it may be receiving too much or too little light. Adjust the plant’s placement to provide the right amount of light for optimal leaf coloration.

By addressing these issues promptly and providing the appropriate care, your Calathea lancifolia can thrive and bring beauty to your indoor space.


The Calathea lancifolia, with its unique rattlesnake-like patterns, is a stunning addition to any houseplant collection. By following the right care instructions, providing adequate lighting, humidity, and avoiding common issues, you can enjoy the beauty of this captivating plant. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced plant enthusiast, the Calathea lancifolia is sure to impress with its intricate foliage and easygoing nature. So, bring home a Calathea lancifolia and let its beauty mesmerize you!


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[2]: “Rattlesnake Plant Care Guide (Calathea Lancifolia).” Plantophiles. Retrieved from: <a href=”“>](

[3]: “Rattlesnake Plant: Care & Growing Guide.” The Spruce. Retrieved from: <a href=”“>](

[4]: “Calathea Lancifolia Care – How to Keep Them Happy.” The Indoor Nursery. Retrieved from: <a href=”“>](