Spruce / Skrystal Slagle Rattlesnake Plants (Calathea lancifolia) aren’t the easiest houseplants to take care of, but if you do so, you will be rewarded with an impressive display.
How to Grow Rattlesnake Plants
It has a distinctive decorative pattern on its leaves, and gets its common name from the rainforests of Brazil where it originates.
It can grow up to 30 inches tall, and its large leaves have a variegated pattern with various shades of green and a wavy pattern along their edges. Despite the foliage’s undersides having beautiful purplish-red tones, they are still striking.
The rattlesnake plant produces small yellow flowers in the late spring in its native region. Since it rarely blooms indoors, this is primarily a houseplant grown for its unusually long and elegant foliage.
Hawaii and some southern parts of California and Florida have often seen this plant growing outdoors in shaded gardens, however, it is more commonly kept indoors or in greenhouses. Heat and humidity are essential for the growth of this tropical native.
The bold markings on the rattlesnake plant’s foliage are sure to impress your visitors if you provide it with the humidity, warmth, and filtered light it needs. Adding it to your collection will enhance its beauty, and it can also be grown as a stand-alone specimen.
A rattlesnake plant isn’t typically considered to be the best choice for a beginner’s houseplant collection. They have very specific requirements when it comes to heat, light, and humidity. However, the ornamental leaves produced by the plant are very attractive.
As this plant has large leaves, you may be tempted to use leaf shine to give the foliage an extra boost. Using a wet cloth to remove dust or debris instead of this can cause browning of the leaves’ tips.
Lighting is an important consideration for any calathea plant, including the rattlesnake. The vibrant spotted markings will fade if it is exposed to too much direct sunlight.
There is no better option than filtered light. You can arrange your rattlesnake plant in a window that doesn’t receive intense afternoon sunlight, or you can cover the window with drapes to diffuse the light. You may also want to consider a bright spot in a conservatory or a room with good lighting away from windows.
A well-drained soil is important when it comes to plants. Plants like to remain moist, even if they can’t tolerate standing water. You could use a light sandy soil or a top dressing made from one part peat and two parts perlite. Alkaline soils should be avoided as they respond well to an acidic or neutral pH level.
If you want your rattlesnake plant to grow at its best, you’ll need to water it frequently during the summer. Keep the soil moist or potting mix well drained.
Although rattlesnake plants tolerate waterlogged conditions, if the leaves turn yellow, this could mean you are overwatering. However, if they aren’t given enough water, the leaves will curl in an unattractive manner. Instead of deep irrigation, small amounts of water must be applied frequently.
Let the surface soil dry out during the winter months before watering again. With the temperatures dropping, giving your plants too much water can cause the stems to become limp and eventually kill them.
Temperature and Humidity
You can have a huge impact on the growth and health of rattlesnake plants by deciding where to place them. The cold, dry air, poor ventilation, drafts, and sudden changes in temperature are all harmful.
Temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for this plant. It would eventually die if exposed to prolonged temperatures below these levels for a long period of time.
A rattlesnake plant should be kept away from air conditioning and heating systems in order to avoid exposing it to undesirable dry air. In addition to browning or curling the foliage, excessively dry air can also cause brown leaf tips.
If you are concerned about creating a humid environment, you can place your pot on a tray with pebbles. As the water drains through the pot, it will remain there and create the moist conditions they prefer. It is also possible to mist your plants regularly or to bring them into the bathroom during your shower. If you are an avid collector of tropical houseplants, a humidifier is a great investment.
Rattlesnake plants prefer being fed once a month in the spring and summer. Liquid fertilizer-fed foliage will produce remarkable and healthy results. A modest dose of a specific foliage variety with a fair amount of nitrogen is excellent for plants with a lot of leaves.