Botanical Name — Calathea lancifolia
Common Name — rattlesnake plant
Plant Family — Marantaceae
Calathea lancifolia is a lush, tropical plant, native to the rainforests of Brazil. With it’s dark green spotting and purple leaf undersides, this plant is a stunner. The observant gardener will notice this plant exhibits interesting behavior with respect to its leaves. A member of the prayer plant family, leaves will fold upwards and close together at nighttime to prevent water loss. In the morning, as the sun comes out, leaves will reopen.
- These plants do well in medium to bright, indirect light. A few hours of morning sun is ideal.
- Calathea lancifolia would love a spot in a sunny window with northern or eastern exposure.
- These tropical plants love warm temperatures and high humidity. They will thrive in temperatures above 70 ºF, but at a minimum they require a temperature of 60 ºF.
- To maintain ambient moisture that will promote vigorous growth, mist your Calathea lancifolia daily or consider providing it with a humidifier. In the winter, when the air tends to be drier, humidity becomes especially important. Leaves will brown and turn crispy if the air is too dry.
- This is a great plant for a sunny bathroom or kitchen or any other room where there is ample humidity.
- Keep this plants soil evenly moist but never soggy. When the soil is dry about 25-50% deep, or the moisture level feels like that of a wrung sponge, it is safe to give the plant a thorough watering.
- This plant will thrive in a well-draining, yet moisture-retentive soil, high in organic matter. A good quality potting would be great for your Calathea lancifolia.
- If you are the DIY type and prefer to mix your own soil, try a mix of 50% coco coir, 25% sand or fine pumice and 25% compost.
- Rattlesnake plants produce small, white, cone-shaped flowers during the spring and summer seasons, though these plants rarely flower indoors. Be sure to provide adequate moisture and light to improve the chances of flower.
- Rattlesnake calathea do not require much fertilizing though they appreciate a nutrient boost during the growing season.
- Feed these plants with a balanced fertilizer diluted at half-strength, once a month. Fertilize during the growing season only; suspend fertilization during the fall and winter.
- The best way to repot these plants is by division. To divide this plant, remove it from it’s pot, then using a garden spade or sharp knife, cut the plant into smaller pieces, ensuring each section has a few roots. Each individual piece can be immediately potted.
- Though these plants enjoy humidity, droplets of water directly on leaves can be problematic. Leaf spot can be a concern with this plant if leaves remain wet for long periods of time. To avoid excessive water on leaves, water the soil directly instead or watering from the top.
- These plants do not require much maintenance. These plants can grow fairly quickly, and should be repotted once every one to two years.
- To maintain good health, prune away and damaged or unhealthy leaves.
- Calathea is non-toxic to animals and humans.