Rattlesnake Plant Care – Your Guide to Calathea Rattlesnake Plants


Calathea rattlesnake plant care is perfect for individuals who live a hectic lifestyle. In addition, this plant is easy to nurture, making it an excellent choice for those looking to start an indoor garden.

Calathea rattlesnake plants originated from Brazil and can grow up to 30” tall. One unique feature of Calathea rattlesnake plants is their beautifully marked leaves with wavy edges and green spots. Even the undersides of the Calathea rattlesnake plants are a magnificent reddish-purple shade.

To enjoy the magnificence of Calathea rattlesnake plants, you should know the essentials of rattlesnake plant care first. Instead of adding pops of colors, your Calathea rattlesnake plants will become an eyesore indoors if you don’t know how to care for them properly.

Calathea Orbifolia in pot on wooden table with blur of trees

Rattlesnake Plant Care Basics: Knowing the Different Varieties

There are many different varieties of the Calathea rattlesnake plant. Before adding Calathea rattlesnake plants to your home, take a look at some of the plants’ most common varieties. Take the time to assess the pros and cons of each, so you’ll know which one suits your preferences.

1. Calathea Roseopicta ‘Corona’

Rattlesnake Plant Care

The Calathea roseopicta ‘Corona’ is one of the most popular varieties of Calathea rattlesnake plants. Distinguished by their large, light green leaves, this variety can grow up to 12 inches and is usually wide. Another unique characteristic of the Calathea roseopicta is the broad, dark green margins visible on the edge of their leaves. In addition, this variety has burgundy-colored undersides.

2. Calathea ‘Eclipse’

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The Calathea ‘Eclipse’ stands out because this variety has white-ivory lines on the inner border of their leaves. Like other varieties, the eclipse’s leaves have a purple-red shade on their undersides and a smooth, dark green surface.

3. Rattlesnake Plant (Calathea lancifolia)

Rattlesnake Plant Care - calathea

If you’re looking for a bushy indoor plant, consider caring for rattlesnake plants. Rattlesnake plants are naturally bushy and come with lance-shaped foliage. The leaves of the rattlesnake plant are light green with dark green patterns and deep burgundy-red undersides.

4. Zebra Plant (Calathea zebrina)

Rattlesnake Plant Care - zebrina

Zebra plants have light green, ovate leaves with dark green stripes and patterns that resemble zebra’s skin. Because of its purple undersides, zebra plants are great options for table accents or centerpieces around the house.

5. Pinstripe Plant (Calathea Ornata)

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Calathea ornata Sanderiana in an orange flowerpot

The Pinstripe Plant is easy to care for indoors and has large, attractive, dark green leaves and pinstripe markings. Generally, the veined markings of this plant come in light green, but some pinstripe plants show pink or red stripes.

6. Calathea Warscewiczii

Rattlesnake Plant Care- evergreen

This evergreen Calathea is distinct among other varieties of rattlesnake plants due to its unique leaves. The Warscewiczii has dark green lanceolate-shaped leaves with green fishtail patterning and purple or maroon undersides.

7. Calathea Medallion

Another favorite among novice gardeners, the Calathea Medallion, is known for its large dark green colored leaves. Generally, the top side of the leaves of the Calathea Medallion is dark green with silver or emerald green patterns. As for its underside, the Calathea Medallion has purple or dark burgundy shades.

8. Rose-Painted Calathea (Calathea roseopicta)

The rose-painted Calathea has rose-colored pink stripes that look painted, thus its name. In addition, this variety has large rounded leaves that highlight light green or dark green patterns. Another unique characteristic of the leaves of rose-painted Calathea is its dark green feathered margins and creamy-colored markings.

9. Calathea Veitchiana

The most appealing characteristics of the Calathea veitchiana are its glossy green leaves and delicate patterns. This plant also has feathery markings on its leaves and has red or purple undersides. The appearance of this houseplant is eye-catching, especially when you place them in high-traffic areas.

10. Calathea Beauty Star

Because of its stunning light green foliage, you can easily see where this plant got its name. The Calathea beauty star is also known for its elongated oval leaves and lime-green featherings. Some varieties of this plant also showcase light pink stripes.

Aside from the varieties presented here, there are still many others to choose from. In fact, Calathea rattlesnake plants have 200 varieties! With so many options to choose from, you won’t have problems finding one that suits your indoor garden. These options will also allow you to pick a variety that has rattlesnake plant care requirements that suit your availability.

Learn the Essentials of Rattlesnake Plant Care

Just like other plants, Calathea rattlesnake plants also have specific requirements to thrive long-term. As long as you consistently follow these requirements, you won’t have any Calathea rattlesnake plant care problems.

If this is your first time caring for Calathea rattlesnake plants, the information presented in this section can help. Follow the tips below, and it won’t be long before you know the basics of rattlesnake plant care!

1. Light Needs for Rattlesnake Plant Care

Pay attention to the amount of sunlight your Calathea rattlesnake plants get. Never place your plants in direct sunlight for long periods, as this can cause their leaves to wilt. Over time, excessive exposure to direct sunlight can also cause their colorful markings to fade.

Use sheer curtains to filter light and protect Calathea rattlesnake plants from the intense afternoon sun. The sun is hottest during afternoons, and exposing your Calathea rattlesnake plants to such light conditions can hamper their growth.

Placing your plants in a well-lit room away from direct light in a window can also help. These tactics are essential for your rattlesnake plant care and ensure that your Calathea rattlesnake plants get enough sunlight.

2. Soil Needs for Rattlesnake Plant Care

Soil is another crucial element for your rattlesnake plant care. Suitable soil will hold the roots of the plants and provide the necessary nutrients for them to grow.

Since they can’t handle standing water, using light, sandy soil works well as a medium for Calathea rattlesnake plants. You can also use a potting mix containing two parts peat and one part perlite.

Calathea rattlesnake plants respond well to neutral and slightly acidic pH levels, so avoid using alkaline soils. Alkaline soils naturally have high pH values, reducing the concentration of essential plant nutrients in the soil. Using this type of soil will prevent your Calathea rattlesnake plants from getting copper, iron, manganese, and zinc. Alkaline soils can also cause iron chlorosis, which causes plant leaves to turn yellow due to iron deficiency.

3. Water Needs for Rattlesnake Plant Care

Calathea rattlesnake plants grow over the summer, so you need to water them frequently during this time of the year. It’s also essential to keep their soil or potting mix dry between waterings to prevent waterlogs and root rot.

Seeing the leaves of your Calathea rattlesnake plants turn yellow usually means that you’re overwatering. But, conversely, seeing the leaves curl indicates that you’re not giving enough water to your Calathea rattlesnake plants.

When watering during the colder months, make sure that the top layer of the soil is dry before watering again. You can determine the soil’s moisture level by sticking a finger into the soil. During the colder months, avoid giving Calathea rattlesnake plants too much water, as this can cause their stems to sag. Over time, this can kill your Calathea rattlesnake plants.

4. Temperature and Humidity for Rattlesnake Plant Care

The temperature and humidity of where you’ll place your Calathea rattlesnake plants can influence their growth. Placing these plants in areas with poor ventilation and cold temperatures can prevent them from growing long-term. Environments with drafts, dry air, and sudden temperature changes can also harm them.

As part of your rattlesnake plant care routine, place your plants in areas with temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This environment is ideal for keeping your Calathea rattlesnake plants healthy. However, the leaves may start to wilt or turn brown in a too cold or dry environment. Seeing these signs should prompt you to move your Calathea rattlesnake plants to a more humid and warmer space.

Moreover, never place your Calathea rattlesnake plants near heating systems or air conditioning vents. This equipment produces dry air that causes the leaves of your plants to brown or their foliage to curl up.

To create an environment humid enough for your Calathea rattlesnake plants, place their pots on a tray of pebbles. As water drains through the pot, it will collect in the tray and evaporate, increasing the humidity levels. This will create ideal moist conditions for your Calathea rattlesnake plants.

Regularly misting the leaves of your Calathea rattlesnake plants is also an effective way to keep the plant moist. You can also bring your plants to the shower as the humidity in your bathroom is conducive to their growth.

But if you plan to grow your indoor garden with varieties of Calathea rattlesnake plants, invest in a humidifier. This equipment provides sufficient moisture for all of the plants indoors, enabling you to meet the rattlesnake plant care requirements.

5. Fertilizer for Rattlesnake Plant Care

Giving enough water and light for your Calathea rattlesnake plants isn’t usually enough to keep them healthy. You need to use the right fertilizer to ensure that your plants remain healthy long-term. Fertilizers are essential to ensure your Calathea rattlesnake plants receive sufficient nutrients necessary for their growth.

When giving fertilizers to your Calathea rattlesnake plants, make sure that you’re doing it during spring and summer. Calathea rattlesnake plants grow most during these times and will need nutrients to support that growth. Additionally, Calathea rattlesnake plants produce healthier foliage when you use a diluted solution of water-soluble fertilizer.

Check the moisture level of the soil before applying fertilizer. Generally, the soil should be moist before fertilizing to ensure your Calathea rattlesnake plants can absorb the most nutrients.

Giving fertilizers is a crucial component of the rattlesnake plant care, so make sure to comply consistently.

6. Propagation Is an Important Part of Rattlesnake Plant Care

Propagating your Calathea rattlesnake plants is an excellent way of maintaining their size. If you plan on using these plants as decorations indoors, propagating by division prevents them from growing too large.

Learn to propagate them through these steps:

  • Water them a day before you plan to divide them to reduce stress and promote quicker recovery.
  • Invest in new pots that have suitable drain holes. Use pots wider than the root ball of the plant you’re dividing to provide the offspring enough room to grow.
  • Use a piece of paper towel on the bottom of these pots to allow good drainage without losing any soil. Substituting a coffee filter also works.
  • Fill the pot about 1/3 of the way full with a potting mix. Only use a potting mix containing two parts peat and one part perlite.
  • Gently tip the mother Calathea rattlesnake plant on its side to slide it out of the pot. Once the plant is out of the pot, brush away any loose soil and separate the roots a bit.
  • Run your fingers through the root ball of these plant and look for natural divisions. Then, gently separate these divisions to avoid breaking the roots of the plant.
  • After dividing the root ball, look for any signs of damaged or diseased roots, and trim them off. Don’t propagate these plants if they have unhealthy roots, as this will decrease their chances of surviving.
  • Place the roots of the offspring plant into the new pots and pour more soil into the pot. You can use some of the soil from the mother plant to reduce the stress levels of the offspring.
  • Carefully water the offspring and allow excess water to drain. Since their roots are still small and growing, pouring too much water on the offspring can result in waterlogging.

7. Toxicity of Rattlesnake Plants

When it comes to indoor plants, you need to pay attention to their toxicity. You will place these plants inside your home, and not knowing whether specific plants are toxic can cause problems.

Fortunately, Calathea rattlesnake plants are non-poisonous. So, you can place them anywhere in your home and not worry about kids or pets touching them. These plants are entirely harmless, perfect for households with several kids and pets.

8. Pest Control for Rattlesnake Plants

No plant is immune from pest infestation. Regardless of the variety of indoor plants you want to care for, you can expect that they will eventually attract certain pests. Calathea rattlesnake plants are no exception, but there are many ways to protect them from pests.

Because of their colorful leaves, Calathea rattlesnake plants usually attract spider mites. This problem can get worse during the winter months or when your Calathea rattlesnake plants are in dry conditions. 

Spider mites will eat the tissues and sap of your Calathea rattlesnake plants, causing their leaves to turn yellow. Spider mites can also leave holes in the leaves of your plants and cause them to wilt. When left untreated, spider mites can multiply and decimate other plants in your indoor garden.

As part of your rattlesnake plant care, protect your Calathea rattlesnake plants from spider mites using essential oils. Simply fill a spray bottle with a few drops of essential oils and mix with water. Coriander, chamomile, and rosemary are known to kill spider mite eggs and adults, so make sure to use these. Spritz the mixture all over your Calathea rattlesnake plants until you can no longer see any spider mites.

Aside from essential oils, you can also use neem oil to kill spider mites. Additionally, mixing three tablespoons of dish soap with a gallon of water is also an effective solution.

Apply Your Rattlesnake Plant Care Knowledge

Proper Calathea rattlesnake plant care will ensure you have healthy, happy plants. Taking these steps is vital to ensure that they thrive inside your home.

Calathea rattlesnake plants are known for their colorful foliage. However, you have to provide the proper care to keep them looking beautiful. Failing to meet the rattlesnake plant care requirements will cause them to wilt and become an eyesore indoors.

If you’re looking forward to growing Calathea rattlesnake plants indoors, use this article as your guide. Just follow all of the tips here, and you’re on your way to enjoying healthy Calathea rattlesnake plants indoors!

FAQs for Rattlesnake Plant Care

Calathea rattlesnake plants attract spider mites because of their colorful leaves. Fortunately, countless strategies prevent these pests from eating your plants, like using essential oils or neem spray. A homemade solution made of three tablespoons of dish soap with one gallon of water can also kill spider mites.

When spraying any of these solutions, don’t forget to include the undersides of the leaves. This is where spider mites usually stay and multiply.

Calathea rattlesnake plants produce healthier foliage when you use a diluted solution of water-soluble fertilizer. Fertilize them during spring and summer because these are their growing seasons.

A: Use light, sandy soil or a potting mix containing two parts peat and one part perlite for rattlesnake plants. The potting medium should be a neutral pH or slightly acidic. Soil is an essential element of rattlesnake plant care, so make sure to use the correct soil type.

Calathea rattlesnake plants thrive when placed in environments with filtered light. You can do this by putting your Calathea rattlesnake plants near windows with drapes. Placing them in a well-lit room away from direct sunlight is also an excellent solution.

It’s essential to give your Calathea rattlesnake plants the right amount of sunlight. Exposing them to direct sunlight for extended periods can cause their colors to fade and their leaves to wilt.

Calathea rattlesnake plants grow over the summer period, so water them frequently during this time. To prevent waterlog and root rot, let their soil or potting mix dry between waterings. You can determine the moisture levels of the soil by sticking your finger into it.

There are over 200 varieties of Calathea rattlesnake plants, and the most common is Calathea Roseopicta ‘Corona’ and Calathea ‘Eclipse.’ Each of these varieties has unique colors in its leaves, patterns, and undersides. Although different in appearance, most varieties require similar rattlesnake plant care.


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