Scientific name: Calathea lancifolia
Synonym: Rattlesnake Calathea, Rattlesnake Plant
If you like to decorate on the wild side and are a pattern lover, then the Rattlesnake Plant is the perfect houseplant for you. With bright green, wavy leaves that are striped with alternating ovals of dark green, and accentuated by a rich purple underside, then this jolly plant is for you!
As their scientific name suggests, Rattlesnake Plants get their name from their lance-shaped foliage, which grows more elongated as the plant matures. As a compact bushy grower, this Calathea will look great as a tabletop feature piece, as well as a medium-level floor plant.
- Crispy brown leaf edges are a sign of low humidity. Cut off the brown bits and increase humidity.
- Curling, spotted leaves and lower yellow leaves are a result of under watering. Remember to keep the soil moist at all times. The only time the plant will forgive you for under watering is during the winter months.
- Limp or rotting stems or drooping leaves could be caused by overwatering, although more likely by cold temperatures or exposure to drafts. If the plant remains in these conditions the damage will not be reversible so make sure to move the plant to a warmer spot or away from the cold draft immediately.
- Leaf pattern fading: There are two reasons for this problem: too much light, or not enough light. In most cases leaf fading is due to exposure to direct sunlight. Find a shadier spot for your plant.
- Botrytis (Grey mould) may occur if the surrounding air is extremely muggy – but seeing as the Rattlesnake Plant loves high humidity, this problem may never occur. Grey mould is caused by airborne fungi that land on damaged or dying tissue. Soft rotting patches may appear that are soon covered in grey fungus. Remove the infected parts of the plant and improve ventilation in the area.
- Origin: Native to Brazilian rainforests
- Height: Approximately 70 - 80 cm
- Light: Rattlesnake Plant is a likes medium to bright light conditions to truly flourish. Shield the plant from any direct sunlight as this will burn or fade the colour of its foliage.
- Water: Keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy. Adjust your care regime with the changing seasons. During spring and summer, water more frequently to keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged. Cut back on watering in the winter, only water when the topsoil becomes dry to the touch.
- Humidity: As a tropical rainforest plant, the Rattlesnake Calathea prefers high humidity. However, your Rattlesnake Calathea will be fine in normal room environments where there are no “active” adjustments to room humidity, such as airconditioners and heaters, as well as drafts.
- Temperature: Warm temperatures that average 18 to 24ºC are best, but try to keep temperatures above 15ºC. Avoid placing in drafty areas and take care not to allow sudden temperature changes, which can be a shock to the plant.
- Soil: Use potting soil that retains moisture but still provides good drainage.
- Fertilizer: Fertilize monthly during spring and summer, its active growing season, and cut back during winter.
- Repotting: Repot your Rattlesnake Plant once the pot has become crowded. Rattlesnake Calatheas can get nice and full and big, and sufficient root space is required for this.
- Propagation: Rattlesnake plants are best propagated by division. Simply separate the plant stems into segments, keeping foliage, stem and roots of each segment intact. Plant each segment into separate pots with well-draining but moisture retentive soil.
- Toxicity: Rattlesnake plants are non-toxic.
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