Want to learn more about Rattlesnake Plant Trivia
Get individual care schedule and reminders for your plant with our app Planta. Never kill a plant again!
Rattlesnake Plants, or Goeppertia Lancifolia / Calathea Lancifolia, are beautifully colored and patterned rainforest plants originating from Brazil.
The Rattlesnake name comes from the distinctive markings along their wavy leaves, in shades of light and dark green, with an underside of rich purple.
With their eye-catching appearance, they're likely to make a great statement piece in your home, especially as they can also grow quite large - up to 30 inches (almost 80 cm!)
Like other Calatheas, Rattlesnake Plants can sometimes be a little bit finicky. They're adapted to the hot, humid conditions of the rainforest, and so bringing them into the dry air of most homes can sometimes take a little adjustment (something they're not too good at!) However, this cutie isn't as tricky as other sorts of Goeppertia, so it might be a good gateway plant into the jungle of all the other ones.
They thrive best in bright indirect light - too much light can lead to bleaching or burning of their lovely leaves. If possible, place yours a little away from an east- or west-facing window and try to avoid letting it get too much sunlight.
Other issues with the leaves can arise if your Rattlesnake Plant isn't getting enough water. They like their soil to be kept moist, but not overly wet, at all times, and appreciate high humidity too. Without these things, you'll likely start to see browning of the leaf edges.
Note that these plants can also be sensitive to the fluoride found in normal tap water - another thing that can lead to unsightly marks developing on the leaves - so it's best to water yours using either rainwater or distilled water.
Also, although they like to be kept moist, it is still possible to overwater your Rattlesnake Plant, so it's important to make sure that its soil is well-draining and that you're not giving it more than it needs. Yellowing leaves and limp stems are telltale signs of overwatering, so keep an eye out for those.
Rattlesnake Plants can be seen to 'dance' during the course of the day! Their leaves move around in response to changes in light conditions and can be seen to follow the sun as it moves.
Although terracotta pots are usually a sensible option for potting your plants into, they may not necessarily be the best option for your Rattlesnake Plant (or other Calatheas). Terracotta is porous, meaning that it is able to absorb water. This can be very useful for helping to make sure that more drought-resistant plants don't end up getting too much water. However, in the case of moisture-loving Rattlesnake Plants, it may instead be more beneficial to keep them potted in a non-porous material (such as plastic) to help prevent moisture from being leached away.
Because of their love for humidity, they make a good addition to a greenhouse or terrarium.