Calathea Lancifolia: Your Ultimate Care Guide For Rattlesnake Plant

The Calathea lancifolia, also known as the Rattlesnake Plant, is a captivating indoor plant treasured for its distinctive foliage. With its scientific name Calathea lancifolia and beautiful patterned leaves, this plant brings a tropical vibe to any indoor space.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about caring for the Rattlesnake Plant, from light and humidity requirements to common problems and solutions.

Calathea Lancifolia (rattlesnake plant)

Calathea Lancifolia Quick Overview

Scientific NameCalathea lancifolia
Common NameRattlesnake Plant
Light RequirementsMedium to bright indirect light
Temperature Range65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C)
Humidity RequirementsHigh humidity (above 50%)
Watering FrequencyKeep soil consistently moist
Soil RequirementsWell-draining, peat-based potting mix
Fertilizing FrequencyEvery 4-6 weeks during the growing season
ToxicityNon-toxic to humans and pets

Identifying the Calathea Lancifolia

Calathea Lancifolia is known for its long, wavy leaves adorned with an eye-catching dark green pattern on a lighter green background. The plant’s leaves have a unique purple underside, adding to its visual appeal.

The Rattlesnake Plant has a clumping growth habit and is similar in appearance to other calathea varieties, such as Calathea ornata and Calathea roseopicta.

Size and Growth Habit

The Rattlesnake Plant is a moderately sized indoor plant, typically reaching heights of up to 2 feet and a similar width. Its growth habit is characterized by a dense, bushy arrangement of leaves that form an attractive rosette pattern around a central stem.

The leaves of the Calathea Lancifolia can grow up to 12 inches long and 4 inches wide, making them a striking addition to any indoor garden. As the plant matures, its leaves will unfurl, showcasing their intricate patterns and colors.

Although the Rattlesnake Plant grows relatively slowly, proper care will yield a lush and vibrant plant.

Light Requirements

Calathea Lancifolia thrives in medium to bright indirect light, as direct sunlight can cause its leaves to scorch and lose their vibrant patterns. Suitable locations for this plant include east or north-facing windows, or a spot near a south or west-facing window that receives filtered light.

If natural light is limited, consider using fluorescent bulbs or LED grow lights to provide adequate supplemental lighting for the plant’s needs.

Temperature Requirements

The Rattlesnake Plant prefers temperatures ranging from 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C). It is sensitive to sudden temperature fluctuations and drafts, so avoid placing the plant near air vents, radiators, or drafty windows.

During the winter months, ensure the room temperature doesn’t drop below 60°F (15°C), as this could cause the plant to experience cold stress.

Humidity Requirements

Calathea Lancifolia originates from tropical rainforests, which means it has a preference for high humidity. Aim for a humidity level above 50% to keep the plant healthy. Signs of inadequate humidity include brown leaf tips and curling leaves.

To increase humidity around the plant, you can use a humidifier, place a tray of water with pebbles near the plant, or group it with other humidity-loving plants. Regularly misting the plant with water can also help maintain humidity, but be careful not to overdo it, as excessive moisture can lead to fungal issues.

Watering Requirements

Calathea Lancifolia requires consistent moisture, but it is essential not to overwater the plant. Allow the top inch of the soil to dry out between waterings, then water thoroughly until it drains out of the bottom of the pot. In the growing season, you may need to water more frequently, while in winter, the plant’s water requirements will decrease.

Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering can cause the leaves to wilt and become crispy. Monitoring the moisture level in the soil is key to maintaining a healthy Rattlesnake Plant.

Fertilizing Requirements

Feed your Calathea Lancifolia every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. Signs of under-fertilizing include pale leaves and slow growth, while over-fertilizing can cause leaf burn and damage the plant’s roots.

Avoid fertilizing during the fall and winter months, as the plant’s growth slows down and it requires fewer nutrients.

Soil Requirements

A well-draining, peat-based potting mix is ideal for the Calathea Lancifolia. You can create your own mix by combining equal parts peat moss, perlite or vermiculite, and regular potting soil. The soil should retain moisture without becoming waterlogged, ensuring the plant’s roots receive the right balance of air and water.

Adding a layer of mulch, such as bark or coconut husk, to the top of the soil can help maintain moisture and prevent the soil from drying out too quickly.

Diseases & Pests

Calathea Lancifolia is susceptible to several common indoor plant diseases and pests, including:

  • Spider mites: Tiny arachnids that feed on plant sap, causing yellowing and speckling on leaves.
  • Mealybugs: Small, white insects that leave a cottony residue on the plant and can cause stunted growth.
  • Root rot: Caused by overwatering, leading to root decay and wilting leaves.

To prevent these issues, maintain proper watering and humidity levels, inspect the plant regularly for pests, and treat any infestations promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil.


Calathea Lancifolia is non-toxic to humans and pets. However, it is always best to keep plants out of reach of curious children and animals to prevent any accidental ingestion or damage to the plant.

Common Problems

Some common problems that you may experience when caring for Calathea Lancifolia may include but are not limited to:

  • Brown leaf tips: Caused by low humidity or over-fertilization.
  • Yellowing leaves: Indicative of overwatering or too much sunlight.
  • Curling leaves: A sign of underwatering or low humidity.

To resolve these issues, adjust your care routine according to the plant’s needs, such as increasing humidity, adjusting watering frequency, or moving the plant to a more suitable location.


Calathea Lancifolia is a stunning indoor plant that rewards attentive care with its striking foliage. With a good understanding of its specific care requirements, you can enjoy a thriving and vibrant Rattlesnake Plant for years to come.

If you’re interested in exploring other beautiful calathea varieties, consider Calathea orbifolia, Calathea zebrina, or Calathea white fusion. Each of these plants offers unique and attractive foliage patterns, making them excellent additions to your indoor plant collection.