The Exotic Beauty of Rattlesnake Plant: Planting, Growing, and Caring Tips

Rattlesnake plant, scientifically known as Goeppertia insignis, is a mesmerizing tropical beauty that can bring a touch of the jungle into your home. Native to the rainforests of Brazil, this stunning plant showcases leaves with patterns resembling a rattlesnake’s skin. With its bold foliage and deep purple undersides, it’s a must-have for all pattern lovers.

Although rattlesnake plants require specific care, they are worth the extra effort. By providing them with the proper heat, light, and moisture, you can enjoy bright green, wavy leaves that create a tropical feel in your home. The best part? These plants are also pet-friendly!

If you’re ready to embrace the beauty of rattlesnake plants and learn how to plant, grow, and care for them, let’s dive into the fascinating world of this exotic species.

Rattlesnake Plant Care

Rattlesnake plants thrive in the warm and moist areas of the Brazilian rainforest. Their striking lance-shaped leaves and unique patterns have made them a popular choice among plant enthusiasts. To ensure their well-being, it’s crucial to provide the right conditions.


Rattlesnake plants prefer bright, indirect light. Placing them near a window with filtered sunlight is ideal, as direct sunlight can scorch their leaves. These plants have adapted to thrive in the shaded areas of tropical rainforests, where larger plants and trees protect them from intense rays.


A well-draining mix that retains moisture without becoming waterlogged is essential for rattlesnake plants. Combining peat moss, perlite, and potting soil creates an ideal environment. Adding organic matter like compost or leaf mold enhances soil fertility and mimics their native rainforest conditions.

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Consistently moist soil is vital for rattlesnake plants. Water them regularly, keeping the soil slightly dry for a day or two between waterings. To maintain the desired humidity level, mist the leaves occasionally or place the plant on a pebble tray filled with water. Avoid using tap water with contaminants like fluoride, as these plants are sensitive to it.

Temperature and Humidity

Rattlesnake plants thrive in average room temperatures ranging from 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C). Avoid exposing them to cold, dry air, poor ventilation, or drafts. Maintaining adequate humidity is crucial, as these tropical beauties flourish in high humidity environments. Use a humidifier or place a water-filled tray with pebbles near the plant to create the perfect environment.


Feed your rattlesnake plant with a balanced, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength to prevent leaf burn. Avoid fertilizing in the dormant period (fall and winter) when plant growth slows down.

Types of Rattlesnake Plant

Rattlesnake plants come in various cultivars, each with its own unique charm. The Calathea Lancifolia ‘Saint Paul’ showcases elongated leaves in a rich shade of green with delicate white brushstroke-like patterns. For a burst of color, the Calathea Lancifolia ‘Fun Star’ features vibrant green leaves adorned with dark purple markings. If you prefer a more subtle look, the Calathea Lancifolia ‘Silver Lance’ displays silvery-green leaves with contrasting dark-green stripes.

When choosing a rattlesnake plant, consider your personal style and home decor theme. Whether you opt for a bold and vibrant variety or an understated option, these plants will add natural beauty to your living space.

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Propagating Rattlesnake Plant

Propagating rattlesnake plants is a rewarding way to expand your collection or share their beauty with others. By following these simple steps, you can successfully propagate your rattlesnake plant:

  1. Choose a healthy plant with multiple shoots.
  2. Gently remove the plant from its pot and separate the shoots.
  3. Plant each division in a separate pot with well-draining soil.
  4. Water the newly potted divisions and place them in a warm, humid location.
  5. Continue caring for the new plants as you would for mature rattlesnake plants.

Potting and Repotting Rattlesnake Plant

Proper potting and repotting are crucial for the continued health and growth of your rattlesnake plant. Follow these guidelines:

  1. Choose a pot with drainage holes slightly larger than the current one.
  2. Add a layer of well-draining soil to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Gently loosen the root ball and place the plant in the new pot.
  4. Fill the remaining space with fresh potting soil, ensuring good root contact.
  5. Water the plant thoroughly and avoid overwatering.

It’s generally recommended to repot your rattlesnake plant every 1-2 years in the spring.

Common Pests, Plant Diseases, and Problems

While rattlesnake plants are generally resilient, they can face a few common pests and issues. Spider mites and mealybugs can infest leaves, affecting their health and appearance. Regular misting and wiping with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol can help combat these pests. Fungal leaf spot and yellowing leaves can be a result of overwatering or underwatering, so adjust your watering routine accordingly.

Regularly inspect your rattlesnake plant for signs of pests or diseases and take swift action to address them.

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Mastering the art of planting, growing, and caring for rattlesnake plants will create a tropical oasis in your home. Enjoy the lush beauty of these plants, maintain proper humidity, and relish in the untamed allure they bring to your indoor space.

Other Houseplant Articles from Ames Farm Center:

  • How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Calathea Plant Indoors
  • 26 Common House Plants That Are Perfect for Every Home