Rattlesnake plant

Light: bright, indirect

Height: 8 to 18 inches

Spread: 6 to 18 inches

USDA Hardiness Zones: 11 to 12 

Origin: Brazil

An easy plant for the central Ohio home is the rattlesnake plant (Calathea lancifolia).

Like other calatheas, this plant is admired for its striking leaf pattern. On rattlesnake plants, the topside of the leaf is light green with dark-green spots and a dark-green border; the other side of the leaf is a deep, reddish-purple. 

The rattlesnake plant has lance-shaped leaves with a wavy edge, resembling the rattle of a rattlesnake. This tropical grows upright, allowing it to show off both sides of its beautiful leaves.

Calatheas are sometimes called prayer plants because their leaves fold up at night like praying hands.

Rattlesnake plants thrive in bright, indirect light with consistently moist soil. The soil should be watered when the top inch is dry to the touch, but should never be left to dry out completely.

See the rattlesnake plants throughout the interior spaces within Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

— Barbara Arnold

Franklin Park Conservatory

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