Rattlesnake Plant

Calathea insignis

Family: Marantaceae
Genus: Calathea (ka-LAY-thee-uh) (Info)
Species: insignis (in-SIG-nis) (Info)
Synonym:Calathea lancifolia




Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Gold (Yellow-Orange)

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer







Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Monterey Park, California

Sacramento, California

Big Pine Key, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Riverview, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Wellborn, Florida

Kihei, Hawaii

Millersville, Maryland

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 22, 2012, sallyg from Anne Arundel,, MD (Zone 7b) wrote:

I've had this for a year now, since seeing those unusually patterned leaves in a greenhouse and on clearance (tight in a small pot.) It has grown very well, outside for summer in shade, and inside the house for winter, near an east and south window. The leaves have gotten longer and bigger as its grown to fill its new pot. It now needs to be split or up potted again as it is drying out quickly and a few older leaves yellowing. Trouble free, got no bugs and always looks good.


On Jan 13, 2010, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I've found that Calathea insignis, when nestled under taller plants in a warm microclimate protected spot, can survive sustained freezes of around 20 F for several nights. I've also had other Calathea species survive freezing temperatures. Even if they die back to the ground, they will often return from the root crown. I think C. insignis need not be limited to growing as a houseplant, but can be used as a landscape plant in areas even as cold in winter as Zone 8b, so long as the Calathea is given some protection from taller, nearby plants and is grown under the shaded canopy of a large Live Oak or other tree that keeps its leaves in winter.

The photo I posted shows my C. insignis growing outdoors and still looking green and fresh after about 10 nights of 20s F freezes in... read more


On Nov 7, 2008, gothqueen from Gainesville, FL wrote:

I think this is the neatest calathea there is. Bushy, long highly patterened leaves put on quite a show. I have this plant in extremely high light, basically almost 'full sun' (it grows beside a stand of Siam Ruby bananas) and it seems to enjoy this light. It does require a lot of water. Rewarding to grow.


On Apr 24, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This plant is great. It has upright, very long (over 50 cm long), sword-shaped, shiny leaves with wavey edges. The upper page light green, with dark green leaf-shaped spots of various sized coming from the main vein. The edge is also dark green. The lower page is marroon/purple, and creates a spectacular effect, as the new leaves grow upwards, revealing both sides in the middle of the foliage. The flowers are unknown to me, and I believe it hardly will bloom in artificial conditions.

This plant needs an organic-based soil - and probably constantly needs a nitrogen based fertilizer. It likes high moisture and some air humidity. Wont tolerate air currents. It likes high to moderate temperatures and light to full shade, so it may be cultivated as a house plant.