Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Rattlesnake Plant
Calathea insignis

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

Synonym:Calathea lancifolia

One vendor has this plant for sale.

25 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

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:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Flowers are good for cutting

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

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to view:

By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #1 of Calathea insignis by Monocromatico

By Kenneth0871
Thumbnail #2 of Calathea insignis by Kenneth0871

By gothqueen
Thumbnail #3 of Calathea insignis by gothqueen

By JaxFlaGardener
Thumbnail #4 of Calathea insignis by JaxFlaGardener

By DaylilySLP
Thumbnail #5 of Calathea insignis by DaylilySLP

By DaylilySLP
Thumbnail #6 of Calathea insignis by DaylilySLP

By growin
Thumbnail #7 of Calathea insignis by growin


4 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive sallyg 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.

Positive JaxFlaGardener 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 the 2010 winter season in NE Florida.


Positive gothqueen 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.

Positive Monocromatico 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.


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

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