Calathea lancifolia care guide

In this guide you'll learn: How to care for your Calathea lancifolia plant and
answers to FAQs to keep your plant happy

The Calathea Lancifolia is one of the most gorgeously striking and bushy of all the Calatheas. It features long thin leaves with alternating-sized dark green stripes on a bright green background and a bold purple under-leaf.

This plant hails from south America specifically Brazil where it can be found in rainforest environments. This makes it perfect for an indoor setting replicating its partially shaded natural jungle floor environment.

You can sometimes find Calathea Lancifolia under different names including both Calathea Insignis and Goeppertia Lancifolia. It also has a common name, the Rattlesnake Plant, this is in reference to the pants pattern closely resembling the famously noisy long reptile.

The lancifolia is not a difficult to care for member of the Calathea family but will prefer those areas with extra humidity such as a bathroom or kitchen. This doesn’t rule out other areas of the home and office and with simple additional care steps, this plant can thrive in any room.

If you think the Rattlesnake Plant is for you then you can check out our buyer’s guide below or for detailed care instructions take a look at our comprehensive Calathea lancifolia care guide.

Calathea lancifolia In The House & Office

The Calathea Lancifolia likes the warm jungle and thus should be kept in a warm room. It also likes bright but indirect light, being within a couple of feet of most windows will be perfect however be sure to place five feet away from south-facing windows. Too much sun may cause the plant’s leaves to burn.

As its origin is the rainforest the lancifolia does like prefer more humid environments, this makes areas such as a kitchen or bathroom more suited. Some areas may be too dry for the lancifolia and you may need to increase the humidity for the plant although there are many ways to do so. including very easy and simple methods.

Calathea lancifolia Size

Plant size will depend on many factors, including meeting the care conditions as well as pot size and time. It may take a number of years for the plant to reach its maximum size.

Height: 50-100cm / 50-39in / 1.6-3.2ft

Spread: 10-50cm / 4-20in / 0.3-1.6ft

Calathea lancifolia Care

Light: The Calathea Lancifolia lives within rainforest environments and is used to being shaded by other trees and taller plants. This means that it prefers bright but indirect sunlight. When translating this into a room you should place the plant within 1.5m (5ft) of a north, east or west-facing window. South-facing windows get more light and as such, they should be placed over that distance. 

The amount of sunlight will change depending on where you are in the world as well as what season it is. To get a clearer idea of how much light you are getting you can get yourself a light meter or if your phone has a sensor then try an app.

Soil: Well-draining regular potting solid should be more than fine for a Calathea lancifolia. The plant should not sit in water as this causes root rot. So, if you need additional draining then you can mix your soil mix with perlite, or alternatively add gravel to the bottom of the bot.

Watering: The lancifolia should be watered around once per week but you should always first check if the plant actually needs it. The top inch (2.4cm) of soil should be dry before watering, which you can check by using your finger. Alternatively, to make things easier and more accurate you can get a moisture meter, which will tell you when the soil is wet or dry.

Humidity: Humidity is very important for Calathea as they originate from the rainforest. It is normally best suited to an environment such as a bathroom or kitchen. Within other areas of the home or office, you may need to create some humidity. The easiest way to do this is by regularly misting the plant with a spray bottle of water. Other methods include grouping plants together, standing the pot on a tray of wet pebbles or for extreme measures buying a humidifier.

Feeding: It’s recommended that you don’t feed a Calathea lancifolia in autumn or winter, Feeding should start lightly in spring and then increase during the summer months. Stop feeding the plant when the plant stops producing new foliage. It is best to try and use organic fertilizer, and always be sure to use the manufacturer’s recommendations for amounts.

Temperature: A warm environment is good for the Calathea lancifolia and most homes and offices should meet the recommended standard room temperature of a range of around 18-24°C/64-75°F. Be sure that the temperature doesn’t go below 15°C / 59°F as this will cause problems for the plant.

Ailments: Most Calatheas including the lancifolia are prone to some pests with the most common being spider mites. Spider mites are very small and are very difficult to see, in fact, it’s more likely you’ll see the small thing webbing or the damage they leave behind. You can get specialist sprays to rid the bugs but a drop of dish soap and water in a spray bottle can work just as well. Spray the plant until dripping every three days, be sure to keep going for an additional day even if it looks like they are gone.

If you spot the edges of the leaves browning then this is likely a sign of the environment being too dry and you’ll need to increase humidity. If you start to notice that the leaf patterns aren’t as vivid as they once were then this is probably down to too much light.

Calathea lancifolia leaves can collect dust, this can hinder their ability to photosynthesize. It’s recommended to carefully clean the dust of leaves every so often with a damp cloth.

Further care: If you have your plant at the ready and you’re looking for more in-depth care information then be sure to check out our Full Calathea lancifolia care guide.

Where To Buy Calathea lancifolia Online

  • Ebay (UK) / (USA)
  • Etsy
  • Bloombox Club (UK) / (USA)
  • Local Facebook Groups
  • Instagram
  • Other online sellers

Buying a Calathea online is pretty easy as it’s common and can be found on most sites. You should however always make sure you buy from a reliable seller, making sure that they have positive reviews.

When you’re looking to purchase on online marketplaces such as eBay or Etsy always be sure to read the description. This helps to avoid any surprises especially when pictures may not be of the specific plant you are purchasing. You can always message a seller to find out the exact details if you are unsure. 

When buying from social media sites like Facebook or Instagram always proceed with caution, especially if you don’t plan to collect the plant in person. Many sellers are just like you, plant lovers just looking for their plant to go to a good home. There are however some bad eggs that may send a plant in poor condition or not at all. Always check to see what others in the group or comments are saying.

After buying and receiving your plant online always be sure to check your plant for pests and damage. It’s best to isolate your plant for at least two weeks just in case of pests and diseases. Do remember plants are living things so may look a little sad or have some small cosmetic issues on arrival, but you should always complain to a seller if the plant was poorly packaged.


How big does the Calathea lancifolia get?

The Calalathea lancifolia can get as big as one meter in height (3.3ft) with a spread of half a meter (1.6ft). This is the maximum size that it can reach and will depend on many factors including age, where it may take up to 10 years to get this big.

How often should I water the Calathea lancifolia?

You should water your Lancifolia weekly, but you should always check if it needs it first. Test the top inch of soil with your finger to see if it’s dry, if so water. If you are having a tough time telling you can get a moisture meter that will tell you when the soil is still wet and to avoid watering again.

Is the Calathea lancifolia a prayer plant?

Calathea plants have many nicknames and the prayer plant gets applied to a lot of them. This is because most Calthea’s leaves fold upward at night mimicking hands placed together during prayer. The Calathea Lancifolia more often gets called the rattlesnake plant due to its markings.

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About the Author

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A passionate plant lover and houseplant connoisseur with a rich family background in horticulture. With experience in plant nurseries and garden centers, Jonathan has cultivated a diverse collection of leafy friends and explored native flora on adventures such as trips to South America. His mission is to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for plants, creating a greener and happier world for all.

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