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Rattle Shaker Calathea crotalifera

Previously known as:

  • Calathea insignis
Phonetic Spelling
ka-LAY-thee-uh kroh-tuh-LIF-er-uh
Description

The Rattle Snake Plant is a herbaceous perennial tropical plant that grows from an underground rhizome and produces very large green leaves and striking yellow inflorescences that resemble a baby's rattle. The unusual inflorescences are upright, up to 10 inches long, and consist of stacked floral bracts with small flowers peeking out at the edges. The genus name comes from the Latin calathus meaning basket in reference to the inflorescence looking like a basket of flowers. The plant is native to South American rain forests, but can be found grown outdoors in Hawaii. In non-tropical climates, it is grown indoors in containers. While indoor plants retain the plant's patterned foliage, flowers rarely appear.

The plants grow from underground rhizome in organically rich soil and, in Hawaii, have escaped from cultivation and grow wild in moderately wet areas. In less tropical climates, the plant is typically grown as an attractive houseplant, but it can be a challenge to grow the Rattle Snake plant indoors. The plant should be kept uniformly moist, well-drained, in a peaty potting mix at room temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees F. The container should be sited in limited sun to bright shade locations. It will tolerate some early morning sun or diffused sun. Also, avoid drafts or sudden temperature changes. Plants need high humidity, so consider standing a potted plant on a bed of wet pebbles, misting the foliage regularly or growing the plant in a humidified room. During the growing season (April-August), water regularly to keep soil moist (but not wet) and apply a balanced fertilizer each month. Reduce watering and fertilization in winter when plant growth typically slows down.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No known serious insect or disease problems. However, watch for aphids, scale, mealybugs and spider mites. Leaf spots may appear and plants will react to low humidity with leaves that roll or brown up. Direct sun can cause leaf scorch.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#tropical perennials#attractive leaves#herb#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#perrenial#non-toxic for cats#tropical feel
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#tropical perennials#attractive leaves#herb#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#perrenial#non-toxic for cats#tropical feel
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Calathea
    Species:
    crotalifera
    Family:
    Marantaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central Mexico to Southern Tropical America
    Distribution:
    Introduced into Hawaii and Puerto Rico
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Colorful
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    11b, 11a, 12a, 12b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Blue
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The flowers are followed by 1/2 inch long, egg-shaped seed capsules containing dark blue seeds surrounded with white flesh.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Upright yellow inflorecence, 2 to 4 inch spikes, that looks like a baby rattle. The relatively inconspicuous flowers are small, tubular and have three unequal lobes.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are large, dark green above with paler green along the midrib, grayish green with often purplish margins below, ovate in shape, and pinnately-veined with parallel lateral veins. The markings on each leaf purportedly resemble the markings found on some rattlesnakes, hence the common name for this plant.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Houseplants
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators