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Rattlesnake Plant Goeppertia insignis

Previously known as:

  • Calathea lancifolia
  • Maranta insignis
Phonetic Spelling
GO-per-sha in-SIG-nis
Description

The Rattlesnake Plant is a herbaceous perennial evergreen, native to Brazilian rainforests, with striking foliage and showy yellow flowers. Because it is a tropical plant and not frost hardy, it is typically grown as an indoor houseplant in most North American sites. The leaves, in particular, provide winter interest with wavy margins, purple undersides, and an alternating pattern of small and large green ellipses. The plant form is fountain-like with a spreading habit. 

Plants typically grow to 1 1/2 feet tall indoors, but can rise to 2 1/2 feet tall outdoors. The markings on each leaf resemble the markings found on some rattlesnakes, hence the common name for this plant. On plants grown outdoors, yellow flowers bloom from late spring to early summer in 2 to 4 inch long conical spikes. The genus name comes from the Latin word calathus meaning basket in reference to the inflorescence looking like a basket of flowers.

The Rattlesnake plant can be difficult to care for properly because of its humidity requirements; but when grown indoors it is typically used for accent, as a specimen in indoor settings, or in large terrariums or greenhouses because of its attractive leaves. Flowers rarely appear on indoor plants. For best results growing indoors, provide a uniformly moist environment in a well-drained, peaty potting mixture at room temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees F. in limited sun to bright shade locations. Rattlesnake Plant does not tolerate full sun, drafts, or sudden temperature changes. It will tolerate early morning sun or diffused sun. To provide the required high humidity consider standing a potted plant in a bed of wet pebbles, misting the foliage regularly or growing the plant in a humidified room. During the growing season (spring and summer), water regularly to keep soils moist (but not wet) and apply a balanced fertilizer monthly. Reduce watering and fertilization in winter when plant growth typically slows down. Note that a sign of low humidity is leaves that roll or brown up.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No serious disease/pest problems. Watch for aphids, scale, mealybugs and spider mites.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#showy leaves#interiorscape#herbaceous#burgundy#herbaceous perennials#fantz#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#showy leaves#interiorscape#herbaceous#burgundy#herbaceous perennials#fantz#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Goeppertia
    Species:
    insignis
    Family:
    Marantaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Brazil
    Distribution:
    Introduced as an outdoor plant to Hawaii
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 9 in. - 1 ft. 8 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 9 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Houseplant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    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 Type:
    Capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Flowers rarely appear on indoor plants. When grown outdoors, yellow flowers bloom from late spring to early summer in 2 to 4 inch long conical spikes.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Basal or crowded alternate, simple, oblong-linear to narrowly lanceolate, acute, cuneate, undulate, medium to light green above with alternating large and small, dark green, elliptic blotches along lateral veins, underside purple-maroon; petioles sheathing at base. Up to 18 inches long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Short, erect aerial or rhizomatous.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen