Calathea lancifolia (rattlesnake plant) is a species of plant in the Marantaceae family and is a native to Brazil. This particular calathea is one of several dozen different cultivars of calatheas or prayer plants as they are sometimes commonly known. This type of plant comes in a wide variety of colors and leaf patterns and generally can be maintained at a fairly small size making them a favorite as houseplants.
Calatheas are native to the tropical Americas and like temperate, warm and humid climates and generally dislike cold weather. They also do best in indirect light and add interest to shady areas in the landscape.
This particular cultivar, calathea lancifolia is commonly called the rattlesnake plant. With is upright leaves and colorful leaf pattern, it is one of the most striking calatheas. The leaves are slender with wavy edges, darker green spots set against a lighter green background on the top side of the leaf and a striking reddish-purple shade on the underside of the leaf. This calathea is a favorite because of its unusual leaf color and pattern.
There are many calathea cultivars to choose from. Pick one or several and try them in your home or landscape to add some tropical flair and color.
This column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden, a Sanibel garden center located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Road.