Here’s How to Care and Grow: Calathea Warscewiczii

"Goeppertia Warscewiczii: A Complete Guide to Caring for and Enjoying the Exquisite Beauty of this Rare Houseplant"
Calathea Warscewiczii
Calathea Warscewiczii

Meet the Calathea Warscewiczii, affectionately known as the Rattlesnake Plant, a delightful addition to your indoor garden. Its fascinating foliage and easygoing care make it a beloved choice among plant enthusiasts. In this article, we’re taking a deep dive into the world of Calathea Warscewiczii, from its origins to the best ways to nurture this tropical beauty.


What Is Calathea Warscewiczii?

Calathea Warscewiczii is a tropical gem belonging to the Marantaceae family. It’s native to the lush rainforests of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. What makes it truly captivating are its dark green leaves adorned with intricate patterns that resemble the skin of a rattlesnake.

Why Choose Calathea Warscewiczii?

There are plenty of reasons to fall in love with the Rattlesnake Plant. It brings a touch of the rainforest right into your living space. Its vibrant appearance and manageable care requirements make it a popular choice for both beginners and experienced plant parents.

Quick Overview

Common NameJungle Velvet Calathea
Botanical NameGoeppertia Warscewiczii (Formerly Calathea Warscewiczii)
Sun ExposurePartial
Soil TypeWell-Drained
Soil pHNeutral
Mature SizeUp to 3-4 Ft. Tall, 3-4 Ft. Wide
Plant TypeHerbaceous, Perennial
Native AreaCentral America

A Closer Look at Your Rattlesnake Plant

Understanding the Unique Foliage

The star attraction of the Calathea Warscewiczii is its leaves. They’re oval-shaped and feature-rich green tones with delicate, snake-like patterns in lighter green. These patterns make it a real showstopper.

Low-Light Tolerance

One of the perks of having a Rattlesnake Plant is its adaptability to low-light settings. While it thrives in indirect, bright light, it’s perfectly content in medium to low-light spots. This flexibility means you can place it almost anywhere in your home.

Calathea Warscewiczii
Calathea Warscewiczii

Caring: for Your Calathea warscewiczii

Taking care of your Calathea Warscewiczii, the captivating Rattlesnake Plant, is essential to ensure its vibrant health and stunning appearance. This section provides valuable insights on how to maintain your plant, allowing it to thrive in your indoor garden.

Light Matters

Calathea Warscewiczii thrives in bright, indirect sunlight. While it’s adaptable to low-light conditions, it’s best to find a balance between providing sufficient light and protecting it from harsh, direct sun rays. Position your Rattlesnake Plant near a window with a sheer curtain to create the ideal lighting conditions.

Temperature and Humidity

Creating the right environmental conditions is crucial for your plant’s well-being. Calathea Warscewiczii enjoys temperatures between 65-80°F (18-27°C). It’s essential to maintain high humidity levels to mimic its natural rainforest habitat. You can achieve this by misting the leaves regularly or placing a humidity tray near your plant.

Watering Wisdom

Proper watering is key to a happy Rattlesnake Plant. Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid waterlogging. It’s advisable to water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Ensure your pot has drainage holes to prevent excess water from accumulating at the bottom. Be mindful of your home’s humidity levels, as they can influence your watering schedule.

Feeding Routine

During the growing season, which typically spans spring and summer, feed your Calathea Warscewiczii with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks. This nourishment supports healthy growth and vibrant foliage. However, in the plant’s dormant phase (fall and winter), reduce feeding to accommodate its lower activity.

Pruning Perfection

Pruning is a maintenance task that keeps your Rattlesnake Plant looking its best. Trim any brown or yellowing leaves as soon as you notice them. Pruning not only enhances the plant’s appearance but also encourages new growth. Regular maintenance ensures a lush and vibrant Calathea Warscewiczii that graces your living space.

Calathea Warscewiczii
Calathea Warscewiczii

Propagating: Expanding Your Rattlesnake Plant Family

Propagating your Calathea Warscewiczii is a wonderful way to share the beauty of this captivating plant with friends or to grow a new generation of Rattlesnake Plants. It’s a relatively straightforward process that involves division. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to propagate your Calathea Warscewiczii:

  • Prepare for Propagation: To begin, prepare a clean workspace and gather your tools. You’ll need a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears, a new pot with well-draining soil, and, of course, your mature Calathea Warscewiczii.
  • Choose the Right Time: Spring is the best time to propagate your plant when it’s actively growing. This ensures that the new divisions have the best chance of thriving.
  • Remove the Plant: Gently remove your Calathea Warscewiczii from its current pot. You may need to loosen the soil around the roots to make this process easier.
  • Divide the Plant: Once you have your plant out of its pot, examine the root system. You’re looking for natural divisions or offshoots, which are baby plants with their own roots and stems. Gently separate these divisions from the parent plant.
  • Trim Excess Roots: Inspect the roots of each division. Trim any excess or damaged roots using your pruning shears, ensuring that each division has a healthy root system and a robust stem.
  • Repot the Divisions: Plant each division in a new pot filled with well-draining potting soil. Make a small hole in the soil, place the division in it, and gently pat the soil around it. Water the newly potted divisions thoroughly.
  • Provide Proper Care: After repotting, continue caring for the new divisions as you would for the mature plant, following the care guidelines mentioned earlier in this article.
  • Monitor and Nurture: Keep a close eye on your propagated Rattlesnake Plants as they settle into their new pots. With proper care and patience, they will establish themselves and begin to grow independently.

By propagating your Calathea Warscewiczii, you not only create more of these stunning plants but also ensure that your original plant remains healthy and vigorous. Sharing the joy of this tropical beauty with fellow plant enthusiasts is an added bonus.

Calathea Warscewiczii
Calathea Warscewiczii

Potting & Repotting: Giving Your Rattlesnake Plant a Happy Home

Potting and repotting are essential aspects of caring for your Calathea Warscewiczii, ensuring it continues to thrive and flourish in your home. Understanding the right way to pot and when to repot your Rattlesnake Plant is vital for its health. Let’s delve into the details of this important aspect of plant care:

Choosing the Right Home for Your Plant

When you first acquire your Calathea Warscewiczii, it’s important to select the right pot.

  • Pot Size: Opt for a container that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the current pot. A too-large pot can lead to overwatering and potential root issues.
  • Drainage: Ensure that the pot has proper drainage holes. Good drainage is crucial to prevent waterlogging, which can damage the plant’s roots.
  • Soil: Use well-draining, high-quality potting mix. A mix suitable for tropical plants or a blend of peat moss, perlite, and pine bark works well for the Rattlesnake Plant.

Repotting Your Calathea warscewiczii

Over time, your Rattlesnake Plant may outgrow its current pot, become root-bound, or show signs of declining health. Here are some guidelines for successful repotting:

Timing: Calathea Warscewiczii typically needs repotting every 2-3 years. This timing allows for root growth without overcrowding the pot.

Signs it’s Time to Repot: Look for roots emerging from the drainage holes, slow growth, or a declining overall health as indicators that it’s time to repot.

The Repotting Process:

  • Prepare the New Pot: Select a pot of the appropriate size with drainage holes. Fill the bottom with fresh potting mix.
  • Remove the Plant: Gently remove the Rattlesnake Plant from its current pot. Be careful not to damage the roots.
  • Inspect the Roots: Examine the roots and trim any brown or mushy ones. Healthy, white roots are a good sign.
  • Repot: Place the plant in the new pot, ensuring it sits at the same depth as in the previous container. Fill the space around the plant with fresh potting mix, patting it down gently.
  • Watering: After repotting, give the plant a thorough watering. This helps settle the soil and provides moisture to the roots.
  • Care After Repotting: Place the plant in its original location, ensuring it receives the right amount of light and humidity.

Remember that repotting can be a little stressful for your plant, so it’s essential to maintain its regular care routine after repotting, including monitoring water and light conditions.

By understanding when and how to pot and repot your Calathea Warscewiczii, you can ensure it continues to thrive and bring vibrancy to your indoor space for years to come.

Calathea Warscewiczii
Calathea Warscewiczii

Pests & Diseases: Guarding Your Plant Health

When it comes to caring for your Calathea Warscewiczii, understanding potential pests and diseases is essential to ensure the health and vitality of your Rattlesnake Plant. Here’s a comprehensive look at what you need to know:


  • Spider Mites: These tiny arachnids are a common nuisance for indoor plants, including Calathea Warscewiczii. They feed on plant sap, leading to stippled, discolored leaves and fine webbing on the foliage. To combat spider mites, regularly inspect your plant for signs of infestation. Isolate the affected plant and treat it with a mixture of water and neem oil or insecticidal soap. Increasing humidity around your plant can also help deter spider mites.
  • Mealybugs: These soft, cottony insects can infest your Rattlesnake Plant, causing leaves to yellow and curl. A strong spray of water can dislodge mealybugs from your plant. You can also use a mixture of water and dish soap to wipe them away. For severe infestations, consider applying neem oil or insecticidal soap.
  • Scale Insects: Scale insects appear as small, round bumps on your plant’s stems and leaves. They feed on plant fluids and excrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which can attract ants and promote the growth of sooty mold. To remove scale insects, gently scrape them off with a soft brush or cloth soaked in soapy water.


  • Root Rot: Overwatering or poorly draining soil can lead to root rot, a fungal disease that affects the plant’s roots. Symptoms include wilting, yellowing leaves, and a foul odor from the soil. To prevent root rot, ensure that your Calathea Warscewiczii is potted in well-draining soil, and allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering. If your plant shows signs of root rot, it may be necessary to trim affected roots and repot it in fresh soil.
  • Leaf Spot: Leaf spot is a common fungal disease characterized by brown or black spots on the plant’s leaves. It can be caused by excessive moisture on the leaves. To prevent leaf spot, water your Rattlesnake Plant at the soil level, avoiding getting the leaves wet. Prune and dispose of affected leaves to prevent the disease from spreading.
  • Bacterial Leaf Blight: This bacterial disease presents as brown or black streaks on the leaves and can lead to wilting and leaf death. Isolate the affected plant to prevent the disease from spreading and prune away infected leaves. Ensure good air circulation around your Calathea Warscewiczii to discourage bacterial leaf blight.

Regularly inspecting your Rattlesnake Plant for signs of pests and diseases is a vital part of its care routine. Swift action and appropriate treatments can help keep your Calathea Warscewiczii healthy and thriving.

Calathea Warscewiczii
Calathea Warscewiczii

Common Problems: Troubleshooting with a Smile

While Calathea Warscewiczii, the Rattlesnake Plant, is a beautiful and relatively low-maintenance houseplant, it can face some common issues that every plant parent should be aware of. Here’s a breakdown of the typical problems you might encounter and how to address them:

Curling Leaves

  • Issue: If you notice your Rattlesnake Plant’s leaves curling, it’s often a sign of either low humidity or underwatering.
  • Solution: Increase the humidity around your plant by misting its leaves regularly or placing a humidity tray nearby. Additionally, adjust your watering schedule to ensure the soil remains consistently moist but not soggy.

Browning Leaf Edges

  • Issue: Browning edges on the leaves can be attributed to low humidity, which can be quite common, especially in indoor environments with central heating or air conditioning.
  • Solution: Improve humidity levels by misting your plant or using a humidity tray. This will help prevent further browning and maintain the plant’s health.

Yellowing Leaves

  • Issue: Yellowing leaves usually indicate overwatering. Calathea Warscewiczii prefers slightly moist, well-draining soil, so too much water can lead to root rot and yellowing leaves.
  • Solution: Allow the top inch of the soil to dry out between waterings. Ensure that your pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can be detrimental to your plant’s health. Trim away any yellow leaves to encourage new growth.

Leaf Spots

  • Issue: Small, dark spots on the leaves can be a sign of fungal or bacterial issues. This can be caused by excessive moisture or poor air circulation.
  • Solution: Improve air circulation around your plant by placing it in a location with gentle airflow. Be cautious not to overwater, as excess moisture can encourage the growth of these spots. You may also consider using a fungicide as directed to combat the issue.

Leggy Growth

  • Issue: If your Rattlesnake Plant starts to exhibit leggy growth with long, sparse stems and fewer leaves, it might not be getting enough light.
  • Solution: Move your plant to a location with slightly brighter, indirect light. Prune the leggy growth to encourage a more compact, bushy appearance.

By keeping an eye out for these common issues and taking the appropriate measures to address them, you can ensure that your Calathea Warscewiczii remains healthy and vibrant, adding a touch of the tropics to your indoor space. Remember that patience and consistent care are key to a thriving Rattlesnake Plant.

Calathea Warscewiczii
Calathea Warscewiczii

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Is Calathea Warscewiczii safe for pets?

Yes, Calathea Warscewiczii is pet-friendly. It’s non-toxic to cats and dogs, so you can have this gorgeous plant without worrying about your furry friends. While it’s safe, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on your pets to ensure they don’t make a habit of nibbling on the leaves, as too much of any plant material can lead to digestive upset in pets. However, the good news is that they’re not likely to find the Rattlesnake Plant particularly appetizing due to its unique texture and taste.

How often should I water my Rattlesnake Plant?

The frequency of watering your Calathea Warscewiczii depends on factors like your home’s humidity levels and the specific environment in which the plant is placed. Generally, you should aim to water when the top inch of the soil feels dry. In most cases, this equates to watering every 1-2 weeks. However, always monitor the soil moisture and adjust as needed. Remember that overwatering can be more detrimental than underwatering, as the plant prefers slightly moist, not soggy, soil.

Can I place my Rattlesnake Plant in direct sunlight?

No, it’s best to avoid direct sunlight for your Calathea Warscewiczii. This plant is native to rainforest floors, which means it thrives in indirect, dappled sunlight. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and cause them to wither. Instead, place your Rattlesnake Plant in a location with bright, indirect light. A spot near a north or east-facing window is ideal, where it can benefit from gentle, filtered sunlight.

What if my Rattlesnake Plant’s leaves start curling or browning?

Curling or browning leaves can indicate your Calathea Warscewiczii isn’t getting the right level of humidity or water. These plants love high humidity, so consider misting the leaves or using a humidity tray to increase moisture levels around your plant. Additionally, make sure you’re not underwatering. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Adjusting these factors can help your plant’s leaves return to their healthy, vibrant state.

Are there common pests that bother Calathea Warscewiczii?

Yes, there are a couple of common pests that can occasionally bother your Rattlesnake Plant. Look out for spider mites and mealybugs. If you notice tiny webs or cottony clusters on your plant, these could be the culprits. To combat these pests, treat your plant with neem oil or insecticidal soap. Regularly inspect your plant to catch any infestations early, as prompt action is key to maintaining the health of your Calathea Warscewiczii.