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The rattle pot or Rhinanthus is a broomrape plant and has some special features. These include, for example, the connection with a host plant. You will find all important information about care in the following profile.

In a nutshell

  • the rattlepot is a semi-parasite
  • the genus includes about 50 species
  • Reproduction takes place via seeds
  • Photosynthesis is possible
  • can pose a threat to other plants


The Rhinanthus is a so-called semi-parasite. This means that the rattlepot attaches itself to the roots of other plants and robs them of nutrients. Nevertheless, the leaves of the rattler contain chlorophyll and can therefore carry out photosynthesis. This enables the plants to provide themselves with energy.


The location only has to meet a single requirement. The pH value must not be below 5.0. Otherwise, the plant grows up:

  • lime
  • Clay
  • sand
  • peat

A mixture of these is also possible. Commercial potting soil is sufficient.


Rattle pots occur naturally in various areas. For example:

  • wet meadows
  • semi-arid grass
  • coastal dunes
  • fen meadows

They sit on meadow herbs and grass plants and at least partially feed on them. Which plants are preferred depends on the exact species. However, they are more common in sunny, light areas.


Rattle pots have a decorative flower that clearly contrasts in color with the green leaves. Since they are visually striking, they can also be cultivated in tubs or in the garden. When it comes to maintenance, there is very little to keep in mind.

In any case, this is only really necessary if the following cases apply:

  • persistent drought
  • no host plant present
  • culture in the pot

In general, the less substrate there is, the more often it has to be watered and, if necessary, fertilized. Suitable nutrients include mature compost and plant manure.


The name of the rattles comes from the seeds in the fruit bodies. These "rattle" when the seed coats move. Once the bodies open, the seeds are released and self-seed.


The plants themselves are not hardy and can therefore only be cultivated once a year. However, if you want to grow the plant in your garden or on the balcony, you can keep the seeds over the winter and sow them in March. During storage, however, you must pay attention to the following factors:

  • store in the dark
  • keep cool
  • keep dry

Also note that the seeds need stratification. This means that they have to be exposed to cold and frost. In addition, it is a question of light germs. The seed should therefore only be lightly covered with soil.

Tip: Alternatively, you can of course buy seeds. These are available both in specialist shops and online.


Rattle pots are found in different types. These include, for example:

  • Granules Rattlepot
  • Large rhinanthus
  • Carinthian rattle pot
  • Small rhinanthus
  • shaggy rattle pot

They differ mainly in the distribution and in the adaptation to the respective habitat. The height reaches up to 70 centimeters.

Caution: toxic

Rattlepots are slightly poisonous in all parts. This applies to both humans and animals. The plant should therefore not be cultivated, especially in gardens with small children and pets.

Note: If the rattlepot is dried, the amount of poison is reduced. When removing, you should still wear gloves to avoid coming into contact with the plant matter.

frequently asked Questions

Can the rattlepot be used as fodder?

That is not advisable. Because on the one hand it is poisonous and on the other hand it has only a very low nutrient content. Even dried, it is not completely harmless and should therefore not be fed to horses, rabbits or guinea pigs. Also check the enclosure and free range for the growth.

When does the rattle pot germinate?

If the Rhinanthus has seeded itself, the seeds end up on the ground in autumn. If they get enough light here, they will germinate as early as February or March after stratification in winter. The flowering period also begins early and lasts from May to August.

How can Rhinanthus be combated?

Due to the potential danger from the toxins it contains and its parasitic properties, it makes sense to stop wild rattlesnakes from spreading. For this purpose, the lawn area should be mowed and mulched early and regularly. As a result, the plant has no opportunity to sow itself. Sufficient and nitrogenous fertilization is also an advantage, since the grass plants are then so well supplied that other plants cannot spread.

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