Zebra Plant Growing Facts

Zebra Plant with yellow flower

Zebra Plant (APHELANDRA squarrosa 'Dania') got its name from the white stripes on its green-colored leaves similar to the stripes of a zebra.  The  plant with its striking striped foliage and brilliant yellow flowers are a great antidote against the winter blahs.

It is also known as the 'saffron spike' because of its saffron-yellow spike.

A wonderful way to liven up your home! 

This exotic beauty has over-sized, dark green waxy leaves that are beautiful at all times.

The flowers come in the fall and lasts up to six weeks; however, Under optimal lighting conditions, the plant can be made to bloom year round.

This popular evergreen shrub originated in the moist woodlands of tropical North, Central and South America.  It makes a very attractive houseplant that rarely exceeds 12 inches (30 cm) tall.  For decorating purposes, this plant will look great in a white pot on a coffee table.

How to Care for a Zebra Plant

Light: Provide medium to high light for growth; plant likes filtered light behind a transparent curtain, or being placed a few feet away from a sunny window. The  plant will flourish best when given bright, indirect sunlight. Provide very high light for flowering (near sunny south or east window).

The zebra plant blooms more often with longer periods of light.  This plant is called a photo-accumulator, meaning it needs a certain number of days of prolonged exposure to sunlight to bloom, so lighting is very important with this houseplant.  If kept in the home under less than optimal conditions, the plant will become leggy and the leaves will drop.

Temperature: 70 to 75 during the day and 55 to 60 at nignt. Can tolerate 50'F (10'C) without damage.

Water: Keep the potting mixture moist at all times, but not saturated.   Water thoroughly when the top of the soil starts to feel dry, then drain and discard excess water.

Avoid getting water on its leaves and blot off any water that accidently appears on the foliage. This prevents disease and unattractive spots from appearing. Water less in the winter even after the plant has flowered.

Water the plant once a week should be sufficient; however, do not allow the plant to dry out. If the leaves start to drop, you are probably under watering.  Failure to provide enough water will result in severe
drooping and loss of lower leaves. 

Humidity: High (40% or more). This plant just loves the high humidity of a bathroom or kitchen.  To raise the humidity, placed over a tray of pebbles. A Room humidifier will produce the best results.

Fertilization: During the growing season in spring and summer feed your plant every week.

Grooming:  Clean foliage monthly to remove dust.  To keep the Plant from becoming too leggy, an occasional pinching back will help to keep it full.

Propagation: Use tip cuttings of 3 to 5 inches (7.5 to 12.5) cm) or   leaf-bud cuttings. You can also take some stem cuttings in the spring.

1.  Take cuttings of 4 to 6 inches and place them in a mixture of perlite and moist peat moss. Cover the pot with plastic to keep the moisture in, and place the pot in indirect sunlight.

2.  Use a rooting hormone for increased chances of success.
Provide bottom heat with a heating pad for best odds.  It’s advisable to propagate regularly, so as older specimens deteriorate, more new plants will easily be grown from cuttings for a more attractive specimen. 

Repotting:  Repot established plants into a slightly larger pot each spring. Since the plant prefers a rich soil that retains water, try using a peat moss based potting mix or an African violet mix when repotting.

1.  Remove the plant carefully from its pot by laying it on its side and lightly tapping the sides of the container. Gently slide the plant out of the pot.  If the roots have grown through the holes of the container, cut the container off of the plant.

2.  Always use a sharp knife or garden shears to make slits down the sides of the root ball.  A larger container will allow for increased root growth into the new soil mix.

4 Special Zebra Plant Care Tips 

1. Keep  plant  in moist potting mix and never allow the root ball to dry out.

2.  Remove flower spikes after the flower has died to prevent the plant from expending all its energy in the making of seeds.

3.  Leach to remove excess soluble salts that build up in the soil as this will cause leaf loss to occur.

4.  Check for scale on undersides of leaves; if present, spray with appropriate pesticide.

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