Common Name: Zebra Plant
Latin Name: Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Louisae’
Plant Type: Broadleaf shrub
Blooming Time: Year round
Temperature: 60 – 85 *F
Height: 4′ – 6′
Color: Green, white variegation
Insects and Diseases: Aphids, scale, spider mites, mealy bugs, whitefly
The Zebra Plant has dark green, glossy leaves that are ovate with pointy tips. The contrasting white variegated veins make this a striking plant for the home. Flowers are yellow to bright yellow and grow in bracts that are clustered on a spike that can reach up to 4″ long.
This plant will flourish best when it’s given a supply of bright indirect sunlight or part shade. But, if the plant is given long periods of light it will be encouraged to bloom more often.
This plant is a little hard to care for as too much or too little water can quickly cause the leaves to drop. Water when the top of the soil has just started to feel dry, this plant likes to be kept moist. Less water is needed during the winter months or after the plant has flowered.
Zebra plants like rich soil that retains water, but drains well. An African Violet mix can be used and pots should have holes in the bottom for adequate drainage. To make your own potting soil mixture, use 1 part coarse sand or Perlite, 1 part garden soil, 2 parts humus or peat.
During the growing seasons, spring and summer, the Zebra plant needs to be feed weekly. A good quality water soluble plant food works well.
Both air layering and stem cuttings can be propagated in the spring and should be placed in a mixture of Perlite and moist peat. The pot can be covered with plastic to retain moisture and set in indirect sunlight.
Cuttings should be 4-6 inches long and kept moist, but not overly wet and you’ll get better results if the cuttings are kept from 70 – 80*. Repot only after the plant has gotten well established.
While not listed on the poisonous plant list, the sap from a Zebra plant may cause skin irritation to some people.
Zebra plants normally don’t bloom very often, but can be coaxed into blooming by prolonging it’s exposure to light during the day. Remove the flower spikes after the flower has died.
Avoid getting water on the plants leaves, wet spots on the leaves can turn into leaf spot fungus. If you get any water on the leaves, dry them off.
Written by Connie Corder for HouseplantsForYou.com, Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved.