Though zebra crops (Aphelandra squarrosa) have a popularity for being among the many hardest-to-please houseplants, their showy white-striped leaves and sunny bracts place them among the many greatest houseplants, too. If zebra plant care proves tough, simply remember the fact that actual zebras are tough to cultivate, too!
Different houseplants that go by the widespread identify of zebra plant embody Dipteracanthus spp., Haworthia spp., and Cryptanthus zonatus. Nevertheless, solely care directions for the Aphelandra zebra plant will probably be lined right here.
RELATED: 15 Necessities for Newbie Plant Dad and mom: What Each New Plant Proprietor Wants
Zebra Plant Care at a Look
Frequent Title: Zebra plant
Scientific Title: Aphelandra squarrosa
Soil: African violet potting combine
Mild: Vivid, oblique gentle
Water: Always moist
Meals: Excessive-nitrogen plant meals
Temperature and Humidity: Above 65 levels, excessive humidity
Propagation: Stem tip cuttings
Zebra Plant Traits
A member of the Acanthaceae household, the zebra plant solely is hardy in USDA Zones 11 and 12. Though it could attain heights of 6 ft or so within the wilds of its native Brazil, growers typically deal with it with a development suppressant so it seldom surpasses 2 ft when in a container.
The veins of its shiny and ovate dark-green leaves are closely striped with white, and the zebra plant sometimes sends up stalks topped with clusters of yellow bracts—often in autumn—from which emerge tubular yellow flowers. Every of these two-lipped blooms is taken into account a zebra flower. They don’t final lengthy, however the extra showy bracts persist for as much as 2 months.
In the event you don’t just like the veined markings on A. squarrosa, you would possibly wish to take a look at different Aphelandra houseplant species with completely different widespread names. In any case, a zebra can’t change its stripes!
RELATED: What Does Root Rot Look Like in Houseplants?
Kinds of Zebra Plant
- Dania: The commonest selection, ‘Dania’ has the standard white-veined, dark-green leaves accompanied by yellow bracts and blooms.
- Apollo: This cultivar boasts wider white stripes than ‘Dania’ does, however ‘Apollo’ is in any other case much like it.
- Pink Apollo: The ruddy ‘Apollo’ provides one other coloration to the inexperienced, white, and gold combine, with its stems and leaves’ undersides being stained with crimson.
Choosing Soil for Zebra Vegetation
Give zebra crops a lightweight, fluffy, and mildly acidic potting soil corresponding to an African violet combine with a pH between 6 and 6.5. In the event you don’t have entry to African violet potting soil combine, attempt combining two components of peat moss with one half every of vermiculite and perlite.
An ordinary potting combine also needs to work, offered that it isn’t too heavy. Vegetation that want to be saved consistently moist—together with zebra crops—can rot simply in heavy soil or in too-large pots. Confine it to a container no bigger than 6 inches in diameter with drainage holes.
The Proper Mild
The zebra plant prefers vivid, oblique gentle. Over the summer time months, give it as vivid a location as attainable with out direct solar, since that can encourage it to set buds in autumn. The College of Arkansas Cooperative Extension advises, “The zebra plant requires common night time temperatures above 65 levels and lightweight ranges round 650 footcandles for about 12 weeks earlier than flowers will type.”
One methodology of reaching that degree of brightness with out Outdated Sol is to position the plant in a south-facing window with a sheer curtain between it and the windowpane to diffuse the glare. Alternatively, set it on an east-facing windowsill the place it receives solar solely within the morning, since these gentle rays typically are thought-about equal to vivid, oblique gentle. In winter, you may scale back its gentle to average (round 500 footcandles), however don’t go away it at nighttime.
Watering Zebra Vegetation
Zebra crops want to be saved evenly moist, so water them every time the floor of the soil has nearly dried out, ideally with lukewarm rainwater or bottled spring water quite than with arduous faucet water. After a zebra plant has flowered in autumn, in the reduction of on its water and preserve it at a temperature of 65 levels Fahrenheit for a few months to provide the plant a relaxation, however by no means enable all of its soil to dry out utterly.
If the highest of the plant wilts, it doubtless is parched and desires consideration rapidly. Nevertheless, the signs of root rot, attributable to an excessive amount of water, generally can mimic these of drought.
RELATED: 23 Philodendron Varieties Excellent for Filling Out Your Houseplant Assortment
Fertilizing Zebra Vegetation
Fertilize your zebra plant each 2 weeks from spring by autumn with a high-nitrogen plant meals (one through which the primary components quantity is greater than the opposite two) at half energy. Chorus from feeding the plant throughout winter.
Since a zebra plant most likely will spend most of its life indoors, you’ll wish to leach its soil a pair occasions throughout summer time to forestall fertilizer salt buildup. To take action, set the pot (with out its saucer) in a sink with an open drain, and water the plant completely till water runs from the pot’s drainage holes. After permitting the soil to empty for a half hour, repeat the method. Then make sure that the soil drains completely earlier than you come the pot to its saucer.
Setting the Temperature and Humidity
The zebra plant prefers temperatures between 65 and 80 levels Fahrenheit. Subsequently, it’s a type of crops that most likely ought to keep indoors throughout summer time quite than being moved exterior, since—in a lot of the U.S.—nighttime summer time temperatures typically will fall under 65 levels.
As a result of it enjoys excessive humidity, you would possibly wish to preserve the plant in a rest room, close to a sink, or atop a humidity tray, misting it about as soon as per day. Remember the fact that air-con reduces air moisture indoors, a lot as central heating does. So, in case your plant’s leaves start to exhibit brown suggestions, contemplate methods you could elevate the humidity round it.
Propagating Zebra Vegetation
Because it’s a good suggestion to chop again your zebra plant after it blooms, you would possibly wish to use the cuttings for zebra plant propagation. To take action, take 4-inch shoots from the plant’s suggestions, take away the decrease leaves and dip the now-bare leaf nodes on the cuttings’ bases into rooting powder or liquid. Then, insert these bases right into a potful of damp, sterile soil corresponding to seed beginning combine till the handled nodes are lined.
A vital a part of studying the way to propagate zebra crops is masking the cuttings and their pot with an upended plastic bag to retain humidity round these cuttings whereas they root. Use plastic straws or sticks to carry that plastic away from the cuttings and fasten the bag shut beneath the pot. Place it in vivid, oblique gentle the place the temperature hovers between 70 and 80 levels Fahrenheit. Tip cuttings sometimes take 3 to 4 weeks to root.
RELATED: 10 Houseplants You Can Propagate the Quickest for an Ever-Increasing Indoor Backyard
Zebra crops are unhazardous to each individuals and animals. Nevertheless, the massive bracts that make up a part of a zebra plant flower would possibly pose a choking hazard to toddlers or pets attracted by their vivid coloration, who both pull them off or decide them up. So, preserve the plant out of attain and snip off these fading bracts earlier than they drop.
Alternatively, you might select to be glad along with your zebra’s stripes and never try and pressure the plant into bloom. Its sap can reportedly irritate pores and skin, so put on gloves when pruning the plant and clear your pruning instruments afterward.
Potential Pests and Ailments
Ought to your zebra plant exhibit the sad houseplant signs, give it a better look. If its prime leaves curl beneath and look crimped or crispy, they most likely are receiving an excessive amount of solar. The decrease leaves would possibly “curl up and die” as a result of dryness, drafts, or an excessive amount of drenching.
Though actual zebras’ stripes reportedly assist defend them from bugs, the crops named for the animal aren’t as fortunate and should sometimes undergo injury from aphids, mealybugs, and scale. Because of the shiny nature of the zebra plant’s foliage, it’s best to be capable of knock off the aphids with robust squirts of water and scrub off the opposite bugs with a humid paper towel.
FAQs About Zebra Plant Care
In the event you simply want some fast solutions on the way to look after zebra crops, take a look at essentially the most regularly requested ones under. Must you be a zebra zealot and like extra intensive data, seek the advice of the article above. Nevertheless, you’ll first wish to just remember to are coping with Aphelandra squarrosa quite than with one of many different zebra crops not lined right here.
Q. How typically ought to a zebra plant be watered?
Water your plant every time the floor of its soil begins to dry out in spring by fall. Reduce in winter and water simply sufficient to maintain the soil from drying out utterly.
Q. Do zebra crops want daylight?
No. The crops want vivid, oblique gentle quite than daylight.
Q. How do you make a zebra plant bushy?
After its flower bracts wither, snip them off and minimize the plant again to its first two tiers of leaves to make it bushy.
Q. Ought to I trim my zebra plant?
Solely prune off light flower bracts, as described above.
Q. How huge can a zebra plant get?
Though it might attain a peak of 6 ft within the wild, it often doesn’t develop taller than 2 ft in a container.
Q. Are you able to propagate zebra crops from leaves?
Most sources suggest that you just use stem tip cuttings quite than leaves to propagate zebra crops. (See “Propagating Zebra Vegetation” above.)
Searching for tougher houseplants to check your expertise? Try our guides on caring for avocado, chicken of paradise, and croton.