Houseplant Care Tips

Various Houseplant Care Tips Including Watering and Lighting Requirements.

Houseplant Care Tips

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Zebra Plant Care

Common Name: Zebra Plant
Scientific Name: Aphelandra squarrosa
Lighting: Bright Light
Watering: Moderate

The Zebra plant receives its name according to its zebra looking foliage. Oversized, green with stripes of white foliage with bright exotic looking bright yellow flowers is the character appearance of the Zebra plant. Once the flowers are done blooming, prune out the old bloom giving room for the growth of future blooms.

The Zebra plant does best in bright, indirect light. Due to its South American home the Zebra plant prefers warm temperatures with high humidity levels. So the plant loves to be misted once or twice a week to provide for its humidity needs.

Watering 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.

This is a medium maintenance houseplant with the main concerns being the humidity and watering needs, which are can easily be accommodated once you have it down. I personally have never had any problems with mites or bugs, but if they appear lightly spray the plant with a soapy water mixture daily.


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Blogger Gina Marie said...

Do you have a picture of the Zebra plant? I think I have one, but I bought it at the grocery store and all it said was "assorted folliage" :-(


11:56 AM  
Blogger drayas said...


Unfortunately I don't have a picture of a Zebra plant. However, if you go to Google Images and search Zebra plant, you'll see if that matches yours or not.


4:29 PM  
Blogger Gina Marie said...

Drayas -- thanks. I thought of that right after I left the comment! :-)

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a zebra plant that has grown to almost three feet tall! It's a bit of an enigma because once a new leaf forms on the top an older one from the bottom drops off - leaving it looking like a very small palm tree. It seems to be doing ok - support wise - I haven't had to place a stick next to it or anything - but is this normal? And how can I keep the under-leaves from falling off?

1:06 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


Can any of my readers give us a hand. I've never had a Zebra plant do this, so I'm not sure what to say.


5:20 PM  
Blogger ~K~ said...

u let the soil dry out too much so it turns into a palm tree thing. I just got one of these. lets hope i dont kill it.

from the site "To grow them to perfection, they need to be planted in highly organic, extremely well drained soil. The potting medium must never be allowed to dry out completely. Those that have allowed their zebra plants to wilt a time or two knows the results. The lower leavers fall off and the plant takes the shape of a miniature palm tree."-

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My zebra plant is doing wonderful and getting huge but I can't get it to flower had flowers when I got 2 years ago but not since then.

11:52 AM  
Blogger drayas said...


Usually flowering coincides with light levels on Zebra plants. Are you growing your plant near a window or is it growing under indoor lights?

You could also try giving it a little houseplant food for an extra boost.


1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I take a leaf and will it root in water.

11:16 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


I'm not sure. Maybe a stem cutting, but I don't think a leaf will root.

Any readers help us out??


3:45 PM  
Anonymous Skeletor! said...

I'm trying to find out the same thing. I THINK a stem cutting will work, but I know that a leaf definitely won't root. I'm going to make a stem cutting on my Zebra Plant and I'll post on the results.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The leaves on my zebra plant all dropped off, did not water enough, so I cut off a small stem and am rooting it in water. I plan to plant in a pot as soon as it gets big enough.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Mart said...

Could some one tell me if the Zebra plant has any more flower after they died off. I fot the plant in Oct,2008 and it growing like fire for me it in the south windwon and the christmas catus are near the Zerba plant. How do I have wait for new flowers. Do I have to cut the old one that are left look like a comb. thanks Mart

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone have luck with stem cuttings rooting in water<

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mine has also lost all it's lower leaves, only top ones left, and the stems are extremely weak, each one has a stake to hold them up, but it's growing quite high so staking them is getting difficult.

I've had the plant 2 years now. A year ago I switched it to a self watering pot (the type that has a special hole in the bottom where you pour the water in, rather than pouring at the top) and since then it is doing better. 6 months ago, 2 new stems starting growing. These stems have not lost their bottom leaves and are very strong. The older stems continue to loose there lower leaves and be very week. I am thinking of cutting off the older stems and just having the newer ones, since they look so much nicer.

Based on my experience, I would recommend getting a self watering plan.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Shari Young said...

Love my new zebra plant - it shows lots of new leaves and looks great except . . . . . all the tips of the bigger leaves are brown. I have never had many plants (worked at home and had several cats) but now I work in an office.

Any suggestions as to what I can do differently? I currently water the plant every third day.



11:48 AM  
Anonymous Vanessia said...

I also would like to know about the blooming. I have had mine for over 2 years. It had flowers when I got it and has not bloomed since. I pruned the flowers when they died.


1:14 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Okay, so I have a several zebra plants. Some things I would like to know:
1) Should I seperate the "baby" plants from the "mother?" If so, how?
2) I just recently (on 2 in one pot) noticed that these weird things that look like roots are coming out of the center of the plant (note: not toward the base of the plant, they are coming out of the center and stretching towards the soil, somewhat) and where these "roots" are coming out of, the leaves are browning. I am very confused and would like any information ASAP, please!
Thank you so very much for your help. :)

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have one at work, i water every friday and the heater blows warm air at it, its next to the window and gets bright indirect light in the morning and sun in the afternoon. its doing the palm tree thing too and also has the brown tips of its leaves. hasnt bloomed since ive had it, and its about 2-2 1\2 years old, i think im going to try to start misting it, but is there anything else i can do? i know quite a bit about plants in general, seems like the dry leaves could be it getting too much sunlight, so, i think im going to try moving it out of the direct light and see what happens. good to know about the cuttings, that makes me excited! would also be very interested in knowing how to make it flower...if it likes water, do you think giving it more would do the trick? oh, and if you do a cutting what happens to the remaining stem? will it fork, or grow new leaves, or die?

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had my zebra plant at the office for almost 10 years. When it gets "leggy", I just cut the top off and stick it in the soil. The new one continues to grow leaves on top, the old one sprouts another branch from the old stalk.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous heather said...

I live in Florida and keep my zebra plant outside in a shaded area of my porch. It has been fine for a few years, but now the leaves have turned light green. Does anyone know what nutrient is needed? Thanks.

3:34 PM  
Blogger samhudgens said...

I have a zebra plant that is doing the palm tree thing. All you have to do is take a stem cutting about 4-6in. long. Cut off all leaves except forthe newst growth. dip in Shultz rooting hormone. plant and cover with a humidity dome. mist daily and in about 2-4 weeks it will sprout roots and keep growing. you can find the rooting powder at home depot, only like 5 bucks. I've done it several times with great success

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

I received a basket of assorted house plants as a gift when my mother passed away. I would like to keep the plants a live as long as possible in her memory but I do not know what they are. There are currently 5 varities in the basket.
Will they live in the basket or should I replant them? Suggestions?

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got a zebra plant and it is looking very droopy. The leaves are sagging downwards. I moved three times. One a sunny window two under a skylight and third out on the patio in the shade. i dont know where to put cheryl.....thats what i named her. Any suggestion would be hepful

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I read that they don't like water on their leaves and appear to wild if they have water on their leaves. I live in NM and keep my 2 plant outside in pretty much direct sunlight and they are doing better there than when I had them on the porch with indirect light.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have 2 zebra plants and I moved them from my porch (indirect light) to pretty much full light and they are doing better now than before.

I read that they don't like water on their leaves and will appear to wilt (that happened to mine) so now I water directly into the soil, wait a few minutes, drain them and then put them back on their stand.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My cat recently chewed most of the leaves on my zebra plant. Will cutting it back help it grow faster or should I leave it?

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is the time of year to take a cutting from your Zebra plant,It was in a plant book...So good luck,I thinking of doing one as the plant is glowing and looking great...

5:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our department has gone "zebra plant" nuts. I managed to grow roots from an accidental cut-off and since then we have managed to grow 3 more. We now have 5 zebra plants happily growing away, with 4of them being healthy "cut-off" plants. So yes, it DOES work!

11:37 PM  
Blogger j said...

I have a Zebra plant which was stressed when purchased but it is inproving. The leaves are not sagging and the curl has relaxed. however the roots were and are still rying to come to the surface of the pot. I mean they are pointing up and growing what might be more plants from the root system. Ive never seen this before anyone else?

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI. Read all the questions but can't see any amswers. I have had mine for about 7 months. It had a flower on it.Finished blooming and fell off and hasn't bloomedbloomed since also has dried out and leaves droop. What do I do to get it to bloom again PLEASE ANSWER?


3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where can I purchase one Online?

1:20 PM  
Blogger Betty said...

my zebra has some kind of small "dot" on the underside almost like a insect. it does not move like its alive and is adhered very well to the leave. removed with fingernail. any ideas?

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have had my zebra plant for about 5 years. i have kept it in indirect sunlight and watered lightly several times a week. it bloomed for about 1 year straight and was stunning. it has not bloomed since (in 3 years) but has grown in height. recently i cut all the stems back hoping the original would fork,grow new foliage and possibly bloom. within a week or 2 i had new stems and leaves. i stuck the cuttings in a vase of water on a window sill. they all rooted without hesitation within 3 or 4 weeks.both plants are doing well. one problem i have had is the leaves curling and browning on the edges of the original plant. i think it's cause is not enough light. the new plant is in direct light and does not have this problem. the older plant has indirect light and suffers from this almost continuously. however if i make the effort to sun it outside on over cast days(it especially loves being put out in the rain)the new leaves will grow straight without browning. i looked at this page trying to find out how to get it to bloom again.i did not find any real answer so i am going to try a general house plant fertilizer and see what happens.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain to me why the leaves on my zebra plant started developing brown spots at he tips. My plant has started to take off and is growing faster than ever but spots started showing up on some of the leaves but i cant understand why. Can someone please help me find a solution to my problem?

3:52 PM  
Blogger julie ann said...

i have zebra plant,but i water it to much.the leaves becomes falling.but it still had a root.what should i do?

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had a Zebra plant for about 3 years. I received it as a give and it had the yellow flowers when I received it. They lasted for 3 to 4 weeks. I kept watering it and have tried to take good care of it but it did do the palm tree thing. It has 3 main branches/stems and I thought it would never bloom again but all of a sudden after 2 years all 3 branches bloomed. I was very excited. I believe that it bloomed in the month of October but I'm not positive. I would like to do a cutting to start over and would like to pay better attention to the watering so it doesn't loose the bottom leaves. I just wanted to post my experience that it took 2+ years but it did bloom again.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous arwa said...

my zebra plant had all of it's leaves down ,and now it's growing again , what should i do to keep it in a good health ?

4:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Zebra plant ended up as two dry sticks in the pot. Rather than throw it out, I just watered it a bit and now it's roaring back with beautiful leaves. I water by weight of the pot. It's in a western exposure window behind some gold curtains but it only likes that one window. Move it t another room with the identical exposure and it falters. I also have a problem keeping the lower leaves.

6:51 AM  
Anonymous smokie said...

I just read an article that said flouride in water can cause the brown spots, or "burning" appearance on the leaves. Guess tap water could be the culprit.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Theresa Vitello-Robel said...

Zebra plants Love humidity and bright indirect sunlight . Don't over water maybe once or twice a week. However don't let it dry totally out .

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a Zebra plant that will be 12 in October. I have maintained it very well by repotting, fertilizing, etc., but it has only flowered once & looks like a giant palm tree. I've never let it dry out (as many of the posts suggests) and it gets western exposure. Any suggestions on how to make it flower again? Thanks!

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a zebra cactus plant that has over grown the pot(a bunch of smaller plants)it has changed from the green coloring to kind of a red color. does anyone know why? thank you for any info

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the powder, it sticky, it comes out of the plant, I'm still trying to take care best I could, it's leafs drop I just learned I may be under watering, but what are the powder stuff that comes from it ?

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Vanessa - My plant had done the same thing. Depending on the deepness/intensity of the colour it is one of two issues: too close to direct sunlight or not enough Nitrogen (needs fertilizer). Cut the browning leaves off if you can so the plant will focus its energy on the healthier ones. I made the mistake of not doing that and my plant took a while to recover (but only started to once I finally got rid of all the discoloured leaves). If a yellowish tinge that starts to darken to a deep brown it is nitrogen. If dark brown almost black at the tips and did not start off with a hint of yellow you are way too close to a light source and the leave tips are "burning".

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my zebra plant leaves have turned red also and are really skinny
now do I need to water more?

11:58 AM  

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