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Zebra Plant Aphelandra squarrosa

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
af-el-AN-druh skwa-RO-suh
Description

In its native county of Brazil, the Zebra Plant can reach heights of up to 6' and widths of 5'. Its native habitat is moist conditions along with tropical heat.  

In other locations, it is grown as a broad-leaf evergreen houseplant.  It does best when it receives plenty of warm, bright, indirect light and high humidity.   It prefers a well-drained acidic potting soil.  Do not allow the soil to dry out completely. The plant prefers high humidity and temperatures that do not dip below 65º F.  Place pots on a bed of wet pebbles or grow in bathrooms to try to meet the humidity needs.  Misting will also benefit the health of your plant.

It is grown for its showy leaves and flowers.  The veined foliage leads to the common name Zebra plant, resembling the stripes on a zebra.  Not blooming often, it can be encouraged to do so by providing prolonged periods of indirect light.

Cut plants back after flowering to manage growth.  Cut back the stems and leaves, leaving two rows of leaves.  This will prevent the plant from losing its leaves and becoming too leggy.  The stems that are removed can be used for propagating additional plants.  Repot annually by going up one pot size to allow the roots sufficient root to grow.  

It is considered to be a short-lived plant, but the ease of propagation from the stem cutting obtained during pruning will ensure that you will have this plant on display in your home.

During the winter months, Zebra plant will experience a period of semi-dormancy.  Watering should be reduced but not stopped.  New growth will begin to be evident in late winter.  At that time, a weak fertilizer solution can be applied every few weeks.  During its growing season, the soil should be moist.  Excessive amounts of water, or extreme dry conditions, will cause the bottom leaves to brown and drop.  Water frequently, not thoroughly.

It displays distinctive ovate to elliptic dark green leaves with white stripes and showy yellow-bract flowers.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems, but look out for aphids, scale, white flies, spider mites and mealybugs. 

Leaves dropping or scorching can indicate that the soil is too dry, the temperatures are too cool, or the plant is receiving too much sunlight.  Drooping leaves or stems can also mean too much water.  This plant does not like wet feet.  

Brown leaf tips can be caused by low humidity.  

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#houseplant#showy leaves#broadleaf evergreen#interiorscape#variegated leaves#bracts#humidity tolerant#compact habit#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plant#wet soils intolerant#container
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#houseplant#showy leaves#broadleaf evergreen#interiorscape#variegated leaves#bracts#humidity tolerant#compact habit#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plant#wet soils intolerant#container
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Aphelandra
    Species:
    squarrosa
    Family:
    Acanthaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Houseplant
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    E. Brazil
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    11b, 11a, 12a, 12b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Trumpet
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The bright yellow bracts are produced at the tip of each stem. Each bract has small yellow flowers that grow out of the bract.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Variegated
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The dark green leaves have prominent white veins and pointed tips. They can reach lengths of up to 9".
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Typical plants have 2 to 4 stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Pool/Hardscape
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heat
    Humidity