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Goeppertia zebrina

Previously known as:

  • Calathea zebrina
  • Maranta zebrina
Phonetic Spelling
GO-per-sha zeb-REE-nuh
Description

Zebra plant is an evergreen rhizomatous perennial in the arrowroot (Marantaceae) family that is native to Brazil. It has become popular as a houseplant in temperate areas and won the Garden of Merit Award from the Royal Horticultural Society. In its natural habitat, the plant is found in forest areas shaded by trees without direct sunlight. The plant will grow up to 3 ft tall and wide as a house plant.

The genus is in honor of the German botanist Johann Heinrich Robert Goeppert. The name of the species comes from the Latin “zebrina” in reference to the leaves.

The long stems carry showy leaves up to 20 inches long. The dark green velvety leaves are etched along the spines, veins and margins with lime green giving it a striped look. The undersides are purple. The flowers are inconspicuous white to purple flowers on upright stalks but the plant rarely blooms as a houseplant.

Zebra plant requires temperatures between 65-75 F (no lower than 60), humidity at 60- 80% and bright but indirect light. Avoid sudden temperature changes and drafts. Use a fertile moist but well-drained potting soil and water and fertilize regularly from spring to fall. Keep the soil moist but not overly wet as root rot can occur.  Mist frequently to increase the humidity. If placed outdoors in the summer be sure to bring it inside if temperatures drop below 60 degrees F. Repot every 2 years and propagate by division.

Use this plant in the home if you can meet the requirements. It also will do well in large terrariums or in greenhouses or conservatories if given shade.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaf is light green with dark green stripes
  • Leaf is lanceolate, velvety, underside is purple
  • Even, dark stripes are forked toward margin

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  At risk of root rot if overwatered. Fairly pest-resistant, but can be affected by spider mites, aphids, mealybugs and scale at times.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#evergreen#houseplant#shrub#showy leaves#interiorscape#herbaceous#terrarium#tropical evergreen#fantz#humidity tolerant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#greenhouse plant#accent
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#evergreen#houseplant#shrub#showy leaves#interiorscape#herbaceous#terrarium#tropical evergreen#fantz#humidity tolerant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#greenhouse plant#accent
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Goeppertia
    Species:
    zebrina
    Family:
    Marantaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Brazil
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Houseplant
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    Rarely flowers
  • Flowers:
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Raceme
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Description:
    White and violet, bracts violet-brown. Rarely flowers in a pot.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Velvety dark green leaves have lime green along the veins, margins and spines giving it a striped look. The undersides are purple. They grow on 10-12 inch stems. They are oblong to elliptic with pointed tips and 15-20 inches long and 6-8 inches wide
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems are sheathed