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Zebra Plant

Zebra Plant

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Aphelandra Squarrosa or "Zebra Plant"

Aphelandra squarrosa, known more commonly as Zebra plant, is a tropical plant originally from Brazil. Typically grown indoors, it's lauded for its unique dark leaves that are striped with white veins, as well as its colorful flowers. When in bloom (which usually happens in late summer or early autumn) a Zebra plant bears tall golden bracts that can reach several inches and number between two to four per plant, lasting up to six weeks. Like many tropical plants, the Zebra plant can be a challenge to grow indoors, especially in temperate areas.

If you're up for the challenge of nurturing this tough tropical, begin by choosing a spot for your plat that boasts a slightly higher humidity level (60–70 percent) and a temperature above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the plant in bright, filtered light (but not direct sunlight) and its soil consistently moist. Accentuate its graphic striped leaves with an equally bold pot and keep an eye out for its signature yellow bract, which will bloom in late summer or early fall. Once the plant has flowered and the bracts appear to be dying, prune your plant, taking care to remove the spent bract and any surrounding leaves or stems that appear.

Zebra plants thrive in indirect light or partial shade, as they're used to growing under a canopy of trees in the tropical jungles. Direct sunlight can cause the leaves to scorch and should be avoided, but complete shade can mean that your plant won't bloom.

As mentioned, Zebra plants prefer a consistently moist soil, which may take a bit of finesse, as over-watering can cause the leaves to wilt. Its recommended that you water your Zebra plant to saturation every few weeks (or as you observe the soil drying out), allowing the water to completely penetrate the soil until it runs out of your container's drainage holes. Your water temperature should be slightly lukewarm so it mimics the variables of a tropical rainstorm.