How to care for a Aphelandra Zebra plantThere are actually lots of different "Zebra" plants on the market so best to go by the scientific name, in this case Aphelandra squarrosa. This plant is a fussy plant to grow but it is well worth the effort due to the plant's stunning foliage and amazing bright yellow flowers.
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- Once every two years
- Low air purifier
- Bright indirect light
- Not poisonous
- Weekly in summer
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Aphelandra squarrosa plant comes from the Atlantic forests of Brazil and is now a common house plant the world over.
Not known for its air purifying abilities.
Non-toxic but can cause slight skin irritation.
Zebra's are very tempermental when it comes to watering. They don't take well to over-watering or underwatering so maintaining a consistently moist soil is key - never dry and never soggy. A good approach is to give the plant a heavy watering once a month in the sink, leaving the plant to drain completely. Between heavy waterings give the plant weekly waterings - these waterings should be long and slow - until water comes out of the bottom of the pot. In the winter you can reduce the amount of water the plant gets.
Light is a critical factor for your Zebra especially if you want it to flower. For flowering, the more indirect sunlight the plant gets the better. It also likes heat (20 to 25 degrees C is ideal) and humidity (60% to 70%). To achieve this level lof humidity it is best to sit the plant in a pebble tray - this is a tray filled with pebbles and water. When the water evaporates it increases the humidity around the plant. Make sure that the roots of the plant are not sitting in the water. Also be sure that there are no open windows or air ducts near the plant.
During Spring and Summer your Zebra will be hungry and can be fed weekly using a balanced liquid fertilizer. This will encourage both foliage and flower growth.
Repot as needed or every second year.
Your Zebra will want a good pruning early each spring if you want to have a nice bushy shape and prevent the "legginess" or thin growth that can often happen with these plants. Pruning also encourages flower production. In the fall, after the flowers are spent be sure to cut off the dead flower bracts.
Unfortunately the Zebra is prone to all kinds of ailments if it is not maintained in optimal conditions - bright, indirect light, perfectly moist soil, and a warm, humid environment. If any of these conditions are not me the plant can start dropping leaves (insufficient light), curling leaves ( too much direct sunlight), growing brown leaf tips (too litte water).