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Botanical name: Alocasia zebrina
Common names: Zebrina Alocasia, Zebra Elephant Ear Plant
Alocasia zebrina commonly called Zebrina Alocasia or Zebra Elephant Ear Plant, is a popular plant which bears upright, arrow-shaped green leaves which are borne on thin zebra-striped stems.
Zebrina Alocasia plant may not be easy to grow indoors but once its requirements for warm and humid conditions are met, it is an excellent addition to any houseplant collection.
Zebra Elephant Ear Plant is one of the popular Alocasia plants on account of its spectacular foliage.
Alocasia zebrina was first described by John Gould Veitch, a British horticulturist in 1862 from specimens collected from the Philippines. The species name, 'zebrina', is in reference to its distinctive striped leaf stalks.
Zebra Elephant Ear Plant is a fast growing plant which grows to a height of 3 ft and about 2-3 ft wide. The leaves can grow to 1 ft long.
The flowers in Alocasia zebrina are unimpressive pale-colored spathes which only last a few days.
To conserve the plants energy and direct it to foliage growth, cut the flowers as soon as they appear though it is unlikely to flower when grown indoors.
Alocasia zebrina has its orgins in the warm humid tropical areas in Philippines where it is found growing at high elevations, in bright shade, in well draining soils on the forest floors.
If you would like to add this outstanding plant to your collection, various sizes of Zebra Elephant Ear Plant are available online at Etsy. Buy Alocasia zebrina online from Etsy.
Photo Credit: plantcircle.co
Alocasia zebrina (Zebra Elephant Ear Plant) thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soils coupled with regular feeding during the growing season for a lush growth.
Zebra Elephant Ear Plant requires regular pruning to keep it neat and tidy as well as minimize pest and disease infestations. Repotting is only need when it becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Alocasia zebrina grows best under bright, indirect light. Keep it away from direct sunlight as it can lead to brown sunscorch marks on the leaves.
Too little light will signal dormancy to the Zebra Elephant Ear Plant which may cause the leaves to start dying in readiness for dormancy.
Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant gets light on all sides for even growth to prevent lop-sided growth.
If the natural lighting is not adequate, instal a grow light to supplement it.
Water Alocasia zebrina thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil moderately moist.
Cut down on watering during the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
Avoid underwatering as it will signal dormancy to the plant and may cause the leaves to start dying in readiness for dormancy.
Zebra Elephant Ear Plant does not like to sit in soggy soil as it is prone to fungal infestations like root-rot.
Therefore, ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
Average warmth from 150C to 280C is ideal for Alocasia zebrina. Below 130C, the plant may drop all its leaves and go into dormancy stage.
Keep the Zebra Elephant Ear Plant away from drafts as it hates sudden changes in temperature which can cause leaf drop and reduced growth.
Alocasia zebrina requires high humidity inorder to thrive. To increase humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or place it in a bathroom or other moist areas in the home. Check out these techniques on how to raise the humidity for houseplants.
Clean the leaves regularly by damp wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust as well as discourage pests infestation.
Feed Alocasia zebrina with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing period.
Do not during the cold season as the plant undergoes dormancy during this period and growth is minimal at this time.
Flush out accumulated salts arising from fertilizers by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage holes. Let the stream of water run for a few minutes.
Alocasia zebrina prefers to be root-bound, therefore frequent repotting is not needed. Avoid frequent repotting as the plant can take upto 4-6 weeks to recover from repotting shock.
Repot into a 1 size larger pot during the growing season only if the roots of the Zebra Elephant Ear Plant have grown out through the drainage holes.
Ascertain that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to fungal infestations.
The best soil for Alocasia zebrina should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.
Most aroids potting mixes are ideal for the plant. Buy quality Aroids Potting Mix for Zebra Elephant Ear Plant from Etsy.
Pruning Alocasia zebrina is easy as it only requires removal of yellow and diseased leaves as they occur to maintain the plant neat and to reduce chances of diseases and pests infestation.
Remove the leaves by cutting at the base with a sterilized knife or pair of scissors to avoid disease transimission. Take care not to injure the new leaves that are forming.
Alocasia zebrina (Zebra Elephant Ear Plant) can be propagated by plant division at the beginning of the growing season.
Carefully take the Alocasia zebrina out of its pot and gently divide the rhizome into sections by cutting through with a sharp sterilized knife. Ensure that each section has 1-2 stems.
Pot the sections in individual pots in moist free-draining soil at the same depth that they were in the previous pot.
Ensure that each pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges after which routine care can begin.
Photo Credit: yougarden.com
Alocasia zebrina (Zebra Elephant Ear Plant) problems indoors are brought about by improper care and include drooping leaves, dropping leaves, plant death, leaf spots, yellowing leaves, pests and diseases. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to solve them.
The reason why Alocasia zebrina is losing leaf color and dying is too little light as it thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.
Move the Zebra Elephant Ear Plant to a brighter spot and ensure it receives bright, indirect light or instal a grow light if the natural light is inadequate.
There are three possible reasons why the leaves of Alocasia zebrina are dropping and the plant is dying. These three reasons signal dormancy and hence the leaves die in readiness to enter dormancy.
This happens during the cold season (winter) when the plant undergoes dormancy. Even if the foliage may die, the underground rhizome is still alive and can regrow under favorable conditions.
One possible reason why the leaves in Alocasia zebrina are dropping and the plant is dying is too little light.
Position the Zebra Elephant Ear Plant in a brighter spot and ensure it receives bright, indirect light or instal a grow light if the natural light is not sufficient.
The second possible reason why the leaves in Alocasia zebrina are dropping and the plant is dying is too low temperature below 130C.
Alocasia zebrina grows best in average warmth between 150C and 280C. Keep it away from cold and hot draughts which cause sudden changes in temperature.
The third possible reason why the leaves in Alocasia zebrina are dropping and the plant is dying is underwatering.
Zebra Elephant Ear Plant prefers the soil to be kept moderately moist during the growing season and watering to be reduced in the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
One possible cause of brown leaf edges in Alocasia zebrina is low humidity. Where the air temperatures are high, the air humidity is likely to reduce significantly.
To increase humidity, set the pot on wet pebble tray or place the plant in a bathroom and other moist areas in the home.
The second possible cause of brown leaf edges in Zebra Elephant Ear Plant is accumulation of salts in the soil which could have come from fertilizers or water.
Flush out accumulated salts from the soil regularly by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage holes. Let the stream of water run for a few minutes. Repeat the process several times.
There are two possible causes of drooping leaves in your Alocasia zebrina. One possible cause is too little light.
Place the plant in a brighter spot where it can get bright, indirect light but away from direct sunlight.
The second possible cause of drooping leaves in Zebra Elephant Ear Plant is underwatering. Keep the soil moderately moist during the growing season.
Decrease watering in the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
Low humidity is the reason for the yellowing and dropping leaves in Alocasia zebrina.
Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity.
However, it is natural for the older leaves to turn yellow and drop as the plant continues to grow.
Remove such leaves by snipping them off at the base with a clean sharp knife or a pair of scissors to keep the plant neat and reduce pests and disease infestations.
Dark brown or black leaf spots in Alocasia zebrina are an indication of leaf spot disease which is promoted by soggy soil, overwet conditions and poor ventilation.
Isolate the affected plant immediately to prevent spread to other houseplants, remove the damaged leaves and treat with a fungicidal solution.
Ascertain that there is proper drainage of both the soil and the pot to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
Avoid misting and wetting the leaves to keep them dry and improve on ventilation for good air circulation.
Common pests in Alocasia zebrina are Spider Mites, Mealy Bugs, Scales and Aphids. Isolate the affected plant to prevent further spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.
Alocasia zebrina (Zebra Elephant Ear Plant) like other Alocasia Plants is toxic to both humans and pets as outlined by ASPCA.
It contains crystals of calcium oxalate which if ingested can numb and swell the tongue and pharynx leading to difficulty in breathing and sharp pain in the throat.
Keep the Alocasia zebrina away from the reach of children and pets to avoid any mishaps.