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Botanical name: Aphelandra squarrosa
Common name: Zebra Plant
Aphelandra squarrosa commonly called Zebra Plant is grown indoors for its all year round large leaves with silvery veins which provide an attractive feature and for the golden cone-like bloom which provides color for a short time.
Zebra Plant does not bloom often but it can be encouraged to bloom by prolonged daily exposure to light.
To thrive, it requires regular feeding, high humidity and consistently moist soil.
Zebra Plant can grow to a height of 2 ft and to prevent it from becoming leggy, regular pruning is required.
Aphelandra squarrosa is native to the Atlantic forest vegetation of Brazil.
The basic species of Zebra Plant can reach a height of 3-4 ft and therefore is not ideal to be grown indoors. The usual choice for growing indoors are the less vigorous varieties.
The less vigorous varieties include Louisae, which is a 1-2 ft sturdy bush with red-tipped bracts.
More compact types of Zebra Plant include Brockfeld and the golden Dania. Fritz Prinsler has the most eye-catching veining.
Other newer varieties of Zebra Plant are Apollo with white veins and Red Apollo which has a blush of red on the stems and on the leaf undersides.
Beautiful and healthy Zebra plants in various sizes are available online at Etsy. Purchase Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa) online from Etsy.
Photo Credit: Costa Farms
Aphelandra squarrosa (Zebra Plant) care indoors is easy if the right growing conditions are present. Zebra Plant thrives in bright light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and consistently moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.
Zebra Plant requires pruning to keep it neat and tidy as well as discourage pest and disease infestation. Repotting is needed when the plant becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Zebra Plant grows best in bright light away from direct sunshine. Exposure to direct sunlight will result in sunscorched leaves.
Turn the pot regularly to ensure the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.
Aphelandra squarrosa can also grow under a grow light where natural light is not sufficient.
Water Zebra Plant thoroughly during the growing season to maintain the soil moist through out.
Lessen watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely as it can lead to wilting and leaf drop.
Avoid soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
The best temperature for growing Zebra Plant indoors is an average room temperature with a minimum of 180C. Protect it from cold draughts to prevent leaf drop. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.
Zebra Plant thrives in humid conditions. To elevate humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.
Regularly clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and also discourage pest infestations.
Feed Zebra Plant monthly with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season for lush growth.
Do not feed during the growth season as growth is minimal at this time therefore the plant does not it.
Prune Zebra Plant by removing dead blooms and leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy as well as discourage pest infestations.
Cutback the plant after flowering to 1/3 of its height to encourage new growth and to keep the plant bushy and compact
Repot the Zebra Plant at the beginning of the growing season only when the plant becomes pot-bound as it blooms best when root-bound.
Use a pot one size larger than the previous one and ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.
The best soil for Zebra Plant should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.
Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for this plant. Buy quality Potting Mix for Zebra Plant online from Etsy.
Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem cuttings.
Take stem cuttings of about 4-6 in. from a healthy Zebra Plant. Ensure each cutting has at least 2 leaf nodes.
Dip the lower cut end of the cutting in a rooting hormone to hasten rooting.
Insert the cutting in moist, free-draining soil. Ensure the rooting container has adequate drainage to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Cover the set up with clear polythene to create a greenhouse effect in order to promote rooting.
Place the set up in a warm, brightly lit spot away from direct sunlight. Rooting should occur in about 6 weeks.
Allow the new Zebra Plants to be well established before transplanting after which routine care can begin.
Photo Credit: Amazon.com
Aphelandra squarrosa (Zebra Plant) problems indoors include leaf drop, wilting, leaf spots, brown leaf tips and edges, pests snd diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.
Cold drafts and exposure to direct sunlight can cause leaf drop in Zebra Plant. Keep the plant away from cold drafts like windy doors, windows and air conditioning units to maintain warm temperatures with a minimum of 180C.
Do not expose the Aphelandra squarrosa to direct sunlight. Position it where it will receive bright light with no direct sunlight falling on the leaves.
Too low humidity will cause brown leaf tips and edges in Zebra Plant as it prefers a warm and humid environment.
To increase humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
Underwatering is the cause of wilting and leaf drop in Zebra Plant as it requires consistently moist soil during the growing season.
Water the Aphelandra squarrosa thoroughly and maintain the soil consistently moist during the growing season.
Decrease watering in the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Exposing Zebra Plant to direct sunlight will result in brown sunscorch marks on the leaves. Keep it away from direct sunlight. Position it where it will receive bright light with no direct sunlight falling on the leaves.
Common pests in Zebra Plant are Spider Mite, Scale Insects and Aphids. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it for the pests appropriately. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.
Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa) is non-toxic to both humans and pets as indicated by ASPCA. The plant is safe to grow in the home.