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How to Grow a Zebra Plant

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How to Grow a Zebra Plant

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Overview

Zebra plant, a bold, tropical perennial native to Brazil, commonly grows as a houseplant in the United States. The plant requires warm temperatures to thrive, making it ideal for typical household growing conditions. Gardeners prize zebra plants for its glossy, green foliage striped with white leaf veins similar to the stripes on a zebra. In its native habitat, the plant reaches heights of up to 4 feet, eventually becoming a small, woody shrub. Indoors, however, zebra plant typically grows to about 15 inches and performs best in a container no larger than 6 inches in diameter.

Step 1

Plant the zebra plant in a container filled with a growing medium made of 2 parts potting soil and 1 part peat moss to provide proper drainage. Keep the plant in a location that receives bright sunlight throughout the day, such as a south-facing window.

Step 2

Maintain a constant temperature of 75 to 85 degrees F during the spring, summer and fall. Reduce the average temperature to 65 to 75 degrees F during winter to force dormancy. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature for the best results.

Step 3

Mist once each day using a spray bottle to increase relative humidity around zebra plant. Fill the spray bottle with lukewarm water to minimize shock to the plant. Spray during the early morning so excess moisture can evaporate before evening when temperatures drop.

Step 4

Water zebra plants once every five days to keep the soil consistently moist at all times. Reduce the frequency of watering to once per week during winter. Never allow the soil to dry out completely, or zebra plant will wilt or die.

Step 5

Feed the plant once every two weeks during spring, summer and fall with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer. Decrease the frequency of fertilization to once every six weeks during winter, when the plant is dormant. Apply fertilizer according to the manufacturer's directions.

Step 6

Repot zebra plants once every two years during early spring to refresh the growing medium and provide more room. Increase the size of the container by about 2 inches if necessary, but avoid planting in a much larger container, as the plant enjoys being slightly pot-bound.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Thermometer
  • Spray bottle
  • Fertilizer

References

  • Colorado State University Extension: Zebra Plant
  • Michigan State University Extension: Aphelandra squarrosa---Zebra Plant
  • "The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: Essential Know-how for Keeping (Not Killing) More than 160 Indoor Plants"; Barbara Pleasant; 2005
Keywords: zebra plant, growing zebra plant, houseplant care

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.