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How to Take Care of a Zebra Plant

By M.H. Dyer ; Updated September 21, 2017

The zebra plant (Aphelandra squarrosa), a native of the Brazilian tropics, is a striking plant with broad, dark green leaves and splashy variegated white stripes along the veins of the leaves. If conditions are right, the zebra plant will produce a spiky, bright-yellow bloom. The zebra plant can be tricky to grow indoors, so for the best chance of success, keep the zebra plant in a warm, humid room.

Water the zebra plant as soon as the top of the soil feels slightly dry, but don't overwater. Allowing the soil to become too dry or too wet will cause the zebra plant to drop its lower leaves.

Place the zebra plant in bright, indirect sunlight, but avoid direct, hot sunlight. Zebra plant will do well 3 to 4 feet from a sunny window, or near a window covered with a sheer curtain.

Feed the zebra plant weekly during spring and summer, using a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer. Don't fertilize the zebra plant during fall and winter.

Re-pot the zebra plant only when necessary, when the plant begins to overgrow its container. Houseplants need to be re-potted when growth slows or when white roots show on the top of the pot or grow through the container's drainage hole. Move the zebra plant to a container only one size larger, filled with potting soil for African violets. Be sure the container has a drainage hole in the bottom.

Keep the zebra plant in a room where the temperature will be maintained between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Zebra plants will benefit from being placed in a humid room such as a bathroom or kitchen.


Things You Will Need

  • Water-soluble houseplant fertilizer
  • Planting container with drainage hole
  • Potting mixture for African violets

About the Author


M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.