How To Grow & Care For the Zebra Plant

The Zebra Plant, known for its strikingly beautiful contrast of dark green and bright white stripes on its leaves, is a popular houseplant that adds a touch of exotic charm to any interior. Named for its zebra-like stripes, the plant has become synonymous with elegance and uniqueness. Its bright yellow flowers, though short-lived, offer a delightful contrast, making it an attractive choice for both homes and offices.

Native to Brazil’s lush tropical forests, the Zebra Plant thrives in humid environments. Its preference for high humidity and bright but indirect light can present a challenge for those who are not familiar with tropical plant care. However, with proper attention to its specific needs, the Zebra Plant can thrive and become a standout feature in any indoor space.

While it may look exotic, the Zebra Plant is accessible to both novice and experienced gardeners. By understanding its native habitat and emulating those conditions, anyone can enjoy the aesthetic appeal and touch of the tropics that the Zebra Plant brings.

Common NamesZebra Plant, Aphelandra
Botanical NameAphelandra squarrosa
Plant TypeTropical Evergreen
Mature SizeUp to 1 foot tall
Sun ExposureBright, indirect light
Soil TypeWell-drained, peaty soil
Hardiness Zones11-12
Native AreaBrazil

Zebra Plant Care

Caring for a Zebra Plant requires understanding its native tropical environment. It needs consistent moisture, high humidity, and bright but indirect sunlight. The leaves’ characteristic stripes can fade if the plant doesn’t receive enough light.

Regular feeding during the growing season and pruning to remove dead leaves or spent flowers can also contribute to a thriving Zebra Plant. Paying attention to watering, feeding, and lighting will ensure that the Zebra Plant remains healthy and vibrant.

Light Requirement for Zebra Plant

The Zebra Plant flourishes in bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, while too little light can cause the characteristic stripes to fade. Placing it near a north or east-facing window with a sheer curtain is often ideal.

Soil Requirements for Zebra Plant

A well-drained, peaty soil is best for Zebra Plant. It requires soil that retains some moisture but does not become waterlogged. A standard potting mix with added peat moss usually works well.

Water Requirements for Zebra Plant

Zebra Plant prefers consistent moisture. Watering should be regular but controlled to prevent both drying out and waterlogging. The soil should be kept moist, but not soggy.

Temperature and Humidity

The ideal temperature for a Zebra Plant is between 65°F to 75°F. It thrives in high humidity, so regular misting or placing a humidifier nearby can be beneficial.


A balanced liquid fertilizer applied bi-weekly during the growing season supports the Zebra Plant’s growth. It’s best to follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for proper application rates.

Pruning Zebra Plant

Pruning dead leaves and spent flowers helps maintain the plant’s appearance and health. Gentle pruning also encourages bushier growth.

Propagating Zebra Plant

Propagation is best done through stem cuttings. Cuttings should be taken in spring or early summer and planted in a peat-based soil mix.

How To Grow Zebra Plant From Seed

Growing Zebra Plant from seed is not commonly practiced, as it can be quite challenging and slow. If attempting, use fresh seeds and a soil mix containing peat, keeping the soil moist and warm.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases


Small, white insects that can be controlled with insecticidal soap.

Spider Mites

These tiny pests can be washed off with water or treated with miticides.

Common Problems With Zebra Plant

Leaf Browning

Often caused by low humidity or overwatering.

Fading Leaf Stripes

Generally, a result of inadequate lighting.

Drooping Leaves

This can signal underwatering or a need for higher humidity.

Pro Tips

  1. Maintain high humidity by misting or using a humidifier.
  2. Avoid direct sunlight to prevent scorching.
  3. Monitor watering closely; Zebra Plants are sensitive to both over and under-watering.
  4. Consider placing in a bathroom or kitchen where humidity tends to be higher.
  5. Repot only when necessary, as Zebra Plants prefer being slightly root-bound.